Why Women Become Suicide Bombers
Whether you are pro or anti Iraq war, I’m sure you’ll agree that Iraqi society is in shambles. Of course this is in large part due to their recovery from the totalitarian regime but its greatly aggravated by the past five years worth of violence.
Female suicide bombers have emerged as a recent phenomenon of this war.
It seems that there have been 20 suicide bombings carried out by women since the beginning of the war—8 since 2007. Most of these women have lost a close male relative—a husband, brother, father, etc. Eleven of the twenty have been from the Diyala Province—currently the headquarters of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
The big question is WHY?
A recent New York Times article solidly places the blame on the sheltered and traditional lives led by these women. It sites Maj. Gen. Abdul Karim al-Rubai, head of Iraqi Army operations in Diyala, who states, “Most of the women who have killed themselves are from the villages… She is living a very traditional life. She has no rights… For that reason, her ideas are very small”
As a woman this statement offends me. I’ve read countless articles on male suicide bombings that discuss the religious fervor and desire for revenge on the part of the bombers.
These bombers are often teens and young men who have been raised in very traditional villages and indoctrinated to the point of brainwashing, yet they are treated seriously—I doubt anyone would state, “His ideas are very small”.
Blaming her traditional life and lack of rights minimizes the woman’s decision to become a suicide bomber.
The article never raised the possibility that these women were also seeking revenge against those who took their loved ones.
The choice to become a suicide bomber occurs out of a place of desperation with one’s current life—where religious martyrdom is a better alternative to one’s continued existence. It bothers me that the New York Times (and no doubt many others) is unwilling to admit that female bombers may be similarly motivated.
[photo courtesy of msnbc.com]