2003 March 09 Sunday
Life Ambitions: Microsoft Programmer, Suicide Bomber

Fadi, a young Jordanian aged 23, aspires to be a suicide bomber in America and a very famous Microsoft programmer.

One day, he explained to me in careful detail why he wants to be a shaheed, a suicide bomber against the United States, quoting at length from the Koran. But when he's not talking about blowing himself up and killing American troops, Fadi talks about his other great dream. ''I want to be a programmer at Microsoft,'' he says. ''Not just a programmer. I want to be well known, famous.''

Suppose he kills himself in an attack that kills a lot of Americans. Would the Supreme Being be willing to let him return for a second life as a Microsoft programmer? I mean, if the guy would get more pleasure writing Windows programs than in enjoying 72 virgins then shouldn't adjustments to the standard paradise design be made?

The biggest complaints this guy seems to have are about the pervasiveness of American culture. The fact that people wear jeans and watch American movies makes him feel powerless because his own culture is not producing cultural products with such wide appeal. It is hard to know how to deal with that sort of feeling. It is much more intense in Muslim countries because believers in Islam think the followers of their religion are the rightful rulers of the world.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 March 09 01:57 PM  Civilizations Clash Of

John Moore (Useful Fools) said at March 9, 2003 3:19 PM:

I have a good friend who is a Saudi Microsoft programmer (well, now he's a manager).

He has never, however, expressed an interest in being a suicide bomber!

I have seen essays discussing the impact of American culture on Islamic societies. On the one hand, we have a lot of ads and movies about sex, which young Islamic males often find very offensive, and on the other hand we have an overwhelming cultural and market presence. Our movies send all sorts of strange messages and generally provide a very distorted view of America(for example, all of our corporate leaders are evil and our religious leaders are hypocrites, all of our women are beautiful but sluts).


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