When is a murderous gunman a 'freedom fighter', and when is he a 'terrorist'? This is a question we need to sort out pretty quickly. It has often been argued in the past, that it depends on which side of the relevant 'cause' you support. Alternately, it depends on how big a crowd you can 'persuade' to attend a demonstration against whoever they are against. So a 'demo' of 150,000 in London apparently turns Hamas into 'freedom fighters' and makes Israel 'aggressors'. This allows the demonstrators to demand that Israel stop defending its citizens and allows Hamas and all the splinter groups hiding under its mantel, to bomb, murder and kidnap their way into possession of all of Israel. For those who hate Israel and wish to see it destroyed, Hamas are 'freedom fighters' and not 'terrorists'. Their every excess is justified by the 'cause' they fight for, the total destruction of Israel, and the subjugation of all its inhabitants to Sharia Law, or at least their version of it. For their supporters, no 'bad' deed can be laid at their door, everything is Israel's 'fault' presumably simply for existing and for defending itself.
It is noteworthy that these same demonstrators argue that they are justified in NOT demonstrating against, or renouncing the excesses of, ISIS and the suppression of all other faiths in most Islamic lands, on the grounds that they are the result of 'western aggression' and support for Israel. As ever, when one looks at terrorists, one is confronted with a double standard. The government/people/nation under attack are always, in the minds of the terror group's sympathisers and supporters, "aggressors" or "abusers" and the terrorists are branded "liberators" and "freedom fighters". As always, there is a refusal to accept that there may be some justification for the vigorous defence of the status quo, and a refusal to condemn the excesses of the terrorist group. The favourite canard of the supporters is "it is always necessary that some must suffer for the greater good ..." George Orwell certainly knew the mind of the idiots who trot that out in defence of any excess perpetrated by their favourite ideologues or 'freedom fighters'.
The situation in Southern Africa thirty years ago was similarly divisive. To their supporters the ANC were 'freedom fighters' as, forty years ago, Mugabe's Patriotic Front were. To their supporters, every killing, every murder of their own people as well as every 'white man/woman/child' was a justifiable killing in the name of 'freedom', and every black person killed by the same terrorists, was an 'unfortunate casualty in the name of the struggle'. Of course, if you were on the receiving end of this, then the ANC and the PF were 'terrorists' and remain so. It is very easy to shout slogans, wave banners and pontificate about the 'justice' or the 'justification' when you are not the target, and will not have to live with the consequences resulting from the triumph of your favourite bunch of terrorists. The trouble is that there is no clear definition of either term, no generally agreed situation that makes you one or the other - and there is no dirtier, more inhumane or genocidal 'war' than a 'civil war' conducted by masked or disguised fighters from within a population.
The western Media (mostly 'liberal/left') has, at various times, hailed as 'liberators' the likes of Che Guevara, Robert Mugabe, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, Sukarno, Ho Chi Min and any number of others - most of whom have turned out to be nothing other than vicious psychopaths hell bent on attaining and keeping power at all costs, no matter how many people die so they can achieve it. I frequently wonder how many of those who wear the teeshirts emblazoned with Che Guevara's image know they are celebrating a classic psychopath responsible for bringing misery and poverty (and possibly creating the drug cartels) to so much of South America and the Caribbean today. Not many, I suspect. And those that do, don't care. It was, and is, all about being a 'rebel' and having a 'cause'. That last is, in my view, borne out by the fact so many of those who do wear that image, or display it in homes and offices, are 'single issue' campaigners for something.
The truth is there is no such animal as a 'freedom fighter'. Those that do join such 'armies' are often seriously misguided, sometimes psychopathic or psychologically disturbed. They are often brutes whose only 'cause' is advancing their own form of tyranny. The current group terrorising the Middle East, ISIS, are classic examples. Yet again, they were hailed, among others, by the western liberal media, as the 'freedom' fighters 'striving to overthrow the oppressive dictatorships' of so many of the Arab countries. And now their true colours are emerging, we hear no word of condemnation from the same 'liberal/left'. Instead they try to divert attention to Israel's supposed 'war on children' - quietly ignoring the evidence that Hamas has used schools as munitions dumps, fires their rockets from heavily populated areas, and hides their 'soldiers' among groups of women and children.
We rejoiced as Libya was torn apart and Gaddafi overthrown. We rejoiced as Tunisia was riven, then Egypt, and finally Syria - and we poured money and arms into funding and supplying the 'rebels' of the 'Arab Spring'. The Muslim Brotherhood were beneficiaries, and through them, ISIS and Hamas got the latest weapons and munitions. Yes, we made a good call there then. ISIS is now said to have a 'fighting fund' of over $2 billion, and it's major funders are the State of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and - oh dear - the Muslim Brotherhood which has been enjoying funding from the US among others. Again and again, the liberal/left make the mistake of falling for their own prejudice. We loathe the government or the leader of a state - so those who seek to overthrown him must be good guys. They must be friends - and we throw resources at them.
Then we are surprised when they turn out to be worse then the 'devil they cast out'. We never seem to learn that a man with a gun, a bomb vest strapped to him, and a mortar or a rocket launcher in his hands is NOT a 'better' person than his 'enemy'. Above all we never seem to get it into our heads that 'the enemy of my enemy' is NOT necessarily a friend. He may well be an even worse enemy. A terrorist is a terrorist whatever his cause, however 'justified' it may be. A man who tries to shoot or bomb his way to power is filled with hatred, and hatred is a poison which eventually extends that hatred to everyone who doesn't agree with the first man's 'vision'.
There are some shocking images emerging from Syria and Iraq, images the majority of western governments and media seem determined to ignore. President Obama has authorised 'bombing' of ISIS groups and forces, but how does he propose to identify them? Not all of them are wearing anything identifiable as a uniform. So, like all terrorists - they hide among civilians. Bomb them and you kill civilians. Kill civilians and the liberal/left media scream 'murder' at the western military (or Israel), but justify Hamas, ISIS or any other 'terror' groups' campaign of murder.
ISIS brings us a further dimension. Children as young as 10 are being 'encouraged' to swear 'allegiance' to the new 'caliph'. Video footage they are putting out shows children declaring they want to 'die a martyrs death for the Caliph'. Where are the sensible heads in all of this? Ah, adorning fences after ISIS made examples of them for daring to oppose their vision of Paradise. As is often said, for evil to triumph, it is necessary only for good men to do nothing. And this is the fruit of the ideology that has driven the west for the last five or six decades. We are now afraid to speak out; to say what is obvious, because to do so will result in our being accused of Islamophobia, racism, or 'cultural ignorance' - which is ironic, because those who use that last, are generally utterly ignorant of the 'culture' they seek to defend.
Terrorism, in all its forms, is a cancer that erodes liberty, personal freedom and ultimately the nation state. Like cancer it requires radical treatment. There are NO half-measures. Either surrender to the terrorist immediately, or be prepared to embark on a campaign as vicious as theirs. There is no negotiation with them. We have to accept that they are fanatics, and you cannot negotiate with a fanatic, since they deal only in absolutes. We have to stop playing the semantic card, make up our minds, and suppress terrorism. Plant a bomb in the name of a 'cause' and you are a terrorist. Join up with others, and take up arms against a legitimately elected (which does not necessarily mean it has to be by what you or I consider 'democratic' process) government - and you are a terrorist. Terrorists cannot, and must not be tolerated, no matter what the cause.
Those who truly want to see peace in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank have to stop supporting kidnapping, shooting, stone throwing, bombing and rocket firing targeted at Israel and Israelis or any other state and ts people. They will retaliate, just as any of our nation states would. If you want 'peace' in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Gaza or anywhere else, stop supporting those who think they can achieve their aims through the bombs, stones and bullets you are supplying through your donations. If Hamas, ISIS, or anyone else want peace, they must go to a negotiating table with no weapons and no preconditions. Otherwise they must be seen as terrorists.
Recently Gerry Doyle, a US based Radio and TV commentator, made the point that, with the support of gullible western 'liberal' sympathisers, terrorist groups have come to believe that they can win. Hamas think they can beat Israel no matter how many of their own civilians die in the attempt. ISIS believe they can overthrow every government in the world and impose their 'Caliph' on everyone. Both get support through all manner of third parties, such as the state of Qatar, elements of the Saudi government, 'humanitarian' agencies who provide goods and materials they can trade for weapons, 'supporters' who raise money for them (often under various guises which conceal who it is really supporting) and the benign ignorance of politicians whose 'multi-cultural' ideology blinds them to what is really happening. Such as traffic being stopped in Bradford and 'donations' demanded, with threats implied, for the support of the 'Palestinian Resistance'. They will continue to thrive and to advance their cause as long as we are prepared to 'tolerate' their continued existence and activities of both the 'fighters' and their supporters.
It is said there are some 500 British 'fighters' with ISIS, a similar number from Germany, and from the US. There are others from France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands - from every European state in fact. We are told the police 'know', or suspect they know, who they are. Fine, but then, when they eventually return to their home countries they must be arrested and charged with the crimes they have committed in the name of their cause - and preferably subjected to the same 'sentence' they have handed out to those they have killed or captured in the course of their 'war' on the people of Iraq and Syria. Sadly, I doubt they will be - because the armies of 'human rights' lawyers are probably already lobbying and lining up to make sure these psychopaths are not subjected to any legal actions for their campaigns of murder.
I do not believe anyone can be called a 'freedom fighter', whether he is a Ukrainian 'Russian', a Chechen, a Pushtun Taliban or a Nigerian tribesman who thinks he should be in control of all the other tribes in his homeland. In my view they are all terrorists and must be captured and either executed, or put away in a place where they and their evil poison can never be imposed on anyone else. Frankly, those who support them should be treated the same way.