Boston, Massachusetts (TFC) – A riot broke out near a government office. The first shots were like a whip crack and pulled three men off their feet. They died on blood soaked cobblestones as smoke cleared the street. Eight more men were shot and six survived somehow. In 1770 these men were terrorists, but they’re heroes now. In 1976, the US sang the praises of the dead. We didn’t call them terrorists; we called them patriots instead. On TV screens, we saw reenactments and heard speeches; we learned how hard they fought. We were told stories about how they spilled their life’s blood and the price at which the country had been bought.
Dublin, Ireland – Men flooded the streets armed with rifles and grenades. “The Four Courts” were captured, if only for six days. Sixteen men were executed for answering Ireland’s call. They died in silence; as they were stood against a wall. With ultimate conviction, they faced their death without fear. In 1916 they were terrorists, but that was another year. One hundred years later, and Ireland does not bow. They were called terrorists, but they’re heroes now.
Paris, France – Two men ambushed a soldier; shot him in cold-blooded pain. Alfons Moser died that morning, waiting for his train. The shooters ran away, but one was caught somehow. In ’41 they were terrorists, but they’re heroes now.
West Bank, Palestine – Israeli soldiers march up and down, driving people from the street. A rock strikes an officer, and a Palestinian flees. They called up reinforcements and pulled people from their beds. They were screaming “Get that bastard!”, but the fear was in their heads. They found him in a culvert, he was only fifteen. He was fighting for a homeland. He wound up dying for a dream. The Israelis dragged him by the hair and beat him to the ground. Into this young man’s body, they emptied every round.
Suruc, Turkey – Soldiers march, glancing left and right. They’re the children of the Turkish working class who became soldiers overnight. They’ve been tossed into a cauldron of bloody war and strife. A war they don’t understand; but they’re fearing for their lives. Down the street at a checkpoint, a bomb takes two away. The Kurdish bomber’s work is over; she’s finished for the day. She’s fighting for her country, but what a price to have to have to pay.
Are the last two terrorists or dreamers? Are they savage or are they brave? It depends whose vote you’re trying to get, or whose flag you want to wave.
This “article” is a bastardization of a song written by Bik McFarlane. Bik, joined the Irish Republican Army when he was just 18 years old. In 1976, he was sentenced to life in prison for his alleged role in an attack that killed five and wounded 60. He was sent to the infamous Maze prison, where he tried to escape by dressing as a priest. The attempt was foiled, but he joined the “dirty protest.” He became the top IRA officer inside the prison after Bobby Sands died while on hunger strike. In 1983, he led the Maze prison escape in which 38 IRA members escaped. After the escape, he is said to have resumed his IRA activities and participated in a high-profile kidnapping. In 1986, he was captured in mainland Europe and extradited. He was released in 1997, but not before becoming the longest-serving IRA prisoner in Maze prison. He is still currently active with Irish causes, and has expressed solidarity with the Basque separatist movement. If there is any man on earth that understands the duality of terrorism and freedom fighter, it’s him.
I didn’t ask his permission to abuse his song in this manner, and after really reviewing his background, maybe I should have. Bik’s song dealt directly with the Irish struggle. I feel the message is extremely important today, but was afraid the meaning might be lost to American readers who, sadly, don’t have a clue whoPadraig Pearse is. The song speaks directly to the need to evaluate stances based on the realities on the ground rather than the propaganda of politicians. Throughout history, it has almost always been the correct stance to side with people living in the area in question. Whether you’re discussing the IRA, ETA, YPG, PLO, or any other group that wants a foreign power to leave their homes, history has proven them to have the moral authority.
As US politics plunges Americans into some of these conflicts, it is very important to remember that it won’t be the politicians fighting the wars. It will be our nation’s children. We need to make sure that we’re on the correct side. It’s important for everybody to understand that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.