Posted by: cochinblogger | February 10, 2010

Anatomy of a Suicide Bombing

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Some female suicide bombers use pregnancy as a disguise, not only because it is easy to conceal explosives, but also because it weakens the resolve of police officers to see a mother. Each of them, of course, has his own. A transgression against a mother is a universal transgression; when a man treats a mother kindly, he imagines that somewhere else, someone is getting up on a train to offer a seat to his own mother, or perhaps helping her to carry her groceries from the market. He is remembering what his wife looked like in her first trimester; he is thinking of his younger siblings or perhaps his own children. He is thinking of life, and of repetition, and of things happening again, as they have happened to him. He is not thinking that anyone carrying a belly that size, that shape, would carry death.

This is why it is the best disguise. And that is why I was sick; I knew that the woman in the office building, who had ridden the elevator to the top floor, must be Saavi. Because the voice on the radio had said that: they had been able to tell that the bomber’s pregnancy was not a disguise, but real. I knew how she had become pregnant; I had had to tell her that she was. And I knew the bomber had to be her. Anyone but Saavi would have faked it.

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This was what our mothers had warned us about: men and their desires, men and their wills, men and their bodies encroaching on ours. Some man had taken everything inside her house that was sacred; some man had taken everything inside her that she thought sacred.

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This is a lovely, though tragic, short story set in Sri Lanka. A Tamil woman who became pregnant when brutally raped by a soldier takes revenge by blowing herself up in a government office in Colombo. Dhanu, the woman who blew herself up and took Rajiv Gandhi with her, was supposedly raped by Indian soldiers in Sri Lanka. I first became aware of the atrocities inflicted on the Tamils in Sri Lanka through a book by Anita Pratap, the pioneering journalist. The LTTE did not spring into existence out of thin air; the soil was ripe for such an organization. Today, the LTTE is gone, but peace continues to elude Sri Lanka.

Posted from Diigo.

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