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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Abolitionist or Terrorist?

Talk about perfect timing!!!  This week's blog fits directly into what we are currently studying!!
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Historian Kenneth Gray once stated that there existed a thin line between what one can call a patriot and terrorists.  He basic argument was that those the advocate a change for what they honestly believe to be fundamentally "right" can indeed be considered a true patriot.  Did not Thomas Jefferson state:

"And what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Yet, one could, if one so desired, interpret the call to "...let them take arms" and "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots" to be a form of terrorism.  The Oxford dictionary definition of the word terrorism is, "the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims."  Therefore, one can clearly see Gray's point by stating that their exist that "thin line" between the two.

On February 14th of this year, a group of activists in Charleston, SC unveiled what has become a very controversial statue of the black abolitionists, Denmark Vesey.  The "New York Times" recently wrote an opinion piece on the controversy.  Click here to read the article and then fire away on the blog question for this week... should be an interesting one!!!

BLOG QUESTION:
First, do you agree with historian Kenneth Gray that there really does exist a thin line between what one may call a terrorists or a patriot?  After reading the article, what is your opinion on the statue of Denmark Vesey - should it be celebrated or does it glorify the wrong message?

44 comments:

  1. Is everything ultimately traced back to the fundamental properties of “good” and “evil”? Actions and equal, opposite reactions? Point of views? The words “terrorist” and “patriot” are so ambiguously identified to a state that there seems to be no clear-cut difference between them. To admit that Kenneth Gray’s point is valid and legit seems to erase the definitions of all those words. As Oxford dictionary offered, a patriot refers to someone who “vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors”, and a terrorist is one who uses “violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims”. There’s something absurd here – that’s the language it uses. Connotation? Diction? Euphemism? Whichever way you want to call it, the goals of these definitions are to conceal the backside to the story and to highlight the complimentary sense or derogatory sense it wants to fabricate. Shouldn’t “violence and intimidation” certainly be involved during the process of defending the country against enemies? Vice versa, shouldn’t vigorousness certainly be involved in the pursuit of political aims? It’s the definition of what each one deems to be a “support for the country” that makes the difference.

    For the Bostonians, the Boston Massacre was a patriotic clash confirming the starting point of the dissenting colonials, but for the British redcoats, it was a terroristic counterattack from the rebels. Boston Tea Party, in the eyes of the colonists, was a spectacular rebellion against the ruthless suppression from their mother country, while British viewed it with extraordinary fury. The “Chesapeake” Affair was a patriotic revenge on Americans who refused to obey the impressments, while the Americans surely saw it as an outrageous violence and roared with national wrath. In the aspect of treatment of Native Americans, it was obvious that the forced removal was a patriotic and expansionist scheme to the covetous Americans, and was a savage-like massacre to the Indians.

    It appears to apply the same concept for the issue about slavery and the whole abolitionism, but slightly different in the outcomes. To the southern slave owners, especially the large plantation owners who owned more than 100 slaves in the early 19th century, it would most likely to be a terrorism against them if all of a sudden slavery got abolished in the nation or at least partially eliminated in their realm. To the other part of the nation where slavery was not popularly required or encouraged, it sounds reasonable to say that the abolitionists there would set off hurray for abolition of slavery. Nonetheless, the immediate collapse of the national economy would empty their pockets and hollow out their energy to even cheer for the “revolution” of the “peculiar institution”. It’s just like Andrew Jackson’s response at John Marshall’s refusal of Indian Removal in behalf of the Supreme Court: “[He] had made his decision, now let him enforce it”. For the abolitionists, it was much easier to condemn from the stump than to implement their new system consistently and effectively.

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    1. Yet, on the perspective of Denmark Vesey and his African American friends and families, the rebellion in SC, 1822, could be recognized as a fateful event that marked the ethic progress toward egalitarianism and ethnic respect for every racial group. Although it’s a bit temporal paradoxical to say, the statue of Denmark Vesey should be celebrated simply because the rebellion he organized and the efforts he contributed, led to what this nation becomes today. Despite of the fact that the sectional economy at the time had been severely intertwined and an abolition of slavery would be similar to a national suicide – time, the most precious evaluating apparatus, has proven to us the viability to survive as a nation without the cancerous and metastasizing Cotton Kingdom or slavery. And time, again, has proven to us the validity of the choice we made as a nation in the improvement of sophisticated understanding of human nature and moral values. Put in simple terms – it happened, therefore it was to be celebrated – for we’re now living in a world without seeing people being treated as commodities or chattels, being stripped and whipped, being auctioned off to the masters, and being humiliated in a demoralizing way…

      (Oops again........)

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    2. The first paragraph neatly summarizes the entire pith of the matter in a very simple, elegant, and concise form. Building upon the foundation you had set, you explain your reasoning in a logical and organized manner. Thus, the entire blog post seems to flow, creating an argument that is near flawless.

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    3. i think there is no need for "Oops again", your article is near perfection! i think you needed one more prime example at the end to conclude your argument.

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  2. As we all know, history is interpretive. Some people compare history to noses, in that everybody has one. I like to consider history like snowflakes: no two people have the same interpretation of history, and as such, essentially, there is a different history for every different person. There have been many people who have risen up against their current conditions to bring upon a new era of democracy and freedom - we call these men and women "patriots." There are others, who, in their attempts to bring upon their new world order, attempt to bring harm upon innocent men and women, who otherwise don't deserve it - we call these men and women "terrorists." They are, in some cases, very similar. Both aim to advance their cause, and in a way, some people can be both, as they try to obtain democracy through less-than-peaceful means. A good example is the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The IRA is a group of Irishmen who wish to break away from centuries of British rule. In this way, they are patriots. However, they also use such tactics as placing timed explosives in childrens' movie theaters, so in that way they are terrorists. Other examples of this are the Basque nationalist Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), and the German Red Army Faction (RAF).
    Very few moments of history are as controversial as the infamous slave trade, a horrible process that was (and in some places, is) almost as old as humanity. Being such a cruel and inhumane process, a few people naturally rose up against their oppressors. One of them was Denmark Vesey, a freed black who, upon failing at freeing his wife, planned to lead an armed insurrection against the whites in Charleston, South Carolina, to sail to the black republic of Haiti. Some people praise his search for freedom; others denounce his search for violence. In my opinion, while his intentions were surely a bit bloodthirsty, we cannot condemn his actions for this, because of his circumstances - Denmark Vesey, as a result, should be seen as a black patriot. Imagine this - you and your people have been controlled by Europeans for centuries. You have been torn away from your friends and family, away from any dreams of freedom, away from humanity. You have been beaten, whipped, cursed, damned, shipped and sold as common chattel, and you see others flaunt the American dream right in front of your face, with little to no hope of ever experiencing it for yourself. You are treated like an animal, you are an animal! At this point, how else would Denmark Vesey think of whites except with utter hatred and contempt? Denmark Vesey's attempt at freedom symbolizes the spirit of America - the fact that the people have the right to rise up against what they consider to be injustice. This is why I feel that the statue of Denmark Vesey should be celebrated, not condemned. It does not glorify the message of "death to whites" but instead "death to any and all tyranny, and freedom of any and all innocent." Denmark Vesey's attempted escape was similar to the American Revolution, where the British colonists too sought to better their condition with armed insurrection. This is why I consider Denmark Vesey to be a very good man - a good man, indeed, to make a statue of.

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    1. Hey guys, can anyone else see my profile picture? It just shows the Blogger symbol for me, and I really want it to work!

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    2. Yeah... you're just a big white "B" surrounded by orange..... sorry....

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    3. "B"-standing-for-Brandon, feel like you come up with good analogy every time and same applies for this - comparing historical interpretations to snowflakes perfectly fits the situation. And your OI about IRA, ETA, RAF really broadens my horizon, which proves that this whole controversy about terrorists and patriots is taking place worldwide. One more point I'm enlightened by is your statement that "Denmark Vesey's attempt at freedom symbolizes the spirit of America". Now it gives your whole argument even more credibility because Vesey's rebellion not only menaces some whites, but also contributes to America's protracted development in the long run - such as checks and balances within the government.

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    4. I read the articles' comments and one of them insisted that "violence should never be honored...peaceful protest is the most effective way to demonstrate injustice..." and what I kept thinking was basically your last paragraph. He honestly expected that peaceful protest would get you anywhere in a peculiar institution that would have lashed you a hundred times for even the merest hint of rebellion. Slavery is still unfortunately romanticized in an effort to ease peoples' consciences, especially in states notorious for their support of it. And like you said, Vesey's efforts were practically the embodiment of the ideal the US championed: liberty against oppression.
      I'm familiar with the IRA, but if you don't mind me asking, can you explain in more detail what the ETA and RAF were? I don't think I've heard of them before.

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    5. Hannah, the ETA and the RAF were very similar to the IRA. The ETA wished to create the "Greater Basque Country" which was along the border of Spain and France. "Euskadi Ta Askatasuna" is Basque for "Basque Homeland and Freedom." The "Rote Armee Fraktion" (RAF) was a West German extremist group. They were primarily angered with the new West German government, specifically the former Nazis that had prominent roles.

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  3. I believe there is a thin line between what one may call a terrorist and a patriot for the reason that both are strongly motivated by powerful ideals in which are pushing both a terrorist and a patriot to go against governments in order to achieve what they believe is right. Also, its based on interpretation. To illustrate, the infamous Al-Qaeda members are said to see themselves as people doing the right thing in order to satisfy Allah. For others, they view them as crazy men with a bible and a gun.
    The line is thin between the two because each are very much alike, especially since both are highly motivated by their desire for a change. The line is thin because a conversion to either “terrorist” or “patriot” can occur just by a shift in beliefs. This has often been seen many times in history, for example George Washington did what he could to proudly wear a red coat, while in the end, he was one of the masterminds conducting the American Revolution. Next, there is Benedict Arnold. He was once a man who was pro-America, although he almost ended up surrendering the fort at West Point in New York to our British rivals.


    Next, there is nothing wrong with the statue of Denmark Vesey. It is a statue celebrating a man who was considered to be subhuman, who was fighting for his rights to be an equal to the infamous white man.
    The way he fought for it may be considered in today’s times- wrong, or as others say, terroristic. However! People who do consider him to be a terrorist instead of an abolitionist, are mixing todays view of society with the past, which we all know is impossible to do when making an analysis.
    Denmark Vesey’s statue should be praised, for it is symbolic for hope and perseverance, in terms of representing his and the of hundreds of thousands of others dream of freedom and equality. The method in which he attempted to free himself today be considered wild, extreme, something that came out of a psychopathic serial killer movie. But it must be considered that on the opposite side of the coin, blacks were severely abused just to be shown who’s boss. In that socially uncivilized society, Vesey’s plan compensated for their mistreatment. In other words, back in that day, violence was an option when needing to get something done, especially when there aren’t police officers or DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) wasn’t around. So it does not glorify the wrong message when analyzed correctly.

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    1. I definitely agree with your point that the statue of Denmark is being analyzed incorrectly since it is a symbol of hope. Negative connotations that have developed are definitely portraying the wrong idea.

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    2. Iamka, the glittering spot that I noticed about your argument is that "mixing today's view of society with the past" wouldn't produce effective and liable analysis. This basically says all. Nowadays, such rebellions like Vesey's would certainly intimidate many people and challenge the society in a aggressive way - however, we have to take the fact that "there's no more practice of slavery anymore today" into consideration. The reason for Vesey to organize such a counterattack is due to the barbaric slavery systems by the whites in the first place, which in turn largely justifies his actions - causes and effects.

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    3. I agree with you that these critics keep forgetting to take off their 21st century glasses. I also think that nowadays, our society as a whole uses the word 'terrorist' far too often without actually realizing its implications. His methods might not even be extreme by today's standards because given the same circumstances where we as a whole are kidnapped and forced under bondage to another, we'd have been taken up arms and rallied in the streets a long time ago. It's just amazing how some people can't seem to conceive the fact that others of a different skin color can also feel the same desire for freedom.

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    4. I like how you brought up how there were no police officers or domestic safety organizations in the time of American slavery. Actually, there were militias, but if anything, they would happily fire at or lynch an escaped slave. However, I don't understand why George Washington or Benedict Arnold would be considered terrorists. I don't think they actually wanted to bring harm to civilians to any extent. Arnold was, without a doubt, a traitor, but I don't think that would classify him with the Provisional IRA that bombs children's movies.

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  4. To start off, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a patriot as "a freedom fighter, prepared to defend [his country] against enemies or detractors." According to the critic mentioned in the article, terrorism is the "targeting of innocent civilians to advance an agenda or objective." The problem with both definitions is that they overlap, they are intricately entwined. Judging someone by definition alone, like the critic did, is a mistake because it does not account for the motives, the time period, societal mindset, and a hundred other different factors.
    If Vesey was indeed a terrorist by definition, then shouldn't the colonists who fought against British rule, the first 'patriots', also be considered terrorists? After all, the Sons and Daughters of Liberty bribed, threatened, humiliated, and tarred-and-feathered hundreds of Loyalists, many of whom did not want to participate in the war, simply because they believed in the British rule. The forced removal of Native Americans after the war should also be counted as terrorism, then, because hundreds of innocent natives perished in their death march, the Trail of Tears; yet it was celebrated by many whites who only saw them as an obstacle to 'manifest destiny.' And as we can recall, whenever the natives attacked us, it was declared a massacre, but when whites attacked the natives, it was dismissed as a battle. This confounding stand pervades through all of history even today, where the patriot is 'us' and the terrorist is 'them'. I've actually personally experienced this, having grown up in a country that was formerly a colony of the US. Some things that stood out from discussions was how the US basically screwed us under the pretense of 'White Man's Burden', how remnants of colonial mentality are still in the minds of the masses, and how my country can still be considered a neocolony of the US. In my eyes, the 'land of the free and home of the brave' was, in many ways, a terrorist.
    Going back to Denmark Vesey, I believe he was neither a terrorist nor an abolitionist. He was a man who simply yearned for freedom from the peculiar institution of slavery, a system of deliberate violence and terror in the goal of advancing profit. The problem with all these critics is that they choose to judge with 21st century glasses. Had they even endured a fraction of what Vesey experienced, they would have been clamoring for justice. Is it really such a big stretch that perhaps a man of color would also want the same freedom?
    The simple fact is that slavery was a black stain in US history. It is a painful pill to swallow for some, but it is a truth that should never be kept hidden from the masses. By keeping Vesey's statue, we honor the very ideals this country was built on: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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    1. Oh yes Sons and Daughters of Liberty, your description gives me a somewhat imagery - like those cards or masks, on the front the faces are like those on the dollar bills or heroic propaganda, but on the back you can clearly see their vicious grin, secretly hidden under their liberal effigy. Hannah it's unexpected to see you label Vesey as a man who was neither a terrorist nor an abolitionist, but simply a man who was fighting - perhaps for his personal interests or racial interests. Just like America's own policies, no matter it's Neutrality Proclamation or Monroe Doctrine, all implies self-interest to be the cement of international relations. Therefore can we judge someone to be a terrorist for the pursuit of his own interests, while ourselves are pursuing our interests as well?
      And the fundamental rights you brought up, even though "we the people" is known to exclude blacks, Indians, and women to an extent, the rebellion still warns the Americans the values they once treasured about their unalienable rights.

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    2. I like how you don't consider Denmark Vesey a terrorist OR an abolitionist. He probably wasn't concerned with the welfare of all slaves, just those he knew in Charleston. However, I disagree with Oxford Dictionary's definition of a patriot. In my opinion, a patriot is anyone who loves his or her country, plain and simple (it's synonymous with "nationalist"). You don't have to take up arms in order to be a patriot; Oxford's definition makes it seem that you can't be a patriot in wartime.

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    3. I also agree the various views you mentioned about Denmark Vesey. Yes he is viewed as a terrorist and an abolitionist and these titles are decided by the people and their beliefs. Your opinion "In my eyes, the 'land of the free and home of the brave' was, in many ways, a terrorist." is definitely a prime example about the various viewpoints that exist which definately proves your point!

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    4. I think the main reason for keeping Vesey's statue is due to the notion that slavery was an evil institution. By saying that Vesey deserves to have a statue to represent the "ideals this country was built on: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", however, I feel as if the one who is looking at the situation with "21st century glasses" is not the critics, but yourself. Saying that Vesey is a radical terrorist who deserved what he was getting, just because he wanted freedom is damning, especially considering the movie we are currently watching reveals to our eyes the true horrors of slavery, but if you look though the perspective of the white men at the time, executing Vesey was, in some twisted way, justified. Think about it: you are a scared slave-owner who dreads the day a slave revolt breaks out, and you get word that one is being organized. What are you going to do, wait for your worst nightmare to be realized, with the lives of yourself and your family at stake? No, you are going to do something, anything, to ensure your life will go on. This, coupled with the fact that slavery was so deeply ingrained in life at the time, justifies(?) the actions done, and thus, is a terrorist who deserves nothing in his name.

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    5. I get the whole concept of 'one man's terrorist is another man's patriot.' My last line was not about how Vesey represented the ideals of his time (because 'we the people' sure as hell didn't include blacks and natives), it was trying to convey that the statue itself honors modern society's expressed desire and love for liberty. To keep the statue is to help provide further insight and education on slavery, this time from a slave's perspective, especially since the state it's in, South Carolina, is notorious for romanticizing and downplaying the brutality of slavery.

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    6. Hannah,
      The post was very scholarly written and really analyzed the questions at hand well. The discussion about Denmark Vesey was interesting because you talk about how he was neither a patriot or a terrorist but someone who wanted freedom. I explain it similarly in my post but I mention how we should keep the statue for the reason of respect rather than patriot vs. terrorist. The discussion in the first paragraph about how the definition of terrorist and patriot were intertwined was an interesting concept as well because it actually seems ironic how although these words seem worlds apart, they are actually so similar.

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  5. We cannot ultimately group someone as being a terrorist or a patriot due to the various perspectives we can judge from. Vesey’s revolt is seen as patriotic from the African American view; however, from the whites and salved owners it is seen as absurd and terroristic. Both descriptions require a sense of power and liberty. The heroic Nelson Mandela is received different views from different people. Mandel was committed to equality, motivating him to remove the apartheid government of South America. He was charged for treason against the government and put in jail for 27 years(perspective #1) The African Americans in south America viewed him as a hero and later elected him as president for his dedication for finally accomplishing his goal. Different perspectives and circumstance have a factor in determining someone as being a terrorist or patriotic.
    Furthermore, the statue of Denmark Vesey also is seen from different perspectives due to the negative connotations it developed. Vesey was a black man trying to become equal just likes every other white man and was accused as being a terrorist. He had done nothing wrong and just stood up for what he believed in. His statue symbolizes ones motivations an d desire ti accomplish what they believe in. It is not a s symbol of terrorism’ a negative connotation is being attached to it.

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    1. I like how you brought up that no one can be judged to be one thing or another, because there are so many different opinions of a person that you can't effectively classify someone in a way that is agreeable to everyone. However, I feel that the way you classified Denmark Vesey was a bit general. For instance, not all Caucasian-Americans would have considered Vesey a terrorist, and not all African Americans considered or consider him a hero, such as the two who ratted him out to the Charleston authorities.

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    2. Brandon, I think Iqra wasn't aiming for an absolute classification, she was trying to convey that the majority of the blacks did view him as a hero. Like she said though, we also have to consider the motives of the two who ratted him out. Did they do it because they were afraid? Was there a temptation of a better life in doing so (you know, a 'prize' for being 'a good little slave)? Did the two already have a good life and they didn't want to the rebellion to ruin it? It's possible that they believed in Vesey's cause, they may have considered him a hero, but they also believed the rebellion would never work or that if it was attempted, trouble would only fall on their backs.

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    3. I agree with Brandon on this, your blog seems to be overly based on vague generalizations. By generalizing the fact that all African-Americans think Vesey is right, and all whites thinking Vesey is wrong, it seems to insinuate that the respective people are a single entity, which is obviously not true. Secondly, this blog post seems to be bias in some ways. One example is how you characterized Mandela as "heroic". This suggests that you have an affinity with Mandela, and thus makes your example seem bias as you sway the argument in his favour.

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    4. I like how you talked about Nelson Mandela, it was great because you backed up your point of how people had different viewpoints on certain topics they may feel strongly about. Maybe elaborating a little bit more on what you believed would have helped when backing up your opinion with examples.

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  6. This blog topic has much in similar with the previous blog topic on the difference between good and evil, with the main pith of the argument being the fact that history is interpretive. As such, in a situation where two different people preform similar actions, one cannot classify the aforementioned people as "patriots" and "terrorists", just like one cannot classify people as good or evil. One can make any radical-thinking or acting person as a terrorist, just as easily as one can brand someone as a patriot. Take, for example, a radical who amassed a group to form an army, for the sole purpose of removing the government from power. Without knowing who it is, this person seems like a terrorist akin to modern terrorist cells today. However, an American does not call the first President of the country, George Washington, a terrorist. Why? Because it is a preconceived notion in this country that Washington freed us from the tyranny of Britain's autocratic government. Due to beliefs based on education, nationality, upbringing etc., humans tend to characterize people as good or bad; patriot or terrorist. As such, the terms "patriot" and "terrorist" have wildly different connotations based upon an individual's sense of justice. It is because of these views that America characterizes Washington as a patriot, just as much as it characterizes bin-Laden as a terrorist: because one helped guide the views of the democracy while the other vowed to dismantle them. Because of this complete lack of distinction between the actual acts committed by a terrorist or patriot, I honestly have no opinion on the statue of Vesey, as from a logical standpoint, he had helped the cause of abolishing slavery, but committing radical "terrorist" actions, and there is no way of determining of what standpoint he was categorized in the most. If I had to choose a side, however, I would vote in favour of removing the statue, because if in doubt, do not do it.

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    1. I can agree with most of your post except the last line. I think that removing the statue gives victory to those who squirm under the truth that it represents, to those who would rather turn a blind eye upon the stark reality of slavery and romanticize the past. It sweeps history under the rug and numbs the mind of the very people who should be facing up to the large possibility that their ancestors once treated other humans like cattle. Look at how this modest statue forced the issue of racism and ignorance out in the open. What's most important is that there's a chance, may not be a big one but it still exists, that because of Vesey's statue, someone will face up to the painful truths and will seek to kill their ignorance. And this country will be a better place for it.

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    2. I also disagree with your last line. Removing the statue is removing the symbolization of hope and motivations for african america. An argument to this, however, can be that it is seen negatively by other people. This statue has a history and story behind it, and by removing it we can not totally remove the idea that has been imbedded in our minds.

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    3. You say that you have no say in the statue, however in your last line you point out you would like to remove it. I think you focused a lot on the first question and not a lot on the second. Yes you say there are two sides to this and it can't be decided which one is right, however you chose a side and you should have explained more on why you chose that side in order to make the argument stronger instead of it being left there at the end for question. You brought it up, and then at the end didn't summarize the opinion that you believe should be right in everyone's eyes.

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    4. Pranav,
      The post is overall well written. The strongest facet was when you pointed out George Washington because it truly left an impact when reading. It deals with the concept of how society can brainwash a person and almost explicitly deems certain people good and certain people bad. Like the other comments to your post, there is an issue with the last line of your post. You should have probably elaborated much more on why you felt that the statue was removed because it ended to abruptly.

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    5. I agree that this blog topic is quite similar to the last one. Its all interpretation and what point of view you choose to look from. However, i dont think it's a good idea of removing the statue because they're is always going to be controversy and removing this one statue wont change much.

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    6. just as i have you have not totally focused on the second part of the question. if you were to include more info on the topic besides you r last sentence than you would have made a better argument on my understanding.

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  7. There IS a thin line between a terrorist and patriot; one of the snags in the English language. The interpretation of the words in the article differs with each individual just as many other events that have taken place. The brain recognizes words and puts meaning to it using context; however with multiplicity of meanings behind a word, it sometimes becomes difficult to say what connotation is being presented. The statue of Denmark Vesey arose from resentment as they were fed up with mistreatment. From the view point of the slave, this statue is one to be celebrated. It encourages them to rise up against the cruelty and “work within the system for liberation;” however, there was no “system” so they resorted to fighting fire with fire. This was mistaken by the masters, who thought it was an act of terrorism when all the slaves really wanted was freedom and equality. I feel like this statue was one of their first steps toward abolitionism and that it should be celebrated.

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    1. Everyone has their opinion, and you said there was a thin line between patriot and slave, however why do YOU personally believe that? Yes, people have different point of views, and the brain recognizes words differently, but why do you believe that a patriot and terrorist are similar, in your eyes? You should elaborate more on what you believe rather than the general aspect of things

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    2. Nirali,
      The talk of the actual definition and connotations of terrorist and patriot was an interesting approach to this argument. A solid example in history would have probably majorly strengthened your viewpoint that there is a thin line between the two words. As Juliet said above, you focused on general aspects of the argument rather than a solid, indisputable example from history.

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    3. if you would have used an ACTUALLY example from history or even recent history to further improve your argument would have made you r view point on the situation an even better one.

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  8. When Kenneth Gray states that there is a thin line between a patriot and a terrorist, I believe that he is more right than wrong. First off, it all depends on how you look at it. For example, as Americans, even long ago we called ourselves patriots, because we believed in our nation and our society to come together as one and believe that what our country is doing is right. However, we also look at Al-Qaeda today, as terrorists, because we believe what they are doing for their country is wrong. People have different views on what is wrong and right, and you can't change that. Their beliefs and morals have been taught to them since they were young. They become the nationalists and patriots for what is right in their mind. We may believe that what they are doing is wrong, however we have been taught that it is inhumane and Al-Quade has no mercy on anyone. Being taught in different ways changes your viewpoint of things, like comparing a terrorist with a patriot. In the end, a terrorist, someone who is willing to do anything for the sake of their country and religion is somewhat similar to a patriot, someone who is willing to fight and protect their country until the end.

    The article written by Denmark Vessey, based on this statue that was put up not very long ago, stirred up controversy because people believed it was put up for the wrong reasons. In judgement that may not be similar in everyone's eyes, I believe that he should be celebrated, not for the reason of violence and terror within the communities, but the strength and bravery he had to stand up against what he believed was right, and not what was right at the time; with black slaves getting constantly beaten by white plantation owners. Of course Vessey could have went the other way and dealt with it peacefully, however, does that really get the point across. Thomas Jefferson is somewhat correct when stating, 'blood needs to spill' in order for everyone to wake up and see what is really inhumane, especially during the 1800s, when they basically knew nothing about running a new country. The way black slaves were being treated and tortured, I wouldn't be surprised if there were constant uproars and rebellions against masters. They were beaten to the death, and had no say in what was being done. They held them and whipped them until they couldn't breathe anymore, and that changes the whole perspective on how the black slaves should have reacted. Even being treated like indentured servants would have made them less reactive and not ready to blow like a bomb as soon as they got the chance. To many Vessey was a hero, especially for standing up to something even bigger then he could have imagined, and it created a ripple that continued on throughout the 19th century with constant revolts after that as well. The black slaves were finally pushing for the equality that was never given to them, and fighting for what was right. In the end, you do what's good for the people, not just one certain race, gender, ethnicity, or any other minority that may have something against any living, breathing thing on this planet. We are all the same, and we should ALL be equal.

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  9. What is a terrorist? What is a patriot? We live in a society where in many cases people are unfairly labelled. To understand this, one must understand one fundamental concept: There always is a minority group in a free society. More than one opinion on a topic is inevitable, so why is it fair to label at all. The term "patriot" and "terrorist" are essentially always based on perspective. Because of the dual faceted sides of arguments, the terms are essentially different for everyone. Kenneth Gray's argument is based on the fact that people who believe in what's "fundamentally right" are real patriots. This argument and thought process is flawed because it fails to account for the difference of perspective. For example, would someone like Napoleon believe he was doing something fundamentally wrong? If he was doing something he didn't believe in he wouldn't be attempting it in the first place. Being "fundamentally right", leaves a large gray area and is also open to interpretation.
    As previously mentioned, perspective is key. A major example of this is the American Revolution. After the French and Indian War ended in 1763, Britain accumulated massive debt that exceeded 100 million dollars at the time. Britain accumulated that debt defending the colonies and the colonies refused to pay taxes to the British to attempt to lower the debt. From Britain's perspective, the colonists were frowned upon because they asked for military help with the Seven Years War and on top of that, they refused to comply with legislature passed. When the Revolution began more than a decade later, the colonists actually fit the very definition of a terrorist; one who uses violent force to achieve political goal. So can't the colonists be considered terrorists to Britain and even loyalists in the colonies? On the other hand, our Founding Fathers were extolled as patriots from the colonies because they created a new nation. The gray area between patriot and terrorist as displayed in this example is major and shows how interpretation can bring out ambivalent views on a topic.
    Although the thin line between a patriot and terrorist does not exist, the statue of Denmark Vesey should still be kept because it is a matter of respect. After centuries of oppression from white master, African American leader deserve some due respect. Even though Vesey didn't care about harming whites on the way down to Haiti, the cruelty of New World slavery justifies is all. Imagine being brutally beaten every day, wouldn't one stop caring about the whites after all this brutal torture. His feelings are justified and the statue shouldn't be teared down because of the fact that he is a "terrorist" or "patriot," but because of the fact that people like him deserve respect after all of the cruelty they have encountered.

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    1. I agree that the statue shouldn't be torn down on the basis of whether he was a patriot or terrorist. There isnt much distinction. The statue should be celebrated as it was a step toward abolitionism.

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  10. There comes a time when someone will do anything it takes to obtain freedom and in this case Kenneth Gray makes a good point by implying that there is a thin line between being a patriot and a terrorist. Despite the different definitions each is given, both are done with the same sense of allowing for there race to leave a mark into society. Its quite obvious how similar both are for example a terrorist will intrude a foreign country and create mass destruction for political dominance. A patriot will be fighting off any outside force willing to damage there country. But both will do anything in order for there country or culture to prosper.

    In my opinion the Statue is just a slap in the face to what reality is. Theres no possible way to sugar coat things, slavery was common and the whites dominated over the blacks. Despite the heroic figure the people try to give Vesey's its better allowing the truth to come out than to make it seem Vesey's had it easy to create the impact he did. In other words Vesey's was just a slave that has experienced things no human would ever know of in this era. The statue is necessary to look back and realize the world is actually a better place and a race no longer has to suffer such oppression.

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    1. "In other words Vesey's was just a slave that has experienced things no human would ever know of in this era." JUST A SLAVE? He was not "just" a slave. He was an abolitionist, a freedom fighter, and a proto-civil rights leader. Sure, Vesey went through horrible things, but so did other blacks at the time. The thing that made him different from most was that he rose up and planned to obtain freedom.

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  11. to be named a terrorist, or a patriot has a different meaning to all people. for the people we call Al Queda, for them to become their patriot to their country or religion is totally different for what we are supposed to be a patriot to our country. this argument is totally based off of people's own personal opinion of their country and things people will do for the interest of their country could be labeled as a "patriot" but to others as a "terrorist". i know this was short but i have things going on i have to attend to.

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