What does it mean to have such conviction that you set fire to yourself?
Altruistic suicide — to make a point — is astonishing. It’s got the same principles of a hunger strike to an escalated degree.
You can’t really call it terrorism. (It’s much, much better than a suicide attack, ergo, blowing oneself up and endangering the lives of others to boot.)
The target here is not to cause damage to others, but to oneself, as a form of protest.
I have yet to do my research, but is this practice traditionally common only to Buddhists and Middle-Easterners?
The Guardian ruminated on this very phenomenon here already — after a series of Tibetan suicides back in March, prior to the recent ones.
I like this quote:
To some, death by fire is the ultimate negation of individual agency, a futile act of aggression against the self. But self-immolation inspires in others a belief that individual suffering can set in motion changes far greater than one horrifying death.
It boggles the mind.
(But how effective, is it, really?)