Some political articles
PBS recently aired a documentary titled Israel's Next War. It is about the little heard of extremist Jews in settlement outposts.This documentary is eye opening in that it makes one aware that religious literalism, extremism, militancy and terrorism are all not confined to one religion or one people. One could easily make comparisons between these militant Jewish settlers, and certain factions of Muslim extremist ideologues (e.g. Takfir wa al-Hijra, Al-Qaeda, ...etc). For example:
Here are some conclusions that one can make from the previous examples:
Many issues that an individual or a society faces can be morally ambigious. Resistance and terrorism are often morally ambiguous.
A comic book that will soon become a movie is V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. The comic book explores how oppression causes liberation and resistance movement to develop, and often the latter commit atrocities and abhorrent acts in the name of good causes. This is a fault both sides may fall in, and hence there is no moral high ground for one side over the other.
It is sometimes ironic how one party in a conflict becomes exactly what they hate in the other side in the name of 'good', 'justice', 'freedom' or 'democracy'.
RobinHood's story is too well known to retell here. This semi-mythicalfigure has been romanticized and idealized by ballads told by bards. Itis quite possible that there is some grain of truth from which thismyth sprung up. In any case, Robin was viewed by the authorities at thetime as an outlaw. In the strict sense of the law, he was indeed was.The ballads concede that he was also a thief, a highway robber, and anoutlaw.However, the bards and the public seem to justify theseactions by various means: for example, portraying Robin as a man ofnoble character, that he shared his loot with the poor, that hisactions were in response to injustices committed by Prince John and theSherrif of Nottingham, and that his thefts were aimed at those who gotwealthy out of others' toils.
I sometimes saw people expressing the opinion that if the IRA are "terrorists", so were the French Resistance against the Nazis.
I also came across a post titled: My grandfather was an IRA terrorist (and comments after it).
Another pro Irish poster writes:"My grandparents were in Ulster during the Black and Tan war andsuffered Orange pogroms before that so this all is not such unexpectedbehavior from the English. They should stop whining about LordMountbatten and the Grand Hotel and Canary Wharf and mortars fired at10 Downing Street - if they want their problems with Ireland over withthey should just pack up and go back to their own god-damned country."
On one side, we find Benedict Arnold,who initally joined the American Revolution against the crown ofBritian. He won several battles. Later, he conspired with Britishforces and arranged to hand to them the fort at West Point, New York.Arnold avoided arrest, and made his way to the British side, lateracheiving the rank of general. He later explained his action in letter to the inhabitants of America.
Throughout history, views of certainpersonalities change from villains to heroes or fromterrorists/militants to freedom fighters.For example, both Menachem Begin, and Yitzhak Shamir, who later became prime ministers of Israel, were once wanted terrorists by the British.Ramush Haradinajof Kosovo also comes to mind. As an ex-rebel leader in Kosovo his actions were questioned.
This article explores how our assessment of certain figures and movements is subject to biases and prejudices. The notion of: "One people's terrorist is another people's freedom fighter", or as the saying goes: "One people's hero is another people's villain".Let us first start with examples of how some people are viewed differently, either from the dimension of time, or the dimension of society.
Various Israeli media, such as Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz (citing Reuters as the source) report that the Israeli government has honored several Egyptian Jews who were involved in spying and sabotage in Egypt in the 1950s. This incident is known as the Lavon Affair, and extensive material on the incident can be found in Israel and Terror in Egypt.
For some time now, I meant to write on how an empire brainwashes itscitizens with semi-convincing rhetoric, praising what evil is beingdone and portraying it as the ultimate good. Mass media, jingoism, herdmentality and conformance all converge to convince the masses.Two essays I came across recently highlight a difference between the good oldpropaganda in the Eastern Bloc, which is mostly not convincing, and themasses know it is not true, learn to ignore it, and just go on withtheir lives. In a free Western style democracy, this cannot happen.Hence the propaganda has to be convincing.
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