Saturday, July 15, 2006

Suicide bombers, who and why?

I have even woken up last night thinking about the sad state of affairs in Lebanon, Israel and Gaza. I have been continuing to think of a response to a commenter on another site and the percolation of my thoughts are almost done.
I felt I needed to look at the 'other' side, and look into suicide bombers. I found a very enlightening article by Nichole Argo. As usual, here's an excerpt:

Suicide terror has become a daily news staple. Who are these human bombs, and why are they willing to die in order to kill? Many observers turn to Islam for an explanation. They cite the preponderance of Muslim bombers today, indoctrination by extremist institutions, and the language used in jihadi statements.

But these arguments fall short. At present, bombers are primarily Muslim, but this was not always so. Nor does indoctrination play a strong role in growing today's selfselected global jihad networks. Rather, militants and bombers are propelled by social ties. And even when jihadis use the Qur'an and Sunna to frame their struggle, their justifications for violence are primarily secular and grievance-based.

So what is religion's role? Almost 100 years ago, Emile Durkheim contended that religious ideation is born of sentiment. This is worth considering in the current context. Against the repression, alienation and political helplessness of the Muslim world, jihad speaks of individual dignity and communal power. 'Against the Goliaths,' martrydom says, 'even one bursting body can make a difference.' The Muslim street is buying it, though sometimes ambivalently. To stop the bombers of today and tomorrow, we need to figure out why.

Click HERE to read the full article.


Blogger zazou said...


fabulous observation- most people can't even seem to remember back 60 years to the Kamakaze pilots, Suicide whatever has been around for many wars and under many flags. And in such as community-based culture as Arab culture is (as you know)- the thought of doing something that would benefit the ummah in the long run give the act meaning.

2:17 AM  
Blogger Endorendil said...

Yeah, religion has nothing to do with suicide attacks. But neither does community pressure, though. Both are simply frameworks for the current crop of suicide fighters - supporting, but not causing them. At the turn of the last century suicide attacks were more the provenance of anarchists and communists, people that were atheist and fought the societies they belonged to, often at odds with their families and peers.

In asymmetric conflicts, any kind of violent opposition is suicide, especially when the differences are as huge are they are these days. And yes, it would be nice if we could solve conflicts without violence, but that simply isn't the way humans work. So, in many modern conflicts, suicide attacks are the only reasonable outcome.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greets to the webmaster of this wonderful site! Keep up the good work. Thanks.

4:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the author of this analysis is an emotionally distraught person, who got overwhelmed by her feeling of rejection- and quickly identified herself with the "martyrs" of Gaza and the West Bank. As she admitted in BOMB magazine this fall, she got rejected and humiliated both by her homeless father and her ex-boyfriend who had joined the IDF and rejected her.
The motives of this research is far from serious, as they are purely emotional. Trying to bring in a pseudo rational/scientific approach to the analysis does not solve the problem. She is trying to justify suicide bombings because she identifies with their feeling of rejection and desire of revenge, but her point is vain. In addition to this, she does not provide any tool to supposedly "defuse" them as she claims.

8:59 AM  

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