The Jews in those days did not necessarily believe that a revolt against the Graeco-Syrians could succeed, rather, they believed that a revolt was justified. And herein lies the difference. They did not do what they thought could work, they did what they knew was right. A preposterous idea, but one which fundamentally informs how we look at history today.
We admire the perverse determination of the Irish, the many failed peasant rebellions of the Chinese, and the ornery refusal to bend of the native Americans.
And if we're Dutch, we admire the revolt of Patimura in 1817, the puputan (defiant mass court suicide) by the dalem of Badung in Bali in 1906, and the generation-long struggle of the Achinese against our superior arms, culminating in the pacification of the territory in 1907.
We called Aceh (Atjeh, Achin) pacified only after capturing the person who epitomized the resistance to our forces. Not rebelliousness, because in truth we never had a right to be there. It was thirty years of bitter, stubborn resistance.
THE ACEH WAR - 1873 to 1907
In 1873 we (the Dutch) invaded Aceh on pretext, and in order to keep the Americans and the British from sticking their noses in what we Dutch held was our sphere of influence. While the first Aceh campaign was an unmitigated disaster for our side, the second campaign proved less than salubrious for the Achinese. The troops of Aceh retreated to the jungle, along with relatives and supporters, and fought a guerilla war against the occupiers.
Among the Achinese in the jungle was Chut Nya Dhien (Tjoet Njak Dhien, 1848 - 1908), daughter of Nanta Setia and wife of Teuku Ibrahim Lamnga, both commanders in the Sultan's forces, and leaders against the Dutch. Both men died in the battle of Sela Glee Tarun in 1873.
Chut Nya Dhien took over the command of her father's and her husbands forces, and continued the fight against the Dutch. Two years later, she married commander Teuku Umar, and both surrendered to the Dutch. Within a short time they revolted again, having used their temporary peace to resupply and reorganize. Teuku Umar was finally killed in battle over two decades later, in 1899. Chut Nya Dhien continued her war against the Dutch, finally being surrounded by the army, who had been informed of her whereabouts, in 1901.
Her followers fought to the last man. Chut Nya Dhien was wrestled to the ground - old, blind, arthritic, and sick from thirty years in the jungle, but she still hacked at her captors with her sword. Her daughter, Chut Gambang (wife of Teungku Dhi Buket, who was the son of Teuku Chik Dhi Tiro, Acheh's most famous guerilla leader) escaped to the jungle, and died in combat nine years later in 1910.
The Dutch banished Chut Nya Dhien to Java, where, seven years later, she passed away.
From a biographical sketch:
"None of those men who were leaders in the long holy war of Atjeh against us hated us as fiercely or fought us as resolutely as she did, and few sacrificed so much, of both their power and property. Never, in her resistance, did she deviate by even one step, never did she doubt, never could she be bought. Transported, she died in exile. "Resigned", they say - but that cannot be believed! And why should we even desire any resignation from her? As a salve on the wounds of our conscience? For the greater glory of our triumph?
No. Let us honour her as indeed our bitterest enemy, who was finally broken our might."
Post-script - from the BBC:
Aceh rebels disband armed units
Separatist rebels in the Indonesian province of Aceh say their armed wing has been officially disbanded, in line with a landmark peace agreement.
A Free Aceh Movement (Gam) spokesman said it was committed to implementing the deal reached with the government.
Under its terms, the former rebels were to hand over their weapons in return for Aceh receiving more autonomy from the central government.
The agreement is designed to end 26 years of bitter conflict.
The last government troops are due to pull out of Aceh on Thursday.
The war which lasted until this peace accord was the third round of fighting since independence at the end of WWII.
The Achinese, who amount to less than five percent of the population of Indonesia, fought the Dutch again in the thirties and forties, they fought the Japanese, they fought the Indonesians - first against the Sukarno government, then against the Suharto government, then again against Suharto and his successors.
It took a tsunami to get them down.