Tweet of the Day: Nebula Nominated Novellas
Everybody loves the underdog. No better antagonist to test your heroic MC than an evil government that oppresses the masses and has overwhelming sources at its disposal. But war is a dirty business with all the collateral damage, fight for survival and trust issues. And then you have to fight for the people’s hearts and minds. The hero and his allies believe they are doing the right thing, but the political leadership disagrees (obviously but not always for the obvious reasons).
Therefore- Your Terrorist Are Our Freedom Fighters. This trope has three major elements:
- The Definition of Terrorism: Or what acts are considered to cross the Moral Event Horizon. Can get tricky when you have to define things like torture or the use of WMDs (is using a truth serum torture, or using a nuke in your own territory or against a gigantic enemy base wrong?)
- Who is doing the labeling? Most often it is the government who does the labeling, but all sides do it as part of the propaganda war. Painting the other side as evil is a good way to gin support for your side and the opposite is also true for sapping support for the other side.
- Necessity versus Morality: Wars, specially civil wars are messy. Regardless of the high ideals expressed by the rebels, they still chose to use violence in the pursuit of their goals. Not only that, striking the vulnerable underbelly of the Ancien Régime (and trying to make the concept stick) means attacking targets that not only support the military might of the Empire but also its citizenry. Take the example of a refinery. It supplies fuel for tanks, fighter planes and ships. It also provides fuel and other useful products for day to day living. And more likely than not it is staffed by civilian employees not Storm Troopers. Not to mention how do you deal with collaborators, criminals and traitors.
Of course nothing stops a rebel group from being terrorists by any definition of the word. Not all rebellions are just or justified.
Something to consider the next time you write about rebels and rebellions.
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