Terrorists Who Became Statesmen

There have been a number of protests and adverse comments because the Queen of the United Kingdom (a person who has many other titles and honours) to whom allegiance is required by some sixty million of her “subjects” in in this nation has invited Mr McGuiness, a well known Irish person who has been accused of terrorism to dine with her and many others at Windsor Castle.

There is a phenomena in which people accused of terrorism eventually gain respectability and become part of the establishment against which they fought.  They metamorphosize into statemsmen and world leaders of great respectability. At one time those that fought against them would have shot them on sight and they would have responded in kind. However when the cause for which they fought is won or spent and time elapses we find that perhaps there was some justice in their cause and although we may deplore the means which they used to further their cause, the ends might seem worthwhile. Perhaps.

I can list the names of some those who were considered terrorists; Robin Hood, Joan of Arc, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Makarios, Ghandi, Ben-Gurion, George Washington, all of whom had many lieutenants. I do not pass judgement on whether these were good people fighting for freedom or bad people who caused many deaths. That judgement involves trying to figure out whether they caused by their actions less evil than would have been caused had they not undertaken their actions. In all cases the judgement of the establishment of the day was that these were criminals who either were punished or would have been punished had they been caught.

There comes a time, however, when we must put the deeds and misdeeds of the past behind us. Revenge, that ice could dish, is never one that tastes as well as people imagine when they consider ordering it from the bill of fare. Justice does not always demand punishment; in many cases punishment is a counter productive action, best left, like revenge, unordered and untasted.

That does not mean that we should have to embrace those who have committed what we regard to be great wrongs; the wrongs and rights of events depend most often on the pace from which the viewer of them stands.  Ultimately when you remove the honours and the clothes from the judge and the thief you cannot tell which is which, and when you remove the honours and the clothes from the members of the establishment and those that fight them you have exactly the same problem.

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