Arnon Grunberg


Starving dogs

An informative article by Rod Nordland in today’s Herald Tribune: “Suicide bombings are an imported tactic that took root slowly here [in Afghanistan]. In the first four years of the conflict, there were only five suicide attacks, according to a United Nations report in 2007. The report also noted that 80 percent of the victims were civilians.
In 2007, the Taliban enlisted a 6-year-old boy, put a bomb vest on him and told him to go up to a group of soldiers and push a button. They told him flowers would shoot out, but the boy was not naïve enough to fall for it; instead he told authorities and they managed to get the vest off safely.”

If I’m not mistaken The Shining Path in Peru enlisted children as suicide bombers. At least that’s what John Malkovich’s movie “The Dancer Upstairs”, based on a novel by Nicholas Shakespeare, suggests.

Rod Nordland ends his article with a poignant note: ‘The martyrdom testament videos that are so common in other countries are unknown here. “Such individual recognition,” said the United Nations report, “is largely absent in Afghanistan.” Instead, these suicide bombers are buried secretly at a potter’s field in a wasteland at the foot of a mountain, at Kol-e-Hashmat Khan, a neighborhood of junkyards on the outskirts of Kabul. A policeman on duty there said no one ever visited. Many of the unmarked graves have been dug open by starving dogs, which feast on the remains.’