Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Freedom fight or Fighting freedom?

In a recent episode of The Big Fight on NDTV, a bunch of studnets from the Lahore University were pitted against a few indian students and were asked present their own views on the current turmoil regarding both countries and the terror situation of south east Asia.

I was surprised, that on accusations of fostering terrorism, some of the Pakistanis strongly defended them (terrorists) as freedom fighters! As the show continued questions were raised about India's clean image in the whole scenario. "What proof do you have that Indians were not involved in the bombings in Pakistan?.. What exactly are the reasons for India having five consulates in Afghanistan?", were among the many queries put forward by them. From our side was the usual assault on the Pakistani president, the motives of the ISI, so on and so forth.

On being questioned what was the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter, they retorted that one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist as seen accross borders. This might just be how political leaders would want people to think and exactly why there still exists a level of discomfort on how different people handle the issue.

What if we could arrive on common terms and definitions for terrorism and freedom fights? Maybe then we could actually come together in combating terrorism and perhaps even help out those struggling for their freedom. So what are these universal definitions? My humble opinion:

Use of force and weapons on any human or civilian in particular, who, in every obvious way, is not responsible for the plight/suffering of the perpetrator, in order to harm physically,economically or mentally as an act of vengeance whether the original root cause of this vengeance is authentic or not. These weapons could range from anything between the pocket knife to an F16 bomb. Also, the intended victim would usually have no knowledge of the attack that he faces, unarmed and would in no way be prepared to defend himself. Even if the victim is capable of defending himself, attacking him, without reason, is still an act of terrorism.
Also, the terrorist's claim that the people killed were responsible for higher powers that were the actual enemies is hogwash. There is no single nation where elected representatives actually represent a nation. The terrorist will go any lengths to enforce his irrational beliefs and ideals to his victims.

Examples of terrorists that would fit the bill:
9/11 bombers.
LeT and JeM in Kashmir.
Carpet Bombers killing thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rioters in post-godhra Gujarat.
Mohammed Afzal. (yes, he needs to be hanged)

Freedom fighters:
A fight against oppression, with the oppressors or their agents directly in combat or through various forms of protest. This combat/protest would take place in such a way that there are certain globally accepted rules of engagement followed and no civilian, innocent third person would be harmed in the process. The oppression could be in any form and can broadly be defined as the violation of basic rights and freedom such as the right to live, right to practice one's own faith, right to own property and freedom of speech.

Vietnamese Soldiers.
Hizbollah during the recent Israeli invasion.
Defenders of the Jessica Lal case.
I'm somehow running out of examples.

We know this one pretty well, don't we?

Which brings me to the actual question: Do terrorists give rise to freedom fighters?


Pollyanna said...

I agree with all of this, but on the question of the definition of what a freedom fighter is, its a question of who perceives what as oppression right?

Tarun R said...

I believe perverted freedom fighters tend to become terrorists.

Hiren said...

In many cases, gross injustice can giver rise to terrorism. In some others , it can be opportunitistic like many people taking to arms because of the fact that terrorists provides for their families. Third is plain stupidity- the Iraq war is an example of international terrorism in my view and lets see how many more terrorists it breeds.

Lalbadshah said...

@pollyanna: Exactly my point. Which is why I have mentioned those certain freedoms and rights which when violated could be interpreted as oppression. Of course its not a comprehensive list but I think broadly speaking, it wuold suffice.

@tarun r: Hmm.. yeah.. Thats a valid point of view.

@hiren: The Iraq war has already bred too many terrorists. Most of the turmoil in the last 3 years can be attributed to Iraq war.

Anonymous said...

I have a few questions for the Pakistani students supporting terrorism.
If you could refresh your memories of last year there were a bomb blast at a bus stop in Srinagar.
> Can you please tell me what a bunch of school girls has got to do with freedom fighting? They did loose their lives in a stupid territorial war.
And about, the recent Bombay train blasts.
> Hundreds of innocent civillians died who were fathers, mothers, children - dear to their kin. Just like you are to yours. Then How would you like it if your kin is killed?
The government is playing you guys to keep the power. Period. No other reason.

Anonymous said...

er that was me Jeevan

Lalbadshah said...

@ jeevan: exactly! taking up arms against the innocent for what someone else did to you can never be called a fight for freedom.