Editorial: Forgiving is often the hardest choice after a tragedy

Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Doswell was suddenly on the lips of most every major network newscaster last week as news broke that Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s remains had been transported to a private Muslim ceremony there from Massachusetts, where local officials refused to bury the suspected terrorist.

Why should they? Authorities believe he and his younger brother set off explosives at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, striking fear and panic into the heart of the city and forcing much of the area into lockdown-mode for several days. The bombing killed three people and wounded more than 260.

Now Tamerlan rests in the ground not far across the Hanover-Caroline county line.

The news there was not well received. After some research, local officials – who were not informed of the firestorm headed their way ahead of time – determined the burial was legal. Protestors at the cemetery demanded Tamerlan’s remains be exhumed and sent back to Russia, charging that keeping the terrorist buried there would attract jihadists and lead to the rise of Shariah Law, the Koran-derived code of law that Muslims abide by.

It’s odd to think that the wheels of this controversy were set in motion by notions of Christianity from a Richmond-area woman, named Martha Mullen, who said that the intense protests against burying Tamerlan in Massachusetts “portrayed America at its worst.”

“Jesus says [to] love our enemies,” Mullen told the Boston Globe. “So I was sitting in Starbucks and thought, maybe I’m the one person who needs to do something.”

While it still strikes us as odd that Tamerlan was in the ground before anyone in the area knew about it, we have to admire Mullen somewhat. She stuck her neck out so that, quite possibly one of the most currently hated figures in America, could be laid to rest.

With the whole country, and possibly the world, watching, Mullen, acting on the basis of faith, did what she believed scripture would warrant: Forgive and move on.

While the wounds of this tragedy are still fresh and the lives lost in Boston should never be forgotten, we hope our community has similar strength and resolve to forgive and move on.

It’s the harder choice, but the better one. And it takes more courage than hatred ever has.

Headlines of the Day