Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The impact of indoctrination on young children

The Cult of Martyrdom: Consequences for the possibility of peace

The value of a child’s life has become subordinate to the aspirations of militant Islam. Palestinian children and teenagers are directly involved in terror attacks, especially suicide bombings. But how has the celebration of violence against Israelis become so deeply ingrained in Palestinian culture?

School textbooks and websites are used with its powerful use of visual images and interactive nature, to glorify martyrdom and to convince Palestinian children to engage in life-threatening behaviour. The objective of this material is to manipulate children’s minds and emotions by frequently broadcasting images of blood and dead children.

One such website, .net, an alleged Hamas movement web magazine for children and youth exemplifies the pervasive indoctrination of the younger generation into the cult of martyrdom. The Jewish people and the State of Israel are delegitimized, with the portrayal of Jews as enemies of mankind and killers of prophets. The concern is that a de facto government is using its position of authority to promote incitement and arguably giving a sense of legitimacy to the material in question.

Whilst the web and reading material has a prominent role in the indoctrination process two other factors need to be considered. The inextricable link between the belief that martyrdom is rewarded by an afterlife of eternal bliss and the financial reward given to families of suicide bombers further glorifies the violence.

On the roadmap to peace, the culture of martyrdom and its pervasiveness in the lives of Palestinian children must be addressed. There must be a re-education of the value of life over death. Young minds are highly impressionable and it is in the best interests of both Israelis and Palestinians to ensure that children are not exposed to such provocative and manipulative material.

1 comment:

William said...

Really well done Joanna - thank you for these powerful thoughts