I Worship Terrorists.

Yep, I do, not many people would admit to such a thing publicly while living in a Western country these days.  But I do.  My heroes attacked government institutions, attacked the recognized authority, bombed stuff and people, shot people.  They were your run of the mill terrorists.  Many were caught and were killed by the authorities, or were imprisoned.  Some escaped punishment and were able to live out their lives in hiding or in exile.  They were condemned almost universally.  Yet I worship them.

According to most governments in Europe the fighters of the November Rising of 1830 unlawfully took up arm against the legal authority of the Russian Czar.  Poland at the time was partitioned between Prussia, Austria and Russia.  The Russians set up the Polish Congress Kingdom, of course under Russian rule.  There were however some privileges granted to the Poles.  Poland was allowed to have its own Army for example, although it was supposed to be under the general command of Russia whose Czar also proclaimed himself the King of Poland.  New repressions and revolts in France and Belgium gave the Poles the incentive to rise up.  And so they did, it lasted just 11 months.  Poland was surrounded by nations who willingly helped the Russians to put down the rising.  Initially all went well, most of the early pitched battles ended in Polish victories.  But without outside support it could not last.  That support was not forthcoming.  So after a few losses, and some guerrilla fighting the rising ended in defeat.  It led to even more repressions.  In the end the fighters were even condemned by the Catholic Church (Poland was Catholic while Russia, an anti-Catholic state was Orthodox) and the fighters  were excommunicated by their Church.

Similar fate was suffered by those Poles who rose up in January of 1863, more condemnations, repressions, more of them sent to Siberia.  This is what happens to terrorists.  Another of my heroes who was a terrorist was Josef Pilsudski.  Yes, the Father of the Second Polish Republic was a terrorist.  Arrested and sent to Siberia on trumped up charges, he later returned and joined the Socialists.  He helped organize train robberies to get funds for his movement.  The Socialists assassinated hundreds of Russian officials, made bombs, and were trying to organize a nation wide revolt.  After Poland regained its independence he let himself be a part of a coup and became a “dictator” of Poland.

Of course the Germans occupying Poland during the Second World War called any resistance fighters terrorists.  Then those same people were called the the dreaded “T” word by the new Polish Communist Government set up by Russia.  What they failed to mention was that they made them into “terrorists.”  The best and the brightest of Poland, those who survived over 5 years of brutal German occupation, were getting arrested, shot, or sent to gulags just for being patriots and for fighting for their country.  So they went back to the forests and fought back against the brutal Polish/Russian Communist regime.  Yet for decades they were called bandits, terrorists, reactionaries, murderers.  The Warsaw Jews who just wanted to die with dignity were also called terrorists by the Germans when they rose up to fight against annihilation.

There are countless stories like that.  Good people fighting for their cause, but labeled terrorists.  Sometimes its just luck and success that change the person’s label from terrorist to national hero.  Sometimes a person is branded as both.  Tadeusz Kosciuszko was a hero of the American Revolution.  He later went back to Poland and fought for its freedom.  For that he got prison, exile and an excommunication by his church.  His bad luck was that he ended up on the losing side.  If George Washington failed to win the war for American Independence he would have surely been hung as a traitor.  He won and became the first American president.  England branded as terrorists the same people that it was allied with less than a decade later.  Most of Israel’s leaders fought the British before becoming statesmen.  Now they in turn fight Palestinian terrorists.

Does the end justify the means?  Does the end matter really?  Is it ok to kill innocent people in the name of freedom?  Is it ok for governments to wage wars and kill even more people?  Is it really different when the person doing the killing is wearing a uniform?  Now I am not condoning terrorism, nor condemning governments who use military force.  But in the end innocent people die just the same.  In my mind no one who blows up buses, hotels, or markets, or who fly planes into buildings, has any rights, and I don’t really give a shit what cause they use to excuse their murderous actions.  It does not justify their cause, no matter how weak they are.  The weak are not always right, sometimes they are just weak.  On the other hand, is it ok for us to invade countries and kill thousands of people for revenge or democracy?  Politics is rarely about the right and wrong.  Mostly its hypocrisy gone wild.  The United States was formed through the right to revolt.  The South seceded from the USA by those same principles, of course the USA opposed this.  At the same time the CSA, while fighting for their right to secede forbade any further succession from the CSA.  Go figure.

These days this may not be a popular view, on the other hand, some will lap it up.  But terrorism is not as black and white as it would appear, just ask the Irish.  At the same time I still want all those bastards who attacked my country on 9-11 dead.  I  support Israel, and have a hard time excusing the Palestinians’ actions, despite their plight and struggles.  I also don’t want some freaks to start bombing government buildings just because they they feel “oppressed” by those in Washington.  However we can not allow our government to run around the world and kill people with impunity in our name.  Waving a flag and reciting slogans does not make one patriotic.  Just because our soldiers are wearing American uniforms it does not make them automatically right in whatever they do.  We can not fight to bring democracy to some while supporting brutal dictators elsewhere.  Actually we can, but we must stop the bullshit and call it what it is, politics and power.

So yes, some of my heroes were terrorists, Washington, Lee, Jackson, Bem, Wysocki, Koscioszko, Pilsudski, the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Poles who fought against Germans or Russians.  All heroes for one reason or another.  Hell some of the people I admire most, while maybe not terrorists, fought for some truly shitty causes, Rommel, von Manteuffel, Guderian, Balck, von Manstein, Raus, all fought and bled for a Nazi Germany.  I admire them as much those who fought against them.  Like Patton, Eisenhower, Sikorski, Maczek, or Sosabowski.  Not all those I admire were noble though their character or deeds.  Some took part in actions that were truly wrong and despicable.  Yet as long as I remember that the concept or right and wrong is as relative as anything in this world it is ok.  It is when we act with righteous indignation, and call those on the other side as evil that real problems start and we lose whatever moral authority we had by our actions.  When someone is convinced he is right it is easy for him to commit evil in the name of good.

Published in: on September 25, 2009 at 6:42 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Quality. Excellent post, and thanks for the Polish history lesson!

  2. Excuse me for commenting offtopic – what wordpress template are you using? Looks stunning!

    • Quentin by Mike Purdy
      And thanks, I agree

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