Why Aren’t Old People Suicide Bombers?

In our first day in Bethlehem, Palestinian territory, we met a Palestinian Christian gay man who gave Josh a haircut and introduced us to his mother who only could remember French.  He gave us a tour of the house that his father built ninety years ago and let us try some chocolate cake that he made.

If that sounds random, it’s because it was.

He told us that Palestinians that were in their fifties or older did not get stopped at checkpoints.  He says it is because older people don’t strap on bombs because they value their life differently.  He said that older folks don’t cause problems, just the young and crazy ones do.  This study seems to back this up in saying that the average age is 24.5.

I wonder why this is?

Do older people value life more?  Are they more immune to indoctrination?  Have older people just accepted their lot and don’t feel the need to resist any longer?  Do they just not care what they are missing out on?  Do younger people have a better sense of justice or are they just misguided?  Are younger people more susceptible to violence resistance because they don’t understand or because they do understand? Palestinians certainly do not have the luxury of resistance by other means besides their own bodies and it seems they feel like they have no other choice.  Though I’m not sure we can discredit the age of those that take this route as indicative of an immaturity or ‘craziness’ either.

Without getting too much into this here, I recommend The Reverend Dr. Naim Ateek’s, who is the director of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, article on Palestinian Suicide Bombers.

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