The Paradise of Suicide Bombers
Yesterday the Peshawar-based journalists were flown in the military helicopters to Nawaz Kot area in South Waziristan; where the Taliban had established a fake paradise. According to the journalists who took the round of the place, the walls of the rooms were painted with the rivers overflowing with milk and honey, picturesque valleys and the beautiful Hoors.
It’s clear now how these Taliban employed every technique in the book to lure and brainwash the teenagers; who would later be used as suicide bombers. The same house where make-believe paradise was created had a ‘slaughterhouse’ for murdering security forces and most probably those kidnapped for ransom.
The dictionary meaning of the brainwashing is: Intensive, forcible indoctrination, usually political or religious, aimed at destroying a person’s basic convictions and attitudes and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs. In the literary context we find the best example of brainwashed people in George Orwell’s novel 1984. In the novel that is set in London of 1984 all the inhabitants are living mechanical lives with no freedom whatsoever. Those who try to rebel meet with tragic end! At the same time their country is at war… continuous and never ending war.
The idea of brainwashing could also be found in the unclassified CIA documents where they conducted a series of experiments on people in order to ascertain whether they could mold their thinking and then use the subjects for their interests. The concept of Manchurian Candidate is also the same. Where a person is controlled through several brainwashing techniques and his mind doesn’t remain in his own control. Such a person does what he’s been directed by his controller.
Preparing to Die
Preparing the young boys to die is not an easy task, not even if they hail from the poor and battered families. Still how these Taliban in the mountains can so easily prepare the brigade of suicide bombers? One thing is that since majority of these bombers hail from illiterate families with no religious or other education, their parents usually never take pain to transfer the ethics or principles of morality and simply hand over their children to the local Jihadis who promise education, food and shelter all under the same roof. That is the first step of recruitment.
Once the child is away from family these recruiters can do anything they like with them. It includes, training them to make bombs and carrying out suicide mission and gun battle etc. Every mission needs motivation in life. And these young would-be suicide bombers are motivated by making believe that this worldly life has no meaning; the real life is what awaits them in the paradise with all the voluptuous Hoors and the best of delicacies. It doesn’t take much effort to distort any Quranic verse or Hadith according to their own vested interests because these children are usually never trained to question. And those who have doubts have no choice; they’d either be slaughtered and if not then to blow themselves up. The use of inducing drugs couldn’t be ruled out either as one of the would-be suicide bombers, captured in Bajaur by the security forces said, he had been given drugs before sending out on his mission to kill the Imam of a local mosque.
Paradise of the Assassins
I was quite taken aback to read about the discovery of an artificial paradise. Till date we were only aware about the motivating religious songs and training videos; the posters of dead and would-be suicide bombers etc. But when I read about a make-believe paradise created by Taliban in the far flung area of Waziristan, instantly, a remarkable Urdu novel Firdous-e-Bari’n written by Abdul Haleem Sharar in 1899 came to my mind. My first introduction with this novel happened when I read a chapter from this novel titled Pario’n Ka Ghol in our Urdu text book. I found it quite interesting and bought the novel.
The novel talks about a secret society called the Sect of Spirituality. The main aim of this sect is to rule out Islam and for that reason they establish a fake paradise in the beautiful and unreachable mountains. Their network of spies is impeccable and when they successfully brainwash people they use them as assassins. Once the job is done, the assassin is drugged and brought to the artificial paradise. That is his reward for carrying out the heinous crime of assassination of a known figure while the assassin believes he is living an afterlife.
It boggles my mind as to how true and relevant the story of that novel is to this age. I am not sure about the truth of historical context of Firdous-e-Bari’n but here is one account:
Firdous e Bareen (or فردوس برین in Persian and Urdu) was the name of the garden, supposedly located in the fortress of Alamut, in the Elburz mountains of Northern Iran, in which Hassan-i-Sabah and his band of Nizari Ismaili Shiite Hashshashin took refuge.
According to some accounts, this garden, imitating paradise or heaven, was furnished with all luxuries of life, even a rivulet of wine and was used to recruit Sabah’s assassins. The recruit was drugged to simulate “dying,” only to later awaken in a garden and be served a sumptuous feast by virgins. The supplicant was then convinced he was in Heaven and that Sabah was a minion of the divinity and that all of his orders should be followed, even to death.
The novel Firdous e Bareen, written by Indian Muslim novelist Abdul Halim Sharar, gives a biographical account of Hassan, a youth lured and captured by Sabah’s men and then forced into his assassination machinery.
This only leaves me with certain questions. Are Taliban that advance and successful with their techniques to prepare the hoards of suicide bombers – the same bombers who come to cities and wreak havoc on the innocent people? Is there any way to counter the propaganda unleashed by Taliban? Can we change the minds of an illiterate youth who set out in search of the real paradise but end up in the paradise of fools?