Origins Podcast
10:49 am
Fri March 15, 2013

The Human Use of Human Beings: A Brief History of Suicide Bombing

Hamas claimed responsibility for this 1996 suicide bombing in Jerusalem that killed 26 Israelis in addition to the Palestinian bomber. The phenomenon of suicide bombing remains poorly understood by most Americans.

Since the attack on the World Trade Center in on September 11, 2001 the world has grown accustomed to reports of "suicide bombers." They are often portrayed as deluded or crazed, and they hold an almost lurid fascination for their willingness to kill themselves while killing others. This month, historian Jeffrey William Lewis puts what many of us see as a recent phenomenon in a longer historical perspective. He argues that it is more useful to think about suicide bombers as a type of human military technology that is controlled by an organization rather than as a form of individual fanaticism.

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