Jarndyce wonders if he has a “famous fan”. His point last year, asking when it is rational to kill yourself seems to be repeated by Timothy Garton-Ash at Comment Is Free. A fascinating point is that suicide bombings occur more frequently against democracies, rather than insurgencies against dictatorships who will deny them the oxygen of publicity. The fact that suicide bombers are not usually poor or uneducated is mentioned in both posts too.
A noticable phrase from the Garton-Ash redux:
Palestinian suicide bombers … preferred “sacred explosions”. “We do not have tanks or rockets,” said one, “but we have something superior – our exploding Islamic human bombs. In place of a nuclear arsenal, we are proud of our arsenal of believers.” That comment reflects another common feature: suicide missions are generally carried out by the weaker side, in conflicts marked by a sharp asymmetry of military force. They are a weapon of David against Goliath.
An ironic metaphor indeed: David was an Israeli, and Goliath a Philistine (in modern parlance, a Palestinian). Further irony in that a more common weapon employed by the intifada is the brick, thrown by teenagers at IDF vehicles. Not so different from the sling-shot David used to defeat Goliath. I’ve always thought that if modern Palestinians employed actual sling-shots, rather than suicide belts, against the occupation, they would gain far more sympathy from their Israeli neighbours, not to mention world-wide.