Inside the Mind of a ‘Suicide’ Bomber
2005-08-10, Yamin Zakaria, London UK
International Institute of Peace
“Terrorism is a reaction to STATE TERROR.”
States keep pushing the people, until the people join and push back. Hamas was born after 1948, Hezbollah was born after 1982 and Al-Qaeda was born after 1991, undoubtedly effect always follows the primary
Human instinct leads us to find fault in others before we admit to our own; this is particularly true between two conflicting parties. Likewise we tend to exhibit envy and greed when looking at those who are more fortunate than us, instead of feeling grateful by reflecting on those who are less fortunate. Prophets of God throughout human history have provided guidance to channel and control human instincts, by inculcating higher ideals. The battle between these ideals and the debased desires of Kings, Pharaohs and other forms of tyrants, are narrated all the way through the Old Testament (Torah), the New Testament (Injeel) to the final revelation - the Holy Quran.
However, we live in a peculiar age where the tyrants present themselves as Prophets. They advocate instinct-based-behaviour, wrapped with words like ‘freedom’ and ‘free market’, as higher forms of ideals. They promote libertarian sexual practises, to resemble the beasts in the jungle; this is espoused as an expression of ‘freedom’. Similarly, instead of judiciously nurturing the human desire to generate and distribute wealth fairly, they encourage the society to operate on individualism, i.e. sheer greed; by creating the profit-maximising free-market economy, where individual human desire is paramount.
The tyrants continue the deception by obfuscating the merits of other civilisations with a thin layer of International law (as long as it serves them) and military aggression. A militarily powerful nation such as a superpower does not automatically possess the qualities of being a leading civilisation. Such powerful nations often impose an order through use of brute force, hypocrisy, and arrogance, rather than by projecting and applying higher ideals consistently. This is why modern day tyrants and their accomplices hypocritically pour scorn on the weapon (‘suicide’ bombings or martyrdom operations) of the weaker party fighting for survival – knowing that the weaker party does not have access to regular high-tech weapons.
When the armies of the tyrants pulverise humans and houses, with their missiles and bombs, it is called hunting ‘terrorists’ with an undeclared level of collateral damage, another word for dead women and children. When the oppressed retaliate with martyrdom operations, it is called terrorism. Exactly who is terrorising whom? Who lives in fear and terror - the inhabitants in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan or those in the US, UK, Italy and Australia? Who is delivering more terror, those dropping daisy cutters, cluster bombs and Napalm, or those shooting with outdated RPGs? Not only do the tyrants attempt to portray themselves as Prophets, full of virtue but the most powerful ones go even further, as they expect the world to see them as innocent victims, while in reality they kill hundreds of thousands, rape and plunder distant lands and litter the world with their military bases, and they are the innocent ones?
Then, the invading tyrants have the audacity to question the morality and the courage of the martyrs (cowardly, weak etc), who died defending their homes and families. How is it that invading soldiers, protected in their tanks and high-altitude planes, are absurdly portrayed as upright and courageous heroes? How is that courageous label reconciled when they are killing women and children, from inside armoured vehicles or 2 miles up in the cockpit of a $40 million jet fighter? The oppressors, from a safe distance, are using far more powerful (500lb, 1000lb etc) bombs, that are just as indiscriminate, as the little bombs (10lb, 30lb) used by the ‘suicide’ bombers? It is the masses in the West that are being brainwashed to believe it is morally acceptable to kill women and children with cluster bombs from F16’s, calling it collateral damage, yet it’s outrageous and immoral when death visits in a ‘suicide’ bombing?
Most certainly, there is an intense drive to project ‘suicide’ bombings as anything but retaliation; otherwise the West is in danger of confessing their crimes. Hence, they have resorted to a two pronged strategy; the first of which is to hire Muslim moderates who will issue some kind of dubious legal opinions (will be covered in Part III) with one track condemnation of martyrdom operations, secondly, they attribute martyrdom operations as entirely an internal phenomenon, totally unconnected to resisting foreign occupiers. Thus, they raise the following questions, to misdirect the public from the real causes of martyrdom operations, in an attempt to escape their own guilt:
1) Which Imam was responsible for brainwashing the bombers?
Many are accusing the Imams of brainwashing youth to undertake martyrdom missions. So ridiculous is this hysteria, you would think that they are confusing the Imams, with the mythical characters from fairytales, possessing magical lamps and flying carpets with the ability to hypnotise people! Imams are the most apolitical group in the Muslim community. They do not even refer to local political matters, let alone international affairs. If anything it is the mafia like Mosque committees, who have the power and persuasion; they function to stifle open discussions, many Mosques carry the usual sign “no political discussion or meeting without authorisation”, unless of course you happen to be a government representative on an election campaign wondering into the place.
Rationally, it is difficult for anyone to lecture others to engage in a martyrdom mission, as it is reasonable to suppose that the candidate must ask themselves why this person is not leading by example. Also, the sacrificing of ones life has such a complete finality, that it will always be an individual’s decision, therefore it can only be conducted by those who volunteer willingly.
2) Is it due to alienation?
People who are alienated do not blow themselves up along with others. It is the majority community that has deliberately constructed the problem of alienation to aid the assimilation of minority communities. The Muslims and the mainstream society will be alienated from each other, since the two communities adhere to different values and norms. This is mutual alienation is natural and expected. In any case, the idea that alienation would drive anyone to commit martyrdom operations is overly simplistic, defies human nature and commonsense. However, the sly, Machiavellian politicians and journalists are peddling this in desperation, again, to avoid discussing the real causes behind martyrdom operations.
3) Is it due to the promised virgins (‘Houris’)?
If a man wants to satisfy his carnal desires he is more likely to engage in self-indulgence rather than self-destruction. For a devout Muslim, this means getting married rather than get himself fitted for an explosive belt. There is no shortage of virgins in the Islamic world, where it is a virtue and not, as it is in the west, a source of shame. The point being that Muslim youth do not need to become martyrs to find virgins. Furthermore, translation of the word Houris is not the virgin women on earth, pleasures of heaven are described in the worldly language: nobody knows how literal or metaphorical these are. These are promised to all who enter paradise and martyrdom is not the only route to acquire these pleasures.
Such distortion of the terms and the facts by vicious Western media is also partly due to envy, as they cannot find virgins in their own community. It also shows the subconscious problem with their own sexuality, as according to their own religious beliefs sex is a necessary sin, but their desire is to practice it in excess, showing an ongoing internal conflict. So in describing Islam, they have transformed the Harems into brothels, Houris into lustful virgins. They see the four wives only in terms of sexual pleasures, ignoring the legal responsibility that comes with it, reflecting their sexually obsessed mindset, everything has to be analysed for its sexual utility. Also, making such accusations helps them to hide a collective guilt, as hypocrisy through adultery and pre-marital sex is rife, as monogamous man, like virgins, are a rarity.
4) Is it due to the indoctrination of hate?
Any physical resistance is terrorism and any intellectual resistance is now classified by another one of those politically charged terms, that are loosely defined - hate. As if the West was full of love and mercy, with their genocidal sanctions (1/2 million dead Iraqi babies) to the “shock and awe” campaign against a nation who had done no harm to them.
Let us be more precise, Muslims exhibit anger but not hatred, in contrast it is the West that exhibits hatred but not anger. Anger will always be expressed by the victims, and will be absent in the aggressor. What else does the West expect from those who they have orphaned, widowed or made childless? Such anger is a moral virtue; it is an outcry against, injustice and the initial aggression by the real mass murderers.
In contrast, hate is the result of inculcating ideas that are rooted in for example one group’s racial identity, and not a reaction to any political events. Societies built along racial identities lead to Xenophobia, Nationalism, Nazism, Racism and Fascism. This is why the foreigners are always hated, and it is this deep rooted hate, that caused the extermination of other races, something that was, and continues to be integral to the colonial West. Just ask the Aboriginals and the natives of South, Central and North America for verification of this truth. Ask the South Africans, who until recently, were under the yoke of White racial superiority, from Europeans and their descendents. And it is this hatred for others that caused the unprovoked abuse and torture in Abu-Ghraib and other US-run prisons.
Even as the bombs drop in the Islamic world, you do not see the Muslims resorting to using the equivalent pejorative terms like “sand-******s”, “towel heads”, “rag heads” to demonise an entire community or civilisation, because, their anger exists only against the criminal aggressors. Like Osama Bin Laden said: “why do we not attack Sweden”.
Of course anger will at times lead to retaliation, but that will be focused in terms of the time and place. We did not see martyrdom operations in the Islamic world 100 years ago, nor is there any kind of operation in the most densely populated Muslim countries like Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Indonesia at present. This is clear proof that martyrdom actions are not the product of the intrinsic values or teachings of Islam even if it is permitted by Islamic law.
The real reasons
Martyrdom missions by their nature are the weapons of the weaker party in the conflict, and the last resort, as the basic human instinct dictates that we preserve life! Therefore, in most cases martyrdom is used in defence/retaliation against the stronger enemy. It has to be defence/retaliation, because a martyrdom operation, at most, may halt a stronger advancing enemy. Martyrdom is not a tactic of an offensive group, as you cannot conduct an offensive conquest while sacrificing your soldiers, as you would soon run out of volunteers, and eventually will have no soldiers to maintain the conquered territories.
Some martyrs may have drawn inspiration from Islamic texts, to commit brave acts of retaliation against the aggressor. However, this inspiration sets in, only if, the prevalent political conditions provide the impetus to retaliate. I also use the word brave, not so much in terms of praise, but as a description of courage, after all you would have to have some level of courage to sacrifice your own life. Anyone doubting this really lacks intellect and this is exactly the point that Robert Fisk made, when the 9/11 pilots were described by Bush as cowards.
Most conveniently, what many people forget is some of the people who engaged in martyrdom operations, were not inspired by religion, but were in fact subscribers of secular ideologies, so this is not exclusively a religious phenomenon. One of the recent, but well-known Palestinian ‘suicide’ bombers was not a religiously devout woman. As an ambulance worker she had first hand experience of seeing Israeli aggression, which led her to commit a retaliatory action. The Syrian Socialist Party, a purely secular group, conducted ‘suicide’ attacks against the Israeli occupiers of Lebanon, as did the Tamil Tigers, in Sri Lanka, against the Sinhalese majority. All of this emphasises ‘martyrdom’ operations, are not the reserve of any specific religion, race or nation.
What impact images from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine have on individuals, no one can accurately predict, every individual has their own tolerance threshold; once crossed, this can drive people to retaliate. In denial, the politicians and journalists are trying to build another ‘missing-link,’ to mythical radical Imam as the instigators of martyrdom operations, just like the missing-link found in Blair’s ‘dodgy dossier,’ the 45 minute threat and the Niger link, confirming Iraq’s mythical WMD’s prior to the war! Asif Hanif from the UK, who carried out the martyrdom mission in occupied Palestine, was not involved with any radical group and had no radical Imam lecturing him.
The real solution lies in addressing the primary cause, which is State Terrorism of the colonial west. It is euphemistically hidden behind terms like ‘foreign policy’. These states unashamedly use their position and media spin, to label the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of innocents, as just - “foreign policy”! Unfortunately many of the headless Muslim moderates, have also adopted such terms like ‘foreign policy’ blindly, to describe the slaughtering of Muslims, while they resort to terms like murder for the 52 killed in the London bombings; Is murder in a uniform not murder? Are all human beings not equal?
Lies breed more lies; projecting falsehood as truth necessitates the creation of more lies. For example, to support the primary lie of Iraq ’s WMD capabilities, layers of false information were generated by the Anglo-US government. Similarly, to conceal their culpability - the British, US and Israeli governments have tried to divert their publics from the real reasons that shape the minds of ‘suicide’ bombers, through propaganda and blatant lies. I exposed most of those well-known, lies and propaganda in the previous article [Part 1]. In this article, I will analyse the more credible argument used against the ‘suicide’ bombers: the indiscriminate targeting of civilians.
While, the actions of ‘suicide’ bombers are made gratuitously violent by deliberately amputating them from their political and historical context; concurrently, the actions of state terrorists are sanitised by amplifying political and historical context, whilst marginalising the sufferings inflicted upon their victims. Consequently this helps their population to maintain their ‘conviction’ of innocence; and helps to project ‘suicide’ bombers as mindless terrorists, ‘cannot be negotiated with’, are ‘Islamo-Fascists’ etc. and state terrorism is justified as simply a reaction to that.
Accordingly, when the British, Israelis or Americans are killed by ‘suicide’ bombers, they are ‘innocent’ victims of terrorism. The killings of much larger numbers of civilians by an organised army in occupied Palestine , Iraq and Afghanistan are simply ‘defensive’ measures; their innocence is irrelevant, so shedding of their blood needs no justification, no matter how many hundreds of thousands die. This illusion created by the media is the exact opposite of reality because ‘suicide’ (martyrdom) operations in almost all cases are a response to the imposed wars and occupation by a more powerful enemy.
People understand that ‘suicide’ operations, by its nature are a retaliatory measure of last resort, simply due to its finality. Thus, the best efforts of the media and politicians have not been successful in projecting ‘suicide’ bombings as an act of naked aggression.
Instead, the media has focused in demonising it for its usage against civilians instead of confining it to military targets. Let us begin to analyse the ‘suicide’ operations in the context of war.
‘Suicide’ Bombings are Indiscriminate
This is an irrational argument, as all bombs are indiscriminate; in fact the more powerful the bombs are, the more indiscriminate they are, ergo the nation that has dropped more bombs than any other in history, the US , is by definition the greatest indiscriminate killer. Bombs and missiles dropped from planes have the explosive power of hundreds or thousands of suicide bombers. Using ones body or a fighter plane to deliver the bombs are just different delivery means, and there is no inherent logic that dictates one method as more immoral than the other. However, the masses are swallowing the logic that, the methods of the ‘suicide’ bombers are immoral even though they may be only detonating a 50lb bomb in comparison to the ‘moral’ methods of using planes, dropping 1,000lb plus bombs on people! This is how absurd the propaganda machine has become.
Even if the dubious claims of using precision or smart bombs were true, it would still be immaterial, because the pilots are usually neither precise nor smart, when they unleash their bombs over Baghdad and Kabul as shown by frequent reports of bombs falling on wedding parties, families, civilian markets etc. They simply do not care and behave as if they are playing a video game. One of the ‘achievements’ of using high-tech weapons is that the soldiers are desensitised, being at a distant as they do not see the sufferings inflicted on their victims. If you desensitise soldiers who are already violent and xenophobic, the consequence is likely to be horrific. Such a mindset that is far more indiscriminate and insensitive to killings, at the wheel of a main battle tank, piloting a fighter bomber or manning a machine gun at a checkpoint, and is certain to be far more destructive than ‘suicide’ bombers!
We witnessed this murderous mindset during the 1991 Gulf War. The allied soldiers resorted to an orgy of killings on the road to Basra ; they even fought each other to take pot shots at the retreating Iraqi civilians and soldiers, who were complying with the UN resolutions. Also in the recent war in Iraq and Afghanistan , frequent reports of coalition forces wiping out entire families at check points, in their homes or wedding parties, etc. But anyway, who cares, we are not in the business of counting bodies, as has been said by a US General. The disgusting brutality of the Anglo-US forces in Abu-Ghraib and other prisons underline that indiscriminate mindset.
‘Suicide’ bombers mainly target innocent civilians.
Those who are constantly lecturing others about targeting civilians use powerful munitions that are bound to have high civilian casualties! Hence, there is very little merit in the claim by the Anglo-US-Israeli axis that they do not target civilians intentionally, while they continue using powerful indiscriminate bombs, that have resulted in the killing of tens of thousands more civilians than all of the suicide bombers combined. Indeed, such claims are not only laughable but one of the greatest hoaxes of this age!
If avoiding or minimising civilian casualties was a genuine concern, nations would rush to prohibit the production, development and usage of the most powerful and indiscriminate bombs e.g. Nukes, Daisy Cutters, mini-Nukes, JDAMS and their equivalent, but they do not.
The Western and Israeli forces kill civilians using their long range weapons with ease, whereas the ‘suicide’ bombers cannot retaliate in the same manner, lacking the weapons and resources. Since the two opponents are not equal, the weaker party will be forced to be opportunistic, seeking a variety of targets with variable results, including unfortunately civilian casualties. The weaker and more resource hungry party must do this for its survival, as the only other choice it has is capitulation. So the methods of the ‘suicide’ bombers may seem to be more directed towards civilians, but this is a consequence of their lack of resources and not their intent, whereas the armies of the State Terrorists have an abundance of resources, intelligence and weapons, yet inflict far greater civilian casualties, by simple logic this imbalance leads us to a truth about the murderous nature of these states and who is the real culprit that targets civilians.
In fact, historically, the indiscriminate killing of civilians en masse was introduced with the arrival of Air Forces, by the Western powers. The needless destruction of civilian cities like Dresden , Cologne , Hiroshima , and Nagasaki are some prominent examples. All the suicide bombers combined, could not even match a fraction of the track record of the Westerns powers. If anyone is guilty of targeting civilians and by the quantitative measurement of the actual number of civilian victims, it is the West and its client states like Israel , that are infinitely guiltier than all the ‘suicide’ bombers combined, and that is FACT
What constitutes military targets?
Now let us examine the distinction between military and civilian (non-combatant) targets. Why should the armed forces be exclusively targeted when it was the political establishment (civilians) in collusion with the mass media that usually initiates and authorises war? Even within the military forces, there are the soldiers sitting in their barracks or on holiday, are like non-combatants. What about the non-combat military personnel like doctors, cooks, cleaners, accountants and nurses? What about the commercial firms that supplies the lethal arms?
Therefore, the distinction between combatants and non-combatants is blurred in the context of warfare, as substantial sections of civilian life contribute to the war machine. Indeed, this was the conclusion of Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris (Dresden, Cologne, Hamburg etc), and Harry Truman (Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo Raids) both targeted civilians en masse to sap the front line enemy forces effectiveness and would shorten the war, so this is very much a lesson learnt from the West.
It could be argued further, that if the legitimate political authority can become target then so can the source of that authority. This is especially true for democracy, as when it goes to war, that must be by the definition of democracy be the ‘peoples’ choice and hence responsibility. However, when the consequences of this choice visit upon the democracy, there is an immediate divorce between the people and the decision to go to war; suddenly the people are ‘innocent’
In war, the entire nation is a legitimate target as they wage a war collectively as a nation. However, civilians or non-combatants are off limits only due to the nations accepting this convention during war. Armies would only target combatants in the battlefields in the past, away from cities and towns. That has clearly changed over the years especially with the invention of air raids from the First World War (WW1).
Ironically the very nations that invented and practiced the targeting of civilians, as part of their war strategies, are now lecturing others about targeting civilians, of course that tends to surface only when their own civilians have been targeted, as Iraqi’s, Afghan’ etc do not count in their estimation!
Final argument for excluding civilians as a whole is that many of them are opposed to the war. However, the same could be said for those who serve in the armed forces, who are also opposed to the war. Thus, the armed forces as a whole should also be excluded by the same argument then you might as well surrender. Furthermore, why ignore those civilians who side with the war and helped to prop up the democratically elected governments who chose war. Could one not equally argue using the same logic of including the whole based on some? So the right to target all the civilians based on some who supported the war and re-elected the same leader of war. When a bomb is dropped by an allied Plane, does the bomb ask whether those underneath it are for or against the invasion, and separate the respondents? Such absurdity is not entertained by the West and neither is it entertained by those that resist them.
Are Civilians Innocent or Guilty?
It is argued that non-combatants in war should be avoided because they are innocent. This is not true; civilians are only excluded by mutual agreement between nations, like an international convention observed by nations. Warfare by its nature is reciprocal, one nation cannot unilaterally adhere to certain standards regardless of what the other one does, especially a war that is fought in self-defence.
Even, the usage of the term innocent or guilty is misleading, because, innocent and guilty is decided by certain laws that one is subject to. If any citizen committed a crime, then only the criminal could be punished not his entire family or tribe. In contrast, international relationships between nations are dictated by mutual agreement and conduct, not by any external laws. The use of the term “international laws” is also misleading, as often these so-called laws flow in one direction; used by stronger nations to subjugate the weaker nations. Otherwise, the US and its partners would have been tried for war crimes in Iraq by the UN.
Likewise on battlefield there is no principle that you seek the GUILTY
soldiers only, i.e. those who have killed your troops. If an army approaches, you can pre-empt an attack by laying an ambush, kill all the soldiers without giving them an opportunity and/or take them prisoner. They can then be dealt with according to the prevalent international tradition and/or interests of the nation;the entire army is liable to attack anytime. The issue of innocence or guilt does not come into play, in war.
Each nation sees the other nation in its entirety as the culprit, just as the allies did in WW2, the army is just the executive tool of war; both nations are fighting collectively as a nation and collectively they are a target, unless they have agreed to exclude a certain section of their societies.
No doubt, a nation is like a legal entity, as it forms treaties and contracts with other nations. Acts of the head of any state are binding upon the nation. As the heads of nations wage war or sign contracts, the entire nation are responsible collectively, it has nothing to do with individual innocence or guilt. Responsibility is collective in war and peace.
Every citizen of a nation and every citizen of a member of an alliance is equally responsible and liable for the acts of the collective (nation or alliance), even if he was not involved directly or did not act personally. Only those who object strongly and separate themselves clearly are excluded from the collective responsibility.
Of course morally speaking, civilians and non-combatants should be off limits, but those who are lecturing on this issue are the worst violators, just examine their track record of civilian deaths! There is a simple solution, if you do not want your own women and children to be targeted, then don’t kill the women and children of other nations. It is the nation who attacks the civilian population first
that puts its own civilians at risk, by making them a target of their victims. Clearly, it is the British and the US governments that targeted the civilians in Iraq first. As have the Zionists in occupied Palestine , and they still continue to arrive from Russia , Europe and the US with a license from ‘God’ to aid the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. When its most needed, that precious International ‘Law’ seems to have been misplaced, conveniently for the West, law is sidelined when it comes to the mighty oppressing the weak.
Copyright © 2004 by Yamin Zakaria (06 September 2005)