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www.theshatteredlens.com

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LESSONS FROM THE SUICIDE BOMBER

 

            Since Sept. 11th, America has struggled with suicide bombers.  We cannot get away from them.  First they destroy the twin towers and kill over 3000 people.  We win the battle for  Iraq and Afghanistan with minor casualties, yet our soldiers biggest fear is a bomb.  Bombs  kill more American soldiers that enemy bullets.  The question we rarely hear (from Washington, or Media) is why do suicide bombers spring up in a democracy? 

 

 

            Suicide bombers thrive when people feel they have nothing to loose.  They want to be heard and bombs make a loud noise.  They want to make a difference and this is their best option.   When a dictator rules a suicide bomb in a public market does not make sense.  All you are doing is killing your co-victims.  Your neighbor is not the source of your suffering, the dictator is.   What happens after an election?

Democracy arrives and all hell breaks loose. In Iraq, the Shiite Arab sect was approximately 60% of the population so no one else really counts.  One major sect even boycotted the election.  Why bother?  The Sunni and the Kurds (the other 40%) do not feel like their voice is being heard and they are pissed off.  They are not upset at Saddam Hussein, they are upset at the Shiites (the 60% majority).   Unfortunately, if your faction is not the majority, you have no voice.  The only way they feel they can be heard is strap a explosive vest to their chest and blow up several of their neighbors. 

Yet we are confused in the West why the violence continues.

The election did not create the pre-existing divisions it just made them more dangerous.   With the history of violence and mistrust between the factions, the Iraqi people see future elections as a census.  By definition, this means that a large portion of the population will have no real power.  People are pissed off because they thought having a vote meant having a voice that mattered.  Unfortunately, for the Kurds or the Sunni’s voting is like pissing in the wind.  This is why one major faction, boycotted the first election.  Iraqs are mad because they were promised things would be different and they are not. 

Things should be better for the Shiite majority right?  They are the majority and now they have the power to control their sunny future (and all that oil money).  Unfortunately, when they turn on their lights nothing happens because the power station was sabotaged by one of those Sunni’s or Kurds.  They are afraid to go to the market because they might get blown up by a suicide bomber.  If you are Shiite, you have family or  friends killed or mutilated by a bomber-who might be your neighbor.   At best, you vow to never to cooperate with those evil people.  If you have any honor, you vow to revenge this senseless death.  Neighbors must now become beware of neighbors.  Cooperation to make forward progress becomes impossible.     

Similar story in Afghanistan.  However the outlook is even worse.  Democracies have a terrible track record in countries that are poor, lack education and strong tribal identities.