Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Oh, Those Were the Days

One of the first assignments I've encountered since assuming a seat at St. Andrew's has been profiling a terrorist group of our choosing. I chose Narodnaya Volya, or the People's Will, of the late 19th century, precisely 1878 - 1881 to be exact. They were Russian liberal constitutionalists who engaged in targeted assassinations of the Russian Tsarist hierarchy. Eventually, their success was their end as their assassination of Tsar Alexander II led to their eventual capture and execution.

I chose this group because it was such a stark reminder between a "good" terrorist and an "evil" terrorist. To be honest, I'm not much for the designation of evil on any group; I think the label denies responsibility. In Christian philosophy or theology, whichever you claim dear reader, evil is synonomous with Satan, Beelzebub, the Devil...We're the Devils...the Deviiiiilllllls! as Putty would say. Maybe to the surprise of everyone, they were essentially moral terrorists. Excuse me, moral terrorists? Yes, they concentrated their attacks exclusively on those who oppressed the "people."Their motto was "Not one drop of superfluous blood."

Why do I bring up such an obscure historical example of terrorism y0u may ask? The answer is simple; we are in an era where the likes of Al-Qaeda grab the headlines and a corner of our thoughts when we board a train or a bus in any metropolitan city. The difference between the advent of the modern terrorist: Narodnaya Volya, and the new fanatical post-modern, yet retrograde, terrorism of Al-Qaeda is simple: one chose freedom for all people and the other chose to run their murderous campaign for the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate. The Russian terrorists chose freedom, the Arab Afghans and their recruits of Al-Qaeda chose tyranny of the most insidious kind: one where private thoughts are exterminated and one where the human body should be veiled rather than celebrated. Killing for one was the most moral of choices for the freedom of mankind while for the other, killing was a way to a renew tyranny of a anachronistic master, which we thought we killed long ago.

Controversially I say, there is good terrorism and evil terrorism. One which targets the root of real terror and the one which murders indiscriminately the people who merely enter the market, the transit, the mosque, etc... to make a better day for their families and by extension, their respective societies.

Terror in the hearts of tyrants is a good thing...it is ultimately democratic. Terror in the hearts of the innocent though is the height of tyranny. I ask you: Where do you stand on this question?