In Reef flip flops, blue jeans and a Calvin Klein polo shirt, Ruslan Tsarni, an uncle of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, strode down the driveway of his Federalist-style home last week in Montgomery Village, Md., an upper middle-class Washington, D.C. suburb, past a ground cover of purple wisteria blooming in his front yard and pink tulips across the street.
In the next few minutes, the uncle to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, accomplished something that 11 years of post-9/11 press releases, news conferences and soundbites by too many American Muslim leaders has failed to do on the issue of radicalization and terrorism: with raw, unfettered emotion, he owned up to the problem within.
Instead of being silenced by what they did, he openly said that his nephews had brought “shame” on the family with their actions. This is the same kind of “shame off,” as one admirer later called it, that protesters to the gang rape in India have to win: Are we shamed into silence? Or do we confront the serious issues that shame us?