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  1. FalsePhoenix

    FalsePhoenix New Member

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    Terrorism?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by FalsePhoenix, Dec 13, 2016.

    Would it be a good idea to base something i write around a group of terrorists fighting the "good" but for younger readers?
     
  2. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    Probably not, but feel free to prove me wrong.
     
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  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter and all that - but generally terrorists as the good guys isn't going to be very saleable in the current climate.
     
  4. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

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    Are you literally going to call them 'Terrorists'?
    Something worth pointing out - the literal definition of 'Terrorist' is different than what a lot of people think of it as - For example, despite oft-repeated jokes about it, neither the main characters of FF7 nor the guys in Star Wars are terrorists - They're guerilla fighters. Terrorists are defined by the fact that they use violence and intimidation to try and scare people into action - Attacking military targets, blowing up buildings that offer strategic value, or otherwise fighting in an underground war with actual strategic goals is not Terrorism.

    The problem with making actual, honest-to-goodness Terrorists into your protagonists is that their modus operandi makes them REALLY hard to root for, because they attack civilians and innocent people, not just the nice, safe-to-kill 'Actual bad guys'. For example, the situation in North Korea might be terrible, but you don't make it better by poisoning the water supply that the common people use - that's just going to make the conditions more miserable for everyone. Terrorists aren't heroes, unless you somehow frame it so that the people that they are terrorizing are all evil - An entire nation or kingdom of bad people, not just a kingdom run by bad people.
     
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    You are right - except that 'terrorist' is also a frame of reference thing depending on which side you are on - during WW2 German occupation forces referred to the various resistance groups as 'terrorists' , although the allies saw them as guerrillas and freedom fighters.
    In fact if you look at it coldly some of the stuff the Maquis did to collaborators (or suspected collaborators) would be modern standards fall into terrorism.

    A very clear example of this is the communist resistance in indochina - during WW2 the Japanese considered them to be terrorists, but the allies considered them to be freedom fighters and armed and equipped them and sent special ops units to help and train them. After the war was over and the colonial powers - Britain, France, Holland etc were back in control we then considered these groups to be terrorists because now they were fighting against our interests .. but the actual activities of the groups on the ground hadn't really changed except in who was being targeted.
     
  6. Historical Science

    Historical Science Contributor Contributor

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    I probably wouldn't use the word "Terrorist" as its a fully loaded word these days but as Moose said, one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Take a look at Red Dawn... The Wolverines would surely be labeled as "Terrorists" by the opposing party, right? Its all about perspective.
     
  7. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First of all, what does "good" mean to you?

    I have to agree with @Mikmaxs, and perhaps the point is a little pedantic, but we're writers, pedantic is what we do. Terrorists who fight for the good is an oxymoronic statement to me. Before you start using that word (especially in your work) make sure terrorist is what you really mean. I think that word has taken too much semantic shift in popular media; it's used with a little too much insouciance.
     
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  8. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the site!

    I've always been a huge fan of villain protagonists, but the challenge is to showcase the villains' own thinking such that a) you can tell that they think they're right, but b) that they're wrong despite thinking otherwise.

    Can you think of any young adult villain protagonist fiction you've enjoyed?
     
  9. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    I'm going to agree with others in this thread and ask whether "terrorists" is what you really mean. The line between guerilla/resistance fighters and terrorists is a thin one, but I think most can agree that the defining difference is whether or not they are outright targeting civilians with the intent to cause fear for political gain. As mentioned earlier, the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars isn't a terrorist group, as they hit military and government targets (though I believe there were a few Rebel cells in the current EU that drift over that line into potential terrorist territory). That said, the Empire referred to them as terrorists in its propaganda to demonize them. Definitely something you'll want to keep in mind if you have a resistance group and not a terrorist one.

    That said, I think it may be possible to write about a terror group with a good goal but extreme means of getting it. The vast majority of us will agree that the institution of American slavery was bad, and ending it was good, but not all of us will agree that everything John Brown or Nat Turner did in the name of fighting it was good.

    Combining the two points, you might start out with a resistance group in an occupied nation that gradually transitions into using terrorism as they become more desperate.
     
  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    The Wolverines were attacking an enemy occupying force. I wouldn't call them terrorists. If they also attacked locals to punish them for cooperating with that enemy occupying force, then I would call them terrorists.
     
  11. Historical Science

    Historical Science Contributor Contributor

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    I would still bet the occupying force would label them as "terrorists" regardless and they would still be perceived as "terrorists" by the people of said occupying force which was what I was getting at.
     
  12. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I agree that they would probably be called that, but I still think that it's not entirely a point-of-view distinction.
     
  13. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    They can label them whatever they like. They can call them Unicorns. That doesn't make it so.
     
  14. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Returning to add: My general view is that terrorists attack innocent civilians. Groups that attack military have various other names, varying depending on whether you approve or disapprove of their actions.
     
  15. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    USS Cole?
     
  16. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    I'd call it a military attack by a generally terrorist group, but this is one of those cases where the lines get blurred. To use an ongoing example, ISIS is a terrorist group, but I wouldn't call their offensives against the Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan, etc. militaries terrorist acts. Their terrorist acts come in with the attacks on civilians that are designed to cause fear and advance their cause (the car bombings in markets, the mass shootings in entertainment venues, those sorts of things).

    No one has brought this up yet, but official governments can be terrorist as well (such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and North Korea). In one example out of many, after Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated by Czech partisans, the village of Lidice was "liquidated" in retaliation. All of the men were killed, while the women and most of the children were sent to concentration camps. After the population was gone, the Germans razed and bulldozed the village, removed the rubble, and planted grain over the place where it once stood in an attempt to erase its existence. That sort of behavior isn't very different from a guerilla group (one that could also be called terrorist, like the Taliban) attacking and destroying a village for collaborating with their enemies.
     
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  17. Historical Science

    Historical Science Contributor Contributor

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    I feel like what I'm trying to say is being misunderstood or such a silly comparison would not have been made.

    What I'm saying: Perception is reality. There's a fancy quote that expands on that but I think the saying holds a lot of water, especially in this case. If most of the world thinks you're a unicorn and treats you like a unicorn, does it really even matter if you're not a unicorn? Because according to their perception you are and that's probably never going to change. In their reality, you're a unicorn and they will have you killed because of it.

    Does the average American consider their own government "Terrorists"? No, because they're on one side of the story, they have a biased perspective. Definition of Terrorism: "the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims." I'm pretty sure our government does that every day and you can bet your ass that most of the world thinks of America as the biggest Terrorists on the planet.

    This seems to be drifting off topic though, so I'll cut it here. Just wanted to clarify as I felt I'm being misunderstood.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
  18. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    Do you mean "upstart youngsters fighting the 'good' government, that is really 'bad'"?
     
  19. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    So the actions of Uk and Us bomber command in WW2 - Dresden, etc ? - Act of war or act of terrorism/war crime ?

    I'm not saying they were terrorists, I'm saying that in war the lines get blurred. How much difference is there really between a car bomb in a market place and a bomb load dropped from the air, and if you take it a step further and look at the justification - ie that attacking your enemies industrial/economic base is a justifiable act of war, then why does this not apply to attacks on our industrial/economic base by groups like AQ or IS

    I'm sure we all agree that attacking civilians is generally a bad thing, but the definition of whether such actions are terrorism or "justifiable collateral damage" really turns on whether the group that does it is for or against us whoever "us" is, with history being written by the victors
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
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  20. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    You mean like the rebel alliance of Star Wars? Or the terrorists who destroyed thousands of dollars of tea by dumping it in the Boston harbor? As said before, who is the terrorist and who are the freedom fighters is determined by who won history. Everyone always thinks they're on the right said and so we're their ancestors.

    Why do we label Benedict Arnold a traitor but not Robert E Lee?

    Wasn't Jesus a criminal in both Roman and Jewish law? Why does half the world worship a criminal?
     
  21. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I've quoted this here before, but the lyrics to "Wonderful" from the musical Wicked are particularly apt here:

    Elphaba, where I'm from, we believe all sorts of things that aren't true. We call it history.
    A man's called a traitor - or liberator
    A rich man's a thief - or philanthropist
    Is one a crusader - or ruthless invader?
    It's all in which label
    Is able to persist
    There are precious few at ease
    With moral ambiguities
    So we act as though they don't exist
     
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  22. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    But the purpose of a car bomb in a marketplace isn't to attack the industrial/economic base. The purpose is to kill, injure, and terrorize civilians. Civilian deaths aren't a regrettable side effect; they're the whole point. They're the goal.

    When civilian deaths are the goal, I call that either war crimes or terrorism--the choice of terms depending on whether the group committing that crime is on the scale of a government/army, or something much smaller.

    Other things may also be terrorism or war crimes, other things may be war, and many things may be a gray area in between. But any action with the deliberate goal of harming civilians isn't gray for me.
     
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  23. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    A movement can also evolve over time. The KKK was a gentlemens club. It was made up of well off white men. It evolved into the church burning lynching mob after the civil war. The Nazi party's original ideals looked nothing like what the third Reich came to be and the majority of the members knew nothing of the atrocities.
     
  24. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

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    Jesus wasn't a criminal in Roman law, just FYI. And in Jewish law, he wasn't a criminal worthy of crucifixion, either. A technical case could be made that he didn't keep the sabbath holy - It was his disciples that picked and ate some heads of grain on the sabbath, not him, if it matters - But either way, the written punishment for that crime was to be stoned, not to be crucified.

    Also - Benedict Arnold made secret discussions with enemy forces, then after defecting began serving the enemy military. Robert E Lee surrendered after being defeated in battle.

    And, speaking of Star Wars - The Rebels are never called anything except that - Rebels. They aren't called freedom fighters, sure, but nobody calls them terrorists, either. And you can say that's partly because they won the war, but even the Imperial troops never call them 'terrorists' or anything similar, implying that even within their propaganda, the rebels are just that.

    (And hey, the Confederates aren't called terrorists, even though they were clearly the losing side, so apparently history isn't rewritten every time someone wins a fight.)
     
  25. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    Well, if you want the real reason Lee and the Confederacy aren't demonized as much as they could be, it's because the American Civil War is a curious case of the war's loser winning the peace. Once reconstruction ended, things drifted back almost to how they'd been before the war. The Lost Cause narrative dominated American education across much of the country until after the Civil Rights Movement, and it still lingers in the education system in the South ("it wasn't about slavery, it was about state's rights"; the advocates of this notion never ask "state's rights to do what?").

    As for Star Wars, any times the Rebels are called "terrorists", it's in the material outside the movies, and is almost entirely part of Imperial propaganda. I don't see how some people watching the movies seriously take the position that the Rebels are terrorists. The Death Star gets brought up the most, but they ignore it was a military installation that earlier blew up a planet with 2 billion people on it.
     
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