Indonesia family bombings: Books never reach this level of evil

Real evil reaches depths that most writers who want to appear credible would never dream of—not if they wanted to be taken seriously.

Evil finds a new low: parents send children as suicide bombers to a church
Firefighters fight the blaze at the Surabaya Centre Pentacostal Church, Indonesia.
Photo: Reuters

Last weekend, families carried out two terrorist bombings in Indonesia. Parents and children. On Saturday, May 12, a family of six suicide-bombed three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city. Dad drove a car loaded with explosive and detonated it in front of a church. Two sons, aged 18 and 16, rode a motorcycle into the yard of another church and detonated the bombs they carried.

Their mother took her two daughters, aged 12 and 8, to a third church, forced her way inside, embraced a congregant and detonated.

The next day, a family of five attacked the police headquarters in the same city, blowing themselves up. A seven-year-old girl survived, but was injured.

On Sunday afternoon, more bombs went off in an apartment building in a city south of Surabaya, killing three more.

In addition to themselves, the bombers killed 18 people and injured 50.

Investigators said the father of the family in the first bombing was associated with an Indonesian extremist group tied to Daesh, the “Islamic State.”

Good or evil?

The parents, were apparently radicalized. Presumably, they thought they were advancing some cause.

Then they brought their children into the suicidal scheme.

The idea of killing your children for a cause makes most people recoil. Protecting your children from harm is a basic instinct in the human animal. Most other animals, too. So to not only put them in harm’s way, but to kill them yourself strikes me as the most evil act imaginable.

What do you think? Can you describe a more evil act? Leave a comment.

We don’t let children under 18 (or older in some places) vote, consume alcohol or use other substances, partly because we reason that they’re not yet able to do the kind of analysis and make the informed decisions those acts require.

Evil thinks it’s good

Photo of girls kidnapped by the evil Boko Haram
Schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram years ago in Nigeria: the terrorist group claimed it was not doing evil—the girls would be converted to Islam and married to faithful men.

But as I wrote in my Written Words blog, evil doesn’t think it’s evil. Suicide bombers think they’re going to change the world, to bring about a greater good.

We’ve read that Daesh suicide bombers believe they’ll go to Paradise for killing the enemies of their religion.

The weekend’s events in Indonesia have reached a new depth. And officials there are warning that this may be the first signs of a new trend of family suicide bombings.

Murdering your children is something that I just can’t get over:.

I once thought that airport security doesn’t have to worry about a mother with a child, because what mother would bring a bomb onto a plane with her child on board? So much for that idea.

I know, parents have killed their children before. Sons have accompanied fathers to war. Fathers have murdered their whole families, or abused children until they died. A few years ago, a mother drowned her two boys, causing an international reaction.

But those are usually acts of rage, linked to mental illness. The deliberate nature of planning an attack like those in Indonesia, enlisting your children in it, strapping bombs to their bodies and sending them to murder and die, is chilling.

Literature: a weak mirror

The adage “truth is stranger than fiction” comes to mind. That’s not quite the case, however. I have never read any fiction with events like this. (Although it could be out there. I haven’t read everything.)

Do you know of a novel or story about a parent who murders their children as part of a political or religious plot?

Writers, especially those of thriller fiction, try to craft believable stories. Who would believe a story about a woman who blows up herself and her young children in defence of a religion or any other idea?

Welcome to a new era of terror.

1 Comment

  1. I believe there were religious cults in the ancient Middle East that sacrificed their first-born sons to appease their god, but I would have to research it for more details.


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