Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What's In A Name?

“Words matter in ‘ISIS’ war so use ‘Daesh” was the head of an OpEd piece from the Boston Globe (see: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/10/09/words-matter-isis-war-use-daesh/V85GYEuasEEJgrUun0dMUP/story.html). In September FRANCE24 decided to use Daesh as well.

Words matter as we learned during the initial MISO naming melee. Whether calling an enemy organization a name they dislike can actually make some sort of impression is another thing,

Of course the name ‘ISIS’ is intended to convey an official status for what the terrorists hope will one day be recognized as a legitimate caliphate.

According to FRANCE24 (see: http://www.france24.com/en/20140917-france-switches-arabic-daesh-acronym-islamic-state/) which is also the photo source.
“Daesh is a loose acronym of the Arabic for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham).Use of acronyms is rare in the Arabic world, with the notable exception of the Palestinian group Hamas (Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾiSlāmiyya).  First used in April 2013 by Arabic and Iranian media hostile to the jihadist movement, Daesh became a name commonly used by the enemies of IS, notably forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as activists and less fanatical rebel groups also fighting the Damascus regime.
A principal reason for using the acronym was to remove the words “Islamic” and “State” in reference to the group in a bid to stop Muslims in war-torn Syria and beyond flocking to its ranks.
Defiance and disrespect
It is also considered insulting, and the IS itself doesn’t like the name Daesh one bit.
Beyond the acronym, “Daesh” sounds lie the Arabic “Daes”, meaning “one who crushes something underfoot” as well as “Dahes”, which means “one who sows discord”.”
I am not a scholar of the Middle East and so I cannot vouch for the correctness of the French assertions. I am only pointing out that words matter and that it’s worth considering using what influence we might have in a way calculated to give our enemies the least possible comfort.

All of my best wishes for the 2014 Holidays and for a peaceful, healthy and rewarding 2015.

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