This giveaway is done! Winners will be / have been notified by email.

We’ve been given five (5) copies of the recently released Academy Award-nominated “The Baader Meinhof Complex” to give away to you lovely people, and we’d like to do so in the following fashion:

In the comments below, please post your answer to this question: Was the Red Army Faction, the story of which is played out in “The Baader Meinhof Complex,” a group of terrorists, freedom fighters or both? We’re going to run this giveaway until the end of this week, April 4, 2010, and the five most compelling (or downright interesting) answers will win copies of the film.

If you don’t win, or don’t want to play our silly “terrorism or freedom fighter” game, you can always just go buy “The Baader Meinhof Complex” instead. We’ll love you either way.

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  1. Bananaskis says:

    They were quite willing to run the risk of having me (Soft middle class man) think of them as terrorists.

  2. Margaret says:

    Well, both. I consulted a man at a taco stand, his name was Stan, and he said both. Anyway.
    I think history is full of well intentioned people and causes that use methods that could be classified as terrorist. It all comes down to what you define as terrorist – I mean, any governments army could be seen as terrorists based on their death toll and violent methods, etc. Any fight is more complex than a simple division between terrorists and freedom fighters.

  3. Dan Swanger says:

    Both. Free Mumia.

  4. El Bicho says:

    Both. As everything, it depends on your viewpoint. Didn’t Rashomon teach you that?

  5. Dromedary says:

    Having only read about Germany’s Red Army Faction once, as well as having just seen the film, it’s quite easy to conclude that the organization was primarily steeped in terrorism. Not to discourage their politics – I agree with them more than not – but the group was never able to persuade both the citizens and the government of that politic. By resorting to destruction and violence – means with no lasting peaceful end – the Red Army Faction cornered itself and its message. Unfortunately, it will be many years before that message is to be fully understood, due to the damage caused. They were not freedom fighters but a revolutionary front who were terminated before their ideas had the proper time to germinate in the culture. Therefore, the timing and cessation of the Red Army Faction has more to do with their being remembered as a terrorist organization than the reality of what they wanted to accomplish. “To the victors, the spoils…”

  6. S. B. Prime says:

    The Baader Meinhof Complex illustrates the Red Army Faction from both perspectives; at first, at the film’s outset, as a revolutionary band of freedom fighters, worthy of praise and respect. Their cause is a noble one, honorable and even sexy. However, the perspective of the film shifts over the course of its narrative to that of those who write the history books and so the dominant viewpoint is of the group as ruthless terrorists. Since it is subjective, the answer is “both” and “neither.”

  7. Jeff Domann says:

    Even as a pretty hardcore leftie it’s hard to think of this group as anything but terrorists. While I applaud their anti-imperialist sentiments, their goals seem murky at best. And the loss of innocent life is unacceptable.

    So I vote for “terrorist” but perhaps seeing the movie could change my mind.

  8. Jeff R Hall says:

    The answer to your question depends on history.

    In their mind, Andrea Baader and Ulrike Meinhof saw themselves as striving for a greater good. They viewed themselves as freedom fighters that fought and sacrificed to achieve it. (After all, America was founded by freedom fighters to those of us who are American and terrorist outlaws to the English.)

    To the “average man” they were terroristic. People lived in everyday fear of bombing and kidnapping. Not all those who were affected were demagogues. Many were just trying to make a living and had no interest or idea of a greater or lesser good. (To the freedom fighter, those are the equivalent of the German soldier who was, “just following orders.”)

    I think the question of freedom fighters or terrorist is one that can only be answered by history. If mankind embraces the ideas the Baader Meinhof Complex were striving to achieve, then they will be looked as visionary. However, regardless of how history views them, the tactics they took to achieve those results were base. The killed people and hurt lives of people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  9. Sambee says:

    As Walt Whitman said – “Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I contain multitudes.”

    Like most real life scenarios, its messy, its hard to check one box: terrorist. freedom fighter. The film lives with the contradictions of not choosing one or the other. By having a less polemic story, this enables The Baader Meinhof to explore other themes than mere political ones.

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