Can you empathize with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? The 19-year-old surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings who got seriously injured during his dramatic capture but is awake now and responding in writing to questions from authorities, as he is unable to speak.
Dzhokhar, who’s allegedly behind the events that shattered the entire nation, ruined several lives and is responsible for the death of three people including an 8-year-old, can you have a soft corner for him? It might be hard to believe but the reason behind asking you this question is that there is someone who can.
Controversial musician Amanda Palmer has apparently written a poem inspired by him, titled: ‘A Poem for Dzhokhar.’ Written in the second person, it’s chiefly regarding the surviving suspect. Of course the title is an obvious hint, plus the poem also refers to the death of his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a shootout with police:
‘You don’t know how to mourn your dead brother.’
Here’s an excerpt of the poem that has received much feedback, negative and positive both.
You don’t know how it felt to be in the womb but it must have been at least a little warmer than this.
You don’t know how intimately they’re recording your every move on closed-circuit cameras until you see your face reflected back at you through the pulp.
You don’t know how to stop picking at your fingers.
You don’t know how little you’ve been paying attention until you look down at your legs again.
You don’t know how many times you can say you’re coming until they just stop believing you.
You don’t know how orgasmic the act of taking in a lungful of oxygen is until they hold your head under the water.
You don’t know how many Vietnamese soft rolls to order.
You don’t know how convinced your parents were that having children would be, absolutely, without question, the correct thing to do.
You don’t know how precious your iPhone battery time was until you’re hiding in the bottom of the boat.
Palmer has obviously written on a topic that’s likely to generate a lot of hate comments. Commenter The Green Devilreflects his views on Palmer’s poem by saying:
Bullshit. He's no victim. Not one of the hundreds if not thousands of people whose lives he devastated if not outright destroyed ever did anything to him. A victim has no choice- he had choices and he chose to commit horrifying acts of evil.
He later justifies his point by saying:
Hatred is a conscious choice, especially when one chooses to manifest itself and hurt others. Hate is not some controlling force. Hate has no free will. It is a willful act that one does not have to commit. Everyone talks about this kid like he's a fucking simpleton incapable of distinguishing right from wrong, rather than a 19 year old adult who's an aspiring med student and was in college.
There are others who are appreciating Palmer. For example, Sid Marcoswho commented on Plamer’s blog:
This is so, SO spot on that I have to reply.
It seems to me that many people aren't emotionally equipped to understand such a potent statement. I think, oftentimes you must have experienced that darkness in yourself and have 'come back' to be able to relate to other people in the same situation.
No, he's not THE victim but he is nonetheless A victim of hate - and that's my heart goes out to him too. If you can even try to understand him rather than react with hatred or wanting to see him suffer in return then you end the cycle - and as cliche as it is - genuinely make the world a better place.
And of course there are some who raised questions as well, including gingerland62, who asked:
I could never begin to understand a human who leaves a lethal bomb at the feet of a child, knowing in seconds that child will be dead. The pain of losing your child is worse than dying yourself.. Now Martin's parents are left with a pain that will never go away. How do you understand that?
The poem which is naturally upsetting and controversial for many is defended by Palmer on her Twitter.
now that everybody's panties are in a twist, i'd like to say: the poem is actually about more than you think it is. read it again.— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) April 21, 2013
And she also appeared surprised by the negative feedback on something that was supposed to outrage many readers.
wow. i'm getting scolded on my blog comments for writing a poem. wasn't expecting that, honestly. amandapalmer.net/blog/20130421/— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) April 21, 2013
Do you agree with Palmer or not? Let us know with your comments.
For the complete poem, click here.