Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Society that Sanctifies Death

The Recruitment of Children in Current Palestinian Strategy - Justus Weiner: "Violent death is sanctified throughout the Palestinian areas. The streets are plastered with posters glorifying the exploits of individual suicide bombers. Children trade martyr cards, purchased at their local shops, instead of pokemon or baseball cards, and necklaces with pictures of martyrs are also very popular.4 One favorite wall slogan reads: 'Beware of death by natural causes.'5 Suicide bombing is considered a source of neighborhood pride, as streets are named after the perpetrators of these atrocities. There is even a band named 'The Martyrs,' whose lyrics espouse the virtues of 'sacrificing yourself for Allah.' Under -these cultural influences, many children readily admit that they want to become suicide bombers. Some draw pictures and fantasize about the day when they achieve their goal. The young are taught that, as suicide bombers, they will ascend to a paradise of luxury staffed by 72 virgins waiting to gratify the martyrs as they arrive. An American psychiatrist with 22 years of experience studying and treating suicidal patients stresses that suicide bombers - both children and adults - are 'tools used by terrorist leaders' with 'a whole culture encouraging [them] to die.'6 "