I’ve read a few different articles about the Moscow subway suicide bombings that killed 38 people yesterday morning, but until I read this Daily Beast article on the subject, I somehow missed the fact that both of those suicide bombers were women.
Apparently, there is a group of female “terrorists” that have been responsible for a number of major bombings around Russia in the past few years. These women are called “Black Widows” because it is believed that they are seeking vengeance for the murders of their fathers, brothers and husbands during the war in Chechnya.
Daily Beast contributor David Satter writes:
The two Chechen wars, fought in 1994-96 and 1999-2000, were almost unparalleled in their barbarity in the postwar era. The women of Chechnya regularly witnessed the abduction of their husbands, fathers, and brothers, whom Chechen tradition treats as their protectors. In some cases, they were involved in trying to ransom them from Russian custody, an exercise that usually ended with them having to pay to receive a mutilated corpse.The result was a desire for revenge and a break with the Chechen tradition that men do not send women into war. The Black Widows have participated in two-thirds of the almost 40 rebel attacks that have killed about 900 persons in Russia in the last ten years. In the words of the murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, they “are trying to force Russians to feel the same pain that they have felt.”
I’ve always had a hard time understanding how anyone could be so angry and full of despair and convicted in his beliefs that he would consider strapping a bomb to himself and blowing up forty people. But hearing about what these women had to go through makes the situation a little more real for me. If my husband or male relative was abducted and, after months of fear and desperation, I paid a huge amount of money only to have his mutilated dead body returned to me, I very well might be capable of blowing myself up in a subway at rush hour.
I think, all too often, we are quick to associate suicide bombers with the Middle East and the religion of Islam. We think that it’s because of their religious teachings–19 virgins awaiting them in heaven!– that teenagers randomly blow themselves up in public squares, or that it’s because of the oppressive culture of the Muslim world that those people don’t mind not being in it anymore. In reality, these people are in pain. They have lost parents and siblings in wars and random attacks. And the longer we keep our armies in Afghanistan and Iraq, occasionally blowing up innocent people and raiding the houses of innocent families in an attempt to catch the bad guys, the more “terrorists” we will continue to create.
Right now, as I’m writing this, MSNBC is doing a segment on whether the Chechnyan suicide bombers are linked to Al Qaeda. Give me a break, MSNBC. Do you want to send an army over to Russia to take these people out too? Are they now part of the Axis of Evil? These people don’t need to be shot or imprisoned. They need a good team of therapists, a lifetime supply of anti-depressants and a support group.