"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Suicide Bomber Game: Viral Video

First the video, then British press reports, followed by some worthless comments.

The YouTube poster says he found the video posted on Facebook by this guy, but the link now says the video is unavailable.

The London Daily Telegraph says:
A video believed to feature Pashtun school children in south-east Afghanistan recreating a terrorist attack has been posted on social networking sites.

The 84-second clip appears to show a veiled boy bid farewell to his friends before approaching a group of children nearby and blowing himself up.

Sand is tossed in the air to simulate the detonation as children fall to the ground. As the dust settles, their playmates gather round and pretend to identify the dead.

The amateur video has been circulated on the internet in Pakistan in recent days and has drawn mixed reactions in the region.

"It's horrifying and alarming. These children have become fascinated by bombers rather than condemning them," Salma Jafar of Save the Children UK in Pakistan told The Guardian.

Pakistani media commentator Fasi Zaka called the suicide bomber clip "the most amazing amateur video I've ever seen".

"It's disturbing but also sophisticated and creative – a one-camera shot that captures it all," he said. "They are reproducing what they see in their lives around them," he added.

While the spontaneity of the production has been questioned by some viewers, who observed that the height of the camera indicates it was filmed by an older member of the group, the video highlights the disturbing psychological impact of Taliban violence on the youth of the region.

The article in The Guardian says:
The suicide bomber, his faced cloaked in black, solemnly approaches a line of comrades, hugging each one in turn. Wailing jihadi chants fill the air. The bomber turns and makes for his target. A sentry tries to stop him but he tugs the cord.

Boom! Smoke fills the air and bodies go flying. As the dust settles a crowd rushes forward to examine the dead – some of whom seem to be struggling not to giggle.

This amateur video of Pashtun children enacting a suicide bombing has circulated on the internet in Pakistan in recent days, highlighting the disturbing psychological impact of Taliban violence on a generation.

The unsettling 84-second clip has divided opinions, with some amused by the smiling child actors and fake explosions; others appalled by evidence that suicide bombers have become playground heroes of sorts.

"It's horrifying and alarming. These children have become fascinated by bombers rather than condemning them," said Salma Jafar of Save the Children UK in Pakistan.

"If they glamorise violence now, they can become part of it later in life."

The origins of the homemade video, which first surfaced about a week ago, are unknown.

Ahsan Masood, a Pashtun from Waziristan who posted it on Facebook, said he believed it had been filmed in Khost, Afghanistan.

Masood, who works as a truck driver in the UAE, said he received the video from a friend's mobile phone. "I thought it was funny," he said.
The video is obviously staged. It's not simply random footage of children at play: the video quality is too great, and the children's movements are too limited and purposeful. What comes through to us is the happy and enthusiastic participation of the children.

The American equivalent would be a group of kids playing out a gangland drive-by shooting: half the kids (wearing blue do-rags) ride their bikes past a group of kids (wearing red do-rags) hanging out on the corner, and pretend to gun them down.  The kids who get shot clearly have the best parts, what with gruesome facial expressions and much flopping around.

We don't think this is "chilling" or "gruesome" or any particular indication that South Asia and the Middle East are producing a generation of sociopathic suicide bombers.  We are aware of no study suggesting that those of us who grew up playing Cops & Robbers or Cowboys & Indians have produced a disproportionate number of adult burglars.


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