Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The ISIS Name Game

Years ago, pop-singer Prince changed his name to a symbol which had no translation.  So, the media started to refer to him as the "Artist formerly known as Prince".  Well, when it comes to referring to the terrorist group formerly known as ISIS, confusion also reigns.  This is because the acronym doesn't translate well into English.

Most people, including the media, use the acronym ISIS thinking that it means the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria".  But the last "S" really stands for al-Sham (a borderless area called "Greater Syria" which includes Syria).  ISIS itself, prefers to call themselves the Islamic State or "IS" as declared by their current religious leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  In doing so, any concept of border limitations is removed.

Our President, and most of his minions, prefer the acronym "ISIL" or the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant". But "Levant" is a variant of the Arabic "al-Sham" and much more restrictive of the geographical area that al-Sham implies.  Also, by taking the last "S" meaning Syria out of "ISIS", some believe the intention is to avoid focusing on the mess he created in Syria by not taking the lead to take down Assad.

John Kerry, on the other hand, is much more free swinging.  Sometimes he uses the term "ISIS".  Other times, when being a good Obama soldier, he sticks to "ISIL".  But, increasingly he refers to "ISIS" as "Daesh" which is actually a closer English interpretation of the original name "al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham".  The trouble with "Daesh" is that it can also mean things that can be insulting.  Thus, al-Baghdadi has banned the use of the term throughout his so-called Islamic State.  To al-Baghdadi, its use it and lose your tongue.  So, when Kerry and French President Hollande use Daesh, they are intentionally (I hope) insulting ISIS.

Lastly, the Iraqi government has started to refer to ISIS as "dookh" which stands for "Dawlat Al Islamiya Al Khalifa".  However, this, too, is considered an insult because it is closely related to the Arabic word meaning "confused".  As if things weren't already confusing.

Anyway, we're at war with some acronym that rapes, kills, beheads, throws gays off buildings, destroys irreplaceable antiquities, takes down a Russian aircraft, attacks Paris, and threatens to attack Washington D.C..  I think that if the world wants to collectively defeat these bastards, it should at least come together on a single name for the enemy.


Why is John Kerry referring to ISIS as "Daesh"?:

John Kerry defends Syria strategy ahead of peace talks:

Words matter in ‘ISIS’ war, so use ‘Daesh’:

Militants in Iraq and Syria are trying to re-create a nation that never existed:

Obama's Use Of ISIL, Not ISIS, Tells Another Story:

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:

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