Monday, September 29, 2014

ISIS vs ISIL - Subtle Propaganda

As I always search for what people mean beyond the words they choose, I notice a trend in the speakers who prefer ISIL over ISIS (not absolute of course but hear me out)

In Arabic the name is "Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham" and the confusion seems to be a translation issue with al-Sham.
"al-Sham" refers to Damascus, or "Syria", in more modern terms. If they meant the Levant, they would have used "Bilad al-Sham" or "greater Syria", in more modern terms. Either way, though, S is for Syria in modern terms. As I don't claim to speak a word or Arabic, this is the information I've gleaned from reading a few scholarly articles on the matter. I am happy to receive comments from people who speak Arabic. 

But here's the thing with using ISIL and the importance of language in public communication - I've observed this term is more commonly preferred by right-wing commentators. There is hidden ideology here as the Levant would include Israel and suggesting a direct threat to Israel helps beat the drums of war in certain circles.

Evil, by any other name, stinks.


ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State or Daesh - in the big picture, the name is irrelevant. There is no redemption for these animals. Just always pay attention to what your leaders say and what they might actually mean. The most civilized society can always be one good propaganda campaign away from going to hell. 

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