So they’ve caught the last remaining Boston Marathon Bomber and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. At least the immediate danger is over. Although the pain is not. Everything about this situation makes me sad. The loved ones lost. The victims who must learn to live without an arm or leg or maybe both. The families hurting. The futileness of the whole thing. And two young men who believed that harming others in the most horrific way was the best thing they could do with their lives. How did they come to such a conclusion? Was it because they were born in a country where terrorism is seen as a valid means of expressing your dissatisfaction? And more importantly, how can we stop this from happening again?
Australia like America has a worrying track record when it comes to ensuring newcomers embrace the values of our society. Men from certain countries manage to find a way to have more than one wife, 14-year-old girls are sent back to their parent’s country-of-birth to get married, female babies are circumcised, even though these things are against Australian law. And then there is this. Alongside the news about the capture of the Boston Bomber in the Australian media this morning was a distressing story about a young Afghan refugee who confused rape with consensual sex.
Esmatullah Sharifi was jailed a few years ago for raping a 25-year-old woman on Christmas Eve. He subsequently faced the courts again on charges of raping an 18-year-old five days before the other rape took place. The courts heard that Sharifi regularly drove around outside nightclubs in Frankston, on the outskirts of Melbourne, on the lookout for drunk, vulnerable, young women. As a result of these two cases Sharifi was placed on the sexual offenders registry and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Incredibly, unbelievably, he has won the right to appeal his sentence on the basis that as a refugee he did not understand what ‘consent’ means in Australia. Even though in the second case it was made clear that the girl screamed and called for help at which point he put one hand over her mouth and another around her neck to restrict her breathing i.e. He had to use force for the sexual act to be performed. As one commentator has pointed out, the idea that rape might somehow be excused in Australia because of cultural differences in horrifying.
It strikes me that there are disturbing parallels between the Boston Bombers and the Frankston rapist. In both cases the imported cultural values of young men has led to acts that we would consider evil. So maybe we need to look at the ways we manage the assimilation of immigrants. Of course the onus should be on the individuals involved to take responsibility for their actions. Few immigrants commit such horrifying deeds and there are plenty of homegrown rapists and murderers. But surely it’s also in our interest as a society to look for better ways to impart our values to newcomers.
This is how I would describe the Tarot of this situation:
The Emperor: Young men
The Devil: Evil
Justice: Weighing our options as a society
Two Of Pentacles: Dealing with different values
We need to consider carefully how we deal with young men who are importing what we would consider evil values into our society. We need to deal with those values before they erupt into rape and murder. Ignorance should never be admitted as a valid excuse before the law.
Any suggestions as to how?