Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Cult Of The Suicide Bomber

Film review by Kyle Smith, NY Post

ROBERT Baer, the ex-CIA spy who was the basis for the George Clooney character in "Syriana," proves to be a gifted reporter in his chilling documentary "The Cult of the Suicide Bomber," a fascinating history of how blowing yourself up became a popular hobby in the Muslim world.

It may be a surprise to learn that suicide bombing was invented so recently: in 1980, by a 13-year-old Iranian boy. During Iran's war with Iraq, he ran under an Iraqi tank with some explosives and took the express route to Allah.

Baer talks to the boy's proud family - the kid became a celebrity hailed on billboards and even on children's schoolbags - but that isn't his most amazing reportorial feat.

As he documents the spread of suicide bombing to Lebanon and Israel, he gains access to Hezbollah, Hamas and an Israeli prison, where he talks to a captured bomber whose jail cell is keeping him from achieving his dream of spectacular suicide.

There is also horrifying footage of suicide bombings taken secretly by the terrorist groups that planned the attacks, and a never-before-seen look at the immediate aftermath of the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. At the time, it was the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. Just by letting people talk, Baer, who speaks Arabic and seems equally at ease among high-ranking intelligence officers and the families of fanatics, captures many ironic and insane moments. The mother of a 15-year-old Iranian "martyr" says, "He really wanted to go . . . he came from school asking me to sign an approval letter." Baer notes that the Shia Muslims who popularized suicide bombing in Iran are now its chief victims, at the hands of Sunnis in Iraq.

Widespread propaganda promoting what Baer properly calls "a cult" spread the word to secular groups - which meant even girls were allowed to join. Then came the relentless campaign of suicide attacks on Israeli civilians, which began as a response to the slaughter of a group of praying Muslims by an Israeli fanatic in Hebron in 1994.

One of the families Baer interviews remains so proud of their bomber son that they continue to show film of his demise at an annual celebration, a sort of anti-birthday party. That the bomber failed to take any lives other than his own doesn't matter to them. That's because, as last summer's London bombings made clear, the campaign has become literally senseless, a joyride for maniacs.

"For them," says Baer, who believes the cult will grow still more powerful, "death is the only aim."

In every other religion,a martyr is someone who dies for thier faith. In Islam a martyr kills for his faith. It's subtle difference that seems to slip past our sophisticated media.

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Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

The Israelis have been living with this for demented can one get?

June 04, 2006  

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