As one brother recovers in a prison hospital from wounds he received briefly eluding capture, the remains of the other Tsarnaev brother linger in limbo. His now quasi- and unhappily famous uncle Ruslan Tsami is trying to arrange his burial with the assistance of Peter Stefan, a funeral home director in Worcester, Massachusetts. Stefan has the body ready for burial, but he has no where to take it. Cemeteries in three states now have refused to accept Tamerlan’s body (and frankly who can blame them when at the least his cemetery plot could become a target for vandals, a curiosity for the morbid, or a shrine for the deluded).
Now the city manager of Cambridge, Mass., Robert Healey has made it clear that Tamerlan’s final resting spot will not be in the American city he called home, if any American city can be so described. "I have determined that it is not in the best interest of peace within the city to execute a cemetery deed for a plot within the Cambridge Cemetery for the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev," Healey said in a statement on May 5.
One can only feel a mixture of pity and admiration for Stefan, the funeral director at Graham, Putnum & Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester, Mass., who is apparently enduring fierce criticism for accepting the body of the Boston marathon bomber and preparing it for a traditional Islamic burial. His neighbors can’t be pleased and his business is likely to be suffer but “we take an oath to do this,” Stefan said. “Can I pick and choose? No. Can I separate the sins from the sinners? No.
“We are burying a dead body. That’s what we do.”
We should laud this poor gentleman, who no doubt may be facing financial disruption or worse because he has honored his professional oath and remind Massachusetts cemetery directors that the corporal works of mercy remain in effect, despite the elevated national terror alert.