A better term for those who kill themselves would be Desperation Bombers. They are people who no longer have concern for their own lives and living, who are willing to die for their cause because they have nothing else. The willingness of those who kill themselves for terrorist groups is no different than the willingness of soldiers to follow orders and die in combat. The only difference is their motivation.
People who have chronic and incurable conditions (e.g. terminal cancer, MS, ALS, etc.) sometimes choose to commit suicide because their quality of life is declining and will never improve. They have lost optimism and hope, choosing to end their own suffering. It is not a sign of mental illness.
The same is true of the kidnapped torture victims at Guantanamo Bay who attempt or commit suicide. It’s not a political statement or mental illness (though it is a sign of mental and physical abuse). And it’s definitely not an attempt to kill Americans since the victims have no resources nor the ability to cause harm. Their suicides are acts of desperation to end their suffering, the only means they have left.
There has been a sharp rise in the number of young Palestinians choosing to become bombers, and the reason is a lack of a future. Israel and its military intentionally bomb schools, demolish homes, cut off Palestine economically, kill people indiscriminately with no accountability, cut off access to water, food, medicine and other necessities. Desperation and lack of hope makes it easy for Hamas to recruit. It’s not because Palestinians are inherently violent. Jobs and futures are a scarce commodity in Palestine.
Many of 15,000 applicants have no interest in police work or in politics – they just are looking for jobs.The same applies to young muslims in the Middle East (Iraq, Syria, etc.) and Europe (e.g. France, Belgium, England). Poverty, racism, high rates of unemployment and a lack of opportunities among young populations makes it easy for extremists to find recruits. When there is no future and nothing to live for, it’s easy to convince someone to die for a cause.
When the Hamas rulers in the Gaza Strip announced recently plans to hire about 1,000 new policemen, 15,000 applied.
Only a few of those reporting for fitness tests one recent afternoon expressed an interest in police work or said they belonged to the Islamic militant group. Most just wanted a job.
Plagued by poverty for decades, Gaza’s private sector has been all but wiped out by nearly four years of closed borders and last year’s devastating Israeli offensive. In the meantime, Hamas has solidified its grip, making it Gaza’s second largest employer.
Study of a comprehensive database gives a surprising answer
In September 2007 when American forces raided an Iraqi insurgent camp in the desert town of Singar near the Syrian border they discovered biographies of more than seven hundred foreign fighters. The Americans were surprised to find that 137 were Libyans and 52 of them were from a small Libyan town of Darnah. The reason why so many of Darnah’s young men had gone to Iraq for suicide missions was not the global jihadi ideology, but an explosive mix of desperation, pride, anger, sense of powerlessness….Neither increased policing, military presense, spying nor tracking people will stop extremist terrorism in Europe. Those will only exacerbate the situation. The answer is including minority communities in society and giving them work and educational opportunities, giving them a future. When people see themselves welcomed and included in society, they will have no reason to listen to, support or join extremists.
When they have a reason to live, they won’t be willing to die as desperation bombers.