Thursday, 20 August 2015


“..I know tanks and airplanes and artillery. But I don't know the person who turns himself into a bomb. I have never met a living, breathing death machine. ..and it was important to me to speak to them face to face: to see how I would feel, to try to understand directly what causes a young man or woman in their teens to throw everything away, to go out and murder innocent people, to commit suicide.”
 These were the words of former Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. He made this statement after returning from a one-on-one interview of two young suicide bombers.
One of them Arin Ahmed, a 20-year-old young Palestinian female. She was studying communications and computer programming in University before she decided to become a suicide bomber. The other, a bright teenage high school boy with very excellent grades. Both failed in their mission to carry out suicide attacks for different reasons.

Many have often wondered what motivates normal human beings especially young ones, living normal lives with bright prospects before them, suddenly turn into bombs. Bombs that have no regard for gender, children, parents, status, human visions and dream...In normal wars, there are rules of engagement. Even in video games!

There are several articles, studies and interviews that have sought to understand and if possible, peep into the mind of suicide bombers and to ask WHY? The obvious problem is that you cannot interview a suicide bomber who was successful in their suicide mission unless they had failed. Its not strange that sometimes bombs fail to explode. Many cluster bombs dropped during World War II didnt go off until years later! Therefore, only those who failed in their suicide mission and the would-be suicide bombers (if you are extremely lucky to meet those already in preparation mode)  are left to really ask them the big question of why?

 It is a factual truth that NO ONE is born a suicide bomber. Also, factors such as religion and poverty have only but marginal influence into motivating  someone to becoming a suicide bomber. The purpose of this article is embedded in the statement below;

When Arin was asked by the Israeli Defense Minister on why she decided to become a suicide bomber, revenge was her primary motivation. “You (Israelis) killed my friend”. She was referring to her boyfriend who was killed while attempting to prepare a car bomb. To her, you killed my beloved ,  so I will make you pay for it.  It wasn’t religion, poverty or ignorance. She was 20 years old, educated , studying communications  and computer programming  in a University. She was  intelligent. Moreso, the thought of becoming a suicide bomber didn't pop out just like that. She had friends in school who were active members of a Jihadist movement. They will discuss within themselves and information came that recruitment into the Movement  was ongoing.  As she was grieving the loss of her friend, she became motivated to join the movement. She indicated interest to  instantly offer herself as a suicide bomber to avenge her boyfriend’s death. Things moved very quickly and one thing led to another. She was quickly accepted, recruited and sent on a suicide mission. But something happened!

On her way to the target area she suddenly changed her mind. She ran back to her handlers who tried to convince her but her mind was already made up. Mission aborted!.  She left the movement, went back home and was arrested days later after intelligence officers gathered  she was a member of the Jihadist movement, Nanzim.
Fact of the issue:  Her motive to become a suicide wasn’t borne out of ignorance  or brainwashing as in the case of others. Hers was borne out of personal grief for the loss of her boyfriend.  The thought of avenging his death by suicide bombing was sown due to her peer group’s association with a militant group that had the mechanism already laid and provided the  enabling environment to carry out that threat. 

In referring to environment’s influence on her, she said this “But they didn't let me think about it too much(during the process of recruitment). They pressured me and persuaded me. They told me: You'll gain a very special status among the women suicide bombers. You'll be a real heroine. It's for Jad's(her boyfriend’s) memory. You'll be reunited with him in heaven. You'll be with him in Paradise. They pushed me. They encouraged me. I did whatever they told me. They explained everything to Issam (16-year old co-suicide bomber who went on with his mission) and me. This all happened very fast and then we set out”. She didn't go through  with it. Others have and still are. Their's might be revenge for cultural, national or personal humiliation. The ingredient here is Revenge.

A study carried out  by Tel Aviv University discovered a trend in  men who had attempted to carry out suicide attacks but had failed for various reasons such as technical malfunction or capture by security forces.
The study revealed  a personal characteristic  pattern among the would-be suicide bombers, an inability to handle stressful situations or to endure pressure for long. They are very much susceptible to being overly dependent on higher authorities or strong ruler-ship that appeals to their personalities. This pattern is corroborated in this Boston's article which explains how a suicide bomber who was described as "depressed" by his friends after he had gone through with a suicide mission. He was supposed to detonate the bomb in a crowded restaurant  but rather detonated it after locking himself in the bathroom thereby causing minimal damage. He was said to be taking antidepressants at that time. The report also stated that recruiters admitted to looking for "sad guys" for martyrdom. This clearly shows the influence of personal emotional instability in becoming a suicide bomber. 

Fact of the issue: It becomes obvious that the state of mind of the individual plays a great role in making them suitable tools for the "bigger boys" to recruit. These emotionally unstable minds become ready instruments to be used by recruiters of big terrorist organizations for their own causes, whatever it may be. It is important to note that emotional instability doesn't necessarily mean mental degeneration. Lets leave that for the psychologists to decide.

When the Defense Minister was asked what relevant information did his meeting with young suicide bombers provide, he said.." the environmental factor is the key - not the socioeconomic situation, or whether they're working or unemployed, or the years of oppression and built-up frustration, or whether they're educated or not. These parameters have weight, but it is marginal. Above all, it has to do with the person's character and how susceptible he or she is to pressure and persuasion. There's an entire system with its sights set on this satanic aim. It operates entirely in order to produce human bombs. As soon as they identified him as suitable, they trapped him like a fish in a net. These suicide bombers aren't created out of nowhere. They aren't born like that. The Islamic Jihad and the Tanzim and Hamas find them. It's the most cynical and cruel exploitation of human lives, of young people's lives especially. The weak, like him, are caught

In bringing this piece to an end, it is imperative that governments, society leadership and the general community to know that suicide bombers always never act alone no matter their motives or reasons. They will always require an already established mechanism provided by terrorist organizations which provides them the enabling environment to carry out suicide missions. These organizations have a way of exploiting individuals' weaknesses (personal grief, humiliation, emotional instability, ignorance, poverty..) thereby brainwashing them into thinking that they(both the prospective suicide bomber and terrorist organizations) are  fighting for the same cause. 

Final Word

A suicide bomber is a member of society and is made when his or her weakness is exploited by terrorist organizations to suit their selfish cause and these organizations form the  conducive environment for these isolated individuals to feed and nurture their weaknesses into something solid...a bond... stronger than self, superseding rational thinking, a force..a bomb..A Human Bomb!