Inside a school for suicide bombers

I discovered earlier today this video up on the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) website. I’ve been vaguely aware of TED for a while, but this TED Talk caught my attention, for obvious reasons. Its given by a female documentary maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who hails from Pakistan.

Entitled ‘Inside a school for suicide bombers’, her talk revolves around her new documentary, ‘Children of the Taliban’. The video shown during the talk centres on excerpts from Taliban propaganda coupled with interviews Obain-Chinoy has conducted with children who have been through the schools she claims the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) are now running expressly to indoctrinate children.

The talk outlines what Obaid-Chinoy beleives is the TTP’s five-step process for turning young boys into suicide attackers:

  1. The recruiters target large, poor rural families who can’t afford to look after all their children; with promises that their kids will be fed, sheltered and educated, the parents give up their children to the recruiters.
  2. The children are taken to madrassas where they are taught to read the Koran, in Arabic (which they don’t understand). So they are reliant on the instructors to teach and interpret the Koran for them. The kids are banned from reading or listening to any external media source, thereby isolating them from all external views and events.
  3. The kids are taught to hate the world they live in, through a process of beatings, underfeeding, and a ban on any form of recreation. All the children do is read the Koran for eight hours at a time.
  4. Older Taliban fighters are then brought in to tell the kids about the glories of martyrdom and the rewards that will await them in the afterlife if they sacrifice themselves.
  5. The Taliban show the children propaganda films showing the deaths of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, telling them that the Western powers and their local client states do not care about civilian casualties and thus civilians who support the government are legitimate targets.

Its a pretty interesting talk, particulalry the segment where she interviews a boy who has been through the process and she asks him:

‘Do you want to carry out a suicide attack?’. To which he replies ‘I would love to. But only if I get permission from my Dad. When I look at suicide bombers younger than me, or my age, I get so inspired by their terrific attacks’.

Time to start trawling through the TED archive perhaps.

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