Suicide Bombers: What’s their motivation
Everyday we see news about suicide bombers causing vast number of casualities by detonating the bomb in a crowded place. It’s a quite common occurrence in the Middle East. I have always been baffled by these people. Try as I may but I could never comprehend the reasons which forced these people to willingly blow themselves up. I always wondered what their last few seconds would have been like when they were contemplating whether to push the button or not. What could they have been thinking at the very moment that they pressed the button. Despite all my rationality, I was unable to imagine what could have possibly motivated them to do it. Offcourse the main stream media like it always has, blames the religious fundamentalists for all such acts. The line that the main stream media most commonly repeats time and time again is that these people were Islamic Jehadis or Fidaheens and they did it to meet god so that they can be rewarded with eternal salvation in heaven.
Well I used to believe this theory once, but when I started to read and research about the phenomena of suicide bombers, a different kind of image started to unveil. Fundamentally what we humans value most is our life. I mean instinctively without any thinking, our first and foremost actions are defensive in nature to save our lives. Take an example of a sudden bang whether it was from a car backfiring or from a firework, when we are suddenly shocked by the noise, our automatic immediate response is knee jerk reaction either to shield ourselves or to crouch down. We don’t think and decide to response this way, it just happens instinctively. So this means that instinctively human beings value their lives above everything else. But the question is can anyone’s religious believes alter this instinctive emotion.
For this I researched the historic instances when people were forcefully converted to other religions.
History is filled with evidence that when forced to chose between faith and their lives, most people chose to convert to other religion in comparison to dying. So people when forced to choose between their faith and their life, most will opt for life. This is because at an average only about 2% of followers of any religion are orthodox fundamentalists and the majority are moderates. I concluded from all the information I found on this topic that fundamentalist religious believes cannot single handedly be accounted for all suicide bombings. It might be true that small percentage of suicide bombings could possibly be the work of religious fundamentalists, but this is definitely not the case in majority of suicide bombings.
So if not religious fundamentalism or fanaticism, then what else could be the reason for these people willingly blowing themselves to pieces. First we need to identify the regions where majority of these bombings occur. When we look at the regions where majority of these incidents take place, it becomes quite apparent that majority of these incidents take place in regions under foreign occupation where population is subjected to harsh persecution in hands of foreign forces. Some of the regions where majority of suicide bombings take place are Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan and Lebanon. And if you notice you will find that all of these countries are either under foreign occupation or where innocent civilians are murdered by some foreign force often.
So is suicide bombings a plan of attack used in some kind of freedom movement? No I don’t think so, because such incidents hardly affect the policies of the occupying foreign force. The leaders of such countries that occupy and invade foreign sovereign nations have no empathy for suffering of innocent civilians. If situation demanded it these leaders would themselves orchestrate false flag events and kill their own civilians. It doesn’t matter to them in the least that whether a million people die or a billion, let alone few people in a suicide bombings.
If niether the freedom struggle nor the religious fundamentalism are the factor behind suicide bombings then what is? Perhaps the answer is much more simple than we imagined. To explain this, first I would like to mention some incidents that changed my whole outlook towards the well perpetuated myth of fundamentalist Islam and geopolitical environment in the Middle Eastern region.
One such incident that was imprinted in my memory forever was of a 17 year old Palestinian girl who detonated the bomb vest she was wearing at an Israeli checkpoint in Jerusalem. The image of that teenage girl will forever linger in my memory. She was 17 years old, very beautiful, liked to play the piano and wanted to become a human rights lawyer, that is prior to a horrifying tragedy that changed her forever. All of her family that is her mother, father, aunt, two brothers aged 7 & 9, three sisters aged 21, 19 & 13 and her grandmother were all murdered by the Israeli forces in order to vacate their home to build new settlements. While she was away at college, Israeli soldiers along with a bulldozer came to her house to demolish the house and vacate the land to build new Israeli settlements for new settlers. Her family tried to reason with the Israelis but to no avail. When her father tried to block the bulldozer from demolishing his house, every single member of her family was murdered by the Israeli goons. When she had left in the morning, she had a loving big family and a beautiful home but when she returned everything was gone. She was made an orphan. Soon after she descended into a state of chronic depression. Her friends later reported that she had given up on life, on justice and on peace, she had become emotionless as if she was dead inside.
It was during this time of despair and hopelessness that she was approached by a radical group, who turned this beautiful, outgoing, smart young girl into a suicide bomber. And nearly two months after the murders of her family, she approached an Israeli checkpoint and detonated the vest she was wearing killing herself along with 8 Israeli soldiers. A young girls dream of becoming a human rights lawyer ended in a explosion of her immense despair and sadness.
Now for a second assume that you are living a prosperous life. Then suddenly your country, your state and your town is invaded by a brutal foreign force. The invaders justify their actions by a statement in their religious scripture which says that the land you are living on was being inhabited by the anscestors of the invaders thousands of years earlier. Even though there were no historical and archeological evidence proving this ideology, except few words in a book, which you don’t know who was it written by. The invaders cite these scriptures as their god given right to live on your land. In the process of talking the town over they bomb and destroy indiscriminately. Some of your closest friends and relatives are killed in this invasion. They weren’t fighting these forces in any way, they were just trying to get by hiding in their houses. Soon the foreign force presence turns into a permanent occupation of your town and they start building infrastructure for their people. But because there was no vacant land left in the town, they decide to destroy most of the existing houses in order to free the land for their own construction.
This goes on for years and years and you watch thousands of your own people being turned homeless and subjected to harsh brutality. And when people start to oppose this unjustice, they are simpy forced to submit and if they still persist, they are brutally murdered by the oppressors. You watch every day young children massacred by these foreign criminals. A storm of rage against this unjustice starts to accumulate deep within you. And then one day the invaders come for your house while you are at work. They come and demolish your home and murder all of your family. You are at work completely oblivious of the fact that your whole world has been shattered. And when you come back to your house in the evening, you find the shattered pieces of your life scattered all over the land where once your home stood. Every bit of the human within you dies and withers away in the raging tide of tears and despair. But you are helpless and stand no chance in front of the all powerful invaders. Only choices you are left with are either you end your painful life or you could just keep on living like a rat hiding in the dark corners.
And during this terbulent time in your life some radical group approaches you and gives you another option by which you can take revenge on the people who murdered your loved ones. You think that why should you give up your life without avenging the deaths of your family. Drowned in an immense ocean of sadness and pain, you choose to sacrifice yourself in order to avenge your loved ones.
Moreover you also realise that this is the only way of fighting back that you are left with. Memories of you mother, father, brother, sister, wife and your children compels you to hurt back the people who took them away from you forever. Therefore you decide to rig your whole body in explosives and embark upon the very last thing you will ever do. You approach the soldiers who massacred your whole family and you people, then you simply push the button.
Nobody can understand the pain and despair that these people feel and go through without experiencing the wounds that they were subjected to. Its impossible to put their pain and agony in words. But to simply term them as religious extremists is a generalisation that hides away the true reasons which forced them to take their own life in a most horrible manner possible. Just imagine the depth of despair, hopelessness, agony and internal turmoil that you would go through if you were also subjected to similar atrocities. What would you do? Knowing that throwing a stone as tanks is not going to achieve anything, would you still hurl rocks at tanks and people with assault rifles? Would you be able to console yourself and keep on living a life whose every second will be filled with agony and pain?
I think we need to answer these questions to ourselves before we judge others. I am not saying that what suicide bombers do is justified. But how can we possibly decide what’s justified and what’s not without knowing what these people were going through in those last moments of their life.
One thing is for sure, we need to stop calling all these unfortunate people religious extremists because that is unfair and inappropriate act of generalisation which hides the true reasons and factors that forced them to act this way. Calling them just religious extremists creates an inaccurate perception for people that these individuals were just some lunatics who were so disillusioned by their believes or brainwashed by some terrorist, that they happilly gave their life up for joining some imaginary person in some imaginary place. No, it’s all wrong. People don’t just blow themselves up for their faith in god.
Real reasons that force them to do such a horrific act are much more simple and man created. Brutal murder of their loved ones, loss of their homes, massacre of their own people, witnessing the murder of innocent children and loss of their freedom is what forces them to take this path. Every human being has a god given right to live free with their loved ones in their homes. And when some evil force occupies the homeland of people and destroy their god given rights to live free, it’s then these suicide bombers are made.
Unjust and unethical occupation of sovereign lands is what creates suicide bombers.