Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blog #7: Suicide Bomber Strikes Bus in Southern Russia

When Naida Asiyalova, a young Muslim woman, got on the number 29 bus in the city of Volgograd in Moscow no one thought that she would be capable of such a horrific deed. Yet, 30 year old Naida Asiyalova was the suicide bomber responsible for "killing six passengers in addition to herself, and wounding at least 33 others". Investigators immediately called this incident a terrorist attack and is one of the many violent cases that they have seen in North Causasus that has "spilled into the Russian heartland". It has been discovered that Asiyalova's husband is in charge of demolitions and explosives for a rebel group in Makhachkala, a place where the Russian police have been trying to calm Muslim rebels. Commentators believe that this incident shows how the rebels are able to commit these abominable acts despite the government's attempt to stop Caucasus rebels. 

The investigators who said that this case is an act of terrorism have probable cause to say so because suicide bombings is a method of terrorism that is often used by rebel groups. In fact, research shows that terrorist groups tend to favor bombings because it causes the most damage while inciting social outrage and confusion which is exactly what these rebel terrorist groups want. Also, the definition of terrorism that has been discussed in class about how terrorism is a form of collective violence with a core focus of inciting fear and creating the greatest psychological impact while targeting non-combatants for a political goal, fits this case perfectly. The article itself provides an abundant amount of information on this tragic event and yet one thing is still unclear, what was Naida Asiyalova's motive? One can simply conclude that the motive is to bring about terror and although that is a correct motive, it isn't very specific. The article talks about "black widows" who are wives of slain rebel soldiers who are often recruited for these suicide bombings. However, Ms. Asiyalova’s husband is still alive and may actually be the who supplied her with the explosives. It is interesting that the article included that Ms. Asiyalova had a serious illness. A conclusion can be drawn from this that Naida Asiyalova was recruited or quite possibly even volunteered for the job because she may not have much time left to do to the illness and decided to sacrifice herself for the work of her people. This kind of thinking is very common among suicide bombers and those who support suicide bombings hold the bombers in high esteem. The perpetrators believe that the victims are far from innocent and the bombers are dying for faith and therefore are martyrs and soldiers of faith. This method of viewing the casualties would most likely mean that the more casualties there were, the better. The main reason that rebel groups favor bombs as their method of choice is because it is easy to make, highly low-profile and yet causes immense damage. Suicide bombings are probably the most favorable because of how low-profile it is. In relation this bus bombing, no one would have expected a young Muslim woman to be the one to set off a bomb that would kill her and those in her proximity. Socialization plays a lot into the reason why the rebel group chose to use a woman. The reason why they used Ms.Asiyalova is because they knew with extreme certainty that no one would have seen it coming because Naida Asiyalova is a woman and through socialization, people do not expect women to engage in violent behavior. Society tells its people that women are supposed to be soft, gentle and submissive which are not characteristics of a suicide bomber. This bombing shattered the pre-conceived notions of how a woman should behave. It is clear that those behind this tragic incident knew very well how people are socialized and decided to use it to their advantage.

Although the reason why terrorist groups favor bombs is obvious, it does not make events like this any easier to hear. The power terrorism is the ability to quickly get the attention of the world and attract headlines. However, the weakness of terrorism is that there isn't a lasting change that these rebel groups want. 9/11 is the perfect example. Instead of creating a division which the terrorists wanted, the 9/11 terrorist attack, led to national unity and patriotism. In order for these rebel groups to stop their terrorist acts, they must realize that violent attacks will only gain have temporary attention. It is crucial that these groups realize that non-violent movements can be slow but is often times more lasting in consequences and is most likely the only way out of the cycle of terror that the world is in.

Catherine Choi

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