The Road to Martyrs' Square

The Road to Martyrs' Square : A Journey into the World of the Suicide Bomber

3.61 (31 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this unique study, the authors go deep into the world of the Palestinian group Hamas, in an effort to understand what motivates the young men of the movement to lay down their lives in suicidal act of murder. Oliver and Steinberg have conducted hundreds of interviews in Gaza and the West Bank, and gathered an immense archive of primary sources. These materials reveal the elaborated world-view of the movement and the means by which the call to martyrdom is successfully propagated. The authors focus on the case of a single boy, Hamza Abu-Surur. Commanded to carry out "a martyrdom action" against a crowded Israeli civilian bus, Abu-Surur records his last words and testament on videotape, to be sold on the street after his death as a monument to his sacrifice and an example to emulate. With the aid of ready-made scripts Abu-Surur has rehearsed and choreographed his own death many times. Oliver and Steinberg find echos of these scripts of martyrdom and defiance as far back as the Ottoman period, centuries rather than decades ago.
But while many aspects of Hamas are culture specific, they say, the impulses upon which it draws are more universal; for those who see themselves as powerless, they argue, the taking control of death hold out a seductive promise of personal and collective empowerment.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 237 pages
  • 160 x 236.2 x 27.9mm | 567g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous halftones
  • 0195116003
  • 9780195116007
  • 2,096,664

Review quote

Anne Marie Oliver and Paul Steinberg's The Road to Martyrs' Square is more likely to feed than satiate our fascination. This is a highly unusual and - subject matter notwithstanding - thoroughly enjoyable book. Oliver and Steinberg are interested in drawing a portrait, not analysing a movement. They write with humour and often affection for their subjects, and keep their own personalities entirely out of the story. FT Magazine
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About Anne Marie Oliver

Anne Marie Oliver and Paul F. Steinberg are writers based in Portland, Oregon. They are Research Scholars in Global and International Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara and former Visiting Scholars at the Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard.
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Rating details

31 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
5 29% (9)
4 26% (8)
3 23% (7)
2 23% (7)
1 0% (0)
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