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Russia

Boston Bombing: Tsarnaev Brothers Identify With Islam, Chechnya Independence

Djohar Tsarnaev
Djohar Tsarnaev
Pavel Tarasenko and Elena Chernenko

MOSCOW - As the U.S. woke up to discover that the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing had been identified and one had been killed, the news also came out that the two young men were Russian citizens, Chechen brothers who appear to have grown up in Dagestan. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a police chase through the outskirts of Boston, while his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, remains at large.

Profiles

There was something to be learned about the two brothers from their profiles on vKontacte, the Facebook-like website that is popular in Russia. According to Dzhokhar’s profile, he speaks Chechen, Russian and English, and his birthday is July 22. He went to school in Dagestan from 1999 to 2001, a north-Caucasus republic in Russia that is home to many Chechen refugees, and then went to Massachusetts to attend the Cambridge Ringe and Latin School. He identifies himself as a practicing Muslim.

According to the profile, his most important goals in life are “career and money.” He is a member of groups called “Chechnya” and “Everything for the Chechen Republic.” There aren’t many posts - one photo, one video and one joke. The joke is as follows: There’s a riddle given at school. A Dagestani, Chechen and Ingush are going somewhere in a car. Who is driving? The correct answer: The police. The last time he visited the site was 5:04 a.m. on April 19, Moscow time.

Not A Single American Friend

Tamerlan, the older brother who was killed by police, kept a personal channel on YouTube, and by the selection of videos posted he appeared to be interested in Islam and boxing. His playlists include a Chechen singer who sings about war, Islam and jihad, and "terrorist" videos that are addressed towards fighters. Not long ago Tamerlan posed for a photo-reportage by Johannes Hirn called "Will Box For Passport,” although the link on Hirn’s site appears to be down. In the text that goes along with the photos, Tamerlan says, “I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them.”

It also explains in the text that Tamerlan’s family fled Chechnya at the beginning of the 1990s, first to Kazakhstan, then to the United States. He was studying at the Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and wanted to be an engineer. He was a boxer and dreamed of making the American national team. He said that as long as Chechnya was not independent, he would box for the U.S. not Russia.

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Geopolitics

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023

Before heading to South Sudan to continue his highly anticipated trip to Africa, the pontiff was in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he delivered a powerful speech, in a country where 40 million Catholics live.

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — You may know the famous Joseph Stalin quote: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” Pope Francis still has no military divisions to his name, but he uses his voice, and he does so wisely — sometimes speaking up when no one else would dare.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Belgian Congo, a region plundered and martyred, before and after its independence in 1960), Francis has chosen to speak loudly. Congo is a country with 110 million inhabitants, immensely rich in minerals, but populated by poor people and victims of brutal wars.

That land is essential to the planetary ecosystem, and yet for too long, the world has not seen it for its true value.

The words of this 86-year-old pope, who now moves around in a wheelchair, deserve our attention. He undoubtedly said what a billion Africans are thinking: "Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered!"

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