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Old October 31 2009, 11:11 AM   #16
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

teacake wrote: View Post
What about Enabran Tain, a man who worked tirelessly for the advancement of Cardassia, sacrificing a personal life or any normality for the cause he believed in?
Ah, but that cause was not a healthy one. Unrepentent leaders of brutal "secret police" organizations who try to commit genocide, drag their nations into wars with foreign powers and assassinate their own children to facilitate their return to power aren't going to make the list, I'm afraid . This is for people who worked to better Cardassia, as in truly better it, break it out of the system it had caught itself in. Tain is the sort of person Ghemor and Lang were trying to free Cardassia from; he's the antithesis of a Cardassian hero.

Tain's selflessness- and, yes, with the exception of his desire to drag his son into his dark OO world Tain was selfless- was of the deeply unhealthy and twisted variety that set Cardassia on the path towards destruction. Tain is no hero; he's one of the "night people", as "A Stitch in Time" puts it. He thought his allegiance was to Cardassia, but instead it was simply to the secrets. Yes, he sacrificed a normal life- but for what? To become an avatar for everything that was wrong with Cardassia in the first place, to take his people's fears and contain them, lock them down rather than dealing with them, until he became nothing but a vessel for those fears himself. There's nothing left of him, only night...
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Old October 31 2009, 01:08 PM   #17
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

^ By that definition, Dukat has no place on this list as well. A terroristic war of one against a government your own government hasn't seen fit to go to war with is not the act of a hero. It's the act of a megalomaniac who feels that he knows better than anyone else what is better for his home world. It was this self-same attitude that led him to allying Cardassia with the Dominion.

Also, if we're including non-canon accounts, which would mean any of the novels, not only did Garak participate fully and willingly in espionage against Dominion led Cardassian forces during the war, a protracted act that very nearly cost him his sanity, and the ground fight to liberate Cardassia at the end of the war, he did the hard work of finding survivors, clearing bodies, and directly opposing members of the old guard who wanted to take Cardassia back down the dark path of despotism and military rule. He worked tirelessly to ensure that free elections were held, became an advisor to Alon Ghemor, and eventually became Cardassia's ambassador to the Federation. While yes, Damar (who was also a murderer) lost his life in the uprising, what is more heroic? Dying quickly in battle, or cleaning up the mess afterward and living with the consequences of your own choices and forging a better path? Sometimes it just seems to me that people give Garak short shrift because he's not a "military" style hero but a much more quiet sort, one who consciously chose to step from a lifestyle of darkness into the light and bring his people with him as best as he could.
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Old October 31 2009, 02:00 PM   #18
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
teacake wrote: View Post
What about Enabran Tain, a man who worked tirelessly for the advancement of Cardassia, sacrificing a personal life or any normality for the cause he believed in?
Ah, but that cause was not a healthy one. Unrepentent leaders of brutal "secret police" organizations who try to commit genocide, drag their nations into wars with foreign powers and assassinate their own children to facilitate their return to power aren't going to make the list, I'm afraid . This is for people who worked to better Cardassia, as in truly better it, break it out of the system it had caught itself in. Tain is the sort of person Ghemor and Lang were trying to free Cardassia from; he's the antithesis of a Cardassian hero.

Tain's selflessness- and, yes, with the exception of his desire to drag his son into his dark OO world Tain was selfless- was of the deeply unhealthy and twisted variety that set Cardassia on the path towards destruction. Tain is no hero; he's one of the "night people", as "A Stitch in Time" puts it. He thought his allegiance was to Cardassia, but instead it was simply to the secrets. Yes, he sacrificed a normal life- but for what? To become an avatar for everything that was wrong with Cardassia in the first place, to take his people's fears and contain them, lock them down rather than dealing with them, until he became nothing but a vessel for those fears himself. There's nothing left of him, only night...
Aren't you judging him by Federation standards here?

I suppose you don't think Section 31 were true patriots either!

"Secrets" are only facts you don't fully know about. The decisions Tain made were not going to be obvious to everyone anymore than those of Section 31, but they have been very good ones for Cardassia.

He would never be a hero and his working in "night" would always make him easy to view with suspicion. We will never truly know what good he brought his people.
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Old October 31 2009, 02:07 PM   #19
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

^ Mmmm, controversy, controversy! That's exactly what such a thread needs! "One man's hero is another man's villain".
This is starting to look just like real-life political discussions...

BTW I just did a google search "Hero or villain?" and the phrase above out of curiosity, and so far I got a bunch of pages about people as diverse as Oliver Cromwell, Christopher Columbus, Jesse James, Stalin, Bill Clinton, John Brown, Nelson Mandela (!) and even Gandhi. (Not to mention a few fictional characters such as Magneto, as well as sports figures like David Beckham and Roy Keane. )
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Old October 31 2009, 05:23 PM   #20
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

teacake wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
teacake wrote: View Post
What about Enabran Tain, a man who worked tirelessly for the advancement of Cardassia, sacrificing a personal life or any normality for the cause he believed in?
Ah, but that cause was not a healthy one. Unrepentent leaders of brutal "secret police" organizations who try to commit genocide, drag their nations into wars with foreign powers and assassinate their own children to facilitate their return to power aren't going to make the list, I'm afraid . This is for people who worked to better Cardassia, as in truly better it, break it out of the system it had caught itself in. Tain is the sort of person Ghemor and Lang were trying to free Cardassia from; he's the antithesis of a Cardassian hero.

Tain's selflessness- and, yes, with the exception of his desire to drag his son into his dark OO world Tain was selfless- was of the deeply unhealthy and twisted variety that set Cardassia on the path towards destruction. Tain is no hero; he's one of the "night people", as "A Stitch in Time" puts it. He thought his allegiance was to Cardassia, but instead it was simply to the secrets. Yes, he sacrificed a normal life- but for what? To become an avatar for everything that was wrong with Cardassia in the first place, to take his people's fears and contain them, lock them down rather than dealing with them, until he became nothing but a vessel for those fears himself. There's nothing left of him, only night...
Aren't you judging him by Federation standards here?

I suppose you don't think Section 31 were true patriots either!

"Secrets" are only facts you don't fully know about. The decisions Tain made were not going to be obvious to everyone anymore than those of Section 31, but they have been very good ones for Cardassia.

He would never be a hero and his working in "night" would always make him easy to view with suspicion. We will never truly know what good he brought his people.
But we know what "bad" he brought them- remember the Founder's answer to Garak in "Broken Link", when he asked if any Cardassians from Tain's fleet survived the debacle? She replied that they were dead (not true, as season five demonstrated) and that- here's the real point of her answer- "all Cardassians are dead" because of Tain's actions. Starting a blood feud with ultra-paranoid genocidal warlords is not in the best service of your people. Thanks to Tain, the Founders would always remember Cardassia as a threat, an enemy- a target.

As for Section 31, no, they weren't "patriots". They undermined the very ideals by which their society defines itself, functions and on which it was founded. Section 31 is unrecognisable as the Federation, and what it's protecting isn't the UFP but the security of the UFP people- and only the UFP people- against external threats, or sometimes "threats". Section 31 may have the safety of "the people" in mind, but they are traitors to the UFP. Tain and the OO were patriots in that they furthered the ideals on which the modern Cardassia was founded and by which it functioned. However, these ideals were self-destructive, and truly heroic Cardassians are those who recognized that and worked to change it despite the risks.

In one way Section 31 and the OO are the same- they are defined by fear. They are hyper-sensitive to "threats" and want to weed them out, destroy them, then carry the burden of those dark activities and fears alone so that others don't have to. They seek to protect others from the darkness and fear by confronting it themselves and then containing it so it can't spread. What they don't understand is that the threat never ends, because as long as there are other sapient beings the "threat" or potential for such is there. So Section 31 and the OO begin to see threat and fear and darkness everywhere, and in fulfilling their role of "protecting" they come to align themselves against every external agency including their own people. They become avatars of fear themselves. They never seek to actually deal with the fear- which means reaching out to others, building alliances and communities- instead they contain and lock it down, leaving it to fester. They find and create new fears all the time by seeing everyone as threats, isolating themselves within a mind that is little but a pit of fears and justifications for any actions taken to keep those fears contained there and "protect" others from having to deal with them. They become martyrs in their own minds.
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Last edited by Deranged Nasat; October 31 2009 at 05:51 PM.
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Old October 31 2009, 05:30 PM   #21
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

Enabran Tainted wrote: View Post
^ By that definition, Dukat has no place on this list as well. A terroristic war of one against a government your own government hasn't seen fit to go to war with is not the act of a hero. It's the act of a megalomaniac who feels that he knows better than anyone else what is better for his home world. It was this self-same attitude that led him to allying Cardassia with the Dominion.
I agree entirely. Dukat the rebel wouldn't make my list of heroes.

Enabran Tainted wrote: View Post
^ Also, if we're including non-canon accounts, which would mean any of the novels, not only did Garak participate fully and willingly in espionage against Dominion led Cardassian forces during the war, a protracted act that very nearly cost him his sanity, and the ground fight to liberate Cardassia at the end of the war, he did the hard work of finding survivors, clearing bodies, and directly opposing members of the old guard who wanted to take Cardassia back down the dark path of despotism and military rule. He worked tirelessly to ensure that free elections were held, became an advisor to Alon Ghemor, and eventually became Cardassia's ambassador to the Federation. While yes, Damar (who was also a murderer) lost his life in the uprising, what is more heroic? Dying quickly in battle, or cleaning up the mess afterward and living with the consequences of your own choices and forging a better path? Sometimes it just seems to me that people give Garak short shrift because he's not a "military" style hero but a much more quiet sort, one who consciously chose to step from a lifestyle of darkness into the light and bring his people with him as best as he could.
Again, I agree. To me, Garak was a hero, or became one in "A Stitch in Time" for his willingness to acknowledge past mistakes and work tirelessly to help his people, both to accept responsibility for their actions and to build something better for themselves. In fact, odd as it might sound to some, I would rate Garak as one of the two greatest heroes I've ever encountered in fiction (the other being G'Kar in "Babylon Five", whose life story is in some ways very similar, or so it strikes me). As for Garak getting short shrift because he's a "quiet" hero, I'm reminded of the immortal words of Londo Mollari: "it's the quiet ones who change the universe. The loud ones only take the credit".

Of course, part of what makes Garak a true hero in my eyes is that he never seeks leadership- he seeks to advise and support. The OO thought it was doing just that for Cardassia, but instead it was suffocating the life out of it. Garak, however, has learnt (in the novels) to apply his talents to an end truly in service to Cardassia.
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Old October 31 2009, 09:16 PM   #22
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Again, I agree. To me, Garak was a hero, or became one in "A Stitch in Time" for his willingness to acknowledge past mistakes and work tirelessly to help his people, both to accept responsibility for their actions and to build something better for themselves. In fact, odd as it might sound to some, I would rate Garak as one of the two greatest heroes I've ever encountered in fiction (the other being G'Kar in "Babylon Five", whose life story is in some ways very similar, or so it strikes me). As for Garak getting short shrift because he's a "quiet" hero, I'm reminded of the immortal words of Londo Mollari: "it's the quiet ones who change the universe. The loud ones only take the credit".

Of course, part of what makes Garak a true hero in my eyes is that he never seeks leadership- he seeks to advise and support. The OO thought it was doing just that for Cardassia, but instead it was suffocating the life out of it. Garak, however, has learnt (in the novels) to apply his talents to an end truly in service to Cardassia.
Well said. I feel the same way about G'Kar. Even though the two characters are very different, they are both similar in that they moved from selfish, suspicious people haunted and driven by their pasts to very selfless people who learned to place the concerns and needs of their people above their own without losing sight of the need to take good care of themselves as well. It's much easier to be a martyr than to be whole, get your hands dirty day after day with hard, honest work, and wake up the next day to do it all over again, not expecting recognition or accolades.
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Old October 31 2009, 09:44 PM   #23
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

That's a very good point regarding Mr Garak (shockingly the G'kar comparison had not occurred to me, and me a B5 fan) in many ways he is not the typical fictional hero because he doesn't die in a blaze of Glory and he has committed terrible acts in the cause of his peoples eventual freedom. (attempted genocide of the Dominion's Founders, the murder of a Romulan Senator and a con artist to name two key insistence's).

However it is a basic truth that Garak did these things not for his own aggrandisement but for the people of Cardassia and the AQ. It seems to me that Garak is indeed a realistic hero and a great character.

I would argue that Damar had to die at the end of the DW because it that is how it had to be. Corat Damar was still a product of the old 'poisonous ideology' who had murdered an innocent young woman and been a part of a war that had claimed the lives of billions. Damar's rebels helped to save the AQ and perhaps Cardassia's soul but the man himself was still too much of a Central Command figure to really play a part in the new Cardassia.

Instead Damar became a martyr to the cause of Cardassian freedom.

(still, it would have been fulfilling to see Damar have to wrestle with his guilt regarding Ziyal and his role as the 'leader' of Cardassia...)
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Old October 31 2009, 10:26 PM   #24
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

Loki Dukat wrote: View Post
That's a very good point regarding Mr Garak (shockingly the G'kar comparison had not occurred to me, and me a B5 fan) in many ways he is not the typical fictional hero because he doesn't die in a blaze of Glory and he has committed terrible acts in the cause of his peoples eventual freedom. (attempted genocide of the Dominion's Founders, the murder of a Romulan Senator and a con artist to name two key insistence's).

However it is a basic truth that Garak did these things not for his own aggrandisement but for the people of Cardassia and the AQ. It seems to me that Garak is indeed a realistic hero and a great character.

I would argue that Damar had to die at the end of the DW because it that is how it had to be. Corat Damar was still a product of the old 'poisonous ideology' who had murdered an innocent young woman and been a part of a war that had claimed the lives of billions. Damar's rebels helped to save the AQ and perhaps Cardassia's soul but the man himself was still too much of a Central Command figure to really play a part in the new Cardassia.

Instead Damar became a martyr to the cause of Cardassian freedom.

(still, it would have been fulfilling to see Damar have to wrestle with his guilt regarding Ziyal and his role as the 'leader' of Cardassia...)
I was always conflicted about Damar's death. On the one hand I would have liked to see him continue to grow and struggle with the aftermath of the war- as Garak has in the novels. I believe he could have become a truly great leader, if he had allowed himself to continue down the path he placed himself on towards the end. He became, potentially, a great hero- certainly a great leader (although as I said, what makes Garak a true hero in my eyes is that he would never take a leadership position)- , but because of his death we never got to see how he would have balanced his new nobility with his past actions (such as Ziyal's murder and his general thuggary). His character development was cut tragically short (of course that is also realistic- leading revolutions does tend to get you shot!). As I believe Garak became a genuine hero after the war- in "A Stitch in Time" and the other novels- it would have been nice to see the new, noble Damar take a similar shot (if Garak was able to become a hero in my eyes despite, as you say, Thor, committing such acts as attempted genocide and murder of foreign dignitaries, Damar certainly deserved the chance too). He had earned it.

On the other hand, I certainly also see the point that it isn't easy to throw away a life-time of collected prejudices and narrow modes of thinking- Damar might well have been too inflexible to truly help build a new Cardassia, too attached to the old ways. In death, sadly, he might well serve better than he could in life. Leaders in war, as we all know, don't necessarily make good leaders in peace. Damar may be one of those great people who serve better as symbols than they do in actually running things. I guess we'll never know...
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Old November 1 2009, 11:54 AM   #25
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

I truly fear that had Damar survived, he would've been very similar to Ulysses S. Grant, who was a brilliant general, but a terrible president. I don't think Damar was cut from the political cloth at all. His main goal in leading the uprising was in throwing the Dominion yoke off of Cardassia, not in freeing Cardassia from its military dictatorship. Would he have been able to bend and flex, bow to the will of the people at large, or would the pressures of such have driven him back into the bottle, or worse yet to committing more acts of violence against people he perceived as traitors? It's very hard to say. I think his death served the story best, and it allowed him to go out on a high, noble note.
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Old November 2 2009, 07:39 AM   #26
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

teacake wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
teacake wrote: View Post
What about Enabran Tain, a man who worked tirelessly for the advancement of Cardassia, sacrificing a personal life or any normality for the cause he believed in?
Ah, but that cause was not a healthy one. Unrepentent leaders of brutal "secret police" organizations who try to commit genocide, drag their nations into wars with foreign powers and assassinate their own children to facilitate their return to power aren't going to make the list, I'm afraid . This is for people who worked to better Cardassia, as in truly better it, break it out of the system it had caught itself in. Tain is the sort of person Ghemor and Lang were trying to free Cardassia from; he's the antithesis of a Cardassian hero.

Tain's selflessness- and, yes, with the exception of his desire to drag his son into his dark OO world Tain was selfless- was of the deeply unhealthy and twisted variety that set Cardassia on the path towards destruction. Tain is no hero; he's one of the "night people", as "A Stitch in Time" puts it. He thought his allegiance was to Cardassia, but instead it was simply to the secrets. Yes, he sacrificed a normal life- but for what? To become an avatar for everything that was wrong with Cardassia in the first place, to take his people's fears and contain them, lock them down rather than dealing with them, until he became nothing but a vessel for those fears himself. There's nothing left of him, only night...
Aren't you judging him by Federation standards here?
Isn't that the point of this thread? To celebrate Cardassians who worked for the principles of liberal democracy rather than tyranny and repression?
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Old November 2 2009, 11:24 AM   #27
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Re: Thor Damar's Heroes of the Cardassian Union.

Although Skrain Dukat is in no way a hero, here's an example of him being heroic.

Priceless.
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