Terrorists or Freedom Fighters

On Al Jazeera’s ‘Head to Head’ Mehdi Hasan challenges Martin McGuinness, exploring the definition of terrorism and when to negotiate with the enemy.

During the conflict in Northern Ireland, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was branded a terrorist organisation by the British government. The Republican fighters, however, saw themselves as a legitimate army fighting against the British occupation. It was a classic case of ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’.

In this episode of Head to Head , Mehdi Hasan challenges Martin McGuinness, the elected deputy first minister of Northern Ireland and a former commander of the IRA, on his violent past; on why he sees himself as a man of peace; and on whether the Northern Irish Peace Process has lessons for other conflicts around the world.

McGuinness also argues for the importance of negotiations and talking to the enemy as the most effective way of ending conflict.

So, is violence ever justified? And when is it time to speak to the enemy?

Joining our discussion are: Professor Louise Richardson, a global terrorism expert and vice chancellor of St. Andrews University; Dr. Azzam Tamimi, the author of Hamas: A History from Within , and Charlie Wolf, an American political commentator.

It’s an interesting debate I think (H/T: AD). More in-depth is the next Aslan Media interview with Remy Brulin a Research Fellow at the Journalism Institute at New York University and terrorism historian. They dive into the etymology and roots of “terrorism”, how our current War on Terrorism was born in Latin America, how Henry Kissinger covertly supported human rights abuses in Latin America and Reagan overtly supported them.

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