Tue
Jan 14 2014 4:00pm
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Shakaar”

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shakaar“Shakaar”
Written by Gordon Dawson
Directed by Jonathan West
Season 3, Episode 24
Production episode 40512-470
Original air date: May 22, 1995
Stardate: 48764

Station log: Sisko getting his ass kicked by O’Brien at darts is interrupted by a call from the Bajoran provisional government. He then interrupts Kira in mid-prayer (she’s praying over a duranja, a lamp of the dead, for Bareil) to tell her that the First Minister of Bajor has died in his sleep, and they’ve appointed Kai Winn to replace him, news that does not give either Sisko or Kira warm fuzzy feelings.

A special election has been called, and Winn is running unopposed, which will make her temporary post permanent for the next six years. Kira is beside herself, but the people view her as the architect of the treaty with Cardassia (never mind that Bareil did all the work and died for it).

Her praying for Bareil is again interrupted, this time by Winn. She thinks the duranja is for the recently deceased First Minister, and is impressed that she’s still mourning Bareil after three months. Winn is there to ask Kira a favor. Farmers in the Dakhur Province—Kira’s home—are refusing to give up reclamators to Rakantha Province. With the reclamators (necessary to counteract soil poisoning committed by the Cardassians during the occupation), Rakantha can produce items valuable for export, making Bajor a player in interstellar commerce, which will improve their candidacy for Federation membership.

The farmers holding the reclamators are led by Shakaar Edon, the leader of Kira’s resistance cell. Winn wants Kira to convince Shakaar to give them back. She believes Shakaar is acting in his own self-interest at the expense of Bajor; Kira doesn’t buy that. Either way, Winn wants this problem solved quietly and peacefully, and Kira can’t argue with that, so she agrees to talk to him. She beams down to Dakhur and has a happy reunion with Shakaar. He knows why she’s there, and he says he needs time to think about it.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shakaar

O’Brien continues to kick ass at darts, beating Dax with a bull’s eye. Quark is at this point taking bets on his winning streak, as he’s up to 46 victories in a row—to the point where Quark is scared to death of O’Brien going kayaking and dislocating his “golden shoulder.” However, his worst fears are realized when—while playing a Vulcan—O’Brien reaches for a drink and cries out in agony. Bashir determines that his rotator cuff is torn and he needs surgery immediately. Quark—who was offering 15-1 odds—is devastated.

Kira has a hearty fun dinner with Shakaar and two other fellow resistance fighters, Furel and Lupaza. But they make it clear that they’re not giving up the reclamators. They got the reclamators two months ago after waiting three years, and were promised that they could keep them for a year. That promise was rescinded when the First Minister died.

However, Kira convinces Shakaar to sit down and talk with Winn. She’s less than happy about that, and refuses Kira’s offer to mediate the discussion, dismissing Kira back to DS9. But Kira goes back to Shakaar to convince him to at least compromise, but while they talk, two Bajoran Militia officers show up to arrest Shakaar on orders from the First Minister. Kira—pissed that Winn lied to her—and Shakaar take out the two officers, and head for the caves to grab supplies, and then hide out in the mountains with Furel and Lupaza.

Two weeks go by, and Shakaar, Kira, Furel, Lupaza, and many other Dakhur residents have continued to evade the Militia. Winn asks Sisko for help from Starfleet security, which Sisko refuses. Her response to this refusal is to threaten to withdraw Bajor’s application for Federation membership, which Sisko cites as the latest in a series of severe overreactions on her part. She then doubles down, saying she’ll stop Shakaar by any means necessary.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shakaar

But Shakaar has gained a crapton of support among the people of Bajor and civil war is looking likely. Having said that, the Militia is getting closer and closer, and they decide to turn and fight, rather than run, setting up an ambush in a canyon. Kira recognizes the leader of the search team: Colonel Lenaris Holem, of the Ornathia Resistance Cell. He was a talented underground fighter, which explains why they haven’t lost them yet. Shakaar orders Kira to aim for his lieutenant, while he’ll take out Lenaris—

—and they can’t pull the trigger, either of them. They can’t fire on fellow Bajorans. Shakaar and Kira go to talk to Lenaris. The first thing Lenaris does is thank them for liberating Gallitep—he had a brother there. They both agree that they didn’t fight the Cardassians so they can shoot fellow Bajorans.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shakaar

Lenaris takes Shakaar and Kira to see Winn, where Shakaar announces that he’s running for First Minister. If Winn decides to oppose Shakaar, the truth of the situation will come out, that she almost started a civil war over farming equipment. Lenaris also makes it clear that the Militia commanders support Shakaar. So she drops out, and even makes a statement of support for Shakaar.

O’Brien’s shoulder is reconstructed, but he’s no longer in “the zone.” Meanwhile, after three months, Kira finally blows out the flame burning in the duranja.

The Sisko is of Bajor: Winn tries to appeal to Sisko for Starfleet assistance in putting down Shakaar’s little rebellion. There is absolutely no way that Sisko could possibly say yes to this, and Sisko makes this clear. He cuts right to the heart of Winn’s problem of her reach exceeding her grasp.

Don’t ask my opinion next time: We get to meet three members of Kira’s resistance cell, and the dinner with Shakaar, Furel, and Lupaza is by far the most relaxed we’ve ever seen Kira. It’s really fun to see. She also proves herself a more able politician than Winn, as she tries to negotiate a compromise between the two, one that Winn cuts off at the pass (not that Shakaar wins all that many reasonableness points). And in the end, she finally moves on from mourning Bareil.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shakaar

Preservation of matter and energy is for wimps: Odo plays devil’s advocate with Kira, reminding her that all the Bajoran people see is a beloved kai who just signed a treaty with the Cardassians, not the woman who engineered an assassination attempt and took credit for Bareil’s work.

Rules of Acquisition: Quark takes full advantage of O’Brien being in the zone to run bets. This backfires when O’Brien tears his rotator cuff when Quark’s giving 15-1 odds.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shakaar

For Cardassia! During the occupation, the Cardassians poisoned a lot of Bajoran soil, which has made farming difficult.

Keep your ears open: “It is one of my observations that one of the prices of giving people freedom of choice is that sometimes they make the wrong choice.”

Odo, speaking truth to Kira.

Welcome aboard: Louise Fletcher is back as Winn. Just as with last time, we also get three new recurring characters: Duncan Regehr—last seen as Ronin on TNG’s “Sub Rosa”— as Shakaar, Diane Salinger as Lupaza, and William Lucking as Furel. Regehr will be back in “Crossfire,” while Furel and Lupaza will return in “The Darkness and the Light.”

Sherman Howard plays the Vulcan dart player, having last appeared as a Tallarian in “Suddenly Human” on TNG; he’ll play a Klingon in Voyager’s “Prophecy.”

And finally we have our Robert Knepper moment, as I’d totally forgotten that John Doman—probably best known as Major/Colonel/Deputy Commissioner Rawls on The Wire—played Lenaris, in his first television role.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shakaar

Trivial matters: Although he’ll only appear onscreen twice more, Shakaar will continue as Bajor’s First Minister for the duration of the series—and also beyond, in the tie-in fiction. His time in the resistance is chronicled in the Terok Nor novels Night of the Wolves and Dawn of the Eagles by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison. He appears as First Minister in the novels Objective: Bajor by John Peel, Wrath of the Prophets by Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, & Robert Greenberger, The 34th Rule by Armin Shimerman, David R. George III, & Eric A. Stillwell, Abyss by David Weddle & Jeffrey Lang, Twilight by George, This Gray Spirit by Heather Jarman, and Cathedral by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels—in the latter novel, he’s assassinated. He’s also in the short story “The Tribbles’ Pagh” by Ryan M. Williams in Strange New Worlds 9.

Lenaris also appears in several works of tie-in fiction: during his resistance days in Night of the Wolves, and as a member of the Bajoran Militia in the novels Demons of Air and Darkness by your humble rewatcher (leading a fleet of Bajoran Militia ships on a rescue operation), the aforementioned Cathedral, Lesser Evil by Robert Simpson, Unity by S.D. Perry (where he’s one of the signatories to Bajor’s admittance into the Federation), and Fragments and Omens by J. Noah Kym (the Bajor segment of Worlds of DS9 Volume 2), as well as Martin & Mangels’s short story “The Orb of Opportunity” in Prophecy and Change.

The Shakaar resistance cell is seen in action in Night of the Wolves and Dawn of the Eagles, as well as the novel Fearful Symmetry by Olivia Woods and Jarman’s short story “The Officers’ Club” in Tales from the Captain’s Table.

This episode establishes that resistance cells are named after their leaders. Kira’s cell was identified as the Shakaar resistance cell back in “Duet,” but this is the first time it’s been made clear that it’s the name of the leader.

Dakhur was established as Kira’s birthplace in “Second Skin," in which episode Kira also mentioned spending weeks on end hiding out in the very same hills that she, Shakaar, Lupaza, Furel, and the rest hide out in here.

Writer Gordon Dawson worked with show-runner Ira Steven Behr on Bret Maverick. Indeed, Dawson gave Behr his first TV writing assignment.

Walk with the Prophets: “I’m in the zone!” One of DS9’s strengths in its first season and a half was episodes that focused on its location proximate to Bajor. The struggle of Bajor coming out of the occupation was the focus of several of excellent stories in the first two seasons—“Past Prologue,” “Progress,” “Duet,” “In the Hands of the Prophets,” “The Homecoming,” “The Circle,” “The Siege,” “Cardassians,” “Necessary Evil,” “The Collaborator”—but it’s been more in the background this season. Oh sure, we’ve gotten ganders at Bajor’s situation in “Fascination,” “Life Support,” and “Destiny,” not to mention the occupation biting folks on the ass in “Civil Defense,” but none of it has had the bite of the earlier episodes.

In “Shakaar,” we have bite, as Winn is appointed temporary First Minister, with her election to the job permanently in the bag. Of course, the viewer knows stuff the people of Bajor don’t: Winn tried to have Bareil assassinated (which the station crew knows, but can’t prove) and was part of Jaro’s attempted coup (which nobody on the station even knows) and took credit for Bareil’s work on the Cardassian treaty, but all the Bajoran people see is the good stuff.

Winn isn’t a bad politician—mostly she’s able to get her way by sounding so incredibly reasonable and kind and polite—but she lets the dual power of First Minister and kai go right to her head. I’m amused that she’s so focused on the benefits of Federation membership that she totally misunderstands one of the fundamental tenets of the Federation—if she did, she never would have even asked Sisko for Starfleet assistance.

But the heart of this episode is Kira, the former resistance fighter who has become a bureaucrat against her will because there isn’t anything to fight anymore. Just as Garak declared sadly that he’s a very good tailor, Kira has become a very good bureaucrat, and the only reason she doesn’t succeed here is because Winn is stubborn. But the occupation wasn’t that long ago, and it doesn’t take much to get Shakaar, Furel, Lupaza, and Kira to go back to the old ways of hiding in the hills.

And then comes the big moment, when Shakaar takes aim at Lenaris and Kira takes aim at his lieutenant, and suddenly it’s not a game of cat-and-mouse anymore, it’s Bajorans taking aim at other Bajorans. And they can’t do it.

Many have taken this episode to task for the abrupt ending, as we go from Shakaar, Kira, and Lenaris trying to find a peaceful way out of the situation to Shakaar announcing his candidacy, Lenaris saying the Militia’s on his side, and Winn packing her bags. It is indeed abrupt—but the specifics of how that happens doesn’t matter as much, truly, because the important moment was when Shakaar and Kira realized that they couldn’t fire on Lenaris and his people and showing us how they got out of killing each other in the canyon. The rest was just followup.

Where the episode loses points, truly, is that we’re told that Shakaar is gaining popular support by Sisko in his conversation with Winn, but we don’t really see it. In addition, in order to make that in any way convincing, we find out that Shakaar and the gang have been hiding out in the Dakhur hills for two weeks, which strains credulity. For one thing, the folks hiding weren’t anywhere near dirty enough to have been hiding out in hills for that long. For another, Kira was AWOL for a fortnight and there are no consequences for this?

Some of the above could easily have been solved by excising the painful B-plot of O’Brien being “in the zone” with darts. A snoozeworthy, paint-by-numbers subplot of no consequence or interest except to give the rest of the cast some dialogue.

Still, the episode is a strong and powerful one, mostly due to some superb acting. John Doman is particularly convincing as Lenaris, the old soldier who doesn’t want to fight the wrong battle, and Duncan Regehr makes up for his vomit-inducing turn in “Sub Rosa” by giving us a charismatic yet tough leader in Shakaar. You can see why people followed him. And Diane Salinger and William Lucking are a delight as Furel and Lupaza, putting real faces on the underground, something we never really had before.

But the glue that holds it all together is a fantastic Nana Visitor. Kira goes through a lot in this episode, from frustration over Winn’s appointment to her struggle trying to reconcile her respect for the office with her lack of respect for the person holding it to her impressive attempts to broker a solution to the problem that neither Winn nor Shakaar seem all that interested in to how easily she dives back into being the underground terrorist. The best, though, is seeing her at dinner with Shakaar, Furel, and Lupaza. Back in “In the Hands of the Prophets” Kira said she no longer knew what “okay” looked like, and here at dinner with the people she fought with, she’s actually completely happy for the first time since we met her in “Emissary.” It’s a pleasure to see.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shakaar

 

Warp factor rating: 7


Keith R.A. DeCandido will be at Arisia 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts this weekend. His schedule can be found here, including a reading Friday from The Klingon Art of War and a panel Sunday on the state of Star Trek in 2014.

24 comments
David Levinson
1. DemetriosX
Again strong character interaction makes a really good episode. You'd almost think the writing staff had learned something. I really wonder if they already had plans for the relationship between Kira and Shakaar, because the bookends with the mourning lamp for Bareil are a lot stronger if that's the case. I'm surprised, though, that Shakaar is only in two more episodes. I could have sworn he was around a lot. But then I had also conflated him and Bareil in my memory.
Jeremy Marr
2. Jeremy Marr
This should have been a two-parter. That ending (and that entire two weeks that are missing from the plot) would have made an EXCELLENT part two.

Plus, there would have been a bit of room for Sisko and Winn to have another verbal sparring match. That's almost ALWAYS entertaining.
Jeremy Marr
3. James2
Winn's overreaction remains one my favorite examples of disproportionate retribution in all of Star Trek.
Matt Hamilton
4. MattHamilton
Even after reading the rewatch, I don't remember this episode at all, except the bit about O'Brien being in "the zone." Which is a shame, because the rest sounds great, and that bit, as was said by our humble rewatcher, was snoozeworthy.

But this does seem good to have some more Bajor episodes, especially ones that don't deal with the Prophets (or, worse, the Pah-Wraiths).
Matt Stoumbaugh
5. LazerWulf
It's kind of sad that the entire B-plot can be summed up nicely in a single paragraph (plus a single sentence at the end). Also, I always felt that O'Brien faked his injury just to mess with Quark. He was the one who got Quark to up the odds on the match, and it seemed like he was purposefully stalling that final match up to the last minute before finding an excuse to "lose". Bashir had to be in on it to (and totally would, considering he and O'Brien are Best Bros Forever), because he's the only one who inspected the "injured" shoulder.

As for the A-plot, all I can say is that I thought it was touching that Furel didn't want to replace his missing arm because that was all The Prophets took in exchange for rescuing the others, when he was prepared to give up his life, and he didn't want to seem disrespectful/ungrateful.
Christopher Bennett
6. ChristopherLBennett
Keith, one you left out: William Lucking would return as an Orion merchant, Harrad-Sar, in Enterprise: "Bound."

I'm not familiar with the guy who played Lenaris, but Lucking, Duncan Regehr, and Sherman Howard are all familiar to me from a variety of roles. Notably, Howard was a terrific Lex Luthor in the '80s syndicated Superboy -- and was a runner-up to Clancy Brown for the same role in the DC Animated Universe.

This is the kind of story that would've worked better in a modern, more serialized era where a storyline can be spread over more than one episode. This could be happening alongside another important plotline involving other characters, spread out over 2-3 weeks.
Jeremy Marr
7. Cybersnark
Duncan Regehr also played the best Zorro.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxhud0q5FOE
Jeremy Marr
8. Mac McEntire
Another great scene in this episode is the confrontation between Sisko and Winn. At first, she's doing the villain thing by threatening with withdraw from the Federation and Sisko starts cutting through her B.S., but then she goes off about her belief and how she's being tested. Suddenly, we're in the grey area, wondering if she's about personal gain or if she's truly come to believe in what she's doing. Winn during these middle seasons is kind of like Garak, in that you're not sure how much is her messing with everyone, and how much is her being geniune.

Agreed that the O'Brien subplot is baffling. It's like they set up a twist, but the twist never comes. He's in the zone, then he's not in the zone, and...shrug?

Duncan Regehr was also great as Dracula in the movie Monster Squad. Wolfman's got... you know the rest.
Jeremy Marr
9. NigelB
I keep hearing the name Shakaar as G'Kar which threw me out of the star trek universe and into another.
And I was never clear what these reclamators did and why nobody
just contacted a few engineers to make more. If this was proper SciFi,
they would have sent O'Brien down and he would have sorted them out in no time !
Jeremy Marr
10. Mac McEntire
O'Brien couldn't help because he was in "the zone" this week.
alastair chadwin
11. a-j
Serious pedantry corner:

You can't win a darts match by hitting the bullseye. You can only win by hitting a double.

Or so memory tells me, a good while since I last played, but maybe the rules changed when they added the flashing lights to the board.
Jeremy Marr
12. athersgeo
@11 Not to out pedant a pedant, but yes, yes you can check out with a bullseye - a perfect nine dart finish is three 167s (T20, T19, Bull) , and while Wiki might not be too reliable, necessarily, I do know that there was at least one match at the recent Darts tournament at Alexandra Palace that was won on a bullseye (seem to recall it was the chap who knocked out Phil Taylor who did it)
Nick Hlavacek
13. Nick31
My favorite part in this episode was the moment when both Shakaar and Kira realized that they couldn't fire on fellow Bajorans and showed that despite her sometimes claims to the contrary, the Bajoran resistance members weren't terrorists.

My least favorite was the entire B "plot" story, which was completely lacking in plot. I kept waiting for some reason why any of this mattered, and got nothing. I would rather have seen the rest of the cast involved in the A ploy, perhaps divided on how best to support Kira (or even whether to support her, except I can't see any of them opposed).
Christopher Bennett
14. ChristopherLBennett
@13: Yes, they were terrorists, when they needed to be. Despite the efforts of pundits and propagandists to use "terrorist" as an imprecation, the simple fact is that terrorism is not an ideology or an identity, but a tactic. It is the tactic employed by a less powerful force against a more powerful invader or occupier that cannot be defeated by conventional means and therefore must be disheartened and soured on the invasion/occupation to a sufficient degree that it chooses to withdraw on its own. Terrorist tactics can be used by fanatics against innocents, or they can be used by oppressed peoples against brutal occupiers. Because terrorism is a tool of war, not a belief system.

What's great about Kira is that she was honest about the fact that she had engaged in terrorism. She didn't try to hide from the messy reality behind feel-good labels like "freedom fighter." She admitted that she had needed to do horrible things to win that freedom. The goal may have been right, but that didn't make the methods any less awful, and she was a good enough person to face up to that and take responsibility for it rather than hiding behind the delusion that if you use a different label for your own tactics than you do for the enemy's tactics, that somehow makes them better.

The reason Shakaar and Kira couldn't fire on other Bajorans isn't because "they weren't terrorists," as if it were a disease or an addiction or something. They didn't do it because terrorism was not an appropriate tactic in that situation. It did not serve a constructive goal. Against a foe like the Cardassians, with numerical and technological superiority and an unwillingness to negotiate or treat the Bajorans with respect, terrorism was the only option left to the Bajoran people, the only thing that could undermine their efforts and make the occupation too costly for them to continue. It was a horrible choice to make, but they'd been left with no alternative, so in that instance they became terrorists. But in this situation, they weren't faced with an intractable foe with malevolent intentions toward them and their world; they were faced with fellow Bajorans who weren't all that different from them in their goals and values. Just because Winn wouldn't negotiate, that didn't mean nobody would. So firing on Lenaris's troops was a line that didn't need to be crossed in this case. It would've been fighting the last war, rather than adapting to the current situation. And they recognized it was the wrong response in that situation.
Jeremy Marr
15. David Sim
Didn't the writers learn anything from Life Support? Why couple a serious plotline that would have no trouble filling out an entire episode with such a minor, throwaway subplot? To say its just to give everyone something to do isn't much of an answer but it has the virtue of being the truth, as Sisko once said. Also, Quark mistakes Julian's genetically enhanced throwing arm for being "in the zone" without even knowing it.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
16. Lisamarie
I honestly thought O'Brien faked the injury just to screw with Quark/get out of being hassled about darts. Even though they didn't reveal that at the end...I still feel that way.
alastair chadwin
17. a-j
athersgeo@12
My mistake. Thanks for the info.

ChristopherLBennett@14
I cannot agree more.
Jeremy Marr
18. Eoin8472
I'm confused about the differences between Terrorism and Guerrilia Warfare and "Resistance Groups". I was under the impression that while both are asymmetric ways of fighting an enemy, that Guerrilia warfare had the support of the general populance in the locations where the fighting takes place and that Terrorism had not. Hence it is "Terror" based.

So despite Kira's words, I would have described her as a Guerrilia fighter. Even before 9/11 I was always unsure of how she was a Terrorist. Unless there was a high Cardassian "civilian" population on Bajor during the Occupatation. Maybe she was planting bombs that blew up Cardassian schools or something.
Christopher Bennett
19. ChristopherLBennett
@18: That's politics and rhetoric, sure. It's commonplace to use "terrorist" as a slur, to load it with connotations of evil and malevolence in order to play on the emotions. But that's just propaganda. It's not a technically accurate definition of the term. There really isn't a universally accepted technical definition, because all the emotionally and politically loaded uses of the label get in the way. But the most objective, neutral definition I'm aware of is that it's the systematic use of violent tactics meant to instill terror in an enemy populace as a means of political coercion. It's a means to an end, not an end in itself. It's a tactic, not an ideology. So yes, resistance groups can use terrorism as part of their resistance.

Plenty of warfare is terror-based. Firebombing or nuclear-bombing cities in World War II was about terrorizing the enemy population as much as it was about destroying their infrastructure. Armies for thousands of years have employed mass rape of the enemy's women in order to terrorize and dishearten the enemy's society. "Shock and awe" warfare is about terrifying an enemy army with your overwhelming superiority. Warfare of all types has always been as much about cowing the enemy psychologically as overpowering or hurting them physically. To a large extent, the reason guerrilla-style terrorism is seen as morally inferior (as if any kind of warfare could ever be considered moral) is sheer classism, the contempt of the rich and powerful for the methods of the poor and disadvantaged.

Also, the reason the label "terrorist" is usually used as a slur against the enemy is because nobody wants to admit that they're complicit in the ugliness of war. So they sanitize their own side's efforts with more appealing-sounding labels. But that doesn't mean there's really an objectively meaningful distinction. It just means that most people try to spin their own actions positively. As I said, Kira's honest enough not to try to sanitize her own past.
Percy Sowner
20. percysowner
Terry Pratchett wrote a great book called Good Omens. The main character are an angel and demon who were both in heaven when Adam and Eve got kicked out. At one point in the book they need to see what organizations could be causeing trouble that could lead to war, so they compare their lists. The demon's groups are terrorists and the angel's are freedom fighters and they discover that many of the groups in question are on BOTH their lists. Terrorism vs. Freedom Fighting is in the eye of the beholder.
alastair chadwin
21. a-j
ChristopherLBennett@19
...the reason guerrilla-style terrorism is seen as morally inferior (as if any kind of warfare could ever be considered moral) is sheer classism, the contempt of the rich and powerful for the methods of the poor and disadvantaged.
That reminds me of the quote I came across some years ago:
What is the point of cavalry in a battle? Why, to give style to what otherwise would be a vulgar brawl.
Or something like that. Can't remember the exact quote or who said it.
Matt Hamilton
22. MattHamilton
While I agree with everything said on the subject of terrorism and it's "Exact" definitions; and while I understand that Kira isn't trying to sanitize her actions, as heinous as they may be to her, with terms like Guerilla figher or freedom fighter, to me, she was just that. I never liked that they called themselves terrorists or aloud others to call them terrorists. In my mind, unless she was detonating bombs in Cardassian schools or markets, kidnapping civillian leaders or other things, and as long as they were only fighting against an occupying force, then she was not a terrorist. I mean, yes, she was, in the actual defiinition of the word,and I agree with CLB's comments...but to me the Bajoran's ability to make war against an enemy was hampered by their superiority, so they used guerilla warfare in order to achieve freedom. She may have done some questionable things, but it was for the greater good and any bad memories are akin to a soldier from say WWII having trouble coping with having to take another man's life. I hope that makes sense and doesn't come off as a complete disagreement.
Christopher Bennett
23. ChristopherLBennett
@22: But yes, Kira did kill innocent Cardassian civilians, not just soldiers. That will be made clear in "The Darkness and the Light" -- that she didn't just kill military personnel, but their families and servants as well. Targeting random innocents is part of the point of this kind of asymmetrical warfare. An occupying army is willing to sacrifice troops; that's what they're there for. But if their innocent civilians are subject to being killed randomly, that's much harder for the people back home to swallow. It would make it less politically desirable for the government to continue the occupation. That's what you do when you're not militarily strong enough to drive out the enemy: you make the occupation so intolerable and costly for them that they choose to leave on their own. In short, you terrorize the enemy.

If there's a distinction to be made, it's that guerrilla warfare is a military tactic, whereas terrorism is a propaganda tactic. The former describes the method, while the latter describes the goal, the political and psychological intention. Guerrilla warfare isn't necessarily terrorism -- for instance, if you mount a guerrilla raid to break out POWs, or to free lab animals if you're a guerrilla animal-rights group, say. In that case, the goal is not to terrorize. But if guerrilla warfare is waged with the intention of making the enemy's leaders and populace terrified, dismayed, and disheartened to the point that they choose to abandon their efforts, then that is terrorism.
Keith DeCandido
24. krad
Percysowner: credit where it's due -- Good Omens is not a book Terry Pratchett wrote, it's a book Pratchett and Neil Gaiman wrote together, published in 1990, before either of them became quite the rock star they have become.


---Keith R.A. DeCandido

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