May 4th, 2013
02:46 PM ET

Rushdie: Losers a better label than terrorists for Tsarnaev brothers

Fareed speaks with author Salman Rushdie about the Boston bombings and the challenges of being an immigrant. Watch the full interview on Fareed Zakaria GPS this Sunday on CNN at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

When you looked at the picture…of the Tsarnaev brothers, these immigrants who come to the West, something goes wrong. Something goes wrong in the family structure. The father clearly feels homesick and wants to go back, perhaps the parents’ divorce. A rift within the family. The brother seems unable to make his way in the world. Does this strike you as a kind of heightened version of traditional immigrant problems?

Yes, I think it is in a way.  I thought that the uncle had it right, you know, and when he said that their problem was one of making a success of their lives in the new world, so to speak. I mean he called them losers...


Which I thought was a much better description than terrorists, you know.

Since he was trying to say don't blame all these larger things, them...


And it's this, you know...

And I think as these little snippets of information leak out, they all seem to be so supporting that point of view.  This isn't part of some grand conspiracy.  It's a couple of very disturbed young people, you know, turning in this direction because of the failure of their lives.

We sometimes forget in the United States, because we celebrate immigration – as we should – that there are sad...

…There's a down side.


Yes, you know I feel it very keenly because, in a way, I'm a double immigrant. I'm an immigrant from India to England then from England to here. And I've written about this all my life. And as you say, much of it is something that I've tried to celebrate. I've tried to see all the great enriching qualities that come from the act of migration, both for the migrant and for the migrated to country, you know.  And that's I think true. And it's important, I think, even at these times, to stress that, because actually we are all culturally enriched by this process.

But yes, there's a dark side. And this is the dark side.

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Topics: GPS Show • Terrorism

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Bocknobby

    Indeed. Losers, hardly terrorists. Terrorism is using drones to assassinate individuals who are accused, not convicted. Gitmo is terrorism, kidnapping individuals and holding them for years without trial. We all know what terrorism is and the brothers, losers, murderers, stupid, yes . . . terrorists? No. The irresponsible media that invaded Boston created more terrorism.

    May 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Reply
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      Great post, Bocknobby. How true that rings!

      May 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  2. John Smith

    Calling US a loser nation for killing thousands, indeed millions of civilians would be more appropriate. LOL

    May 5, 2013 at 2:55 am | Reply
  3. Betsy

    I guess Fareed and Rushdie missed the NY Times article in today's paper in regard to the younger brother in the Boston bombing. He was not a loser but had accomplishments, i.e,, good grades, popularity, a scholarship to a school. Perhaps Fareed need to read this article.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:07 am | Reply
  4. Ann

    Why is the segment on immigration not posted here?

    May 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  5. Amruta R Eswara,Ph.D

    two of India's best brains out there trying to solve some of world's biggest problems...... So proud!

    May 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  6. Mark Rcca

    Losers compared to who? Clearly they were better off than in their home country, otherwise they'd have gone back. So coming to the U.S. was already a win. Millions of immigrants come to the U.S. and don't become rich and famous, so what? Lots of them do menial work, but that's still the same work they would have done back home, except they get paid more for it here. And they don't go and bomb people. If they are unhappy, they pack up and move back home. No, there is something entirely different about the Boston bombers than just a common immigrant story.

    May 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  7. Ferhat Balkan

    This is a case of home grown violence. It has nothing to do with terrorism, because the act was not perpetrated to promote a political aim.These two guys were obviously delusional and took it upon themselves to cause harm to as many people as possible. It's not much different than Columbine, or Aurora for that matter. It has mote to do with psychology than politics..

    May 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  8. Ifekhar

    Since when Rushdie became an expert on Immigration & Terrorism. He is a loser himself alienating a billion Muslims all over the world. Very disappointed to have him on your show Fareed.I had lot of respect and great regard on your choice of personalities you bring on your show.

    May 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  9. j. von hettlingen

    It wasn't until in recent years that the plight of immigrants attracts much public attention. In the past, both in Europe and America, the old JFK's utilitarian slogan dominated the mindset of people: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." So people were only interested in the success stories of Migrant dish-washers and street-cleaners, not much their grievances.

    May 6, 2013 at 4:19 am | Reply

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