A community project hosted at Northeastern University

"International Reactions to the Boston Marathon Bombings"


This content was created by a student in Victoria Papa's Advanced Writing for the Social Sciences course at Northeastern University in Fall 2013. The students in the course each created two exhibits, the first directed toward a public audience and the second directed toward researchers in their various academic fields (economics, international affairs, political science, etc.). The students publicly presented their exhibits on December 5th at Forum Restaurant, which was heavily damaged by the second bomb during the Boston Marathon

Text from digital exhibit titled "International Reactions to the Boston Marathon Bombings" by Emily Boldingh:

The response to the Boston Marathon bombings in China was heavily impacted by the death of Chinese national Lu Lingzi, a graduate student at Boston University. At first the Boston Marathon bombings were reported upon as an international terrorist incident, but the tone and focus of its coverage changed when it was discovered that Lu was hospitalized and later died from injuries sustained during the attacks. This image of Lu's family arriving at Logan Airport ran in many different Chinese newspapers and websites. On Chinese social media, thousands of people offered their condolences and commented on her Facebook page. In addition to Lu, 73 other Chinese nationals participated in the marathon, with many using social media to share their experiences before and after the explosions.

China Reaction
The London Marathon took place six days after the Boston Marathon and as a result was heavily affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. The marathon's security was increased substantially in response to concerns about the runners and spectators' safety, and 40% more police officers than the year before were deployed to manage the race. The Boston Marathon bombings were very much on the minds of all the runners and attendees; many runners wore black ribbons to commemorate the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, and organizers of the London Marathon pledged $3 per runner that finished the race to go to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. This photograph shows the runners observing a 30 second moment of silence before the race in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

London Reaction
As a result of Chechnya's two failed wars of independence in the 1990s and terrorist attacks by ethnic Chechens, the most famous of which being the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings, the Russian Federation has long been worried about terrorism in Chechnya. Before the Boston Marathon bombings, Russian President Putin warned Western governments that Chechen terrorists were not just a Russian domestic issue to no avail. After the Boston Marathon bombings, the United States and Russia plan to work more closely on national security issues. This image shows Russian soldiers guarding a ski jumping competition. Security for sporting events has been increased in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, especially for the 2013 World Championships in Athletics, which took place in Moscow from August 10-18.

Russia Reaction
Despite their own struggles, Syrian rebels fighting a civil war against the Assad regime took the time to make this sign expressing their condolences for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Some have accused the rebels who made this sign as politicizing the bombings in a stunt to promote their own cause, but it cannot be denied that the situation in Syria is dire. Whether their intent was sincere or not, the majority of news networks covered this image positively, as the Syrian rebels taking the time to sympathize with a terrorist attack halfway across the world, even as their own country is bombed daily.

Syria Reaction
This image is a screenshot from the official embassy website of the Czech Republic's response to the bombings. Due to confusion on social media between Chechnya and the Czech Republic, the Czech Republic received a lot of backlash for being the perceived home country of the perpetrators. The misunderstanding reached such a high level that the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States was forced to issue this statement, both on the embassy website and on social media, in order to correct the misconception that the Czech Republic and Chechnya are the same country.

Czech Reaction
Despite its own turmoil, Libya also joined many Muslim countries and individuals to decry the terrorist acts of the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombings. This Libyan man holds up a homemade sign apologizing to the American people for the acts of Muslim extremists against their country and attempting to fight the stereotype that all Muslims are extremists who are against freedom and liberty. This image was not widely spread throughout American media, but nonetheless highlights an important voice in Muslim countries that is not often heard over the hateful actions of extremists that threaten the peace and security of all people throughout the world.


Emily Boldingh


Share this item on...