Suicide bombers call for better working conditions
7 Aug 2003
A group claiming to speak on behalf of suicide bombers worldwide has called for its members to have better working conditions. According to Suicide Bombers International, which worryingly claims to have over 10,000 active members, many suicide bombers are treated badly by the terrorist organisations they work for.
"A lot of these suicide bombers are being exploited," said the organisation's press officer, Douglas Ramsbottom, a former suicide bomber who left the job on health grounds. "Once they join a terrorist group there's no going back. There are no unions, no health and safety inspectors, nothing. The conditions are often terrible."
Despite pressure from the group, terrorist organisations appear reluctant to offer better conditions. "There is very little we can do to improve conditions for our suicide bombers," said a senior al Qaeda figure. "There is always a risk in that job of death or serious injury. It's like sending children down mines. It's dangerous, but it has to be done."
Suicide Bombers International says it will carry on campaigning regardless. "We have very little choice," said Mr Ramsbottom. "If we didn't, then all the suicide bombers out there will continue to wear ill-fitting explosives causing back injuries, or be forced to work in squalid underground hide-outs. Who knows, maybe some of them will even die because of the poor conditions they are working in. We simply cannot stand by and let that happen."
The group also faces an unsympathetic media. "We've tried to get the media on our side, but to no avail," he continued. "All we ever get from the press is criticism and abuse. We also tried writing to MPs, Congressmen and the like, but it seems that nobody is interested in the plight of the suicide bomber."
However, there may be hope in sight. The European Union is said to be considering a new employment directive that would force all terrorist groups operating within its borders to have annual inspections of all premises by health and safety personnel. "This would be a fantastic step forward," commented Mr Ramsbottom. "But I think there will be some resistance to it. A lot of the groups think that self-regulation is the best option. Hopefully we will be able to reach a compromise."
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