Suicide bombing is believed to be one of the ultimate acts of terrorism. It is horrific in its results, and the act of bombing itself doesn’t choose who it kills. It kills all, adults, man and woman, children, and the saddest thing is that it kills the innocent.
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The propagation of suicide bombing nowadays has been increasing, especially in the Arab world where it seems that peace will not reign there for years or so. That area of the world has been a battleground of ideas, arms and ideologies alike. Yet, suicide bombing is closely connected with Islamic extremist willing to give up there lives by blowing themselves up for a cause they only can relate to. As the clash between ideologies expands, the war continually expands also. More fighters are recruited on both sides of the campaign, and suicide bombers as well.
We pose the question “why do suicide bomber exist?” This paper aims to answer this question that has perplexed thousands of individuals around the world asking “why do they do that? What makes them tick?” Part of the answer can be linked to what the Islamic world calls the “Jihad” or the holy war. People give up their lives by killing another in order to gain entry into eternal life. To some, this idea may seem to be twisted, but to them, it is their key to heaven. But the fact remains the same, suicide bombers exist, and people live in absolute terror due to the possibility that their peaceful way of life can be shattered by a man strapped with powerful bombs around his body, ready to die and take along with him hundreds of life.
A Suicide Attack
To gain an overview of suicide bombers and bombing, we take the definition of a suicide attack as defined by www.wikipedia.org. It defines a suicide attack as an attack in which the attacker (attacker being either an individual or a group) intends to kill others and intends to die in the process of doing so. Suicide attack in the strictest sense means the attacker dies by the attack itself, for example in an explosion or crash caused by the attacker. The term is sometimes loosely applied to an incident in which the intention of the attacker is not clear though he is almost sure to die by the defense or retaliation of the attacked party.
A suicide attack is carried out by suicide bombers. What makes these individual bombers? One of the major causes why these bombers exist is because of the existence of terrorist organizations which recruit young men and women, teach them how to make bombs and inculcate in their minds that it is all right to kill infidels who are enemies of Allah, to die in defense of their country or for the realization of their twisted ideas or beliefs. As explained,
“Terrorist organizations call upon their members to take part in suicide attacks under different banners and slogans. Sometimes it is done on behalf of God and religion, sometimes on behalf of the ‘nation,’ and many times as an act of revenge or deterrence against a more powerful adversary. Islamic fundamentalist organizations such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, al Qaeda, and Hezbollah invoke God and interpret the Koran in a way that fits their political and operational needs.” (www.pbs.org)
A Suicide Bomber
Suicide bombers each have different ideas and philosophies why they take on the path of killing themselves with bombs. Some may be attributed to poverty wherein they were neglected by their government in terms of providing their basic needs; in turn they retaliate by bombing their government’s office building and agencies taking with them government employees’ lives.
Another reason could be the fact that, according to a Pentagon report, a bomber does his duty in service to God by suicide bombing. The Pentagon report explains that the bombers secure salvation and the pleasure of Paradise. He earns a degree of financial security and a place for his family in Paradise. He defends his faith and takes his place in a long line of martyrs to be memorialized as a valorous fighter. And finally, because of the manner of his death, he is assured that he will find favor with Allah.
Another reason comes out from fact that some individuals do not like foreign occupation or invasion of their country. So in defiance to the new rulers, they kill themselves to convey their political opinions, and to serve as examples to others not to bow down or follow foreign rule.
Whatever the form of suicide bombing, or whatever was used to carry out this intention, suicide bombers have in mind the idea of self-sacrifice, and thus they view these acts of terrorism as positive and serve the greater good of their ideologies. Suicide bombing takes a form wherein the lives of few victims are sacrifice in order to attain the extremists’ purpose. This would exemplify Niccolo Machiavelli’s “the end justifies the means.”
In contemporary times, the identities of suicide bomber are not only confined within the nationalities of the Arab world. Suicide bombers now exist in Europe and Asia, as well as the United Asia. The nationalities of these terrorists are not only of Middle Eastern races but are composed now of different nationalities outside Arab countries. Some of them are British, Americans, and Africans of Middle Eastern descent.
There has been also a growing number nowadays of female suicide bomber as compared to male terrorists. An observation by Clara Beyler, a writer, describes why women are more frequently involved in suicide attacks in the Middle East. She explains that women have channeled the frustration stemming from their role in society into ruthless behavior. This can demonstrate strength and power in societies where women have a submissive role. That women have become more involved in suicide bombings makes it more difficult to profile a suicide bomber.
From events that unfolded throughout the world related to the increase in the number of suicide bombings, one can arrive to the conclusion that more and more innocent people will die, and the chaos in the parts of the Middle East may spread across Europe and Asia, and create problems throughout the world. If world leaders will continue to resort to the use of arms and conflict to settle differences in ideas, ideologies or beliefs, more and more individuals also will be enticed to be suicide bombers just to express their own ideas, ideologies or beliefs. This would become a cycle, and will not end unless leaders will look for peaceful means to solve these problems. Otherwise, there would be an eventuality that, sooner or later, peace will cease to exist forever.
Yoram Schweitzer, author of the book The Globalization of Terror: The Al Qaeda Challenge and the Response of the International Community wrote that in the fight against terrorism of all forms, it is important to understand who or what our enemy is. We can only fight against this horror if we understand its causes and motivations. What motivates a person to lash out in this violent, inhumane way? That is something that all of us -- mental health professionals, politicians, and common people -- need to understand, so that we can address the issues more honestly, prevent more violence, and find ways to work towards lasting peace.
Therefore, if we need to end this violence of suicide bombings brought about by these notorious bombers, we need to understand the causes that drives these individuals to commit these crimes. In this way, we can, as a united society, make necessary precautions and preventive measures to deter suicide bombings to be committed at or near our very homes.
Emphasis should be put also on ways to assess the psychology and behaviors of these suicide bombers so that we can detect at the earliest possible time symptoms in a person who has a tendency to be a suicide bomber in the future. But more importantly, there is a need to foster a sense of peace in every action that a person does, so that when conflict arise the use of arms or suicide bombings would not be the immediate resort individuals will use. The resort to peace should be the primary consideration always.
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