“Living Martyrs”. Testifying What is to Come
Straub, Verena – 2018
Social Media has not only led to the rise of so-called citizen witnesses, it has also provided new opportunities for perpetrators to articulate their views and make them accessible to a global audience. A special genre of “perpetrators’ testimonies” are the videotaped messages of suicide bombers, in which various modes of witnessing are at play. While the majority of image testimonies are recorded during or after the event, suicide bombers’ videos are unique in one particular respect: in the moment of videotaping, the self-acclaimed martyr bears witness to an event that has not yet taken place. Instead of providing evidence for a past incident, these image testimonies both anticipate and set the stage for the future suicide attack to happen. Since the temporalities of testimony play out in reverse, this chapter suggests considering these types of videos as forms of anticipatory image testimonies.