Biopolitical Resistance in Palestine

Suicide Bombing and the Fanonian Specter


In this chapter, I move from questions about intellectual freedom and the Question of Palestine to the material reality of Palestinian resistance against occupation, humiliation, and dispossession. I attempt to join intellectual resistance, as it manifests itself in the context of the struggle for Palestinian liberation, to a most unsettling form of physical resistance: suicide bombing. Palestinian suicide bombing represents the last form of resistance, as futile as it is, against colonization. It is in some sense a rejection of deliberation, dialogue, intellectualism, and debate. After all the rationalizations that have been provided by media pundits and academic intellectuals for why Israel’s occupation must continue in the face of Palestinian extremism and violence, the suicide bomber rejects intellectuality and polite evasion as grotesque in such extreme circumstances. The act of suicide bombing itself becomes a form of self-defense for oneself and one’s community.


Suicide Bomber Israel Defense Force National Liberation Life Worth Living Willful Ignorance 
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  1. 1.
    Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri discuss Fanon’s revolutionary humanism in Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), pp. 127–34.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    As Nasser Abufarha explains in The Making of a Human Bomb: An Ethnography of Palestinian Resistance (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009), “these aesthetics, along with the act of sacrifice by the actor (the mission carrier), insinuate the meanings of sacrifice for dispossessed land and relate them to local knowledge and semiotics and the history of sacrifice in the Palestinian struggle” (69).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Frantz Fanon writes in The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove, 2004), “On the unconscious plane, colonialism therefore did not seek to be considered by the native as a gentle, loving mother who protects her child from a hostile environment, but rather as a mother who willingly restrains her fundamentally perverse offspring from managing to commit suicide and from giving free rein to its evil instincts. The colonial mother protects her child from itself, from its ego, from its physiology, its biology, and its own unhappiness which is its very essence” (214).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    As John Collins writes in Global Palestine (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), “The suicidal logic of nuclear deterrence— ‘if I am going to die, I am going to take you down with me’— is really not so different from the logic of the suicide bomber” (99).Google Scholar

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© Matthew Abraham 2014

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