I woke up this morning, had breakfast and checked my Facebook page, which is the typical way I begin my day. I saw that my sister had written me a message. Where a week ago she congratulated me on my new personal best at the Zurich Marathon and encouraged me to qualify for the Boston Marathon, she just wrote that she was glad that I wasn’t there. I knew this could not be good, so I googled “Boston Marathon” and read about the events in Der Spiegel. It’s always refreshing to read about American events in European papers because the news is usually better portrayed with less emotion, more analysis, and greater distance. I was shocked.
I’m a runner
Running around 10 marathons a year, mostly in Switzerland, but I’ve also run in Berlin (one of the Big 5) and Ireland with a hope of one day running New York, Boston, or Chicago, I know the masses of people that gather for these events. Marathons are like mini Olympic events, they bring together people passionate for the sport of both sexes and from all ages, races, and nationalities. When I’m out there at an event, I always get the feeling that humans are good. We have something in common and we share it here. As we strive towards the finish we pass on encouragement to each other. Some people pace their friends and others to help them reach new personal bests. The achievement is wonderful.
We’ve seen this before
What happened in Boston yesterday, April 15, 2013, is similar to what happened at the Munich Olympics between September 5-6, 1972 and the numerous school shootings that have occurred in recent years. Violence and destruction have no place where humanity is at its best. Such attacks for which ever reason, be they a hate of taxation, a hate of a government, another political statement or the sheer wish to be heard, have never advanced the cause supported by the perpetrator. They do just the opposite, they strengthen the resolve of those affected that they will not be the victim of unprovoked violence. The Munich Olympics continued, school children go back to learning, and Boston as well as the other marathons will take place again.
The other victims
I write these words with a sad sorrow, because I know these events will also affect a sport that is very important to me personally. Yet, I believe that these challenges will be overcome. My heart goes out to those who have been personally afflicted by this event, the dead, the injured, their family and friends. However, I also think about the tragedies that occur around us on a daily basis. The victims of violence around the world, who are victims just because of where they live. People who live in perpetual fear because their state has no system of justice, or where two or more groups of people believe in their individual causes so much that they can justify the killing of citizens, who merely wish to live in a clean environment and with the freedom and ability to realize their own potential.
Violence is never an answer
Violence has never and will never be an answer for getting one’s message across. Sporting events bring out the best in humanity, they connect us with what we have in common — the human body and a determined will. Education, seeks to open the mind to new possibilities — those of a better common future. The greatest form of justice that can come from this event is the acknowledgement of the many injustices in the world and a resolution to better the lives of the masses. In the documentary film Ethos, actor and environmental activist Woody Harrelson said:
The common man or woman, whether they are Israeli or Palestinian, Protestant or Catholic or Iraqi or American, the common person just wants to live in peace and justice in a clean environment. When we look around the world and we see that that is not the case, we know the will of the majority is not being listened to, that’s the first sign that our system is broken.
Our challenge as a humanity is to address the injustices of the world and eliminate the misgiven reasons for the use of violence.