Egyptian psychiatrist: on suicide bombers
Dr Sanity calls attention to a program that aired in July of 2005 on Al-Arabiya TV, featuring the wife and young children of a Palestinian suicide bomber named Salah Ghandour. The following text is taken from the MEMRI translation of the interview. Here is an excerpt:
Reporter: "Hizbullah filmed Salah's operation and final message, and the entire program was aired on Al-Manar TV, which belongs to Hizbullah."
Salah Ghandour's son: "This is the operation that daddy carried out. This is the convoy that came from here, from Palestine. This is his operation..."
Salah Ghandour's daughter: "This is the place of the operation in which he was gone."
Salah Ghandour's son: "This is the car daddy blew up."
Maha Ghandour: "Of course I miss him and remember his words. Sometimes it saddens me, but I love to watch him."
When the widow says, "I love to watch him," she is apparently referring to the film of his matyrdom "operation," which the children seem to have watched, as well.
As Dr Sanity writes, "Do you imagine that these children will grow up to be psychologically healthy and productive individuals in the new Palestinian state?" And a commenter on the thread asks Dr. Sanity, "As a mental health professional, what do you make of this woman's attitude?" Dr. Sanity's answer can be found here.
Unfortunately, such attitudes as those expressed by Salah Ghandour's family seem far from unusual among people in that part of the world; the fact that Palestinian culture seems to revel in and glorify death to an unusual extent has been remarked upon many times. Although it doesn't cut much ice with the PC "it's racist to judge any culture, with the exceptions of the US and Israel" crowd, the best evidence is that Palestinian society has some markedly unhealthy traits in the psychological sense--and, in addition, any already-existent emotional problems of Palestinians are eagerly exploited by those whose business it is to enlist new bodies for suicide matyrdom. One thing feeds into the other, and vice-versa.
One especially shocking aspect of this "cycle of violence" (and this time it really is a cycle of violence) is the cooperation of some Arab mental health professionals themselves in promoting the near-worship of suicide bombers by the society as a whole. MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, does an invaluable service by offering translations of Arabic texts of newspaper articles and television programs, giving us a window on a dark and inverted world, one in which famous psychiatrists act as shills for those who choose to blow themselves apart in the act of doing the same to innocent women and children.
Many of you are no doubt familiar with this MEMRI article, which received quite a bit of blogosphere publicity when it first came out. But, in light of Dr. Sanity's post, I thought I'd point it out again.
Here is what passes for psychological health, according to Dr. 'Adel Sadeq, whose credentials as a psychiatrist are impeccable--he is chairman of the Arab Psychiatrists Association and head of the Department of Psychiatry at 'Ein Shams University in Cairo, and a recipient of the 1990 Egyptian State Prize. During an April 2002 interview on Iqraa, a Saudi-Egyptian satellite television channel, Dr. Sadeq said the following:
When the [suicide bomber] dies a martyr's death, he attains the height of bliss. As a professional psychiatrist, I say that the height of bliss comes with the end of the countdown: ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. And then, you press the button to blow yourself up. When the martyr reaches 'one,' and then 'boom,' he explodes, and senses himself flying, because he knows for certain that he is not dead. It is a transition to another, more beautiful world, because he knows very well that within seconds he will see the light of the Creator...
This war will not end, and anyone who deludes himself that there will be peace must understand that Israel did not come to this region to love the Arabs or to normalize relations with them. Anyone who thinks that peace will come, either now or in the future, has limited historical vision. Either we will exist or we will not exist. Either the Israelis or the Palestinians - there is no third option...
There are no Israeli civilians. They are all plunderers. History teaches this. Remove the Apache [helicopter] from the equation, leave them one-on-one with the Palestinian people with the only weapon [for both sides] being dynamite. Then you will see all the Israelis leave, because among them there is not even one man willing to don a belt of dynamite...
The goal of all of us is to liberate Palestine from the Israeli aggressors. To use words that some people no longer like to use today: "We will throw Israel into the sea." This phrase, by the way, is the truth. Either they will throw us into the sea, or we will throw them into the sea. There is no middle ground. Coexistence is total nonsense...
The real means of dealing with Israel directly is those who blow themselves up. According to what I see in the battle arena, there is no [other means] except for the pure, noble Palestinian bodies. This is the only Arab weapon there is, and anyone who says otherwise is a conspirator...
Remember, this man is chairman of the Arab Psychiatrists Association and head of the Department of Psychiatry at a major Cairo university. He is not on the fringes of Egyptian society nor of his profession; he is at the center of it.
Now, is it any wonder that Salah Ghandour's wife loves to watch films of her husband's suicide "operation?"