Monday 23 April 2018

'Rolling Stone' makes bomb suspect 'rock god' cover star

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine

Harriet Alexander

With tousled hair and an unflinching gaze, the soft-focus photo on the cover of 'Rolling Stone' could be of a rock star in his pouting prime.

Instead, the image is of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged perpetrator of the Boston marathon bombings. And the decision to place a man currently in prison awaiting trial for killing three people and injuring 264 on the coveted cover has caused revulsion.

The magazine has been accused of glamourising terrorists.


Thomas Menino, the mayor of Boston, said the magazine cover was "a total disgrace", adding: "It should have been about survivors or first responders. Why are we glorifying a guy who created mayhem?"

Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, was more restrained.

"I haven't read it, but I understand the substance of the article is not objectionable, it's apparently pretty good reporting," he said. "But the cover is out of taste, I think."

The choice of "cover star" is all the more questionable given the following the younger Tsarnaev – known to his friends as Jahar – has gathered online.

Facebook pages in support of him have mushroomed. A "Free Jahar" movement has also sprung up, with young women wearing T-shirts of his face and protesting outside the court where his trial was opened.

On Twitter, people have said the picture of Tsarnaev looks similar to an old cover featuring Jim Morrison, the singer from rock band The Doors. "This cover makes him look like some kind of cool rock god, it's horrible," said a commentary on the magazine's Facebook page.

More than 5,000 people have commented on Facebook since the cover was unveiled on Tuesday night, with many saying they would never buy the magazine again.

One man wrote: "As a long-time resident of Boston, and someone who worked for years in both the music business and for one of the two major newspapers here, I have to ask you, what is wrong with your editor?! Why on earth would you put this scumbag on the cover?"


The article is headlined: "The Bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster."

Journalist Janet Reitman, who spent two months interviewing Tsarnaev's friends and family, claims the mother of 19-year-old Dzhokhar and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan – who died in a shootout following the bombing – pushed her sons towards Islam.

"Zubeidat believed religion would be the cure for her son's inner demons and growing mental instability, and pushed him deeper into Islam," she writes.

Tsarnaev faces 17 charges that carry the death penalty. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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