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Hamas's Trash Can Fixation

Screenshot from Meir Amit Information and Terrorism Center

By Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin, Ph.D


War Blog #38


Consider this: 94% est. of thinking is unconscious & 95% est. of communication is nonverbal, thus symbols and fantasy are at the core of the problem of political violence. Form follows function; function follows fantasy. All behavior can be potentially understood.

The Garbage Can in Jihad

Why write about the above image of a garbage can drawn on a poster for a mob protest? What does it reveal to us?

So far, we have already dealt with Hamas’s Shit (WB # 5 Diving into their shit literally) and other savory subjects of anality, such as the elaborate tunnel system of the Metro.


While scrolling through Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Center daily email yesterday I came across the above poster brought to you by “the Islamic Masse und Macht” or “Free Palestine” Mob. Henceforth I will refer to them as "the Mob." This one was in Warsaw. The poster image grabs the viewer’s attention as it vilely provokes genocide by throwing the Jews and Israel into the trash under the concept of "cleansing" i.e. purification. Think too of the oven of Auschwitz on Polish soil.


In WB # 26 I wrote about the identification with the aggressor Hamas and how it has an erotic perverse sadomasochism that draws in the crowds and its communicative circuit. (cf.


Jihadese’ Limited Number of Images

Terrorism is actually quite boring as it is same old, same old until boom, there's a paradigm shift i.e. 9/11 and now 10/07. In Jihadese, the unconscious language in which Hamas communicates, there is a rather limited lexicon of images that bounce around in their unstable mind (WB#14). The images get recycled and recast as a variation often on the theme of anality – shit, dirt, feces, toxic, poison etc. It is as if psychologically, Hamas has never really been toilet trained. This is also the case for the Mob as they identify with Hamas. The garbage can exemplifies anality and the mob’s psychological impairment as well.


Hamas’s Mob and Containment

A garbage can is also a container. When I saw the poster, I went to check to see if I had written about the trash can as object in The Jihadi Dictionary. Lo and behold, I had in the entry on “Containment” which is presented below.


The Garbage Can in the Poster

Within the jihadi attack of terrorism the garbage can takes on a specific meaning as it introduces us to the psychological problem of “containment”. What is containment? What is its etymology? What is a psychological definition of containment and finally what does it mean about Hamas’s behavior?



The act or condition of containing; an act or policy of restricting the territorial growth or ideological influence of another, especially a hostile nation; an enclosure completely surrounding a nuclear reactor, designed to prevent the release of radioactive material in the event of an accident.


√ containment: 1650s, action or fact of containing, from Latin continere: to contain, to enclose, to hold together. As an international policy of the West vs. the Soviet Union recorded from 1947.


Ψ Containment is a “term employed by Wilfred Bion to describe the interaction between the mother and the infant. Bion believed all psychological barriers universally dissolve when the mind acts as receiver of communicative content .... Containment connotes the capacity to transform the data of emotional experience into meaningful feelings and thoughts. It is based on the mother’s capacity to withstand the child’s anger, frustrations, and intolerable feelings and behaviors long enough to decode or detoxify them into a more digestible form.”


“An aspect of resilience and refers to the capacity to internally manage the troubling thoughts and feelings and behavior that arise as a consequence of stress. It is a concept that was developed within the psychoanalytic tradition by Wilfred Bion. It is said that his experience as a tank commander in World War II underpinned the formulation of the ideas. In fact, Bion’s daughter, Parthenope ... raises the question of just how (and how far) her father was shaped as an analyst by his wartime experiences ... [considering] Bion’s later concern with the coexistence of regressed or primitive proto-mental states alongside more sophisticated ones.”


X The Crossed Swords of JihadJihadis lack the ability to contain their emotional lives; this means that their violent thoughts are equated with reality and are acted out. Note the literal, concrete use of a container, a garbage can, in the Boston Marathon Bombing: “Did Tamerlan choose the Boston Marathon because he held a particular grudge for his failure to be chosen for the U.S. Olympic boxing team? Could this explain the unconscious tactical choice of placing the bombs at the finish line? By putting these weapons in or near garbage cans, the brothers literally projected their rage at how they felt about their toxic dirty selves. We became the unwitting containers for their “garbage selves,” which then were made to explode. They wanted us to feel the pain that they could not feel or express through language. Interestingly, their uncle called the brothers ‘losers.’”


In Israel, security sweeps at the airport and other public places include the constant monitoring and checking of garbage cans as possible containers for terrorist bombs.

To conclude

We can now add one more example about the trash can to the jihadi lexicon concerning containment. Psychological warfare deployed by Hamas mobilizes its Mob through anal imagery turning the Mob into creators of genocidal posters. The image of the garbage can reveals that the Mob too cannot contain its toxic feelings of inferiority. The Mob’s herd mentality joins with Hamas to choose unconsciously anal imagery. Yet we are mindful of the fact that a garbage can is not meant for genocide. Hence even the depiction of one constitutes a perversion as it is the misuse of the object. It’s not the Jews and Israel who are garbage rather it is the Mob's split off self which is projected on to the Jew at an attempt to purify itself. The above poster is more about them than Israel or the Jews. This is the nature of paranoia; here we see that fans of Hamas are psychotic as well.


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Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin, Ph.D.

Psychoanalyst Counter Terrorist Expert

Psychoanalyst Counter Terrorist Expert

The aim of this blog is to promote and advance an understanding of the relationship of early childhood to the jihadis’ violent behavior and externalized hatred. Many aspects of culture will be addressed in order to do a deep dive and a deep dig into the unconscious behavior behind all the political ideologies and the verbiage. 


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