What goes into the making of a suicide bomber?
In the light of increasing terror attacks in the world, many have tried to understand what goes into the making of a suicide bomber. Research has not yielded proof of the psychopathy of terrorists, nor has it shown terrorists to be psychologically deviant. So, what really makes a suicide bomber?
In the period from 1981-2006, 1200 suicide bombings, constituting 4% of all terror attacks in the world, were carried out. The attacks killed a total of 14,599 people - 32% of all deaths from terrorism during that period.
In the attempt to understand suicide bombers, a lot of focus is given on ideology. There is a four-stage process to the development of terrorist ideology. First, the indoctrinators identify an undesirable situation. Second, they describe the situation as unjust. Third, they blame the injustice on a nation or a person. And fourth, they demonize the responsible party to justify violent aggression.
Another area of focus is socialization. Theorists state that terrorists are often desperate and outraged by the political climate in which they live, or by the frustrations experienced by their religious, ethnic or cultural group. These people often join terrorist organizations to give an outlet to their frustration - the group provides them with a sense of identity and purpose.
According to a report by The Afghanistan Times, suicide bombers sent to Afghanistan from Pakistan-based training facilities and sanctuaries are paid Rs.36,000!
Enraged by grievances like unemployment, poverty, oppression and socio-economic struggle in general, suicide bombers often identify themselves as soldiers engaged in a war. Theorists state that they believe that casualties are part of their struggle to achieve a more just world. Their mentality is similar to those of combatants engaged in conflict against an unjust system.
In some cases, suicide bombers are drugged, generally with methamphetamine which induces paranoid psychosis - the subjects lose contact with reality. Apart from the aforementioned factors, suicide bombers go through rigorous training in camps where they have to adhere to strict discipline which arms them with the resolve required to go through an act like suicide for an allegedly greater cause.
In the period from 2002-2010, 248 suicide bombings were carried out in Pakistan resulting in the deaths of over 3,000 civilians and over 2,500 military personnel.