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 Difference between Terrorist and Rebel.

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Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: Difference between Terrorist and Rebel.   Sun 14 Feb 2016, 11:19

In  Western countries organisations and  individuals who oppose their government by means of armed incidents are considered as being  terrorists and I do not have an issue with that.


Yet in, as an example Syria, Egypt, Ukraine and in some African and other countries  there are armed organisations and individuals who are opposing their  government and are referred to as rebels.
 

Even the expression freedom fighters has often been used in armed conflicts between a  government and its opposition,

Why terrorist in one country and rebel/freedom fighter in another country?
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Difference between Terrorist and Rebel.   Sun 14 Feb 2016, 11:27

To be a touch cynical - "terrorist" - one my government disapproves of. "freedom fighter / rebel" - one my government approves of.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Difference between Terrorist and Rebel.   Sun 14 Feb 2016, 11:52

If terrorism still means to terrorise populations (the term has now become so hackneyed that this is by no means a semantic certainty any longer) then it is arguable that governments, rather than disaffected factions, are by far the more frequent, the more effective, and the most adept at employing it as a political tool.

"Rebel" as a chiefly positive connotation of political activism is also rather a modern take on the term. Perhaps the Star Wars film franchise is to blame. When Britain, even in its own military language of the day, executed the rebels who led the 1916 insurgency in Ireland I do not believe they were boasting about killing the "good guys". So for me this term also is now hackneyed to the point of obsolescence.

"Freedom fighters" retains some semantic clarity, even today, and even in terms of political double-speak. However it is rarely employed with an accompanying clarification regarding the nature of either the "freedom" to which the fighter aspires or of the manner of "fight" they will use to achieve it. Upon closer examination therefore this term, used to envelop so many who would also fit the hackneyed but seemingly popular use of the other two phrases mentioned, shows that its apparent semantic clarity in no way reflects any other kind of clarity in its use.

Gil is correct above. The terms are only useful in gauging the political nature and stance of the government or media organ that promotes their use. They are absolutely worthless in gauging the same for those who the terms purport to describe.
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Difference between Terrorist and Rebel.

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