‘The Making of a Martyr’ Documentary Debunks Media Myths About Terrorists

June 2nd, 2007 12:08 PM

On Saturday, NewsBusters shared a truly unnerving graduation video from a Hamas kindergarten in Gaza. The point of the article was to demonstrate how the media meme of terrorism being largely a function of poverty and despair is an inaccurate and incomplete representation.

Almost serendipitously, Charles Johnson just hours before wrote about a 2006 documentary made by Brooke Goldstein and filmed in the West Bank detailing how children in this region are being bred to be terrorists.

As reported by the New York Sun Friday (emphasis added throughout):

In the interviews, parents of suicide bombers sit in living rooms adorned with posters of their dead, and teenage terrorists sit with their hands tensely gripping machine guns that rest against their knees as they answer Ms. Goldstein's questions.


[T]he fanaticism was worse than she ever imagined. "The most shocking thing was reconciling the normal appearance of these kids and what was coming out of their mouths," she said. "I was holding these beautiful children in my lap, and my translator was translating words of hate."

The story was always the same. "No child ever said, ‘I don't want to be a martyr.' They talked about fame, paradise, virgins, and Ferris wheels [after death]. They were happy to tell me they hated Jews," she said.

The children were more fanatical than their parents. "When we interviewed Hussam's family for the film, his parents were distraught. They don't believe in this whole child suicide bomber concept," Ms. Goldstein said. "Then I interviewed his sister, who was like, ‘I'm so proud of my brother. Hamas says he's a hero.' At one point she had a loser, dwarf, mentally handicapped brother. Now she's the coolest girl in class, and very proud."


Now 26, Ms. Goldstein, who finished law school in 2005, is setting up an international think tank of attorneys, psychiatrists, and policy makers to address the problem of recruiting children for terror. "It's a problem everyone should be concerned about," she said. "There are child suicide bombers now in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it's being orchestrated by adults."

How does all this fit into the media meme of terrorists mostly being unemployed men under the age of 25 who feel they have nothing to live for, and more to die for?