gethen


How we talk about terrorists
December 24, 2010, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was just reading a newspaper article where a couple of researchers were debating the reasons why some people become suicide bombers. One of the researchers said that they are mindless fundamentalists who believe they are going to go to heaven and have a harem of hot virgin sex-slaves, while the other thought that many are actually clinically depressed people who want to kill themselves, and they become suicide bombers because suicide is forbidden in Islam, but suicide bombing is OK because it’s considered martyrdom, not suicide.

So there was this long discussion about whether suicide bombers are suicidal, or whether they are mindless fundamentalists who really believe Allah is going to reward them with virgins, or whether they are just driven by a mindless hatred of the West. It just makes me sad that apparently smart people can miss out the completely obvious fact that one of the reasons suicide bombers become suicide bombers is that they are angry about the wars and occupations in Israel, Afganistan, and Iraq. I mean, everyone knows that this is one of the reasons. Bin Laden is pretty clear about it in his videos.

I think it’s really sad that we are unable to have a grown-up discussion about terrorism, to the point that there is this strong pressure to paint terrorists as cartoonish supervillains who don’t have any reasons for what they do that a rational person could understand. I really wish journalists were more grown-up than that, and say ‘probably some suicide bombers are religious fanatics and/or some are suicidal and/or they hate our way of life, but probably one other factor is that they are angry that we are currently bombing a lot of Muslim countries.’

I mean, when you have to reduce your enemy to a cartoon caricature of Pure Evil, it doesn’t really say a whole lot about your own integrity, you know?

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