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I've never been a freedom fighter before.... - Light One Candle

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November 5th, 2006


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11:13 am - I've never been a freedom fighter before....
Not even in a dream.

I've been having odd, and oddly realistic, dreams lately--it's very strange, but kind of fun, too.


Last night, I had a lengthy, detailed, dream. One of the ones where it feels like you're living through it in real time, rather than jumping from place to place or time to time. No quick transitions, and a ton of visual details, even some tactile details (VERY abnormal for my dreaming--and if I told you what exactly it was I was eating in the dream, I'd probably gross somebody out, so...).

I've never dreamed I was a freedom fighter. Also, I don't usually explore moral dilemmas in my dreams. I don't know if the cause is as simple as having watched "The Age of Steel" on Friday; or whether other thoughts finally gelled together, but here's the little I recall:

I had been newly hired, I'm guessing at a school or an office building connected to a school. It was all part of a plan--I would do my work (I recall being the awkward new worker, trying to find my way around the corridors, looking for the area to buy lunches), and meet up with others who were part of the Cause, and we would be in place to execute the plan when the time came. There were people I know from RL there, though no one I know well; also, at least one person from my current workplace. We had little meetings, figuring out who was who and what parts we would play in the plan (sooo detailed, if I could remember it all I'd have a novel on my hands). I remember coming into the building at night, and working with others to set up some kind of explosives in one of the lecture halls--I'm not sure if we were trying to assassinate someone or what.

Back at headquarters, after the whole mission, waiting for the actual effects to happen and be noticed, I remember walking outside (HQ was my childhood home, which was really weird) and seeing the five or six cars/vans we'd used. All the paint had been scraped or sanded off, leaving them bare, scarred metal--erasing our evidence.

And I overheard someone talking about the mission, saying that they'd mistaken the room and wired the lounge for the English teachers, instead. I was horrified; but there was nothing I could do, even if it was true.


Yeah, so what *is* the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist? *facepalm*
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

(19 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


From:dafne99
Date:November 5th, 2006 07:59 pm (UTC)
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This sounds like "1984" meets "Left Behind."
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From:izhilzha
Date:November 5th, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC)
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*cracks up laughing*

Um, yeah, actually (not that I've read Left Behind). Kinda like that. Heee.
From:dafne99
Date:November 5th, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC)
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I've read 10 or 11 of them. I'm not sure if that's all of them or not. They're actually really good and super easy reading.
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From:izhilzha
Date:November 6th, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
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They're actually really good and super easy reading.

Eh, I quit being interested in most versions of "the last days" in high school, when I decided that I totally don't believe the "Rapture" is going to happen. Not the way a lot of people think about it, anyway. And the super easy reading part is probably why I never got into this particular series; if it were serious reading, I might be more interested.

(Yes, occasionally I am a lit. snob. *g* )
From:dafne99
Date:November 6th, 2006 09:12 pm (UTC)
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Isn't it a bit oxymoronic to be a lit. snob who writes fanfic for Buffy?
I'm just playing with ya chica.
The Left Behind series prompted me to buy some of their non-fiction work describing the research involved in developing the books. I would sit at lunch every day with my LaHaye/Jenkins books and my Bible pouring over Revelation. It's terribly interesting reading even if you don't buy into it 100% (and seriously, who does?). Besides the research element, the storyline is intriguing and the characters are extremely lifelike. I understand that it can only be so good and still serve its purpose. It is, after all, mass produced propoganda in a quite entertaining form. Yeah, it'll never be labeled great literature, but then again neither will Stephen King.
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From:izhilzha
Date:November 6th, 2006 11:21 pm (UTC)
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Isn't it a bit oxymoronic to be a lit. snob who writes fanfic for Buffy?

I revel in being oxymoronic. *smirk*

. I would sit at lunch every day with my LaHaye/Jenkins books and my Bible pouring over Revelation. It's terribly interesting reading even if you don't buy into it 100% (and seriously, who does?).

More people than you might think (not joking); but yeah, Revelation is a fascinating book--especially from a literary perspective, believe it or not. :-) And there's some unbelievably beautiful poetry in there.

it'll never be labeled great literature, but then again neither will Stephen King.

Yes, King produced some fluff, but if I had my way, a few of his books *would* be labeled great literature (starting with "The Dead Zone"). :-)
From:dafne99
Date:November 6th, 2006 11:42 pm (UTC)
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My vote is for the "Dark Tower" saga (Although upon re-reading "The Gunslinger"... I'm surprised he got that thing published! I mean, the story is great, but the writing is HORRID!)
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From:jhall1
Date:November 5th, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC)
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The cynical answer is that a freedom fighter is on our side whilst a terrorist is on their side. The non-cynical answer is that I think it depends both on the degree of worthiness of the ends and on how ruthless the means are.
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From:izhilzha
Date:November 6th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
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The non-cynical answer is that I think it depends both on the degree of worthiness of the ends and on how ruthless the means are.

Yeah, that's what sometimes drives me crazy--because in the heat of the cause, of the moment, how could you tell? I have this ridiculous fear, which will probably never be tested, of thinking so hard about the moral consequences to my actions that I'll be faced someday with the need to make a choice between two evils, and won't be able to act at all. Sometimes it may not be complacency that causes "good men to do nothing."
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From:whitemartyr
Date:November 5th, 2006 09:09 pm (UTC)
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I don't know why but for some reason that made me think of Sarah Connor in Terminator 2...
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From:izhilzha
Date:November 6th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
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Heh. Well, yeah--she's definitely a freedom fighter. :-)
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From:jd3000
Date:November 7th, 2006 03:59 am (UTC)
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It all depends on perspective. From Skynet's POV, she's just a highly troublesome organic who produces an offspring skilled enough to allow the destructive and wasteful human infestation of Earth to survive. :-D

-JD
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From:kerravonsen
Date:November 5th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
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You really MUST watch Blake's 7.
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From:izhilzha
Date:November 6th, 2006 05:13 am (UTC)
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Heh. That was my second guess as to what might have provoked the dream; reading B7 fic. And I'm planning to try to get my brother or a friend to help me figure out how to play DVDs from out of my region, as a Christmas present, so I can start watching B7.
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From:aadler
Date:November 7th, 2006 02:31 am (UTC)
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I’ve heard the cynical answer before, in different forms. “Terrorist is what the big army always calls the little army.” “Terrorists are anybody who have to fight without an air force.” “If we don’t like them, they’re terrorists. If we do like them, they’re freedom fighters.”

Statements like those address two important facts, while ignoring (or glossing over) one just as significant. Yes, we call names to people we don’t like; enemies top the list. Yes, we cite virtuous motives for ourselves, while ascribing evil intent to our adversaries.

However, the thing that’s left out of such observations is: what did the people in question DO?

Unconventional warfare has existed as long as (probably longer than) formal war. The very word “guerilla” was coined to describe Spanish resistance to Napoleon, and they were latecomers; you can find descriptions in the Bible and the Iliad. Our own elite forces — Green Berets, Navy Seals, Delta Force — not only train in unconventional tactics but are taught to develop the mindset that will allow them to formulate their own.

Unconventional warfare is not terrorism. I was on the other side of that, so it’s not theoretical for me. Planting roadside bombs? Popping out three or four mortar rounds toward an American base, then tossing the mortar tube into the back of a pickup truck and taking off ahead of the immediate response? Setting ambushes, taking sniper shots, pulling a motorcycle alongside a Humvee and dropping a grenade in the back before zipping away? Those are the things I had to deal with, and I didn’t like it and I was always on the lookout for the chance to kill the people doing it … but I didn’t consider them to be terrorist acts. Those were the things I’d be doing myself if I found myself on the wrong side of overwhelming odds.

There are things I wouldn’t do, however. Things that, if I did do them, would have my own country prosecuting me for war crimes. Selecting a target, and designing the attack on that target, expressly to inflict massive civilian casualties (World Trade Center). Assassinating religious leaders who don’t echo my personal dedication to jihad (Afghanistan). Killing — by bomb and torture — those of my own countrymen who don’t support my political aims Iraq). Planting bombs calculated to kill children in the marketplace, as a warning 1] not to get too friendly with the ‘invaders’, and 2] not to mess with us because we’re the guys you have to watch out for (Iraq again).

So, back to the original question. How do you decide which label to apply, terrorist or freedom fighter? Well, check it by turning it around. Is this something I call evil when somebody else does it? then it’s something I shouldn’t be doing. Is it something that I would consider okay if it was me doing it? then maybe it isn’t wrong when my enemy does it to me. (Undesirable, definitely, and I’ll congratulate myself anytime I manage to prevent it. But ‘bad for me’ doesn’t automatically equate to ‘bad’.

By the same token, ‘good for my side’ isn’t quite the same as ‘good’.)

That may not be the entire answer, but it’s a start. Sometimes we should do more … but we should never do any less.
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From:jd3000
Date:November 7th, 2006 04:05 am (UTC)
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Phil Farrand had a good definition. He said, IIRC, "Terrorism is the systematic targeting of non-military targets to evoke a negative emotional response from the populace."

The movie Red Dawn is a funny example of perspective. That film revolved around civilian high school students taking up arms as insurgents following a Soviet invasion of the American Midwest. They raid, ambush, and bomb enemy convoys, act as snipers, kill POWs...but because they are American, they are heroes. Go fig.

-JD
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From:aadler
Date:November 9th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
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The movie Red Dawn is a funny example of perspective. That film revolved around civilian high school students taking up arms as insurgents following a Soviet invasion of the American Midwest. They raid, ambush, and bomb enemy convoys, act as snipers, kill POWs...but because they are American, they are heroes. Go fig.
Pretty much what I said. All of those are actions that an outnumbered and isolated force will utilize by necessity. Only the killing of prisoners is questionable … and even for that, a defense can be made, on the basis that 1] they didn’t have the facilities for keeping prisoners of war, and 2] anybody they released would carry information about them (ages, identities, numbers, physical descriptions, armaments, tactics) — things that would directly endanger them — and/or be free to fight them further.

Also, in keeping with your opening observation, all of these were things directed against enemy soldiers. Compatible (except for the last) even with the Geneva Convention, which was explicitly not formulated with an eye to unconventional warfare.
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From:izhilzha
Date:November 7th, 2006 06:08 pm (UTC)
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What an excellent, well-thought-out comment. Thank you. I wasn't expecting that, and it was lovely to find. :-)
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From:aadler
Date:November 9th, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
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You raised a thoughtful question. It deserved a carefully considered answer. I’m glad you considered mine to meet that standard.

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