Death Is Their Future

Manila Bulletin, April 2, 2016 | Go to article overview

Death Is Their Future


How do hostages feel in front of a suicide bomber?

Simone Weil wrote that when a man stands disarmed and helpless, with a gun pointing at him, that man becomes a corpse even before the enemy pulls the trigger. The moment a hostage realizes that the suicide bomber will not change his mind, the hostage knows that even if he is still breathing, he is already a corpse. He is no different from a stone or any inanimate object. He feels he is still alive, but his is a life that fear congeals before it is finally abolished by death.

If a hostage feels like a corpse even before his actual death, the suicide bomber actually feels the same way. Violence is as pitiless to the man who wields it, as it is to its victim. By its very blindness, violence establishes a kind of justice. He who takes the sword perishes by the sword.

Despite centuries of war, we still haven't learned our lesson. Violence obliterates everyone who feels its touch. For those living in relative peace, death appears as a limit to their future. But for those habituated to violence -- the suicide bombers, the terrorists and mercenaries, DEATH IS THEIR FUTURE. The idea of having death as a future castrates life of all aspirations. It effaces the hope for a well-lived life. A purpose-driven death takes its place. And what is that purpose?

Many people think that terrorists are driven by a religious purpose. Recent studies on terrorism show that most suicide bombers and fanatic fundamentalists are not driven by religious motives like the desire for a martyr's paradise in the afterlife. Neither are they acting out an internally coherent belief system that can be described as "religious." Rather, they are simply raging against real or perceived grievances, against how society is organized and run, and against those people whom they label as enemies.

True, in situations where protest is muted, religion offers an acceptable vocabulary for voicing out an entire range of concerns. But when a suicide bomber blows himself up, his action proves that he himself has already despaired of the efficacy of religion to express his grievances. The message that he hopes his death would bring to the world is: "By killing myself, I shall force you to listen to me, or at least notice me and know that I am here -- alone, ignored, hurt!"

Violence begets more violence. War has its own law that works in unpredictable ways. Violence exacts its own retribution according to a geometrical rigor that defies human reason. In the East, this belief lives on under the name of KARMA. The post-Christian West, however, has no word to express KARMA in any of its languages.

If language is the bearer of meaning, then how impoverished has Western language become! Western words have become restricted to the vocabulary of technology, progress, invention, exploitation, conquest. Words that pertain to harmony, the necessity of limits, divine justice, mercy and forgiveness, have been rendered as meaningless as the debris that exploding bombs leave behind. How do hostages feel in front of a suicide bomber? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Death Is Their Future
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.