Monday, June 1, 2015

What's in a name?

...The one time 'terror' does appear in the four articles is when an Israeli terror-victim organization opposed to the Shalit deal is quoted and named. The Shalit deal is the act of extortion in which 1,027 killers and other terrorists, our daughter's murderer among them, walked free.So now we turn to Faisal J. Abbas, editor-in-chief, and ask: Is this because murderous attacks on a group of innocent people who were simply practicing their basic right of observing Friday prayers [Mr Abbas' words] are terror? And murderous attacks on a group of innocent people, most of them children simply practicing their basic right of buying lunch in a pizzeria, are not terror?

Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
01 June '15

A friend pointed us to a slightly surprising, but smart-sounding, op ed that appeared in a major Arab news publication yesterday. He emailed it to us with the subject line "Arab journalist asks why we can't call terrorism terrorism". Great question.

It's an article by Faisal J. Abbas, the editor-in-chief of Al Arabiya English, and

a renowned blogger and an award-winning journalist... [who] blogs for The Huffington Post since 2008, and is a recipient of many media awards and a member of the British Society of Authors, National Union of Journalists, the John Adams Society as well as an associate member of the Cambridge Union Society

Call us impressed. He starts this way:

The two recent attacks on mosques in eastern Saudi Arabia can’t be labeled as anything but evil acts of terrorism. Now, such a classification seems obvious to most of us, as there isn’t a term that is more expressive to describe these ideologically-driven, murderous attacks on a group of innocent people who were simply practicing their basic right of observing Friday prayers. However, having just attended brain-storming sessions at the regional World Economic Forum (WEF) summit in the Dead Sea, I fear there might be some confusion as to what is defined as terrorism and what isn’t.

We agree. It's concerns like those that get us to blog here every day. We outlined our concerns ["18-Feb-15: Countering Vacuous Euphemisms" and "27-Feb-15: CVE revisited"] some months back.

We felt, though, that his seriousness warranted some prior validating. We get exposed to too many voices from the Arab world complaining that too often terrorism is not being called what it really is. But then too often it turns out they actually mean something very different from what we do when they say "terror".

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