58 minutes, 2005
In 2004, a 15-year-old boy was driven to an Israeli border checkpoint with a bomb wrapped around his body. He was supposed to blow himself up, taking as many Israelis as possible. But instead the boy gave himself up. Fear, and thoughts of his family, made him rethink his murderous goal.
His apprehension made for dramatic TV. Soldiers, at a distance, ordered him to undo his bulky coat, uncovering the explosives wrapped around his waist. The boy's round face, and short stature made him look even younger. Anyone watching the news that night couldn't help but wonder wow this child ended up in this situation. What was he thinking? Where were his parents, his family, his friends? And who encouraged him to do it?
These were pressing questions because, while Hussam Abdu decided not to blow himself up, many other children are. As The Making of a Martyr notes almost 20 per cent of Palestine suicide bombers are now children.
To get answers the two journalists/producers of this documentary headed to Palestine. They got access to all the key figures, and uncovered the way children are being recruited – through their friends, via money, and with children's television programming – to offer their lives to the cause of Jihad.
For those who are squeamish I'll warn you there are some brief gory scenes – images of bloodied bodies. This is not suitable for young children. However these scenes total no more than 30 seconds, so, while disturbing, it shouldn't stop older teens and adults from watching.
This documentary is well worth seeing. Even if you regularly read about Israel and Palestine in the papers or hear about them on the TV news you really can't understand the conflict. Those media outlets don't offer you any depth. But in The Making of a Martyr we get to follow along as two dogged journalists seek out the answers to questions hardly any one else is asking. You'll get an understanding of the underlying problems Israel faces, and the way the Palestinian people have been manipulated by their leadership. And you'll see child after child describe how they, too, would like to be martyred.
The film offers no solution, but does a very good job of showing how deep-seated the problem is – these children worship a God these delights in them blowing themselves up, so long as they kill Israelis too.
This, then, is a good film to see to understand the problem. But it is sad to see just how far they are from the only possible solution – turning to the real God, who made both Palestinians and Israelis in his own Image.
You can watch the whole film for free by playing the video above.