Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding

Opinion Editorials, May 2009


Al-Jazeerah History


Mission & Name  

Conflict Terminology  


Gaza Holocaust  

Gulf War  




News Photos  

Opinion Editorials

US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)




The Human Cost Of US Recession:

An Attempt To Understand How Recession has led Struggling Employees To Commit Suicide

By Ali Al-Hail, May 3, 2009

I.  Abstract: 

      This study is primarily, concerned with US recession that takes its toll on mostly, innocent employees and their families. The human cost is all, but terrifying. The number of struggling employees, committed suicide, some of whom took other folks' lives with them, never fails to shock and sadden.
   To examine such a rather awfully, sorrowful topic, critical questions of faith in God, versus faithlessness has been addressed and discussed in details. For; this study suggests that in the US, there is a correlation between the widespread faithlessness, materialism etc. and suicides. The current recession-turned-depression, in some cases has shown how weak and vulnerable people can be when threatened with a  job loss. Therefore, a political role of some kind is desperately, needed to stop such a self-imposed punishment.     
II  Introduction:
   Since mid 2008, when recession began to bite, a wave of a series of job loss and financial hardship-hit-families have contributed to an increase in suicides across the US.  About 32,000 Americans die by suicide each year, and the rate is increasing, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
   To illustrate, in McLean County; suicidal incidences have jumped over the past three years from 13 in 2006, 15 in 2007 and 18 in 2008, according to Barb Nafziger, chief deputy coroner. Economic theory assumes that once recession begins to breed such a high – scaled human cost, it most likely, to turn into depression.    
   Additionally, Beth Kimmerling, from American Foundation For Suicide Prevention said: “If we continue to trend this way, 2009 will be a year of significant loss.” In certain circumstances, recession-hit-victims revealed they were worth more dead than alive. “It’s terribly sad,” Kimmerling said.
   It cannot hardly, be untrue. Though statistics are scarce for 2009, The World has horrendously, been alarmed by recent recession-related-suicides.
   David Kellermann, 41, the acting chief financial officer of the struggling US mortgage giant Freddie Mac committed suicide on Wednesday April 22, 2009. A week earlier, a Maryland father, 34, shot his wife and three children to death, while fast asleep in bed and then killed himself.
   An Alabama man who went on a shooting rampage in March, 2009 killing 10 people and himself, left a note saying he put his mother "out of her misery" and that "some of the people who made us suffer will pay," according to newly released police records. He was apparently, referred to the political establishments and its giant mortgage institutions.
   In the view of those samples of US recession-triggered-suicide, an attempt has to be made by the government and its bailed out financial institutions that are directly, held accountable for most suicide cases that took place mid 2008- up until now.
   This suggested attempt could be summed up in 1) a studied campaigned process to raise US citizens' awareness about valuing life; 2) revisiting the long-abandoning concept of faith in God, as the provider and the away-taker.
    This study believes that, a lack of faith in God, at best case scenario and  these phenomena of obsession with materialism (i.e. with creating an ultra-consuming society), promoted and led by the government, the media (i.e. the advertising industry,) faithless scientists etc. are seen as primary factors that led to this situation of escalating amount of suicide. It was not always like that in the US. Prior to 1960's a vast majority of the people where God fearing and honoring people. Between the educational system and a liberal Supreme Court God was removed from US society and the unfortunate results are now clearly, seen, a steady decline in everything for the past 50years.              
   There is a Creator God and that the Universe does not operate by random chance, evolution or chaos but by Intelligent Design. Unfortunately in the West today the educational system has been hijacked by the atheists, who teach there is no God, as their first premise. Thus all the rest of  their education is flawed, and US society suffers for it.
III  Discussion:
   Folks who suicide, in most cases don't have faith (yaqeen in Arabic) in Allah, Almighty God. The concept of 'faith' is more profound and sustainable than the concept of 'belief' (eiman.) Many people believe, for example that they are susceptible to death. But still, they corrupt, coerce, suppress, cheat, bribe etc. Hence, faith is the roof of belief. In the same way, a house roof protects it from torrential rain, storms etc. faith protects belief from becoming weak and immoral.
   Consequently, as soon as recession fell upon faithless folks (albeit, some are with belief) they were too weak to resist its effects. For, they were not equipped enough (faithful enough) to confront it.
   Allah, Almighty God, created all creatures, including humankind. Allah, didn't decide that was only just that. Allah, watches over people and follow them up on a daily basis. One cannot move from here to there by a single meter, unless Allah permits.
   It's most arrogant, to assert that humans were created by molecules in the atmosphere, or by biology, "which is there," according to faithless scientists. Molecules, biology, chemistry, physics etc. do exist. However, they do with Allah's will. They are amongst Allah's endless list of powerful forces.
    Humankind, soft livered creatures and others, were formulated as embryos in females' wombs. The bearer, the womb, biology etc. are Allah's means. They are amid Allah's limitless powerful forces. Allah, Almighty God puts them there. Therefore, they function and perform with Allah's consent. 
   It's completely, nonsense to declare they are there by utter coincidence, mother nature, nature etc.. What kind of logic is this? Isn't it a way of ridiculing humans' minds? What a coincidence? Is there a room for a coincidence? What a mother nature? What a nature? Define? How were they there? By themselves? How? A power that transcends that of humans' which put them there. This power is called many names by folks with faith. This power is called Allah, Almighty God, God etc. I think such a thesis makes a sense. Isn't it?
   It's this obsession with materialism and with what you can touch, see and hear, which has led to this crisis of faithlessness, Godlessness, Allahlessness. Many materialistic sources have contributed to this crisis. The media, civil education, business, scientists, physicists, medicine etc.    
   The aim is to persuade humankind to focus on their immediate lives (though, its temporary.) The whole orbits and galaxies are temporary. Only, Allah, Almighty God is permanent. This materialistic doctrine suggests that, when a human, any human, passes away, that's it? She \ he is finished. They of course, intentionally, or otherwise, seemed to neglect the fact that, humans' lives are designed by Allah differently, from those of other creatures.
   Eating, drinking, sleeping, working, producing, going to lavatory, having intimate moments, are shared by almost entirely, all Allah's creatures. However, apart from all those activities that humans have in common with other creatures, humans are required by Allah to worship, to have a contact with God. Therefore, unlike materialists' perception a human's death is simply, a preliminary step on a long road.   
   It's not eccentric to feel and to manifest that way, as materialists attempt to brainwash humans. An every day observatory notes, indicate that, because of this very faithlessness, US recession-hit-struggling employees, began to kill themselves (i.e. to commit suicide.)     
   Recession attacked human economies, because folks who were in charge of these economies misbehaved in one way or another. Recession is a powerful force of Allah, and humans  alike.
   Since Allah created people, Allah tests them via any measures, Allah chooses. By no means, can this planet of existing creatures be left only to people, to organize and to manage. People are merely, Allah's forces and means whose instinct ignites to do so. When they go astray, Allah intervenes. Recession is both, a means of testing and punishing. It's also, a means and an opportunity from Allah, alerting people of overhauling their methods of running their economies, finances, manners etc.. The aim is to improve, develop, to invent…better ways of using Allah's gifted revenues and resources, for humankind sustainability.  
   If folks believe in the absolute fact, that Allah gives and Allah takes away, they will enjoy an incredible peace of mind. Depression, frustration, failure etc. are again powerful forces of Allah. If one is immune with this faith, she \ he will never be vulnerable. Therefore, these negative and destructive feelings over a job loss or a financial hardship, will never get into them. Subsequently, she \ he wouldn't resolve into suicide.
IV  Conclusion:     
   I know a fair number of recession-hit-friends and acquaintances right here in the US. They have recently, been made jobless or lost up to $5 million in stock markets. They, with Allah's blessing have this ammunition i.e., faith and belief.
   They said to me in a kind of a consensus…"why should I get depressed and ultimately, commit suicide over such a thing...I was happy when Allah gave me the job, why should I get depressed once Allah took it away from me… I was happy when Allah gave me the money, why should I get depressed once Allah took it away from me…" Allah, has a wisdom, when gives and takes away. Allah tests and punishes. Creatures are ruled from upstairs. Earth's rulers, governments etc. are purely, Allah's means. A human-ruler may go to bed at night and may not wakeup next morning. A human-ruler goes to lavatory, like anyone else. A human-ruler cannot resist a cold flue. A human-ruler is vulnerable, weak and delicate. A human comes to this life with a decree from Allah, she \ he passes away with a decree from Allah. Thus, all things happen to humans between those two decrees are from Allah. Allah who is the only absolute. These conventions are real deterring weapons before recession and other developments.
   Because of faithlessness or lack of it, recession-hit-employees seem to find suicide as the only remaining solution to their struggle with living. Folks, as individuals are naturally, engineered by Allah, Almighty God to differ..
   Differentiations can take many forms. Amongst them are; in folks' ability to tackle bad experiences and negative sentiments, that potentially, ignite such drastic resolves.
   Folks with stern faith, would channel such suicide-triggered-feelings in many ways. For instance, she \ he could create, develop, invent etc. innovatory ideas, for substituting what's lost or gone.
   Folks following the latter, quite often, tend not to face obstacles to diagnose and subsequently, to handle inner \ personal tribulations in a tranquil and planned fashion. However, in the West, materialistic or atheist \ agnostic researchers be inclined to assume, this ability to reroute suicide-triggered-emotions, has nothing to do with a degree or another of having faith. They seem to attribute it to biological and chemical balances.
   Biological and chemical balances are amongst Allah's powerful forces.. They are put there in humans as means from Allah. Now, Allah who orders them to function or to malfunction. Faith in Allah is widely, observed to balance them rather than misbalancing them. In case of Zero faith, it's observed that biological and chemical become imbalanced. Here, where suicide could occur.     
   Although, serious depression is prescribed as a medical illness by the World Health Organization (WHO.), the WHO, again didn't suggest a faith correlation. Very rarely, folks with faith, could be having depression. Thus, (diagnosing serious or major depression as a long-lasting sadness that doesn't let up for two weeks or more) again neglected the faith factor.
   As for children, depression and other negative feelings as a result to their recession-hit- parents, can be avoided since early age by bringing them up to having faith in Allah, Almighty God. Children of faithless parents, it's quite possible to having depression which is frequently indicated by irritability (i.e. tetchiness, touchiness, bad temper, petulance etc.)
   Furthermore, impulsive decisions upon which some folks become hooked to can be a turning point in folks' lives either way. Folks with faith by and large, seem to practice them out by surrendering to Allah, while taking up available means or searching for better means than those available, to invent alternatives.
   For example, a job loss does create an impulsive decision, positive or otherwise. Folks with faith, in most observed cases, won't resolve into suicide or any other negative action. By contrast those without faith (who believe only in the life that is lived) more often than not, could commit suicide or express their impulsive decision regarding a job loss in any other negative actions mostly, detrimental.
   In psychosomatic faith (albeit, most psychosomatic scholars world-wide are not with faith defined in this article, they appear close to it,) mental illness, which leads some folks to commit suicide, is a result of lack of faith. To clarify more, hatred, envy, jealousy, bitterness etc. can make you mentally, ill. In other words, Not being able to handle a situation (e.g., a job loss, bankruptcy) in a calm and ordered manner, could make one mentally, ill.

   If one has a faith in general, she \ he could assess such a situation as a better prospect for a) revising things, utilizing accessible means, looking for better means…; b) could see in it as a divine test or its working towards her \ his interests etc.

   Finally, one could say that, instead for the US administration muddle in other nations' affairs, it should deal with stopping people from committing suicide. It's not Taliban of Pakistan which pose a "mortal threat" to the US and World security, according to Clinton, the State Secretary, BUT  this apparently, unstoppable suicides which pose a "mortal threat" to US social security.

   Instead of bailing corrupt lending institutions, ordinary struggling US employees and their families ought to be bailed out. It's observed that the US administration is remaining completely, aloof, while people commit suicide almost daily.

V   References:

1.  Nafziger, B.. (chief deputy coroner,) Mclean County Office, quoted from American Foundation For Suicides Prevention (AFSP.)
2. Kimmerling, B. (Coroner,,) Mclean County Office, quoted from American Foundation For Suicides Prevention (AFSP.)

Professor, Dr. Ali Al-Hail, Professor of Mass Communication, Twice Fulbright

Award Winner, Fulbright Visiting Scholar, Vice-President Of Qatar Fulbright Group, CSR Award Judge and Board Member of AUSACE, ASC, IABD, NEBAA, BEA, IMDA and EAJMC American Associations.

Can be contacted via:




Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent