Martyrs: Innocence, Vengeance, and Despair in the Middle East

In This Review

Martyrs: Innocence, Vengeance, and Despair in the Middle East

By Joyce M. Davis
Palgrave Macmillan, 2003
224 pp. $24.95
Purchase

Through interviews with those directly affected by terrorism -- relatives of both suicide bombers and their innocent victims -- Davis has managed to boil this subject down to its frightening and heartbreaking human dimension. She includes stories of Iranian child soldiers in the brutal Iran-Iraq War and the September 11 hijackers, but most of her coverage is devoted to Palestinian suicide bombers, including two chilling profiles of those who train volunteers for suicide missions. In telling these individual stories, Davis weaves in descriptions of the organizations involved, the diverse views of Muslim scholars on suicide bombings, and the opinions of those deemed to be "terrorism experts." A chapter titled "Can They Be Stopped?" examines various approaches to fighting terrorism. Davis insists that "they" hate "us" because of the specifics of U.S. policy, but notes that "they" are a small minority of Muslims. The implicit conclusion is that both policy changes and a better dialogue with moderate Muslims are needed.