Posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 by Russ Fischer
Less than two weeks after 9/11 Mark Anthony Stroman, a man on a horrifically blind mission of revenge, shot a man in Dallas, believing that he was firing on an Arab. The victim was Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a 37-year old immigrant and former Air Force officer from Bangladesh. He was shot while working at a friend’s convenience store as he tried to establish a foothold in America.
Bhuiyan was one of several people shot that day by Mark Anthony Stroman. Two others were killed. Bhuiyan survived, partially blind in one eye after Stroman shot him in the head with a shotgun.
And while Stroman was arrested for the attacks, convicted, and sentenced to die in Texas, Bhuiyan did not celebrate. Instead, he campaigned to save the life of the man who had shot him. A book, The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas, chronicles the story. And now Kathryn Bigelow will team with Annapurna Productions to create a film based on the book, with Tom Hardy starring.
You should already be expecting a story that does not play out like the typical revenge tale. In fact, this could be particularly uplifting. Bhuiyan’s response to Stroman’s attack is beautiful and unusual. When contacted by the New York Times, ten years after the shooting, he explained,
I was raised very well by my parents and teachers. They raised me with good morals and strong faith. They taught me to put yourself in others’ shoes. Even if they hurt you, don’t take revenge. Forgive them. Move on. It will bring something good to you and them. My Islamic faith teaches me this too.
Stroman, contacted at the same time, called the man he shot “a Survivor of My Hate,” going on to say “His deep Islamic Beliefs Have gave him the strength to Forgive the Un-forgiveable…that is truly Inspiring to me, and should be an Example for us all.”
Presumably Hardy will play Stroman; the official press release announcing the film does not specify. What it does say is this:
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THE TRUE AMERICAN meticulously reconstructs two lives that collided in horrific fashion. In the charged, angry days after 9/11, self-styled “American Terrorist” Mark Stroman murdered two immigrants in Texas, while a third man survived being shot in the head during Stroman’s spree: Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force veteran, was working at a Dallas-area convenience store as he established himself in America.
With Stroman identified and apprehended, the tale begins its tack toward deeper emotional waters. THE TRUE AMERICAN is a richly detailed, affecting account of two men bound, as it turns out, by more than just an act of violence.