We are already supporting the war on terror with our money and our military. But there’s another weapon we can deploy against the especially-vile enemy that massacred innocent bystanders in Paris last week – our vocabulary.
A movement has been percolating online for some time now to stop using the terms ISIS or ISIL, which both include the words “Islamic State,” usage that conforms to the desire of these thugs to be recognized as a state, which makes as much sense as agreeing to refer to a drug gang that has taken over a neighborhood as its own city.
Instead, we are urged to use the word “Daesh,” an acronym that is widely interpreted to be an Arabic euphemism for “violent, bigoted oppressors.”
Not only is this far more accurate, but it has the added bonus of being anathema to the mass murderers. “They don’t like it, so much so that they threaten to cut the tongues out of anyone who uses it,” says Zeba Kahn, a local expert on the subject.
What difference does a word make?
When you’re locked in a war that is as much about culture and public opinion as it is about bullets and bombs, it makes plenty of difference.
This seems like a reasonable request.
Daesh relies heavily on their ability to create an image they can use to recruit their killers from among us. While we’re fighting them over there, we need to also fight them on that front over here.
And calling them out for what they really are seems like a good start.