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

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Tue Apr 9 14:48:16 UTC 2002

> At 8:36 PM -0400 4/8/02, James A. Landau wrote:
> >
> >Following these violent activities, the Irgun proceeded to something
> >unheard-of:  they disbanded and turned themselves into a
> peaceful political
> >party (the Herut party, forerunner of the Likud Party.)
> When their old
> >leader Begin became Prime Minister, it was via the ballot
> box, not "at the
> >point of a rifle".
> >
> >I am not clear what point you are trying to make.
> As mentioned, that we tend to forget that those with whom we
> empathize engage in activities that, were they performed by others,
> would be branded as terrorism, and that "guerrilla" is also not a
> politically neutral label.  (See below.)
> >  The Irgun managed to do
> >everything, which means wherever you draw the line between
> guerrillas and
> >terrorists, the Irgun manages to be on both sides.
> Furthermore, they WERE
> >indigenous, which ruins any comparison with the
> Palestinians, who are hardly
> >indigenous to Tel Aviv.
> >
> >>  We also don't normally describe resistance
> >>   fighters in Nazi-occupied Europe as guerrillas.
> >
> >I doubt this statement.  A random look into Winston
> Churchill's _The Second
> >World War_ (volume VI _Triumph and Tragedy_ book 1 chapter
> 18, pages 245-8 of
> >the Bantam paperback):
> >
> >"A comprehensive agreement was signed on September 26.  It
> laid down that all
> >guerrilla forces in the country should place themselves
> under the orders of
> >the Greek government...The Greek guerrilla leaders declared
> that none of
> >their men would take the law into their own hands...The only
> chance of
> >averting civil war was to disarm the guerrillas...A draft
> decree for the
> >demobilization of the guerrillas..."
> >
> Yes, but
> (i)  That was Churchill, writing in the late 1940's.  I'm thinking
> more in terms of current usage, where "guerrilla" has been colored by
> association with (inter alia) the Vietnam war and various other
> long-term clashes between third world anti-colonial and/or
> pro-Marxist movements vs. Western/colonial powers and/or forces
> allied with them, to the point where "rightist guerrilla" or
> "pro-Western guerrilla fighters" seem almost like oxymorons.

And a reading of the pages that follow this quote in Churchill's volume
shows that he is most definitely using "guerrilla" to mean "communist
insurgent." He is describing the opening shots of the Greek Civil War, which
started in 1944 with the end of German occupation and continued on until
1949, when the Greek government, with support of troops and material from
the US and Britain (this was the start of "containment") finally defeated
the communists. This volume was written in 1953, when that war was still
fresh in memory and what he meant by "guerrilla" would have been clearer to
the audience.

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