- Freedom fighter
Freedom fighter is a term to describe those that engage in a struggle to achieve freedom for themselves or to free others in some matter. Though the literal meaning of the words could include "anyone who fights for the cause of freedom", in common use it is restricted to those who are actively involved in an armed rebellion, rather than those who campaign for freedom by peaceful means (though they may use the title in its literal sense). However the a person who is campaigning for freedom through peaceful means may still be classed as a freedom fighter, though in common usage they are called
The term is also popular among libertarian thinkers.
Pete Eyre, who works for Bureaucrash, lists his occupation on his income tax form as "freedom fighter." [cite web|url=http://libertyismyhomie.blogspot.com/2008/09/freedom-fighting-goes-mainstream.html |title=Liberty Is My Homie: Freedom Fighting Goes Mainstream |accessdate=2008-10-11]
People who describe themselves (or are described by their supporters) as "freedom fighters" tend to be called
assassins, rebels, or terrorists by others. This leads to the aphorism"One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". During the Cold War, the term "freedom fighter" was used by the United Statesand other Western Bloc countries to describe rebels in countries controlled by communist states or otherwise under the influence of the Soviet Union, including rebels in Hungary, the anti-communist Contrasin Nicaragua, UNITAin Angolaand the multi-factional mujahideenin Afghanistan, as well as rebels in Indian Kashmir.
Although the label freedom fighter is associated with specific groups, freedom fighters are seen as people who are using physical force in order to cause a change in the political and or social order. This is done in response to oppression or perceived oppression by a internal or external body.
A freedom fighter is different from a
mercenaryas they gain no direct material benefit from being involved in a conflict, though they may have no personal reason for being involved. Thus they are not considered mercenaries under the Geneva Convention and thus are protected by it (Mercenaries are not protected under the genva convention and can be tried as criminals).
Many major media agencies, notably the
BBC[cite web|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/advice/terrorismlanguage/ |title=BBC - More Guidance - Terrorism - Introduction |accessdate=2008-10-11] and Reuters, except in attributed quotes, avoid the phrase "terrorist" or "freedom fighter", in favor of neutral terms such as " militant", "guerrilla"," assassin", " insurgent", " paramilitary" or " militia" to avoid the editorializing implicit in the use of such words. However, this was not the case during the Troubleswhen the mainstream British media, including the BBC, used the term "terrorist." [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/northern_ireland/understanding/parties_paramilitaries/ira.stm |title=BBC News ! Northern Ireland ! Understanding Northern Ireland |accessdate=2008-10-11]
* [http://social.chass.ncsu.edu/jouvert/v613/sri.htm News Coverage of Freedom Fighters and Rebels]
* [http://www.whereincity.com/india/great-indians/freedom-fighters/ Freedom Fighters of India]
* [http://www.webbangladesh.com/1971/freedom.htm Bangladeshi freedom fighters against the Pakistan army (1971)]
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