Too busy for news? A quick guide to world’s terrorist groups

Recently, the Colombian Farc Guerilla separatists set some hostages free. I am, of course, very happy that people were freed without harm. But I was a little annoyed that this story made news. I have a busy life. I only have room in my mind to hate one or two terrorist groups, max. Currently, I’m completely occupied with hating Al-Qaeda, as well as the Teacher’s Union. I don’t have time to process any more evil.

  • Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:00am
  • Life

Recently, the Colombian Farc Guerilla separatists set some hostages free. I am, of course, very happy that people were freed without harm. But I was a little annoyed that this story made news. I have a busy life. I only have room in my mind to hate one or two terrorist groups, max. Currently, I’m completely occupied with hating Al-Qaeda, as well as the Teacher’s Union. I don’t have time to process any more evil.

But these Farcs had American hostages. And to me, that’s just wrong. For the benefit of those of us too busy to know about all of these terrorist and separatist groups, I thought I’d do a quick rundown on everything we need to know.

First, let’s start with the Farcs of Latin America. They began as a Marxist resistance group, but evolved into drug traffickers and kidnappers (even terrorists know the importance of constantly challenging themselves). And much to my surprise, Guerilla is not Spanish for Gorilla. It’s Spanish for the Sopranos.

Next are the Tamil Tigers. These guys are my favorites, because they’ve named their group as though they’re an NFL expansion franchise. They’re actually a Sri-Lankan separatist group. The basis for their conflict is that Tamils are Hindu, and the majority of Sri-Lanka is Sinhalese. So unless you have stuffed sinuses, you’re safe.

Another separatist group with a fun name is the Irish Republican Army — this sounds like an ‘80s punk band. I’m not sure if this group even still exists. They used to be angry with England about something, but the Wikipedia article I spent five seconds reviewing couldn’t tell me if the dispute was over Catholicism, french fries or soccer. So I’m just going to say they were angry that none of the golden tickets to Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory were distributed in Dublin. Either way, the Irish Republican Army broke up after their leader decided to do a solo project (with backup vocals from former U.S. Senator George Mitchell).

Finally, there are the Basque Separatists of Spain (ETA). I don’t care if this group has a legitimate claim or not. They’ll never get my support, because they didn’t use any creativity whatsoever in naming their group. At least the Irish Republican Army had the good sense to call themselves an army and appear to be interesting, aggressive and sexy. But just referring to themselves as a “group” seems lazy. When I hear “group,” I think of knitting groups and book clubs. Is the Basque Separatist’s Group a terrorist organization or a coffee klatch? They say they want self-determination, but if they can’t even show the initiative to call themselves the Basque Bengals or, at the very least, the Not Happy Spaniards, how can I believe that they’re ready for self-governance?

~Jeremy Greenberg is a writer, comedian and resident of Kirkland. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Relative Discomfort: The Family Survival Guide (Andrews McMeel). Learn more at www.jeremygreenberg.com.




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