The heart of the Bajoran resistance was to cripple, stun, defeat, and alienate any element present of the Cardassian occupation. When Captain Sisko orders Colonel Kira to assist Damar with his struggling Cardassian uprising against the Dominion she is at first taken back. It is laughable. At the first instance of the suggestion and on the surface it is certainly an insult to the sacrifices made by the Bajoran resistance. It seemingly does not honor the lives lost in the struggle. Nor does it appear to be justice for those elements that struggled for freedom in the occupation to assist and combine forces with the aggressor in their time of struggle.
However, Kira relents. She is not just following orders. She understands that the small forces that Damar has gathers against the Dominion needs a better strategy. Kira understands the Cardassian resistance would greatly benefit from freedom fighter training. Cardassian think militarily in terms of large operations with targeted plans and very orderly variables. However, they are also fighting those Cardassians that have not yet alienated the Dominion. It is a slow process for the larger Cardassian movement to come around. With the token element of surprise and strategic accommodation that Kira can provide, she can make this movement successful. Furthermore, with the aid of Garak and even finding herself on Cardassia Prime, she moves into the heart of the movement with just as much vigor, relevance, and occupancy as Kira was in the Bajoran resistance. There is no doubt, Colonel Kira is a Cardassia freedom fighter; struggling and struck in a basement with Damar and Garak.
Kira memories of those struggles on Bajor, we are often reminded, are complex and painful. She recounts more than once that she is not proud of the things she did in the resistance, but that she did it for the good of Bajor, for Bajoran freedom. In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s “Duet” we also encounter the ranks of Cardassian evil as an individual who appears to be Gul Darhe’el confesses to atrocities committed in the Gallitep labor camp. We encounter, with immediacy, Kira’s passion for justice for the Bajoran people, but we also experience Kira compassion for a man mad with guilt who in reality did not play a significant role in the activities at Gallitep. We see that Kira’s passion runs deep; it is instilled in the fiber of her context and critical thinking mechanisms. Her strategic alertness is moved by Damar’s Caradassian uprising and just as the Cardassians retained no mercy for the Bajoran people – on that same swinging inclination – Kira joins a Cardassian struggle that is marked with a new consciousness, and a fresh alertness to reason, that to be independent from tyranny is the primary goal of any peoples. Kira related intimately with this season of struggle.
Empathetically there is a Yin and Yang to the Bajoran and Cardassian resistance. There is a targeted reason to a shared history and a remarkable insistence of a resemblance of order and united goals. Without the true nature of the hallmark of the Bajoran resistance, the Cardassian uprising would have no context from which to move. The success and very motion of the Cardassian struggle owes existence to perils and achievements of the Bajoran rejection of the occupation. There is a seed of worth; of interconnectedness and grows and establishes itself through commonality of shared syntax of goals and brings different peoples together for the most urgent reasons and shatters the holy bonds of disagreement and dissension. What we experience watching Kira shape and confine Damar’s movement is the realization of shared goals for a common destiny of independence and self-worth.
When Kira with Garak, Damar, and his followers find themselves locked outside of Dominion headquarters, they share in the struggle – they laugh together. They have become united through shared equity of emotion and the lambast of rejecting that which divides any peoples from an opportunity for independent prosperity. Damar has lost his wife and children in the struggle. Casey Biggs, who plays Damar said in an interview that had he known that Damar had a wife and children he would have played the character differently. However, Damar, who once fought by the side and defended Gul Dukat at any cost, has not completed his road to redemption; for himself or the Cardassian people. He must also give his life storming the Dominion last stronghold having made the case for Cardassians to fight “For Cardassia” and not for control of the quadrant or power bestowed by the Dominion. Damar’s saving grace was his ability to see the cause of the struggle, not just in Cardassian terms, but in a higher collective order that identified with those they oppressed in the Bajoran occupation and the more grand union of the Federation’s interest and empathy with his cause.
“For Cardassia” is not just for Cardassians, but for all who are prepared to unite for common interests, even with Bajorans and the Federation, towards that shared goal of individualism and liberty of cause.