I proposed a question to myself a few days ago – notably, prior to the outbreak of the most recent surge of hostilities in Israel and Palestine – that, at first, was “Is terrorism justified in certain situations?” I refined this into one that I felt more accurately communicated the sort of question and answers I was looking for; “Are terroristic-like activities and waging an insurgency justified in certain situations and circumstances?”
It could be argued that the birth of the United States was, at its core, an insurgency. It is rarely argued that the IRA and its activities during The Troubles did not constitute terrorism and insurgency. It is argued both ways in the case of Rojava and the Kurdish Liberation/Independence movement. It is unequivocal that the actions of Hamas against Israel in the past week constitutes as terrorism and insurgency. The Zapatismo movement in southern Mexico began as an insurgency.
Were or are any of these justified? While the question that I posed to myself (and, at this point, others), is arguably subjective, I think that it can’t be truly answered in goodwill without doing due research on authorities or those who have already spoken, either directly or indirectly, on the point.
I’ve decided to look at the writings of Rafael Sebastian Guillen Vincente, more often known by his alias, Subcomandante Marcos, a leader of the Zapatista movement in southern Mexico. Though his writings are hard to find in their full text, and translated into English, there are a few that I have been able to read. One of the ones that stuck out to me is a letter written my Marcos in December of 1994, the year of the flashpoint of hostilities between EZLN (the military wing of the Zapatista Movement) and the Mexican Government which left over one hundred dead.
He speaks of the value of what his group is doing, acknowledging that fighting is about to occur. I encourage everyone to read the letter in full, it is full of stories of the struggles the people he lives with and works with (and for). Marcos believes that he, and the EZLN, are justified in what they are about to do. I must admit that I share that sentiment. But I am not going to tell you whether or not you should, I believe that you should determine for yourself.