Kilroy Was Here
May 16, 2002
Spin and Anti-Spin: Suicide Bombers
In this month's Atlantic, David Brooks details the culture of the suicide bomber in the Middle East. Brooks details what can only be described as a mass marketing campaign aimed at glamorizing the Suicide Bomber in Arab culture.

"It is certainly the case that vast segments of Palestinian culture have been given over to the creation and nurturing of suicide bombers. Martyrdom has replaced Palestinian independence as the main focus of the Arab media. Suicide bombing is, after all, perfectly suited to the television age. The bombers' farewell videos provide compelling footage, as do the interviews with families. The bombings themselves produce graphic images of body parts and devastated buildings. Then there are the "weddings" between the martyrs and dark-eyed virgins in paradise (announcements that read like wedding invitations are printed in local newspapers so that friends and neighbors can join in the festivities), the marches and celebrations after each attack, and the displays of things bought with the cash rewards to the families. Woven together, these images make gripping packages that can be aired again and again"

At the end of this article, Brooks laments, "It's hard to know how Israel, and the world, should respond to the rash of suicide bombings and to their embrace by the Palestinian people." I can offer one suggestion. We need to go on a massive marketing campaign of our own. Our message: Suicide bombers are not martyrs but manipulated. The Islamic-elite is perverting Islam and martyrdom to line their own pockets and achieve petty political ends.

Surely the country of Madison Avenue and Coca-Cola, where McDonald's reigns even in Cairo, can effectively market this message.


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