While Dzhokhar Tsarnaev prepares to be tried for the bombings at the Boston Marathon, his mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva refuses to believe her sons were responsible for the blasts. She is in southern Russia, with her husband Anzor, where the FBI is questioning her. But before the FBI arrived, the press have already pounced on Zubeidat. And she had some incredible things to tell the public. "I don't care if my youngest son is killed! I don't care if I am killed!"
Taken out of context, these astonishing declarations make her sound deranged. But I think we have to remember that this is a grieving mother shocked and confused by overwhelming events. She had just seen a video of her dead son Tamerlan's body. Can you imagine what seeing that would do to you?
She also denies that her sons were radicalized by an Armenian convert to Islam named Misha. She says the man was just a friend to her sons, and though he was very knowledgeable about Islam, he was not an extremist. But that depends on how you define extremist -- Zubeidat herself became increasingly religious in recent years and is said to have influenced Tamerlan.
Until Zubeidat had seen images of her dead son, she still didn't believe Tamerlan had been killed at all. Now she's taking it all in -- and can you blame her for not wanting to accept the worst? I wouldn't be surprised if she spends the rest of her life believing her sons were the victims of a conspiracy, and not the perpetrators.
The family's lawyer has asked the press to stay away from Zubeidat. "The mother is in very bad shape. She watches the video and she cries." Meanwhile, CNN called Zubeidat for a phone interview, which you can hear below. I found it incredibly difficult to hear the anguish in her voice. She is obviously in denial, but she's also in a tremendous amount of pain. And yet, she remains defiant.
If they are going to kill him [Dzhokhar], I don't care. My oldest one is killed, so I don't care. I don't care if my youngest one is going to be killed today. I want the world to hear this. And I don't care if I am going to get killed too. And I will say, Allahu akbar!
Her rant amounts to this: No matter what becomes of Dzhokhar, God is their protector. "Allhua akbar" means "God is great." I think she does care what happens to her son -- it's just that she believes that what happens is God's will, and that God alone will judge in the end. She is lashing out the way any wounded person would.
Tsarnaeva faces arrest and possible jail time if she returns to the U.S. due to an outstanding arrest on shoplifting charges.
What do you think of Zubeidat's rant?
Image via CNN