“Overcome THE ENEMY within”
Does a reason exist where acts of violence make it a requirement to effect change in such a way which impacts a society’s way of life for the better in socioeconomic, political and ideological fashions? If the answer to such a question is yes, then we must be able to confront the use of violence by the precursor of diplomacy at every level. When we come to grips with the necessity of violence, we must also consider the motives for such, and seek out the necessity of the full understanding of the Law of Land Warfare in order to minimize the loss of lives and human rights. On a different venue – do independent organizations, groups, and or individuals find themselves justified in the use of such violence without legitimate governmental representation while in the very pursuit to over throwing said governments? These are hot button points of discussion – any position taken can be represented by numerous historical events that will give credence to any argument. From the position of an American citizen I side with the minimization of violence and will argue that nothing justifies it, particularly when aimed at unsuspecting civilians. This kind of frustration by these so called organizations are not only vile, but in most cases acts of cowardice.
It was an old-fashioned lynching, carried out with the help of county officials that came to symbolize hardcore resistance to integration. Dead were three civil rights workers, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney. All three shot in the dark of night on a lonely road in Neshoba County, Mississippi. Many people predicted such a tragedy when the Mississippi Summer Project, an effort that would bring hundreds of college-age volunteers to “the most totalitarian state in the country” was announced in April, 1964. The FBI’s all-out search for the conspirators who killed the three young men, depicted in the movie “Mississippi Burning,” was successful, leading three years later to a trial in the courtroom of one of America’s most determined segregationist judges. Sam Bowers, the Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Klu Klux Klan of Mississippi, sent word in May, 1964 to the Klansmen of Lauderdale and Neshoba counties that it was time to “activate Plan 4.” Plan 4 provided for “the elimination” of the despised civil rights activist Michael Schwerner, who the Klan called “Goatee” or “Jew-Boy.” Schwerner, the first white civil rights worker based outside of the capitol of Jackson, had earned the enmity of the Klan by organizing a black boycott of a white-owned business and aggressively trying to register blacks in and around Meridian to vote, (Douglas O. Linder, 1988). Here we see a clear example of home grown terrorism (Gus Martin, 2006), by a right wing organization in our home – the violence they used clearly was not warranted.
Ernesto Guevara, known to us as Che, was murdered in the jungles of Bolivia in October 1967, he was already a legend to my generation, not only in Latin America but also around the world. Like so many epics, the story of the obscure Argentine doctor who abandoned his profession and his native land to pursue the emancipation of the poor of the earth began with a voyage. In 1956, along with Fidel Castro and a handful of others, he had crossed the Caribbean in the rickety yacht Granma on the mad mission of invading Cuba and overthrowing the dictator Fulgencio Batista. Landing in a hostile swamp, losing most of their contingent, the survivors fought their way to the Sierra Maestra. A bit over two years later, after a guerrilla campaign in which Guevara displayed such outrageous bravery and skill that he was named comandante, the insurgents entered Havana and launched what was to become the first and only victorious socialist revolution in the Americas. The images were thereafter invariably gigantic. Che the titan standing up to the Yanquis, the world’s dominant power. Che the moral guru proclaiming that a New Man, no ego and all ferocious love for the other, had to be forcibly created out of the ruins of the old one. Che the romantic mysteriously leaving the revolution to continue, sick though he might be with asthma, the struggle against oppression and tyranny (Ariel Dorfan, 1999) – a perfect example, at least in my position of a so called freedom fighter to some and terrorist to others. His status elevated to folk hero throughout the world, T- Shirts with his photo and countless gadgets being sold for the immortalization of this person.
The Oklahoma City bombing is a third example of an act of violence that in my mind was not justified, a different story for the vantage point of the perpetrator – twenty-seven-year-old Timothy James McVeigh, who was convinced he acted to defend the Constitution, for he saw himself as crusader, warrior avenger and hero. But in reality, he was little more than a misguided coward. He never even heard clearly the sound of the initial sirens of emergency vehicles rushing to the scene. Because, blocks away, he was wearing earplugs to protect himself from the roar of a blast so powerful it lifted pedestrians off the ground. One Japanese tourist no stranger to powerful earthquakes called the blast “worse than the worst quake. Because there was no initial warning, no noise to say ‘something terrible is going to happen’; it just hit.” (Ted Ottley, 2007)
These three examples prove in my mind the nefarious nature of terrorism and clearly positions me as one that sees it as evil in our globe. Che Guevara may be loved by many around the world, but perhaps not by the exiled community of the Country he violently participated in overthrowing – certainly not loved by the countless political prisoners who are still rotting in Cuban prisons.
The Mississippi Burning Trial, (U. S. vs. Price et al.) by Douglas O. Linder http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/price&bowers/Account.html
Understanding Terrorism Second Edition, Gus Martin, TIME 100: Che Guevara, Ariel Dorfan http://www.time.com/time/time100/heroes/profile/guevara01.html
CRIME LIBRARY, Bad Day Dawning, Ted Ottley