01 August 2018

Terrorists Attack Cyclists In Tajikistan

When I was a student, I often worked the "lobster shift".  This meant riding my bike home in the wee hours of morning through a couple of dangerous neighborhoods.  

Friends and family members worried about my safety. I didn't. Feigning bravado, I'd say, "I can pedal faster than trouble."

That actually was true.  It still is--well, most of the time.  But back then, in my youthful stupidity, I thought no harm could come my way when I was in the saddle.

If I still had such a belief, it would have been shattered last Halloween, when terrorists plowed a pickup truck into a crowd of cyclists on the Hudson River Greenway, near the World Trade Center.  That hit close to home for me, as I have ridden that lane many times.  Even if the site weren't so familiar to me, I think I would have felt more vulnerable after such a horrible attack.

I was reminded of it yesterday, when I heard news reports of a similar attack in Tajikistan.  As in the Manhattan attack, the driver in the Central Asian republic claimed to be acting in the name of Allah.  

 A woman helps a cyclist wounded in the Tajikistan attack on Sunday.  AP photo by Zuly Rahmatova

But there was a further, even more gruesome twist:  In Tajikistan, after the car rammed the cyclists, the driver and passengers poured out and attacked the cyclists with knives.  

The result:  four dead cyclists. Two were American, one Dutch and the other Swiss.  In a way, it parallels the carnage in New York last fall, when all of the victims were foreign tourists--who, like those who died in Tajikistan, almost surely had no inkling of the terrible fate that would befall them.

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