Carronade The Yankee Sailor Carronade

The Sea is a choosy mistress. She takes the men that come to her and weighs them and measures them. The ones she adores, she keeps; the ones she hates, she destroys. The rest she casts back to land. I count myself among the adored, for I am Her willing Captive.

I've relocated to a new Yankee Sailor.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Newspeak of the Week in the EU

As Islam and the West debate the limits of free speech in the wake of the Muhammad cartoon controversy, it looks like the French spirit of surrender has seized the helm at the EU. Ministers of the European quasi-government are working on an approved list of terms the organization and its representatives must use when discussing issues related to terrorism and Islam. From the EU Observer:

The EU is working on a public communication lexicon which blacklists the term "Islamic terrorism." The "non-emotive lexicon for discussing radicalisation" should be submitted to EU leaders who will meet in June, according to press reports. EU officials drafting the guidelines hope that the European Commission and the European Parliament will also endorse the linguistic code of conduct, which will be non-binding. "Certainly 'Islamic terrorism' is something we will not use ... we talk about 'terrorists who abusively invoke Islam'," an EU official told Reuters.
Another term said to be on the blacklist: "jihad." Why? Because of it's different meanings in different contexts. "Jihad means something for you and me, it means something else for a Muslim. Jihad is a perfectly positive concept of trying to fight evil within yourself," an EU representative told Reuters. Well, Mr. EU Representative, that may be true when Ahmed says he's in a "jihad" to quit trying to make out the curves of Arab hotties in burkhas, but when Ahmed's Imam tells him something like the following, I think we "Kuffaar" know there's no positive connotation:

[I]f a country doesn't allow the propagation of Islam to its inhabitants in a suitable manner or creates hindrances to this, then the Muslim ruler would be justifying in waging Jihad against this country, so that the message of Islam can reach its inhabitants, thus saving them from the Fire of Jahannum. If the Kuffaar allow us to spread Islam peacefully, then we would not wage Jihad against them.
All of this nonsense comes from a certain form of denial within the EU, and America, too. Mr. EU showed his true problem when he said the following: "Certainly 'Islamic terrorism' is something we will not use ... we talk about 'terrorists who abusively invoke Islam'." Similar sentiments have come from President Bush when he talks about Islam as a "religion of peace" and describes the radicals as "hijackers." The shortcoming of this outlook was eloquently stated by Diana West:

[The] problem is — to stick with the idiotic metaphor — the "hijackers" have been piloting the plane [of Islam] for centuries, and the "passengers" have yet to take the controls. They go along for the ride, happy with or resigned to the anti-infidel destination because the jihadist itinerary comes straight from the Koran and
other signal Islamic texts.
I'll be the first to agree that words can sometimes mean different things to different people, but the solution to the problem is not to outlaw words, but to inform participants of their meanings. By watering down the language, we water down the meaning, and often fail to convey our outrage and the seriousness of the topic.

Diplomacy is fraught with this dissimulation, as excessively polite people struggle to say something without saying what they're actually thinking. And as a result, countries like Iraq and Iran and North Korea are allowed to continue with a fantasy that the promised "serious consequences" of a U.N. Security Council resolution might mean something other than a good, old fashioned trip to the wood shed at the hands of a joint task force.

Let people say what they mean, choose their own words and explain when necessary, Mr. EU. John Maynard Keynes argued the point well when he said, "Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking." For centuries Muslims have stopped thinking about who's at the controls of their plane, and maybe a few wild words will spur them check the cockpit - before another joint task force must.

Open posted to OTB.