This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Thursday, 7 January 2016

Daesh: a rant.

As stories have told us for thousands of years, names are magic. If you know someone's name then you have power over them.* 

If you know someone's name then you know he exists, anyway.

So: is it ISIS or ISIL, or the so-called Islamic State?

Or Daesh?

Or first one, then another, in rotation?

The British media seem, after a lot of soul-searching, to have gone for the last option. It means we're fighting something amorphous - huge, but at the same time vanishingly small, like an invasion of insects. 

All people, you see, have names.

Is this not-naming deliberate? 

Perhaps. 

It's magic, anyway.

And we must hope it's a weapon we can control.

Word To Consider Today: daesh. This is an acronym based on Al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham, which is the group's full name. Daesh sounds like the Arabic Dahes, which means one who sows discord, and the group sees the name Daesh as an insult. In July, the director-general of the BBC, Lord Hall, said that the use of such a term would break BBC rules on impartiality by giving the BBC's audience the impression that the BBC supported the group's opponents.

*No, don't start congratulating yourself that things are different nowadays: think about banks and your personal details!

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