I recently read an article about how brotherhood played a role in the Boston Bombings and thought how grateful I am that my older brother is a good guy. We didn’t always get along growing up but I always looked up to him and wanted to be like him. Fathers and other male role models are important in young men’s lives but there is something special about the role of a brother. As I reflected on this story and thought of my own brother I found myself grateful that he encourages me to be a better man than something like these two.
The Boston Bombings are a hard story for many reasons but there is something about this younger brother, Dzhokhar, that got wrapped up in his older brother’s bad influence that makes me feel pity for him. From all appearances, and from what I have read about Dzhokhar, he was a bright kid with a bright future. Classmates liked him. Neighbors said he was respectful and kind. But the reports about his older brother, Tamerlan, are not so glowing. He was abusive towards his girlfriend and had some anit-American views that he wasn’t afraid to share with anyone who would listen.
It is not hard to imagine that Tamerlan manipulated and brain-washed Dzhokhar over time. Dzhokhar listened, followed, and trusted because, after all, they were brothers. He is responsible for his choices and he will pay. And a natural consequence in this was that he lost his brother and now has to shoulder the burden of guilt and shame for what happened all on his own.
This story leaves me thinking that brothers have some responsibility to one another and I wonder how things could have been different in Boston had Dzhokhar been able to resist Tamerlan’s persuasion. Moreover, there seems to be a moral to this story about how important brothers are to one another and it begs the question “What sort of brother will you be?”