What Are Freedom Fighters?

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Resistance movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Robert Mugabe led the Zimbabwe
African National Union

resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to fighting an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign nation through either the use of physical force, or nonviolence. The term resistance is generally used to designate a movement considered legitimate (from the speaker’s point of view). Organizations and individuals critical of foreign intervention and supporting forms of organized movement (particularly where citizens are affected) tend to favor the term. When such a resistance movement uses violence, those favorably disposed to it may also speak of freedom fighters.

There has been a dispute between states since the laws of war were first codified in 1899. The Martens Clause was introduced as a compromise wording for the dispute between the Great Powers who considered francs-tireurs to be unlawful combatants subject to execution on capture and smaller states who maintained that they should be considered lawful combatants. More recently the 1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, recognised in Article 1. Paragraph 4 ”… in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes…” contains many ambiguities that cloud the issue of who is or is not a legitimate combatant. Hence depending on the perspective of a state’s government, a resistance movement may or may not be labelled a terrorist group based on whether the members of a resistance movement are considered lawful or unlawful combatants and their right to resist occupation is recognized. Ultimately, the distinction is a political judgment.

Freedom fighter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mujahideen loyal to Yunus Khalis,
in October 1987

Freedom fighter is another term for those engaged in a struggle to achieve political freedom for themselves or obtain freedom for others. Though the literal meaning of the words could include anyone who fights for the cause of freedom, in common use it may be restricted to those who are actively involved in anarmed rebellion, rather than those who campaign for freedom by peaceful means (though they may use the title in its literal sense).

Generally speaking, freedom fighters are seen as people who are using physical force in order to cause a change in the political and or social order. Notable examples include the South African Umkhonto we Sizwe and the Irish Republican Army (IRA), both of which were considered freedom fighters by supporters. However, 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 political activists, as in the case of the Black Consciousness Movement.

People who are described as “freedom fighters” are often also called assassins, rebels, insurgents, or terrorists. This leads to the aphorism ”one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. The degree to which this occurs depends on a variety of factors specific to the struggle in which a given freedom fighter group in engaged. During theCold War, under Ronald Reagan’s Reagan Doctrine, the term freedom fighter was used by the United States and 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 Contras in Nicaragua,UNITA in Angola and the multi factional mujahideen in Afghanistan and Jammu and Kashmir. In the media, an effort has been made by the BBC to avoid the phrases “terrorist” or “freedom fighter,” except in attributed quotes, in favor of neutral terms such as “militant”, “guerrilla”, “assassin”, “insurgent”, “paramilitary” or “militia”.

A freedom fighter is different from a mercenary, as they gain no direct material benefit from being involved in a conflict.

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