Monthly Archives: July 2014

If the Word is Mightier than the Sword, Do We Need Word Control?

Poisonous statements have reached epidemic proportions…It’s a dilemma, I’m stumped!!!

ContraPolitica

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire

I saw this saying twice today, the first time on a poster in someone’s office, the second time on a friend’s status on Facebook.  I have always liked this saying, to me it epitomized the open and fair mind.

The world today is an open forum of ideas, almost anyone can publish and disseminate their point of view.  The new communication media has opened up the field for every Tom, Dick, and Harriet to speak their minds (this very blog for example). But you know what? I’ve been wondering lately how good of a thing that is!

Who receives all these views and opinions? The masses? Who are the masses, and can they discern credibility and or authenticity?I’m sure lots of people read critically, but lots don’t…

Here’s another quote by…

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Chivalry is Dead and WE Killed It

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PclvpXg8CBc

I just watched this Youtube video and found myself fascinated with this little boy dealing with his weepy and vulnerable female classmate.  The boy offers protection, comfort, and service (and at this age I can’t think what his hidden motives might be).

I am sure that this is not purely instinctive behavior, and that this boy has some sort of role model he is emulating- Yet, the way he deals with the little girl is the way that every scared little girl in every grown woman wants to be treated by a man!

And here is where some of the hardcore feminists are going to jump at my throat with the “Women don’t need protection and comforting etc… etc…”

Well we may not need it but we crave it on a purely primal natural level, and here let me just say this: Protection does not mean domination just so we are on the same page.

Now here is my humble assertion after years of introspection and observation: as women, on our quest to gain our equality in society, we have skewed the natural order of things, and have cheated ourselves of some of our natural vulnerabilities, and consequently we have confused men about their respective roles.

Having equal rights does not mean abandoning our natural inherent tendencies to seek out strength in the men in our lives.

Thank you little boy for being such a gentleman, I hope that you don’t lose this trait as you grow older!

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Hashtag #wars vs. Real Wars!

On the very few occasions when I actually watch news on Television a story caught my attention about the hashtag war between Israel and GAZA, and I thought: (sorry profanity coming up) What the Fuck?

And it seems this is also a trending issue online!!

I will not mention the warring hashtags here, sorry that is utter nonsense.

In this virtual parallel universe, what is the meaning of these victories?

They create a morale boost for one side over another (and it is a false boost at that.)
They may give those who are feeling helpless about the situation a sort of empowerment (and it is false empowerment at that.)
They give the old idle ideologues something to ponder (and it is a false something at that)

Most of all, these hashtag wars are a distraction and a way to pacify ourselves against the horrors of death, destruction, and helplessness.

And as Forrest Gump said: “that’s all I have to say about that”.

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Conflict Terminology- The not so innocent way media chose their words!

This is a repost of a previous entry, and a precursor to my upcoming series: Conflict Terminology for Dummies.

Just a word to the wise, even the most objective media can slant your opinion: not by overt propaganda (as most Middle East media do) but with simple language nuances.

Language: a system of symbols that help us to communicate facts, thoughts, and feelings.  Sounds innocent enough, well it isn’t, and the media and advertising industries have known this for a long time, and so have some of the world’s best writers.  Since these are the “communication” times, where information is disseminated at dizzying speed and in overwhelming quantity, it’s important for those who want to be well informed to be able to do a quick analysis and an instant filtering in order to discern the real facts and arrive at some sane opinion.

Below you will find different terms used in media today to describe one situation, occurrence, or phenomenon,  using different terminology (in both English and Arabic), as well as some suggestions as to what they may really mean to imply. This is just the very short list, as this is a 101 level, feel free to add your favorite “synonyms”.

 

Fundamentalist-Extremist-Ultra Orthodox    أصولي-متطرف-ارثودوكسي متطرف

All very close in meaning, I mean a fundamentalist is an extremist ultra orthodox believer.  But note how Ultra Orthodox is a little less threatening than fundamentalist, and how fundamentalist is a little less threatening than extremist.

 

Dead-casualties-martyrs   قتلى-ضحايا-شهداء

The dead simply ceased to be living, casualties were victims, and martyrs are heroes, that’s how we quickly interpret these words in our minds.

 

Killed-Murdered-Slaughtered  قتل-ذبح

Killed implies some violence, murdered implies violence and criminal intent, while slaughtered implies barbaric violence.

 

Hundreds-Thousands-Tens of Thousands… مئات-آلاف-عشرات الآلاف-مسيرة مليونية

Ah, the numbers game! When do hundreds become thousands? Is 999 about a thousand? Or is around 800,000 a million?

 

Demonstrations-Riots-Civil disobedience  مظاهرات-أعمال شغب-عصيان مدني

Civil disobedience is perceived to be the tamest and most peaceful, demonstrations are a bit scarier, but riots are really scary.

 

Rebels-Insurgents-Freedom fighters   متمردين-مقاتلين-ثوار-مجاهدين

Freedom fighters are noble, rebels are romantic, insurgents we don’t really know what to feel about.

Leader-Strong Man-Head of   قائد-زعيم-رئيس

A leader is a father figure that has supporters, a strong man is more like a gang leader who rules by force, and a head of is kind of neutral.

 

Militia-Gang-Guerrillas   ميليشيا-عصابة

All of these terms carry negative raps, Guerillas however sometimes has more of the freedom fighter connotation than a gang or a militia.  And militia implies a more organized gang with a purpose.

 

Stormed-Attacked-Stomped   شن هجوما-اقتحم

To storm something is almost neutral in its outcome, although it means a swift and strong action.  To attack is a bit more aggressive in nature, and to stomp implies greater angry aggression.

 

Invaded-Occupied-Marched into   غزو-احتلال

The nuances of language here are at their best, to invade has a sort of temporary feel to it, while to occupy implies long-term.  March into is the most neutral.

 

Supporters-proponents-followers   مؤيدين-أنصار-أتباع

Supporters and proponents seem to be well aware of what and who they are supporting, while followers implies a type of blind and ignorant faith.

 

Never underestimate the power of a single word, every word carries within its folds many emotional and intellectual triggers that (unfortunately) can move the “masses”.

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