Robert Fisks’ article “The cult of the suicide bomber” , published in 2008, addresses the rise and a cult like glorification of suicide bombers in the Middle East. Fisk posits that this increase is, in part, due to the US and their coalition forces declaration of a ‘war on terror’.
Fisk offers a unique perspective on the life of a man, Khaled, conditioned to be a suicide bomber. The article touches on the social influences, culture and family, that encourages self-liquidation as an extreme method of religious devotion. Fisk offers a perspective rarely presented in western media, which commonly views these people as faceless “crazed cowards bent on senseless destruction” . By humanising these people he portrays suicide bombers as a cross between people seeking the glory of fighting for their beliefs in a war with that of a victim, brainwashed into this ‘cult’ into sacrificing themselves for the goal of others.
The classification of suicide bombers as a cult by Fisk, emphasises the strong psychological control exerted over those trained to be suicide bombers, controlling the very moment and method they end their life. Fisk also highlights fear as a motivator for these actions. A quote taken from Saddam Hussein's own vice-president, Taha Yassin "The US administration is going to turn the whole world into people prepared to die for their nations" holding the belief that this was the only way to counter US forces and Allies in the Middle East.
Suicide bombers have a distinct image in western media and in academic literature. Gilbert Burnham articulates that suicide bombers arise where there is widespread suffering and anger with a desire for retribution from those who have experiences personal or communal losses . U.S. Senator John Warner states that these bombers “are not rational and are not deterred by rational concepts” . Fisk’s contradicts this accepted impression of a suicide bomber describing Khaled with a;
“broad smile…almost laughing… handsome, young…dressed in a black Giorgio Armani T-shirt, a small, carefully trimmed Spanish conquistador's beard, gelled hair… ready to immolate himself”
Fisk uses this unassuming image to shift the image of a suicide bomber in western culture, to give these people and sometimes children a face so that a better understanding can be achieved of the ideology of suicide bombers.
The article presents this controversial issue expressing a sympathetic bias towards the family and Khaled himself. Fisk seeks to bring this issue out into the open by revealing the extent of which suicide bombers are involved in this war and posits that the US army plays an influential and generally unacknowledged part in the rise of suicide bombers. Professor Robert Pape confirms this theory, claiming that suicide bombers also referred to as suicide terrorism only started being tracked by Western military forces until the US-led coalition invaded Iraq . Far removed from westernised media, Fisk presents a well-rounded view of...