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  1. Introduction
  2. The bandits of Guangdong China
  3. Social banditry in the modern world
  4. A difference between past and present in modern society's classification of terrorists
  5. The social bandit defined by Eric Hobsbawm
  6. Conclusion

The myth of Robin Hood has not only created a long lasting fairy tale for our youth it has also created the definition of what Eric Hobsbawm calls a social bandit: one who gives to the poor by taking from the rich. Hobsbawm uses the myth of Robin Hood to identify bandits who have reached a certain plateau in their regional societies to be declared ?social? bandits. These social bandits were supposed to have been pre-political demonstrators on behalf of the peasant population against those who had power in society. Alongside the definition of what a social bandit was supposed to emulate Hobsbawm gives criteria for who a social bandit was: mostly comprised of peasants in dire economic straits. However both the image of so-called social bandits and who a social bandit was in Hobsbawm's view and also the view of peasant's themselves were mere psychological creations; the reality of who their celebrated bandits does not qualify them for Hobsbawm's definition of ?social? bandits specifically in the Chinese region.

[...] In certain regions such as the Afghanistan and Pakistan borders the elements for banditry are still in place: agrarian villages who are sympathetic to modern bandits (or in more modern language terrorist groups) such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban[xvii]. Both Pakistan and US intelligence agencies point to the specific region of one village in particular: South Waziristan. The problem for both governments is that the area is half-autonomous and also is sympathetic to the Al-Qaeda / Taliban cause. Apart from support from local villagers the geographic location of the area also makes it perfect to hide in[xviii]. [...]

[...] The acts of bandits and terrorists are essentially the same only the definition of good and bad have changed. The social bandit defined by Eric Hobsbawm is a noble idea, but it is one that is constructed in the mind and not in the physical world. Numerous so-called bandits that folk songs glorify are subjective in what facts they remember about the specific bandits. Hobsbawm's assertion of who made up the bandit population also runs into contradictions when dealing with a society like China. [...]

[...] The current situation between these two powers is an evolution of situations that occurred in the past between Hobsbawm's bandits and those in power. With the rise of the United States as a true world power it is now possible for terrorists to go against authority outside of their own nation as another is oppressing their original nation itself. While this global scale of terrorism may have been started due to advancement in technology (i.e. Bombs and planes); it was also taking place in the mid-20th century. [...]

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