Adam Borowski

Terrorists, psychopaths and freedom fighters

You’ve likely all heard the saying that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The issue is that some people use this saying to justify terrorism, even genocide. If you can portray terrorist acts as fighting for survival, they become not only a vital part of the war strategy, but noble. Don’t get me wrong. Eliminating legitimate targets who support the genocidal war machine – from soldiers to propagandists laying the ideological groundwork for genocide, thereby encouraging soldiers to proudly commit war crimes – is logical. But all sorts of manipulators are going to use the freedom fighter argument to commit crimes on a wide scale. And then, crimes turn into noble pursuits of freedom and striking back at the oppressor.

We need to be careful because various groups and organizations that mean well can be infiltrated by psychopaths who are going to weaponize these groups and organizations to wreak havoc for profit and pleasure. Psychopaths don’t care about any other cause, even though they can be, as we say in Polish, holier than the Pope and play the role of a devoted believer really well. They can play any role for that matter. All depends on their target – you. Are you religious? They’ll be religious. An atheist? No problem. Whatever works to get your mind and your money.

They, to use the cliche, just want to watch the world burn and profit in the process. Idealists want the world the world to be a better place. A smart psychopath is going to use radicalize these idealists and turn them into his or her cult members. Case in point, you have a group of well-meaning people in the US who want to help Palestinians. A charismatic man insinuates himself into a group of idealists and turns them into anti-Israeli terrorists. Psychopaths are going to be a projection of whatever values and virtues a particular organization stands for. Psychopaths don’t care about these values or virtues, of course, but they are going to play their role expertly, convincing everyone or almost everyone in a group or organization that they are truly devoted to the cause. Before you know it, the psychopath emerges as a leader with his own cult of minions. Life isn’t black and white, no matter how much we want it to be. Sometimes, two things are true at the same time.

In my article written for Kyiv Post, I state:

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy recently said that Ukrainian grain was “dumped by Polish, but de facto pro-Russian provocateurs.” In response, Polish Sejm Vice Speaker, Piotr Zgorzelski, said that Sadovy was resorting to “Banderite language.”

This, of course, is a reference to Stepan Bandera (1909-1959) – a nationalist leader and hero for a growing number of Ukrainians – who for many Poles remains the embodiment of a heartless enemy. Clearly, there’s still a dramatic disconnect in how Poles and Ukrainians view the same historical figure. The saying, “One’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter’’ encapsulates that sentiment perfectly.

My article has been up on the main Kyiv Post site for more than three months. I don’t know how many people have read it but the number must be really high.

The admirable Ukrainian example shows that the gap between the two nations can be bridged or attempted to be bridged.

But what happens with groups and nations that see any kind of interaction with anyone belonging to the enemy group or nation as treason? A traitor can then be jailed, castrated, raped, or simply killed.

Is it even possible to bridge that gap? Maybe it’s just not possible and it’s time to accept it? I don’t need to tell you that not everyone can be reasoned or negotiated with. As Israelis, you know it much better than me.

About the Author
Adam Borowski is a technical Polish-English translator with a background in international relations and a keen interest in understanding how regime propaganda brainwashes people so effectively. He's working on a novel the plot of which is set across multiple realities. In the novel, he explores the themes of God, identity, regimes, parallel universes, genocide and brainwashing. His Kyiv Post articles covering a wide range of issues can be found at