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Old 11-08-2003, 07:22 AM   #1
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Question Does terrorism cheapen martyrdom?

Hi everyone

I was wondering if you guys think that suicide bombers, IRA etc are not really true martyrs. Since technically, they are responsible for their own deaths. It is more their own crimes that they pay for rather than their beliefs.

On the other hand however, I think people like Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr are true martyrs since they really died for their beliefs. They did not have a direct cause for their own deaths, whereas suicide bombers are dead because they pressed a button. In other words, they chose to kill themselves, martyrdom wasn't forced upon them.

What do you guys think?


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Old 11-09-2003, 04:26 AM   #2
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Well, I see what you're getting at, and I tend to agree... However, I think one who sacrifices himself in an extreme cause is a martyr as well, I think the "martyr effect" is cheapened by so many doing it. Perhaps it is not so much that they pull the trigger, but rather that they walk onto a crowded civilian bus and do it...

It would be different if they had fought a day in the trenches, and then charged the enemy line with explosives strapped to their chest. But that is not the case...

I think maybe that is what cheapens the effect.
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Old 11-09-2003, 05:37 AM   #3
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The thing about the suicide bomber that most people refuse to acknowledge is that they are not crazy or insane.

Most people dismiss the suicide bomber as mentally ill since it is illogical, from their perspective, to kill one's self along with many innocent civilians. Also, it is commonly thought that the suicide bomber is "brainwashed" by religious fanatics, etc.

Neither of these assumptions is necessarily true. In fact, it has been shown on many occasions that the suicide bomber is a part of the general demographic of his/her society just weeks or even days prior to the bombing and not acting as though his/her life was about to end (going about usual routine, making plans, etc.).

Since "brainwashing" is a time consuming process that takes years in some cases, and since the bomber has had no indications or history of mental defect prior to the bombing, an alternative answer must be forthcoming.

The suggestion of "Honor" has been made by several scholors and researchers who've studied the problem. The individual truly believes that the act of suicide bombing is an honorable act against a legitimate enemy.

In order to see this perspective, you could, perhaps, envision yourself as having been born to parents who were born to a life in a society that is occupied by an oppressive force. The Palestinian teenager of today knows nothing other than living in occupation by Israel. Often their lives are disrupted by forced moves (of residence), destruction of property, confiscation of property, assassination of neighbors, and the deaths of many innocent lives (including many, many children) at the hands of the Oppressing force.

From the inside looking out, there is but one honorable alternative.

From the outside looking in, it is the reason why the Israeli government must oppress the Palestinian: they are violent.

From me looking at it all... its all lunacy. I see no easy or even feasable solution that can be implemented by either side or both sides at the same time. Whatever solution eventually works will be one imposed by an outside organization or government. I've always held that a United States full-embargo on the entire region would be a good start. That will create a cascade of events that will either destroy the region or (more likely) unify it.


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Old 11-09-2003, 05:48 AM   #4
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You do bring up a good point that from the inside looking out, all they see is opression. Therefore, their bombing is honorable. And of course, to us looking in, it is lunacy.

I supposed we're all loons to someone else, but you'd think they could at least try to blow up a tank or something instead of a bus...
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Old 11-13-2003, 11:33 AM   #5
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i think when you are under armed and facing a massively superior military force you end up rethinking your tactics.

I don't endorse it, but when you have a hand gun and some c4 and the enemy has one of the larget armies in the world, apache helicopters, jets etc... i think you are forced to go for the targets you can hit.

The americans fighting the british (and others) in the war of independence used tactics that were considered cowardly and terrorist. But there was no way they could have fought in a "fair" fight by the standards of the time. (Ie, 2 armies marching slowly towards each other, no one attackig the leading class etc..)

Not wanting to get this onto the topic of israel though, i suspect that martyrdom is almost entirely depended upon your point of view. Martyrs are almost always standing up against something, so that means they have supporters and opponents. Their supporters will consider them martyrs, their opponents won't. Often (as always) it will be the opinion of the victors that becomes accepted as fact.



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Old 11-13-2003, 06:10 PM   #6
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Yes, the Americans were indeed fairly terroristic in their tactics during the American Revolution, but nonetheless, when you start blowing up BUSES with WOMEN and CHIDLREN, I'd think you enter a whole new ballpark...
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Old 11-13-2003, 07:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Datheus
Yes, the Americans were indeed fairly terroristic in their tactics during the American Revolution, but nonetheless, when you start blowing up BUSES with WOMEN and CHIDLREN, I'd think you enter a whole new ballpark...
I think you have to ask yourself if people back then wouldn't have done the same if they were faced with imported US hardware such as apache gunships, tanks and RPG's, wielded by one of the most rigidly trained armies nowadays.

I think it's because the adversary they face is pretty much invulnerable if faced head-on that they resort to such deplorable tactics.


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Old 11-13-2003, 10:35 PM   #8
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The killing of women and children is deplorable but then again Israelies have used women and children to bomb Palestinian buses and such so... I guess after having to kill women and children to defend yourself and others kind of skews your veiws and perceptions of innocence, Palestinians have also used women and children but, so did the Americans during the revolution. Even in Vietnam, American soldiers used Vietnamese children to take over enemy territory. Same thing in Korea and Germany... come to think of it I think just about everyone has abused childrens appearance of innocence to destroy. [yoda moment] Truely sad this is.[/yoda moment]

Oh and to give my point on your question, To some Martyrism is considered terrorism, to others it is truely heroic. I guess it depends on where you live and who commits the act.


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Old 11-14-2003, 05:47 AM   #9
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I can see we all have different perspectives on what terrorism is and not in different contexts.

Perhaps we all agree, but not neccessarily on individual situations where we disagree.


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Old 11-19-2003, 10:45 AM   #10
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As I understand it, suicide is not the same thing as martyrdom.

Being a martyr means being killed for your faith.

But for example in Islam, suicide is forbidden (IIRC you go to hell, just as is the common belief relating to it in Christianity).

Now that's not to say that suicides are unforgivable, just that if you look at it from the standpoint of murder, it's pretty bad (murdering yourself). A person may not be in their right mind and able to make a rationale decision, but that's something only God knows....


Anyway, in the case of suicide bombers, they're killing themselves, and doing so with the hope of killing others (often innocent bystanders too). This is simply twisting every ethical thought in any major religion to the extreme.

In my opinion these folks are desperate and ignorant. I heard one theory that Muhammad Atah (sp?) one of the Sept 11th hijackers (please somebody correct me if this is wrong) was gay.

Now the fact that in Islam homosexuality is considered gravely sinful (and so serious that in some Muslim countries they are put to death simply for being gay if caught), perhaps this man felt so guilty about his being gay that he thought that if he was a martyr he could avoid going to hell with that redemptive act.

Of course he was probably brainwashed into thinking that he was "dying for a cause" and that made him a martyr.

The fact is, the people suiciding in that way have to convince themselves or be convinced they are martyrs, otherwise it would make no sense to kill themselves like that.

Somebody dying in battle for a "holy cause" might be a martyr, but I think that if the death is premeditated its not the same thing. Now only God can judge these people (well the people who intentionally kill can be judged by their actions, sadly), but I think that they're sadly mistaken in their theology and may not end up where they thought they were...*



*I'm normally not a judgemental person like that, but because of the heinous nature of the act and how it tarnishes the name of all decent religious people and the lives of true martyrs I condemn it in strong terms.

So these guys THINK they are martyrs, but they're not, and they'll never be martyrs, but rather murder-suicides.


PS: I think a lot of people in the Middle East (take your pick, Israel, Afgahnistan, Iran, Iraq, Palestinians, Arabs, etc) are ****ed up.

I mean everybody has a right to defend themselves, etc, but murdering each other (over land and differing ideas) and targetting women and children, using torture and practicing racism... there's something really really wrong with their values, seriously!


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