The Road to Martyrs' Square: A Journey into the World of the Suicide Bomber

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9780195116007: The Road to Martyrs' Square: A Journey into the World of the Suicide Bomber
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Combining in equal measure the critical and the compassionate, the tragic and the absurd, this memoir chronicles two interlocking, often clashing journeys--an exploration of the cult of martyrdom in the underground media of the intifada, on the one hand, and on the other, the struggle for friendship across seemingly impossible divides.
The authors lived for six months with a Palestinian refugee family in the Gaza Strip at the beginning of the intifada, and then for the next six years, collected graffiti, videotapes, audiocassettes, posters, and other street media in over one hundred towns in the West Bank and Gaza. Their book is based on these primary materials (with 66 illustrations included) as well as dozens of interviews with leaders and followers, including a rare interview with a Hamas suicide bomber whose bomb failed to explode on an Israeli bus in Jerusalem. Dispensing with the cliches and platitudes surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the book provides access to materials hitherto unavailable and presents in a new and compelling voice the master scripts of the intifada and the rise of the suicide bomber. Disseminated by nationalists and Islamists alike, these materials make it clear that the suicide bomber is not just an Islamist phenomenon but rather a widely shared fantasy that skips across religious and political divides. Indeed, the fantasy of the suicide bomber, the authors suggest, is global in scope.
Here is an important and timely work that will challenge the way we think about the intifada, suicide bombers, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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About the Author:


Anne Marie Oliver and Paul F. Steinberg are writers based in Portland, Oregon. They are Research Scholars in Global and International Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara and former Visiting Scholars at the Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard.

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"When we first moved to Gaza in 1988, not long after the intifada had broken out, Sheikh Ahmad Yasin of the Islamic Resistance Movement--better known by its acronym Hamas--was virtually unknown. By the time we left the area five years later, a series of suicide bombings had made him famous around the world, and ordinary people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip had begun to express some degree of sympathy with the man and the movement. Even good friends began to renounce the leftist ideology of their youth, gave up occasional drinking sprees, got married, and got religion. Getting religion obviously didn't mean you were necessarily a Hamasawi, a Hamas devotee, but in the highly politicized world of the Bank and Strip, the lines between the two were easily blurred."

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9780195305593: The Road to Martyrs' Square: A Journey into the World of the Suicide Bomber

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ISBN 10:  0195305590 ISBN 13:  9780195305593
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2006
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