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Terrorist or freedom fighter?

Have a look at the photos below. You could print off copies , or you bring them up on the computer. You can enlarge the images by clicking on them. (Click here for a full size pdf of the pictures).

Ask the young people (or think about if you’re doing it yourself):

  • Do you know who the people in the photographs are?
  • What can you find out about them and what they have done?
  • How is the world different because of what they have done? Is it better or worse?
Image to support Terrorist activity Image to support Terrorist activity

It may be helpful to provide some initial information on each to start the ball rolling:
1 Nelson Mandela (a member of ANC, an organisation that advocated bombing)
2 Osama Bin Laden (leader of Al Qaida, seen to be behind 9/11)
3 Guy Fawkes (attempted to blow up parliament and assassinate the king)
4 Malcolm X (who advocated “by any means necessary”)
5 Martin Luther King (conducted public demonstrations)
6 Martin McGuiness (member of IRA, widely regarded as a terrorist organisation, now an MP)
7 Suffragettes (engaged in civil disobedience)
8 Robin Hood (resisted taxation, opposed the rule of King John)

If you’re doing the activity as a group divide  into smaller groups to research one of the people and feedback to the rest what they have found out. Do these people have anything in common?
For instance, they have all tried to change the world and have been criticised as trouble makers. Some have been imprisoned or killed. Some have been denounced as terrorists.

Ask your group to try putting the people in a list with those they think of as terrorists at one end and freedom fighters at the other (or do it yourself if you are on your own). Ask:

  • Can you draw a line across the list to divide terrorists from freedom fighters?
  • What is the difference between the people on either side of the line?
  • Were these people right to fight for what they believed to be right?
  • Can you think of other people who might appear in this list?
  • Will this list be the same in twenty years (will Osama Bin Laden be nearer the freedom fighter end for instance?)
  • How far should people go to make change happen?
  • Should they use “any means necessary”?
  • In what other ways can people change things for the better?

Other people who could be included in this activity are:

  • Ghandi (conducted peaceful protests and went on hunger strike)
  • French resistance in WW2 (blew up bridges and trains)
  • William Tell (his actions started an uprising)


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