Abundant life all round

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Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 02:23 am

Terry Eagleton is professor of cultural theory at Manchester University, which possibly explains his attraction to suicide:

While insurgents have been blowing themselves apart in Israel and Iraq, a silence has prevailed about what suicide bombing actually involves. Like hunger strikers, suicide bombers are not necessarily in love with death.

Their head-removing comrades respectfully disagree.

They kill themselves because they can see no other way of attaining justice; and the fact that they have to do so is part of the injustice.

Got the interview transcripts to back this up, mate? As well, suicide bombers don’t merely kill themselves; they kill others. At what point will Eagleton consider the murders of those targeted by his human justice-seeking missiles?

It is possible to act in a way that makes your death inevitable without actually desiring it. Those who leapt from the World Trade Centre to avoid being incinerated were not seeking death, even though there was no way they could have avoided it.

You might think this the single most revolting comment you’ll likely read all year. Perhaps it is, although Eagleton immediately attempts a yet more disgusting observation:

Ordinary, non-political suicides are those whose lives have come to feel worthless to them, and who, accordingly, need a quick way out. Martyrs are more or less the opposite. People like Rosa Luxemburg or Steve Biko give up what they see as precious (their lives) for an even more valuable cause. They die not because they see death as desirable in itself, but in the name of a more abundant life all round.

Abundant life for all! Through the gift of suicide bombing!

Suicide bombers also die in the name of a better life for others; it is just that, unlike martyrs, they take others with them in the process.

Key phrase: “It is just that …�? Such a minor distinction. Why quibble?

The martyr bets his life on a future of justice and freedom; the suicide bomber bets your life on it. But both believe that a life is only worth living if it contains something worth dying for.

Teenage poetry meets Islamofascism. Sweet.

On this theory, what makes existence meaningful is what you are prepared to relinquish it for. This used to be known as God; in modern times it is mostly known as the nation. For Islamic radicals it is both inseparably.

On the contrary; for Semtex-swathed Islamic radicals, separation is inevitable.

The bomber forces a contrast between the extreme kind of self-determination involved in taking his own life and the lack of such self-determination in his everyday existence. If he could live in the way he dies, he would not need to die.

Living in the way he dies would require the rest of us to die.

At least his death can be his death, and thus a taste of freedom. The only form of sovereignty left to you is the power to dispose of your own death.

Eagleton has already forgotten the suicide bomber’s primary aim.

Suicide, as Dostoevsky recognised, means the death of God, since you usurp his divine monopoly over life and death. What more breathtaking form of omnipotence than to do away with yourself for all eternity?

To remind Terry: they kill other people. Children. The elderly. Innocents.

Suicide bombers and hunger strikers are out to transform weakness into power.

The Melbourne Age, by running this obscene piece, has transformed “mainstream broadsheet�? into “fiesty new competitor for tiny pro-terror niche market�?. Send a letter.

Posted by Tim B. on 01/27/2005 at 09:52 AM
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