VIDEO: Boston Bombers' uncle asks forgiveness, urges surrender

DALLAS, April 19th, 2013 - The two Boston Marathon bombing suspects in photos released by the FBI were identified yesterday. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was fingered as the “black hat” bombing suspect and his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, a resident of Cambridge, Mass. as the suspect wearing a white baseball cap.

After an intense, chaotic firefight with police, Tamerlan is reported dead and Dzhokar is currently being hunted by police. With much of Boston on lockdown, the media tracked the suspect’s family to their Maryland neighborhood. 


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Alvi Tsarnaev was contacted first by telephone, and then cornered by television reporters in person.

“I can’t believe this what happened. It’s not possible.” He stated that Tamerlan, who he has not spoken with in years, called him yesterday to ask forgiveness. “Yesterday he called me and said forgive me.” He was aware that Tamerlan was dead and expressed momentary emotion and then apologized for his poor English. He offered to escort reporters to his brother’s home down the street. “My brother speaks better than me.”

Reporters swarmed the home of Ruslan Tsarni, Alvi’s brother and uncle of both suspects. He spoke passionately with remorse and humility on behalf of their entire family. His brother, their father, reportedly lives in Russia. 

During the impromptu press conference, he emphatically explained the history of both boys despite the loud helicopters circling overhead and offered condolences to the injured in the Marathon attacks. 


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He explained that due to personal family reasons, he has not associated with both nephews since 2005, but did not believe they were associated with terrorist organizations. 

“What do I think provoked this? Being losers. Hatred to those who are able to settle themselves. These are the only reasons I can imagine. Anything else with religion, Islam is a fraud, a fake.”

Reporters questioned Tsarni about their possible training, but he felt the possibility was unlikely. “If that happened, most likely someone radicalized them, but not my brother, who just moved back to Russia. He spent his life bringing bread to their table, fixing cars. He didn’t have time for this; he’s been working his whole life.” 

Tsarni passionately explained his estrangement with the boy’s father since 2009, citing personal conflict, “My family has nothing to do with that family. Of course, we are ashamed. These are children of my brother, who has little influence of them as much as I know, honestly. I just wanted my family to be away from them [the bombers] and it is personal. Again, the only thing — what I say I think is behind it — is being losers.” 

When asked by reporters how he felt about the United States, observers were moved by Tsarni’s emphatic expression of love and admiration for the country that has embraced him. “I teach my children this is the ideal country. I respect this country, I love this country, this country which gives chance to everyone else to be treated like a human being, to be a human being, to feel yourself as a human being that is what I feel about this country.” 

He encouraged his nephew to turn himself in to police and beg forgiveness of the community torn by the Marathon Bombings. “If you are alive. Turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness from the victims, from the injured and those that are left, ask forgiveness from these people. You put a shame on this family, on the entire Chechen ethnicity — now everyone names and plays with words “Chechen” they put the shame on the entire people! Turn yourself in.”

In a parting request, Tsarni asked for peace and respect from a media desperate for every detail.

“One more thing, from now on, I dearly ask you to respect our property. We are with the families of those who suffered, we share with them grief. We will meet with them, kneel in front of them. In the name of our family, we beg forgiveness. Thank you. Please respect us and our property.”

Tamerlan was a martial artist that reportedly sought asylum from Kazakhstan as a refugee. In a photo gallery documenting his fighting style that has since been removed, a caption of his demonstration states:

“Tamerlan says he doesn’t usually take his shirt off so girls don’t get bad ideas: “I’m very religious.” Another caption reads, “There are no values anymore,” and worries that “people can’t control themselves.”

According to the photographs, Tamerlan desired to win fights and try out for the US Olympic team to become a naturalized American. “Unless his native Chechnya becomes independent, Tamerlan says he would rather compete for the United States than for Russia,” the series claims.

Though he was passionate about Islam, friends and associates state they never suspected he was capable of these alleged acts. Internet sleuths have since uncovered his social media presence, some of which revealed a possible shift toward radicalism.

As reported, he had a Youtube channel “where he posted religious videos, including a video of Feiz Mohammad, a fundamentalist Australian Muslim preacher who rails against the evils of Harry Potter.”

The report said the videos include one “dedicated to the prophecy of the Black Banners of Khurasan which is embraced by … al-Qaida. The prophecy states that an invincible army will come from the region of ‘Khurasan,’ a large portion of territory in central Asia.” Aaron Zelin, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Mother Jones it is an al-Qaida “end-time prophecy.”

Several classmates of Dzhokar, the younger brother, have rejected claims he was radical Islamist. “He’s as American as I am.” Described as a popular, class clown, Dzhokar was an accomplished student and wrestler awarded scholarships given to a handful of students.

Before coming to the United States, Dzhokar reportedly attended school in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus. This area has been a hot spot for Islamic insurgency. On vKontakte, Russia’s version of Facebook, Dzhokar describes himself as fluent in Chechen, English and Russian. His world view is described as “Islam” and he said his personal goal is “career and money”.

The father of both boys spoke to ABC News, “If they kill my son, all hell will break loose. He told the translator that if his son is killed, he believes this is an inside job or that they were framed.

According to the translator the father wanted his son to surrender and walk away. He claims his sons have never touched weapons, had no training and no affiliation with terror groups. He says he spoke with both men since the bombing. They claimed they were not present at the Marathon.

The motive for the Marathon attack is unknown at this time, but a massive manhunt is underway for youngest brother, Dzhokar.


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Tiffany Madison

Tiffany is a writer and veteran's advocate. Her column focuses on civil liberties, veteran's issues and current events. You can follow her on Twitter @tiffanymadisonFacebook or her website.

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