The video, Making of a Martyr, shows a very interesting and somewhat disturbing aspect of Islamic martyrdom. The amount of children who commit suicide for the sake of gaining honor and the promise of “paradise” in the afterlife is astonishing. At first it seems like these children are doing this completely willfully, but that is difficult to believe. These children are being manipulated and trained to enter these situations. Money plays a large role in this. Adult martyrs ask for a higher price in order to help their family support themselves after they have been martyred, or to pay for the rebuilding of their house after the Israeli army destroys it in retaliation for their attack. For a child with little sense of the value of money, a martyr recruiter can offer close to nothing. I wonder how the adults who recruit these children see the situation. Do they feel great reverence towards these children, or do they just see them as disposable weapons? Would they, or do they martyr themselves? In any case, the cultural pressure to martyr one’s self seems great in Palestine. Children look up to martyrs who have taken many infidels with them. They are idolized and looked up to in Palestine, just as we idolize rock stars and movie stars here in the US. Even the youngest children strive to imitate them and they are glorified in television shows meant for preschool age kids. In the video, every child that was interviewed was proud of the martyrs of their country and did not hesitate to say that they wished to become martyrs. One young girl even spoke of how she begged her mother to allow her to be a martyr after her sister had blown herself up in front of a pizzeria, killing one and injuring one hundred. I found it interesting how when Hussam gave the account of his martyrdom the second time, he said that when he was on his way to his attempted martyrdom, he was overcome with uncontrollable joy. This reminds me of many of the Christian martyr narratives we have read, such as the martyrdom of Vienne and Lyon, where martyrs were overcome with the joy of being martyred, even when they were in very harsh conditions or were being brutally tortured. When reading these narratives, I always thought that these accounts of extreme joy were just part of the retelling of the story and were meant to serve as encouragement for later martyrs. When Hussam spoke of his intense joy it made me wonder whether he was speaking the truth or just regurgitating something that he had heard in other Islamic martyrdom narratives. In the end, it seemed like none of the teenage boys who were arrested for being associated with martyrdom were aware of the legal consequences they could face. I wonder if they were truly aware of, and understood the magnitude of the ramifications it could have on themselves, their families, and other community members had they gone through with the martyrdom.