Continuing in our investigation of terrorism, we looked at terrorism done under the name of revolution and in the name of god. We learned about this through two episodes of the documentary series which we are currently watching The Age of Terror. This blog post will cover what I have learned from this interesting week.

The documentaries cover many different terrorist groups from all over the world, the ones from this one were all groups fighting for political revolution. Most of them were left wing communist groups a lot of which were inspired by the famous Cuban revolution which was led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevera. The latter would be someone who I would do a presentation on. Che was a revolutionary who would become globally famous for his many revolutionary attempts in multiple countries, particularly Cuba where he was successful (the only time he was ever successful in revolution). Che would also be immortalized in the eyes of both leftist guerrilla and average person alike through his death. He was killed by the CIA in Bolivia and his martyrdom would leave him seen as a almost christ like figure from the view of his fellow revolutionaries. Later on, his face would possibly become more famous than his name with the famous photo plastered on T-shirts around the world, worn by people who probably don’t know exactly who he was. Che was definitely a massive global influence, with him actively participating with and inspiring many “terrorists” around the world.

But while Che maybe meets more of the freedom fighter perspective of terrorism, there is another group who meets the more stereotypical aspects of the term. In 1972, during the Olympic Games in Munich, terrorists from the Palestinian “Black September” carried out an attack on the housing of Israeli athletes. Two athletes were killed instantly and the rest taken hostage. Their captors grabbed the attention of the 900 million estimated viewers tuning into the games and demanded the release of 234 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Later, a failed attempt to rescue the hostages by an under trained German police force, would leave all hostages dead and five of the eight Palestinians killed.

One of the other groups that is still active today is Columbias FARC. They are a Marxist-Leninist peasant force that promotes agrarianism and anti materialism. Formed in 1964, and while their military was dissolved in 2017, they are still heavily active in Columbia. They specifically have Guevarism as one of their ideologies, which is the same guy from Cuba. FARC was formed after Columbian raids in communist groups pushed 48 revolutionaries out of their village, these people would become the leaders of FARC. FARC grew immensely and was constantly at war with the columbian government. They eventually switched to terror based tactics which caused them to lose a lot of support and while they are not at the same strength as they used to be, where they at one point controlled an areas the size of Switzerland. They are still very much a threat.

Another group we talked about was the RAF or Red Army Faction motivated to remove Germany’s ex Nazi war-criminals from positions of power. They conducted shootings, bombings and other terror attacks during 1970 to 1998. They ended up killing 34 people during their active years. During their later years, they lost the support of followers who originally believed in their cause to their growing violent tactics.

Conclusion: terrorism is often conducted by groups with no other real alternative options available to them. Terrorism by revolutionary groups though, can quickly lose the interest of the people. If you harm civilians in your quest for political change then it’s very hard to get those same civilians to support your cause. We see how groups like the RAF and FARC initially had the support of their population but lost it due to their excessive indiscriminate violence. If you want to do a revolution correctly, you need to learn when to put down the gun.