Suicide Terrorism

During my research with these four articles, I found that they all ask one important question. My research was about suicide terrorism, and the four articles are going to help explain my point. That one question is: why are suicide bombers considered as heroes and why do they get so much praise for what they do? Throughout the paper, I am going to weave these four articles to help answer the question I find so important throughout each of the the four reading.

In the first article written by Mia Bloom, Palestinian Suicide Bombing: Public Support, Market Share, and Outbidding, she asks one question. Throughout the article, she tries to answer why the opinion of Palestinian’s support suicide bombers. Bloom talks about how suicide bombings were intermittent and intended to undermine legitimacy of Palestinian authority as well as to negatively affect peace process (Bloom, 66). After the year 2000, the support for suicide bombers jumped tremendously in terms that groups did it to show power. Since Palestinians lives did not change near November 2000, Islamic Jihad as well as Hamas started a new type of violence were they would carry out missions of martyrdom operations to up their profile as well as win external donor support (Bloom, 69). During this time, it was getting major support from the public about martyrdom attacks and continued to increase over the next two years. Basically, this article talks about Palestinian organizations use suicide bombers to gain an edge over government because they were not getting what they wanted. They felt that they were not peaceful negotiations, so they took matters into their own hands and turned it into violence: suicide bombings. But we have yet to answer the question from this article, and according to Bloom she states that people chose to commit these bombings is because of fanaticism and despair (Bloom, 80). As within the other three articles, these bombers tend to be lower class citizens with few opportunities.

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In Hafez’s article, Rationality, Culture, and Structure in the making of Suicide Bombers: A Preliminary Theoretical Synthesis and Illustrative Case Study, he also talks about and tries to understand why suicide bombers blow themselves up and are considered heroes when they do these acts. Throughout Hafez’s piece, he gives different examples similar to what the other authors believe make people want to become suicide bombers. He talks about people wanting to do it for personal reasons because they feel as though their life does not start until the after life as well as religious reasons and traditions. He talks about two parts of suicide terrorism, rationalist and culturalist (Hafez, 167). Rationalist terrorism is like thinking rationally, you do things that you believe are the best way to handle certain situations. Culturalist terrorism is like doing things for a purpose and fulfilling what someone believes is the best way to handle certain situations, such as suicide bombings. Also in Hafez’s article, he mentions that suicide bombers do this because of personal reasons. He also gives statistics of when suicide bombings became popular as well as how it started and how much it increased in terms of percentage, which is an extremely high number. Him and Bloom are similar when they each state that support for suicide bombings can be because of negotiating processes in terms of Palestinians.

In Brym and Araj’s article, Palestinian Suicide Bombing Revisited: A critique of the Outbidding Thesis, the authors talk about how social scientists argued that numerous factors motivate the outbreak of waves of Palestinian suicide attacks. This article plants different hypothesis and then gives an extensive amount of information to try and answer that hypothesis. Brym and Araj use Mia Bloom and her arguments for suicide bombers and they really try to disprove her findings. Suicide bombing hit a major uproar in terms of support in late 2000. This was increased due to people not supporting the Fatah as much as they used to be as well as the support for Hamas, which increased compared to the Fatah. Along with the other two articles, this article believes that suicide bombings are due to bad negotiations, for revenge and also to win support. The authors also use other sources throughout the paper to prove their point. I am convinced by the authors arguments because they use outside sources to help prove their point throughout the paper, as well as use tables and diagrams showing statistics to also help prove the point they try and get across.

In the last article, From Columbine to Palestine: A comparative analysis of rampage shooters in the United States and volunteer suicide bombers in the Middle East by Lankford and Hakim, the article talks about the difference of rampage shooters and suicide bombers. In this article, it talks about how each are viewed in their respective countries as well as some of the similarities between the two. Rampage shooters are termed as troubling people with mental issues but if you look at people in the Middle East and suicide bombers, they get looked at a good people who things for their families sake and because of Religion. All though they get looked at differently, they also are somewhat similar in how they have troubled backgrounds and also troubled childhoods for that matter (Lankford & Hakim, 102). As crazy as it seems that one of these groups of people get praised and the other group gets looked at differently, they do share same principles and I think that obviously we are a different country than the Middle East but to think that two horrendous acts can be treated as such is somewhat mind-boggling. Personally, I am convinced by the authors argument. I would say that I am convinced because of how the two acts are treated. For example, Suicide bombers in the Middle East are praised and loved for carrying out their role, whereas rampage shooters are looked at as weird and mentally ill people. The different perceptions between the two along with the examples used help ensure my certainty that I am convinced that the authors arguments are correct.

Finally, I think that all four articles can tail back to my main point, and that is asking why do suicide bombers get considered as heroes as well as getting praise for what they do. The articles each give an explanation as well as having some of the same thoughts as other articles. Main reasons why suicide bombers get praise is because they do it out of Religion. Not only do they do it out of Religion, but they also want to leave a lasting mark on earth. To Palestinian suicide bombers, living on earth is just simply setting you up for the future. They believe that their life doesn’t actually start until after their time on earth. Becoming a suicide bomber is simply a calling for them, and something that they need to do or they will be considered going against God. Along with becoming suicide bomber and being considered a hero, they also get looked at differently compared to what the United States think of rampage shooters. That question is still left up for grabs as why they would be considered different in their terms, but in our terms we believe that they are both wrong and there is no justifying it.

Overall, I thought the four articles were very interesting and telling at the same time. Out of the four articles that I have read, I believe that Hafez’s article Rationality, Culture, and Structure in the Making of Suicide Bombers best explains the question in common. Hafez’s article best represents what these four articles are trying to talk about. He has strong points as well as important statistics to back up what he believes why people want to become suicide bombers. If I had to base it off who did the second best explaining it, I would personally say that Bloom’s article Palestinian Suicide Bombing: Public Support, Market Share, and Outbidding would be my second choice in terms of who I thought explained why people chose to become suicide bombers. If there was one that I thought was different and more harder to understand, it would be Brym and Araj’s article Palestinian Suicide Bombing Revisited: A critique of the Outbidding Thesis. This was harder to try and pinpoint exactly what the article was trying to do other than find hypothesis ideas from Mia Bloom and then debunk her findings.

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