There is a lot of talk about terrorism nowadays, for understandable reasons. There are various kinds of terrorism and terrorists, and it occurred to me that at least a couple of my and KaTrian's WIPs have groups that could be seen as terrorists when observed through the eyes of their enemies (the current government of their home country). This got me wondering about what terrorism is and how it is seen by the public eye: what separates an insane, vainglorious terrorist from a righteous revolutionary, who is simply fighting to free his / her people from under the rule of a tyrannical government? What separates a tyrannical government from the glorious motherland? I'm probably as far from an expert on this subject as possible, but from what I've gathered, at least one of the elements that separates these two, good (revolutionary, motherland) and evil (terrorist, tyrant), is victory. Granted, there are cases that are pretty much cut-and-dried, e.g. it's generally agreed that Hitler and his regime were evil (and likely would have been viewed as such even had they triumphed), but there are also many (perhaps even most) cases where the line between good and evil is less blatant. Examples of slightly hazier cases are the many fights over independence. For instance, when the USA finally became independent from the UK. Were the events leading up to the 4th of July in 1776 acts of terror or freedom fighting? I would imagine that the American revolutionaries were terrorists to the British, yet there appears to be no common consensus that condemns them as evil, even though by the standards of modern Western societies, some could see some of the actions of the American revolutionaries as something akin to terrorism. It seems to me that in such cases, there is so much propaganda floating about on both sides, it's often difficult to find the One Truth underneath it all. So, how can we tell whether a person is bleeding for his / her motherland for the sake of a revolution or getting what any terrorist deserves? Who is to say when a government is tyrannical / undemocratic enough that it warrants a rebellion / coup, a violent one if need be? Ever heard of the quote from Claire Wolfe: "America is at that awkward state. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards"? Who decides when it is the time to shoot the bastards and how? When do the first shots fired against the current government become justified? I chose to use the 4th of July as an example, because most people here know at least a little bit about it and there's a wealth of information regarding the events leading up to it, so we can rely on facts as well as educated guesses instead of pure speculation. There are a myriad other examples (Ireland springs to mind as do Finland's struggles against Russia and Sweden), so feel free to discuss any of them. In fact, I think it would be better if we had several examples instead of focusing on just one case where history has basically said it was okay to do what nation X did at time Y while the same actions today could possibly be seen as acts of terrorism (domestic or international). I would greatly appreciate discussion on this matter and I hope we can keep it civil although some of these issues are somewhat flammable. PS. For the record, I, for one, am glad that the USA got their independence. That's one of the reasons why it is so difficult for me to see those battles as acts of terrorism, but it's an interesting exercise nonetheless.