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Psycho-Political Aspects of Suicide Warriors, Terrorism and Martyrdom: A Critical View From "Both Sides" in Regard to Cause and Cure

NCJ Number
Jamshid A. Marvasti M.D.
Date Published
371 pages
This book addresses the factors that breed the violent tactics of terrorists, notably suicide bombers, and counterterrorists, with a view toward reducing violence and using constructive methods for addressing the traumatized victims of violent tactics by either those labeled as terrorists or those who perceive themselves as fighters of terrorism.
The contributors to this volume--which include social workers, a forensic psychiatrist, a medical psychiatrist, a doctor in cultural anthropology and psychology, an anthropologist with a human rights focus, and a professor of journalism--identify and assess the various factors that shape terrorist rationales and tactics, notably suicide bombing and martyrdom, as well as violent and oppressive responses by nations that have been targeted by terrorists. Media responses to and interpretations of these tactics are also addressed. The main theme of the book is that violence breeds violence, which causes trauma in the victims of violence, along with a deterioration in civil and human rights. Among the issues discussed is the debate over definitions of suicide bombers/warriors, terrorism, and martyrdom; why "ordinary people" become suicide bombers and participants in war and terrorism; the trauma of terrorism and political violence for civilians and its diagnosis and treatment; and homegrown "worriers" and “warriors” among Muslims in Europe and the United States. Other chapters address the psychological characteristics of suicide bombers; suicide and self-destructive behaviors in the clinical population; violent counterterrorist tactics that breed responsive violence and discontent; and the need for a psychosocial and nonmilitary response to violence. Also discussed are the psycho-political impact of terrorism on Western leaders whose nations have experienced terrorist attacks. Two chapters focus on the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and other chapters discuss female perpetrators and victims of violence and the treatment of acute trauma that results from violence. Chapter references and a subject index