Avoiding Armageddon
From the Experts

Voices from - Silent Killers: Poisons and Plagues

Voices from - Nuclear Nightmares: Losing Control

Voices from - The New Face of Terror: Upping the Ante
Daniel Benjamin
Peter Bergen
Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj
Dr. Bruce Hoffman

Voices from - Confronting Terrorism: Turning the Tide

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Voices from "The New Face of Terror: Upping the Ante"

Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj

Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj is the founder and director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP). He is also the Commissioner-General of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights. He currently lives in Gaza and is an expert on the mental impact that the violence in the area has on children growing up in Gaza. He has also written extensively on the subject, in English as well as in Arabic.

"A 17-year-old boy in Gaza today is somebody who thinks of life as in a prison. He's not allowed to leave Gaza. He's not allowed sometimes even to cross between cities within the Gaza strip, because the Israelis most of the time now block the way for people to move within [the] Gaza strip itself.

"He's somebody who has seen so much of bombing, of killing, of murder, of blood, of humiliation. And he doesn't think that he has a future as a scientist, as a doctor, as an engineer. Sadly and tragically, many of them think that the best thing to do is to be a martyr - which tells you about the psychology of these people - that this has become an equivalent to life."

"You see, I look at this as a product of the environment. People are not born to become martyrs. People are not born to become heroes. People are the product of the environment. You bring an environment of hopelessness and despair, you have a martyr, somebody who thinks death is the beginning of life."

"You bring an environment of hope and joy, and people then will do everything to stop [the] dying of people, or killing, or murder, and try to live in [a] happy environment."

"There is definitely a moment for any of the potential martyr when he decides to be one. But there is a process that takes them through this path, a process of a kind of transformation within him. And then the moment comes when he meets somebody - in a mosque, or in a street, or in a school, or wherever - and groups of people who are ready to invite or take in such young, potential martyr are there."

   Read more about "The New Face of Terror: Upping the Ante" in the Episode Gallery.
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