nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

Links and thoughts about Islamist terrorism

Daesh is a many-splendored insult. Since the essay is long and somewhat rambly, have a summary. The English language press has been inexcusably sloppy, saying it's a mysterious Arab thing or getting the details wrong.

Daesh is an acronym of what ISIS calls itself. In English, acronyms are a neutral matter of convenience, and I think anyone who insisted on using a full name rather than a common acronym would seem excessively fussy. In Arabic, acronyms are not common usage, and using one is a slight. I'm a little surprised that members of Daesh work so hard to be hated and yet can have their feelings easily hurt, but that's humans for you.

In addition, Daesh sounds like a fantasy creature like a genii from the pre-Islamic dark ages. I wouldn't mind having some more detail about this.

Better yet, Daesh is just one letter off from a word that means trample. One of the things the English press has been getting wrong is to claim it's a conjugation.

People have been saying for a while that terrorism is a result of poverty, and I've been saying for a while that it isn't-- we should all be as poor as bin Laden, and there are all those engineers who become terrorists. Some of them have jobs and families. I'd been thinking people whose lives are in fairly good shape become terrorists because they have some sort of meaning deficiency. Here's an essay on the subject.

On the other hand, some terrorists are desperately poor, and money from Daesh is the only way they can support their families.

Part of the problem is economies which were destroyed by the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. It turns out that Chalabi was running the debaathification program, and he was using it for revenge.

Anyone know of any science fiction about aliens wrecking human societies by supporting destructive factions?

I don't think everything is the US's fault. Bin Laden had much more freedom of action than most people. He had wealth, and he wasn't answerable to stockholders or voters. He could have spent his life on whatever rich Saudis do (build big fancy houses? work in the family business?), but he didn't.

I knew about the attacks on Beirut because they were on Google News, which is not exactly an obscure source. On the other hand, it was reported more as Daesh vs Hezbollah rather than something everyone should mourn.

I think part of the difference in press reporting is that a big attack in Europe is surprising while there have been a lot of attacks in the Middle East. It's probably a good thing to have more emotional parity.

For what it's worth, NPR had an interview this morning with a man from Beirut who was more emotionally affected by what happened in Paris than what happened in his own city. I take this to mean that people are very apt to be influenced by what they're told to feel.

More generally, I think we don't know what to do about Daesh, so what we're doing is telling each other what to do and what to feel. What's more, we really don't know what policies would work, so we're got room to get really angry at those irresponsible fools who aren't doing the completely obvious thing.

It might help to stop supporting Gulf states if they insist on supporting terrorists.

Have an essay about who it's easiest to hate. Reserve some time, it's long and interesting.

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