A "pseudomartyrdom" mechanism consists of at least three elements. First, martyrdom must have socially understood symbolic significance. ... Second, events must produce martyr roles and the opportunity to play them. ... The third element integral to the pseudomartyr mechanism regards the level of risk. The event must not involve overwhelming risks. ... Very few people actually wish to become a martyr. This is evident from the fact that it is very easy to martyr oneself: all you need is a can of gasoline and a match. Many Lithuanians revere the role that [Romas] Kalanta played, and many would certainly like to enjoy a small modicum of the honor that he received, but they would also like to be around to enjoy it. Logically, one cannot have it both ways, but I would suggest that one can come close. By enduring a risk of getting killed, the willingness to die for a nation or ideal is exhibited. In the ideal situation, the risk is high enough to demonstrate this willingness, but low enough so that the chances of death are "tolerable."
Roger Petersen, Resistance and Rebellion: Lessons from Eastern Europe (2001), 290-1.