Last updated at 11:15 BST, Thursday, 22 April 2010

News Words: Separatists

Wall painting calling for independence

A pro-independence wall painting in the Basque Country, Spain

The BBC's Clare Arthurs looks at some of the words and phrases often used in the news and their meanings in various contexts.

This week: separatists


Clare Arthurs on: separatists

Expressions with 'separate'

to separate

to divide or split one thing from another

To make this cake you first have to separate three eggs. Keep the yolks and the whites as you'll need them later.

They only got married last year but things didn't work out and they've decided to separate.

The River Thames runs through London, separating the north from south.

to separate someone out from something

to be the quality that makes someone or something special and different from others

All of them can sing but it's his dancing ability that separates him out from the rest of the group.

to separate the men from the boys

to find out who is the most suitable to do a job, who can work best in difficult conditions when others fail

"Above all try it in the rain before you commit to a career, that tends to separate the men from the boys!" she adds. (Advice to people thinking about working in the construction industry.)

to go your separate ways

to split up and stop working or being together

After becoming the most popular group of their time, the members of The Beatles went their separate ways in 1970.

A challenge for you

Are there areas in your country which some people would like to be independent?

Send us your short 'news story' on this topic and try to use some of the vocabulary from this page. We'll publish our favourites.

Please note that we are not able to publish all comments and comments may be edited.


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    • 1. At 6:25pm on 22 Apr 2010, Jose Daniel Gamez Rodriguez wrote:

      I think separatist are people who don't agree with the majority in a country or city. They are violents and frecuently they use terrorist methods (kidnapping, bomb-atacks, etc). They are fighting among other causes religious, politicals, ethnicall, etc. However they not have reason because they are making damages to many people. Actually in my country we don't have separatist groups but with Hugo Chavez's philosophy maybe in a future we have that. I have read about separatist and I think they could be understend that their cause is totaly wrong.

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    • 2. At 05:14am on 23 Apr 2010, Tienhoa wrote:

      It is very difficult for people with different religions and ethnics to integrate because they have their specific culture, tradition and dignity, and are not accepting any offensive of those values from others.

      Therefore, separatist movements are being taken place more often at this time, aimed at separating their own from the rest. Such activities cause social unrest and discrimination among people living in the same country. In my thoughts, educating them about respecting spiritual values each other is the best way to deal with the problem. By doing so, all of them could live together in peace.

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    • 3. At 12:08pm on 23 Apr 2010, Natalie wrote:

      Nowadays my country Russia has "a hot place"- North Caucauses. The Chechen rebellion began in the 1990s as largely ethnic nationalist movement. It has a long prehistory.
      Our authority had declared victory in the battle with Chechen separatists though, I notice violence has intensified over last year not only in the neighboring republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia. Chechen separatists have extended the zone of military operations to the territory Central Russia. They are responsible for the bombing of the Nevsky Express passenger train and for the metro attacks on March,31. They carry out these atrocities. Many people died and were injured. Fragrant crime!

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    • 4. At 10:00pm on 23 Apr 2010, Usman Daud wrote:

      Hello! I'm from Pakistan. Now a days in Pakistan, Baluchistan is one of its province that wants to get separate form Pakistan. The reason is not cultural, ethnic or regional differences. Major cause for this desire is there misery for which they blame rest of Pakistani provinces because they conceive Baluchistan resources are being used in other provinces and they are not getting there rights of royalty.

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    • 5. At 11:12pm on 23 Apr 2010, Misako wrote:

      Japan does not have any separatists who demand independence from the state of Japan. However, there are groups which used to be independent or seek to independence but now claim that they have their own identity and culture in Japan. One is the Ainu who are ethnically different and have lived in Hokkaido, North of Japan, since before the government started to explore the region. The other group is the Ryukyu which was established as a state in South of Japan before joining in Japan in the late 19th century. They have tried to reserve their inherited culture and language and the government adopts the policy to protect them.

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    • 6. At 3:17pm on 24 Apr 2010, 2317 wrote:

      In the general belief the word separatist includes acts of terrorism. From my point of view, the fact of being "separatist" or "protester" means basically just not folow someone ideas or plans mainly when they come from the group of people that controll a country or state.One can be protester even with its own ideas but there is absolutely no necessity for you to be involved in violent situations. In my country, thanks God, there are not separatist groups in terms of terrorism but there are thousands of protesters and demostrators all the time!

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    • 7. At 4:01pm on 24 Apr 2010, BCNMAR wrote:

      I'm really amazed to see that foreing media still consider ETA as a separatist group. They kill annocent people to defend their separatist thoughts, so for me they are TERRORIST not separatist. In several regions in Spain we have separatist politic parties that defends their ideas with words, but not with bombs as ETA does.

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    • 8. At 03:10am on 25 Apr 2010, william wrote:

      Sometimes it is not worth for a territory to be independent from a particular state since they enjoy the protection of the powerful state that governs it. For instance, the U.K. has control over Gibraltar which is very well protected. I am sure the inhabitants of this territory do not mind to be "exploited" as long as they have the protection of the United Kingdom

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    • 9. At 12:37pm on 26 Apr 2010, Gluttony Tse wrote:

      The word "Separatists" is very sensitive in China and people are not be allowed to talk about this in general. But China is a very big Country,Meanwhile,our country have many nationalities,so the conflict always happen.The Taiwang,Tibet and Sinkiang wanted to separate from the China in this 30 years. Unfortuantely ,our goverman gives more benefit to this place but not be accepted.As the Han people that the biggest nationality in China,I feel be ignored in the policy.That 's not equal.This problem is tough for the China goverman and easily influence the economy.In fact,we hope all the nationality and the area could be talked peacefully in the seat.

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    • 10. At 10:14am on 27 Apr 2010, Natalie wrote:

      2317, where you from?

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    • 11. At 10:14am on 27 Apr 2010, italospagnolo wrote:

      I totaaly agree with BCNMAR. There's still a lot of confusion/ambiguity on ETA abroad. Media in many occasions still call them separatists...ignoring the fact that their 'activity' go far beyond that being really mafia killers: mafia for forcing basque companies to pay them a sort of 'revolutionary tribute' with threats. Well, the fact of killing innocent people in every kind of place, squares, malls, airports is not what I simply call 'separatism'.

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    • 12. At 3:56pm on 27 Apr 2010, hisham wrote:

      Separatists , the very word itself, could have several contradictory meanings. People have been quite different in their views towards the separatists , some may frown upon hearing the word( separatists) while others may star or think very deeply to immediately captivate what could jump in their mind about separatists either from media or previous live experiences.
      People who have been defined as separatists in term of terrorism , are those used to make violent and offensive actions to express their opposing ideas (by bombing and explosions ),and very sadly the innocents always pay the price of extravagance.
      However, not all the separatist movements were sorts of terrorism. Across the history we have seen so many separatist movements proved loyalty and honesty with their intentions towards their home countries , and we are all remembering European revolutions flared in the past centuries have eventually switched the history from the previous dark eras towards the instant prosperous societies.

      It is quite fair to separate the men from the boys , to uncover truths and highlight those figures who engraved their names through history pages when they went their separate ways to correct the mess and create the plans for better future, who fought against the oppressor rulers, those who have been called as separatists in the past, after historic amendments they are now renamed as heroes.

      To sum up all of these facts, separate is a verb that does mean split from a thing if that thing was good then it would reflect bad deed but in case the separation was from a good thing it should be considered as bad deed.

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    • 13. At 00:27am on 28 Apr 2010, b3g wrote:

      If there are separatists is because there is a problem. Because one of the two parts involves in the problem wants to impose his/ her wills on the other, and as the other one doesn't accept to be abused there we have the reactions. That always will happen. Who wants to be abused? The solution to that problem is to acept that the other is different and respect him/her. We should be tolerant and respectful, things/ people are not like we want, things/ people are like they are, and we don't have to obly to nobody to be as we want them to be, and that is what is happening in Spain. In Spain, as everywhere else I gess, exist diferent cultures, Spain is not only bulls and flamenco, and that is what happens.

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    • 14. At 2:42pm on 28 Apr 2010, Thierry wrote:

      In France there is one little tiny village that resists. That village is populated with Gauls and situated on the west coast at the end of earth. They are fighting against Cesar the emperor of Roma since 2000 years now. Proud of their independency they continue to eat wild boars, more or less fresh fish and sometimes arguing each other.
      They are separatists sure, but please European Union : Can't you do something to bring peace?

      (It's all jokes), Thierry.

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