: "This is an article on the ritualistic suicide practice. For the record company, see Self Immolation."

Self-immolation is often used to refer to suicide by fire. The Latin root of 'immolate' means 'sacrifice', rather than referring to burning, so more generally self-immolation means suicide without specifying the method. [ [ self-immolation - Definitions from ] ] [The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 7th Edition, 1984] Is also called bonzo because buddhist monks self-immolated in protest of the Vietnamese regimen in 1963. In English literature prior to the mid-20th Century, Buddhist monks were often referred to by the term "bonze", particularly when describing monks from East Asia and French Indochina. This term is derived via Portuguese and French from the Japanese word "bonsō" for a priest or monk, and has become less common in modern literature.


Self-immolation is tolerated by Buddhism and Hinduism, and has been practiced for many centuries, especially in India for, for various reasons, including Sati, political protest, devotion, and renouncement. Certain warrior cultures, such as in the Charans and Rajputs, also practiced self-immolation.

During the Great Schism of the Russian Church, entire villages of Old Believers burned themselves to death in an act known as "fire baptism". Scattered instances of self-immolation have also been recorded by the Jesuit priests of France in the early 1600s. Their practice of this was not intended to be fatal, though. They would burn certain parts of their bodies (limbs such as the forearm, the thigh) to signify the pain Jesus endured while upon the cross. Cite book |first=Loren |last=Coleman |title=The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines |location=New York |publisher=Paraview Pocket-Simon and Schuster |year=2004 |isbn=0-7434-8223-9]

Alfredo Ormando, an Italian writer, burned himself alive in Saint Peter's Square, in Vatican City on the 13th January 1998, in protest against the Roman Catholic Church's policy of condemning homosexuality as sin.

A number of Buddhist monks (including Thích Quảng Đức, pictured) self-immolated in protest of the discriminatory treatment endured by Buddhists under the authoritarian administration of President Ngô Đình Diệm in South Vietnam — even though violence against oneself is prohibited by most interpretations of Buddhist doctrine.

On November 2, 1965, Norman Morrison used kerosene to burn himself to death outside The Pentagon as a protest against the Vietnam War. Roger Allen LaPorte did so one week later outside the United Nations headquarters.

In 1970, Kostas Georgarkis a Greek Geology student at the University of Genoa, set himself on fire in protest of the oppressive regime of the colonels.

Czech students Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc and Czech businessman Evžen Plocek committed suicide by self-immolation in 1969 to protest the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia of August 1968; Polish philosopher Ryszard Siwiec did the same in September of 1968 Warsaw in protest against the involvement of Polish troops in this invasion.

Sándor Bauer and Marton Moyses were Hungarians who committed self-immolation as a political protest respectively against the Hungarian and Romanian communist regimes in 1969-1970.

University of California, San Diego student George Winne Jr., protesting the Vietnam War, self-immolated on May 10, 1970 at the university's Revelle Plaza before dying the next day.

Lutheran pastor Oskar Brüsewitz killed himself by self-immolation August 22 1976, protesting the East German communist regime.

Crimean Tatar named Musa Mamut set himself on fire in protest against violations of the individual rights of the Crimean Tatars by Soviet regime. He lived for five days, dying from his burns on June 28, 1978. Before dying, he is reported to have said, “I feel the pain of every Tatar who is not allowed to return to his Crimean homeland.”

Artin Penik, a Turkish-Armenian set himself on fire protesting the 1982 ASALA attack at Esenboğa International Airport in which they opened fire on travellers in a crowded waiting room.

Sebastián Acevedo was a Chilean miner who committed self-immolation on November 1983 as a protest against the kidnapping of his children by the Chilean police during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet [ [ Tribute to Sebastián Acevedo] ] .

On April 29, 1993, Graham Bamford doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire in front the British House of Commons in London. Bamford did it in hope to draw attention to atrocities committed the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina particularly the Ahmići massacre.

Kathy Change was a West Philadelphian performance artist and activist who killed herself in an act of self-immolation on the University of Pennsylvania campus in 1996.

In April 2001, Shahraz Kayani, a Pakistani refugee settled in Australia set himself alight on the steps of Parliament House, Canberra. Dying days later in hospital, he was protesting the refusal of the government to grant the entry of his wife and daughters into Australia, one of which suffered from Cerebral Palsy. [ [ Immigration Depart guilty of mal-administration: Ombudsman] ]

In 2001 a group of people self-immolated in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, known as the Tiananmen Square self-immolation incident. China Central Television broadcast the event nationally on Chinese new year and claimed the immolators were practitioners of the Falun Gong. Falun Gong supporters point to inconsistencies in state media reports and maintain it was setup by the Chinese government to persecute the group.Sunderland, Judith. (2002). From the Household to the Factory: China's campaign against Falungong. Human Rights Watch. ISBN 1564322696]

Malachi Ritscher was a Chicago musician and anti-war protestor who committed suicide in 2006 by self-immolation as a political protest against the War in Iraq.

In 2008 Son Jong Hoon attempted self-immolation to halt the Olympic torch; however, he was intercepted by police before he could set fire to himself.

On August 9, 2008, Dean Lorenzo Turnbull Jr. of Waldorf, Maryland committed suicide by setting his house on fire and refusing to leave. [ [ Man Who Died in Fire Set Blaze Himself, Officials Say] ]

The indigenous mexican leader Ramiro Guillén Tapia attempted self-immolation on October 1st 2008 during an act of protest against the local government in the city of Xalapa, Veracruz Mexico. He died the day after.

In fiction

*The ancient legends of Heracles include his death by a funeral pyre he built for himself.
*At the climax of Richard Wagner's opera, "Götterdämmerung", the Valkyrie Brünnhilde throws herself into Siegfried's funeral pyre.
*In Dan Brown's book "Angels And Demons" the camerlengo self-immolates after Robert Langdon and Vittoria Vetra expose him as the head of the Illuminati. Oddly he is, technically, voted into office as the Pope just before he dies.
*Denethor committed self immolation in "The Lord of the Rings" by J. R. R. Tolkien. He attempted to burn his son alive on the same pyre, but the timely intervention of Peregrin Took saved Faramir. The influence of Sauron, combined with the seeming inevitability of the fall of Minas Tirith, had driven him to madness and death.
*In Carol Shields' book "Unless", Norah, the daughter of the main character, chooses to live on the streets in search of "Goodness" in response to having witnessed the self-immolation by a Muslim woman on a street-corner in Toronto.
*In the final pages of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein the monster, overcome with remorse at Victor's destruction, declares his intention to self immolate.
*In the M*A*S*H episode "The Most Unforgettable Characters," Corporal Klinger threatens to immolate himself unless he is sent home, while pouring "gasoline" over himself.
* In Sunshine the crew of the Icarus I exposed themselves to the sun to kill themselves.
* In Star Wars "", Chapter 43 of the DVD is titled "Immolation", referring to Anakin's burning on Mustafar.

In popular culture

* Hard rock band Rage Against the Machine used the graphic photo of Thích Quảng Đức's self immolation on their self-titled debut album.
* The 2001 film Waking Life depicts self-immolation.
* Industrial metal group Fear Factory have a song on their "Soul of a New Machine" album entitled "Self-Immolation".
* In the 'X Files' episode 'Pusher', an FBI agent is forced into setting fire to himself by a man seemingly capable of bending people to his will.
* The metal band Necrophagist have a song entitled "Dismembered Self Immolation" on their album "Onset of Putrefaction"

ee also

* Hunger strike
* Charans, a caste in India known for ever-readiness to perform self-immolation
* Sati, an old custom in which a Hindu widow would immolate herself on the funeral pyre of her husband
* Suicide methods


External links

* [ Mumbai: Protesting Tibetan attempts self-immolation]
*"The Copycat Effect" (New York: Paraview Pocket-Simon and Schuster, 2004, ISBN 0-7434-8223-9)
* [ Afghan women seek death by fire]

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  • Self Immolation — is a record label and publishing company run by J. G. Thirlwell. Originally an actual label for Thirlwell s self released early Foetus EPs and albums, Self Immolation became more akin to a vanity label for Thirlwell s releases on Some Bizzare… …   Wikipedia

  • self-immolation — also self immolation, 1817, from SELF (Cf. self) + IMMOLATION (Cf. immolation) …   Etymology dictionary

  • self-immolation — [selfim΄ə lā′shən] n. 1. suicide, usually by burning oneself in a public place 2. deliberate self sacrifice …   English World dictionary

  • self-immolation — | ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷| ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ noun : a deliberate and willing sacrifice of oneself welcoming self immolation to an overwhelming force Charles Anderson …   Useful english dictionary

  • self-immolation — /self im euh lay sheuhn/, n. voluntary sacrifice or denial of oneself, as for an ideal or another person. [1810 20] * * * …   Universalium

  • self-immolation — self′ immola′tion n. voluntary sacrifice of oneself • Etymology: 1810–20 …   From formal English to slang

  • self-immolation — Synonyms and related words: altruism, blazing, blistering, branding, burning, burnt offering, calcination, car of Jagannath, carbonization, cauterization, cautery, cineration, collection, combustion, commitment, concremation, consecration,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • self-immolation — /sɛlf ɪməˈleɪʃən/ (say self imuh layshuhn) noun immolation of oneself …   Australian-English dictionary

  • self-immolation — noun Date: 1799 a deliberate and willing sacrifice of oneself often by fire • self immolate verb …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • self-immolation — noun The act of setting oneself on fire, especially as a form of protest …   Wiktionary

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