Radicalization is always political, and any religion can serve as a metaphorical base camp for terrorism.
Thanks to both public amnesia and sociopolitical eliding of some forms of terrorism once the terrorists are rebranded “freedom fighters”, people don’t seem to know much about historically recent occurring in Europe. For example, the 20th century Fight for Irish Independence and the act of terrorism known as Bloody Sunday on 21 November 1920 (I put some key points in bold):
“The day began with an Irish Republican Army (IRA) operation, organised by Michael Collins, to assassinate the ‘Cairo Gang‘ – a team of undercover British intelligence agents working and living in Dublin. IRA members went to a number of addresses and shot dead fourteen people: nine British Army officers, a Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) officer, two members of the Auxiliary Division, two civilians, and one man (Leonard Wilde) whose exact status is uncertain. Later that afternoon, members of the Auxiliary Division and RIC opened fire on the crowd at a Gaelic football match in Croke Park, killing fourteen civilians and wounding at least sixty. That evening, three IRA suspects being held in Dublin Castle were beaten and killed by their captors, who claimed they were trying to escape. Overall, while its events cost relatively few lives, Bloody Sunday was considered a great victory for the IRA, as Collins’s operation severely damaged British intelligence, while the later reprisals did no real damage to the guerrillas but increased support for the IRA at home and abroad.”
These are the men killed by the IRA terrorists:
They had family and friends and the were ambushed; I’m sure their loved ones did not give a toss about the political motivations of the killers.
But what about the of 14 civilians killed by the RIC – who were agents of terror despite the fact they were sanctioned by the English government. Terrorism is terrorism regardless of whether or not a state is responsible. Should we pity the families of some victims but not others? What about the THOUSANDS and even MILLIONS who died as a direct result of an English policy? designed to cow and destory the Irish Catholic populace? Do they count? How do we weigh their deaths in the scale of terrorism against terrorism?
Now, 1920 was not so very, very long ago. My grandparents, the last of whom I lost this year at the age of 92, were born before 1925. Regardless of the relative recentness of the events, if you ask the average American about terrorism, Bloody Sunday does not spring to mind. Nonetheless, it was terrorism. Most people in the UK would still call it an act of terrorism, but it was the “first volley of independence” from the Irish perspective.
But how can the Irish, or those of us with pro-Irish sympathies, excuse terrorism by stating or implying the IRA were justified in their attacks and it was a necessary step for Irish home rule?
Well, that terrorism didn’t just pop up in a vacuum. It’s not like a whole bunch of Irish people started viewing the English as Satan’s Shock Troops because they hated English freedoms. No. England, at the time in the last decades of its Imperial phase, had colonized Ireland for centuries with fun bouts of attempted genocide by some rulers and attempted cultural genocide by nearly every English governmental power. Many of the IRA members, youths that had been radicalized into a Irish freedom movement, had been born within memory of the last English attempt at Irish genocide, The Great Famine. You may have been taught it was the potato blight that caused the famine, but that is pure propaganda bullshit – the English were deliberately shipping food OUT of Ireland to thin the herd of troublesome Catholic Irish:
“Charles Trevelyan, the key figure in the British government, had foreshadowed the deadly policy in a letter to the “Morning Post”, after a trip to Ireland, where he heartily agreed with the sentiment that there were at least a million or two people too many in the benighted land and that the eight million could not possibly survive there … “British Coastguard Inspector-General, Sir James Dombrain, when he saw starving paupers, ordered his subordinates to give free food handouts. For his attempts to feed the starving, Dombrain was publicly rebuked by Trevelyan… ”The Trevelyan quote is “The real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people.”
Upper crust English people like Trevelyan not see the Irish as fully human. The Irish were not “white”; they were a sub-par lesser species of humans. Moreover, the English establishment saw the religion of Catholicism as a non-Christian superstition that was designed to radicalize and subvert the English state. Catholics, everybody knew, were just terrorists and dissidents waiting to happen; they would overthrow good Protestant governments at the behest of Rome.
And it is true – regardless of the attempts to ignore it or dismiss it – that Irish radicals used the Catholic Church as a base and support for their operations, and as a rational for their martyrdom to the Irish cause That’s part of the reason Americans lost their minds when there was a massive influx of Irish into the USA during the Great Famine.
Oh my! The hysteria was profound. The Irish Catholics were going to destroy the country.
It sum, critics said an influx of Catholic Irish refugees meant that the USA would no longer be a white, Christian nation once the non-white Iberian Papists outnumbered the God-fearing and decent Anglo-Americans. The Irish were dangerous, deadly, and would bring with them crime and radicalization. They would kill white women and children. The would try to forcibly convert us all when they were numerous enough.
Golly, I am so glad America is passed all that kinds of silliness! We’d never imply that refugees from starvation and attempted genocide should be denied entry to our country because of their ethnicity and religion today!
Oh look! A flying pig!