Monday, February 25, 2008

Militant Irony

What does a militant mean?
Ever gave it a second thought? I did not.
I was always under the impression that "militant" stood for someone dangerous, anti-social. Then I came across the word used by BBC News website in the following line.
"Last month, the barrier separating Gaza from Egypt was demolished by militants, allowing hundreds of thousands of people to cross the border and obtain much-
needed supplies."
I noticed, the action of the militants caused something useful. I began questioning the usage of militant. I thought they used it wrongly, depicting that a militant did a thing that led to the benefit of the society at large, obtaining much-needed supplies in this case.
So I revisited the definition of militant on the web, my first source Google, define:militant
and my second source the Free Dictionary (a very cool dictionary, double click on almost any word in the page and you get the meaning of it!!): Militant
The result of my pursuit of knowledge resulted in me re-evaluating my knowledge of the few English words I know, and have taken for granted. So, I will be doing this more often.
Anyway, when I analyzed the meaning of militant I realized it was not necessarily anti-social, but it was "warring/ violence/ aggressive/ combative character" directed towards "service of a cause".
Let us see who fall into the category of militant
First person/nation that comes to mind: George Bush/USA, fighting a war in Iraq for a specific cause be it Weapons of Mass destruction (citation needed) or Freedom of Iraq (citation needed again)  or to grab the oil of Iraq (citation not needed).
So we can easily call USA a militant nation.
Words we have heard all of our lives. by we I mean the generation that started watching TV around 1990 in India: Kashmiri Militants. These guys are trying to fight for their freedom (service of a cause), illustrated well by movies like Fanaa, Roja and many others I haven't seen.
And many other examples, too many to list here, like Rambo (fictional), Israel (real life Horror story), Bhagat Singh (history).
So the next time you hear the word militant, don't scoff your face but think about what "service of a cause" that militant is trying to work towards. Also keep investigating your knowledge.
Do click the links, they lead to some good articles.
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