Category Archives: martyrdom

Robert Pape’s Blunders in Tigerland: Pape’s Muddles on ‘Suicide Bombers’ in Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts, reprinting here an article which appeared initially in November 2007  as Working Paper No. 32 November 2007 in the Heidelberg Papers on South Asian PoliticsISSN: 1617-5069 …. edited by Subrata Mitra. Insofar as this essay is being reproduced in 2020, I cannot overstress the point at which it appeared in the public realm — in 2007 well before the LTTE was defeated… [noting that, with the exception of the emblematic Picture at the start, all other illustrations appeared in the Heidelberg publication. These pictorial scenes, I stress now in 2020, are valuable data in themselves].

No study of the LTTE can afford to neglect Sri Lanka’s cultural, historical, and geographical backdrop, The lack of existential awareness of religious cross-fertilisation, the either/or foundations of Western reasoning and the absence of local knowledge bedevil the scholarship that incorporates Sri Lanka within the global surveys of suicide attacks. Pape’s Dying to Win is an example. Here, in Pape’s article, the LTTE’s multi-pronged capacities are poorly evaluated. Too much significance is attributed to the coercive success of SMs in bringing the government to the negotiating table at various moments. Religious persecution has not been the main reason for the Tamil struggle. Comparative references to SMs elsewhere are occasionally interspersed in this review of the Sri Lankan scene.

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Enthusiasm for War: Australians in the 1910s and Jihadists in the 2010s

Michael Roberts

Introduction:  Remembrance Day ceremonies in Australia and Europe led to the recuperation of items on the “Will to War” which I had presented way back in time[1] and Dr Richard Koenigsberg[2] in New York has chipped in by sending me copies of some of my articles in the Library of Social Science (his outfit). At a time in 2020 when sporadic jihadist assassinations in France and Australia in 2020 have reminded us forcefully of the recurring phenomenon of the force of Allahu Akbar in the Middle East as well as such outposts as Sri Lanka (witness the 21/4 strikes in 2019)[3] as well as Australia (see below).

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Kamikaze, Mujahid, Tamil Tiger: Sacrificial Devotion in Comparative Lens

Michael Roberts, reprinting an essay drafted in 2007 and since presented in Fire & Storm in 2010 (chapter 19: 131-38)

  • Gandhi tried for years to reduce himself to zero” (Dennis Hudson 2002: 132).
  • Hitler: “You are nothing, your nation is everything” (quoted in Koenigsberg 2009: 13).
  • LTTE: “the martyr sacrifices himself for the whole by destroying the I…” (Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam’s interpretation of a Tamil Tiger supporter’s poem; 2005: 134).
  • Spokesman for Al Qaida after the Madrid bombing: “You love life and we love death”
  • Col. Karuna, ex-LTTE: “Death means nothing to me….”
  • The Hagakure is “a living philosophy that holds that life and death [are] the two sides of the same shield” (Yoshio Mishima in his The Way of the Samurai, quoted in Moeren 1986: 109-10).
  • Bushido means to die” (Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney 2002: 117).
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVpbl0azdFM …. Kamikaze strike

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Combatting Terrorism Today: Three Imperatives

John Richardson

For what they are worth, here are three “imperatives for preventing conflict and terrorism” (from the 10 that conclude Paradise Poisoned) that seem particularly relevant to this discussion. These are excerpted from “elevator talk” I gave to Board members of the US Association for the Club of Rome a year or so ago.

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The Ideology of Sacrificial Death and Australian Nationalism during World War One

ALSThis short essay appeared  in the year K????K within the Website run the Library of Social Science headed by Richard Koenigsberg and he has sent it to me this month (November 2020) — presumably inspired by the recent jihadist attacks in Europe and by Thuppahi’s determined pursuit of the comparative literature on martyrdom pursued in a variety of contexts by diverse forces (not merely Islamic).

Michael Roberts

Addressing the practices of remembrance in Australia, Richard Koenigsberg has noted the irony that a battlefield defeat at Gallipoli in World War One, 1915, served a people as an emblem of nationhood: the “Australian nation, came into being on the foundations provided by the slaughter of its young men.”

Burying the dead at Gallipoli in 1915 ,,,and The Last Post

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Tamil Tiger ‘Martyrs’: Regenerating Divine Potency?

This article from my pen was probably drafted in 2004. It appeared in Studies in Conflict  & Terrorism vol. 28 in 2005 after the usual refereeing process. Some of the details and arguments have, in fact, been obliterated within my fading memory. For this reason, it was a refreshing READ for me and brought up specific details that are pertinent to any debate surrounding the motivations that induce self-immolation, jihadist killings of a suicidal nature, et cetera… The Bibilography will also aid present investigations though, of course, other writings have appeared since then on Islamic jihadists and other martyrdom operations…. Michael Roberts, 8 November 2020 … The photographs are fresh additions … and so too the highlighting within the text.

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Allahu Akbar! Missing Dimensions in Contemporary Reportage

Michael Roberts

I recently watched a good part of Stephen Sackur’s dialogue with a French lady politician [whose name I have forgotten]. Sackur pursued his usual hard-line aggressive and bullying mode of questioning – posing vigorous criticisms of the French government’s position on secularism and its hostility to the carving out of sacred domains by French Muslim peoples.  The implicit suggestion[1] was that the British system’s tolerance of religious sensibilities was a better line of policy.[2]

Muslim protests … and the selfie proudly posted by the Islamic terrorist who was responsible for the killings in Nice in October 2020

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The Muslim Commitment to Allah: Desultory Thoughts

An Invitation. Your Thoughts from Michael Roberts  …. sent to SELECT PALS on 31 October 2020

I just caught parts of  THE HARD TALK grilling of a French lady politician [by Stephen Sackur]. One problem with journalism is its wholly presentist focus//limits. In my view the recent jihadist attacks in France cannot be comprehended without looking at the motivations and goals of, say

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Confrontation. Covid-Quarantine. Ordeal.

Michael Roberts

Preamble: I flew to Sydney in Australia on Sri Lankan Airlines UL 606 leaving Katunayake at 17.00 o’clock on Wednesday 16th September. The airport was depressingly empty. Only about 35 passengers were on the flight –undoubtedly due to Australian restrictions. Two were Aussie women and the rest looked dinky-die Sri Lankan.

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Richard Koenigsberg’s Succinct Summary of the Law of Sacrifice

Richard Koenigsberg: “The Proof of the Pudding is in the Dying”

  • The desire to die and kill–in war, genocide, revolution and terrorism–grows out of attachment to an ideology conceived as absolute
  • Dying and killing are undertaken with the purpose of validating an ideology (“proof of the pudding”).

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