On 27 January 2002, Wafa Idris blew herself up in a shopping mall in Jerusalem, killing one Israeli and injuring dozens of others. She was the first female martyr (shahida) of the Al-Aqsa intifada. Based on interviews with the families of the six women who have killed themselves in suicide attacks on Israel, and with others who have tried and ...
On 27 January 2002, Wafa Idris blew herself up in a shopping mall in Jerusalem, killing one Israeli and injuring dozens of others. She was the first female martyr (shahida) of the Al-Aqsa intifada. Based on interviews with the families of the six women who have killed themselves in suicide attacks on Israel, and with others who have tried and failed to sacrifice themselves for the Palestinian cause, Army of Roses is an extraordinary inquiry into the forces that drove Idris, and others of the Occupied Territories into such desperate acts of self-destruction. The women who seek martyrdom are often marginalised within Palestinian society, and the process by which they commit themselves to suicide is a terrifying combination of implacable personal commitment and a sophisticated regime of encouragement and psychological control. Veteran Middle East investigative journalist Barbara Victor examines the intense pressure of living under occupation, exploring in particular the social and familial dynamics, and the manipulations of Palestine's political leadership as they feed into and energise both the phenomenon of the shahida and the wider politics of suicidal terrorism. Hers is one of the most serious attempts yet to reveal not just the human cost of the Israeli occupation but also the human beings who live and die behind the headlines and the blurred visuals of the 24-hour newsfeeds. In an age grown ever more used to the mind-numbing spectacle of self-destruction, it remains imperative to understand the awful possibilities and consequences of an unrelenting desperation.
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