4.02.2011

Book Review-The Banality of Suicide Terrorism

Book Review-The Banality of Suicide Terrorism by Nancy Hartevelt Koburn
ISBN: 978-1-59797-9
Russ Stover
Nancy Koburn is a psychoanalyst who specializes in trauma. She has been researching terrorism for more than twenty years and is an expert on the Somali diaspora in the US and is a graduate of the military's Human Terrain Analysis program.
In The Banality of Suicide Terrorism Nancy Koburn delves into the little researched area of the mother-child relationship and its role in terrorism.
Like the psychological motivations of serial killers, the suicide terrorist's mindset toward their goal of killing themselves and others may stem from something deep in childhood. She brings up many cultural practices common to the Arabs and the way they raise children that even the most well read will find surprising and interesting. The key aspect is the fear of abandonment that rises out of the separation from what she calls the Early Mother when boy children get to a certain age. From then on they are treated differently and better than their sisters and even their mothers. Such a shift creates considerable confusion which in turn creates disturbed mental states in some people. This fear leads them to react to losing a loved one, being ignored by peers, and alienation by looking for something to fill that hole and terrorist groups are quick to fill in.
She goes on to point out the significant similarities between Judaism and Islam and how in many ways Islam mirrors the older religion. There is a sort of love-hate between Islam and the other religions of Abraham. And like seen in serial killers, domestic violence, and other cases terrorists attack and kill what they love.
If there is any criticism of the book this reviewer would say that it is not lay friendly. It is definitely a book where the reader has had to have had at least a class or two in psychology and some reading in terrorism in general. However, the Banality of Suicide Terrorism opens the door to the deep seated psychological underpinnings of one of the worst plagues of the modern day

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