My Daughter the Terrorist

The question is poignant: What makes anyone want to blow themselves up for a cause?

As the discussion of violence has manifested itself a number of times on this young blog, I read with interest discussions of this documentary, My Daughter the Terrorist. As most discussions on political violence are the tales of men or women-victims, often using the language of chest-beating and revenge or human rights and dignity, this documentary seems to focus on a different tale. From its own webpage it states:

In this intimate and personal portrait we join two young female elite soldiers trained for the ultimate mission. We share their childhood experiences, their dreams and their families loss. Left behind are the mothers. [Emphasis added]

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Internet searches seem to indicate that the movie is highly contentious as one would expect of a documentary based on a current political struggle. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that the movie somehow ‘boosts suicide cadres.’ While such rhetoric seems hardly convincing, the female Norwegian director, Beate Arnestad, in an interview, provides her reasons for producing the documentary:

After 9/11 media headlines all over the world refer to suicide bombers. I wanted to make an effort trying to understand why and how young people (in my case young women within LTTE’s Black Tiger division) want to blast themselves. My suspicion was always that this was more a result of total despair than evil deed. Rather than only condemning, I wanted to try to look into and understand their background, motivation, attitude and behaviour.

The movie, released in 2007, is available for purchase, although not in North America. Beyond what reasons one may assume for it being unavailable, the movie is being screened this weekend at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival this week in Durham, NC. Any thoughts on the preview?


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