Irish Stew (1823) & Madrid Stew/Tapas (1968)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Apr 8 16:51:04 UTC 2002

At 11:00 AM -0400 4/8/02, James A. Landau wrote:
>>(I'll look harder for an earlier "guerrilla."  Note that today's
>>Palestinians went from "guerrilla" to "terrorist" to "gunmen."
>>Probably too close to "gorilla"--ed.)
>"Guerrilla" to the military has a specific meaning: INDIGENOUS
>persons, usually but not always civilians, who conduct hit-and-run
>operations against enemy military.
>Note the emphasis on "indigenous".  A Palestinian shooting at
>Israeli soldiers in the "West Bank" might well be classified as a
>guerrilla.  A Palestinian attacking Israeli civilians within the
>pre-1967 Israel borders is definitely NOT a guerrilla---not
>indigenous and not fighting enemy military forces.  "Terrorist"
>therefore is NOT a default term but rather the most accurate word to
>describe someone who attacks civilians in an area where he is not an
>indigene.  "Gunmen" does not apply to people whose weapons are bombs
>rather than guns.
>The problem is that journalists are enamoured of the word
>"guerrilla" and use it freely, often without justification and
>without regard to military subtleties.
Good points, but...besides the military subtleties, there are
political ones.  We tend not to recall that the Irgun, led by
Menachim Begin inter alia, technically qualified as both terrorists
AND guerrillas when they were blowing up British soldiers and
civilians (e.g. at the King David Hotel) en route to establishing the
state of Israel.   We also don't normally describe resistance
fighters in Nazi-occupied Europe as guerrillas.  (Speaking of
political language, there's been some interesting stuff in the papers
recently on the distinction between "revenge" and "retaliation", with
reference to describing the actions of the Palestinians and Israelis


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