"I don't know if the self-proclaimed 'Islamic State' has contracted a branding specialist to choose its name, but the know-how is there. On a more dramatic note, this manipulation of names and concepts is everywhere to be seen and poisons the media discourse, discredits political discourse and creates a profound sense of powerlessness among citizens. ... The question is: if the Mafia adopts the name 'Sicilian Cultural Association' and Goldman Sachs re-baptizes itself as 'The Congregation of Barefoot Carmelites of Wall Street,' should the media use such designations? Or should it consider that the message conveyed by the designation is at odds with the truth of the matter? ... Media, which have the vital role of monitoring those in power, should monitor not only their actions but their language, and denounce its perversion."
Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble, an American, suggested
a few days ago that "the international community and law enforcement"
stop using the term "Islamic State" to refer to the Islamist
terrorist organization that controls much of Iraq and Syria - which the groups
chose for itself. Instead, he proposed using the acronym CM for "Cowardly
Murderers," a name that, according to Noble, should henceforth be used to
refer to a group that has come to epitomize murderous cruelty by filming the beheadings
of hostages (not only Western) and disseminating
them over the Internet.
Noble's proposal is not a mere gesture, but is
intended to combat one of the most effective propaganda weapons these
terrorists have: their name.
In fact, by using the term "Islamic State" and
previously, "the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" - which media
adopted quickly, the organization gains relevance and dignity in the public eye
that no one recognizes (that of a state). Moreover, it
acquires immediate identification with a religion (Islam) which is intended to reinforce
its legitimacy before Muslims. On the other hand, it spreads among non-Muslims
the idea of an identifying link between terrorism and Islam, thereby generating
reactions of religious hatred which is the fuel on which these terrorists feed.
Noble's name change may not be well-received, but it is
clear that media use of the name chosen by the group itself represents a justification
and amounts to objective collaboration in an act of propaganda every time the term
is repeated on television. "I ask the global community," said Noble, "why
should we allow a bloodthirsty group of terrorists to name themselves
after a religion as a pretext to justify their heinous crime that no religion
The question is: if the Mafia adopts the name "Sicilian
Cultural Association" and Goldman Sachs re-baptizes itself as "The Congregation
of Barefoot Carmelites of Wall Street," should the media begin to use such
designations? Or should it consider that the message conveyed by the
designation is at odds with (how should we say it? ...)
the truth of the matter? Or should these updated designations represent
de-facto new identities and new objectives for these organizations?
I don't know if the self-proclaimed "Islamic State"
has contracted a branding specialist to choose its name, but the know-how is
there. On a more dramatic note, this manipulation of names and concepts is
everywhere to be seen and poisons media discourse, discredits political
discourse and creates a profound sense of powerlessness among citizens. Things
no longer have the names they should have - names that we learned were given in
dictionaries. They have acquired new meanings conferred by those in power. Definitions
have been altered that make it difficult to tell where the truth lies, having been
redefined according to the interests of those who control public discourse.
Posted By Worldmeets.US
Was Prime Minister Passos Coelho
paid by vocational training company Tecnoforma? No,
he had his expenses "reimbursed" while presiding over the Portuguese
Council for Cooperation. The council was aimed at enhancing cooperation with PALOP (Portuguese-speaking African countries) - a
non-profit/non-governmental organization. The intervention of the Troika of
lenders [the European Commission, European Central Bank and International
Monetary Fund] aimed at an "adjustment." The government doesn't want
to cut wages, but only wants to reduce "unit labor costs."
Evaluation, flexibility, productivity, "compensatory" time off,
guarantee funds, excellence, weighted average, "disorders" in court, "sustainability"
of public accounts, "structural" reform, etc.
The manipulation of designations - the new lexicon of power -
is everywhere, and there is such an army of megaphones at its beck and call that
it pervades the discourse of even the most critical and attentive observers. Yet
names are important. They identify things, people, organizations, politics, our
actions, our choices, our ideas. Without calling a spade a spade we cannot
talk, the discourse becomes a foler of euphemistics, no longer with any common
ground - no lexical public space that allows communication or a common
There is the notion - the "cousin" of free expression
and the "sister" of copyright - that people have
the right to use for themselves whatever designation they wish. I defend that right.
However, there is no right to impose such designations on public discourse -
and the media in particular has a duty to resist. That's hard because these
corruptions are also simplifications, and many times economic. But media, which
have the vital role of monitoring those in power, should monitor not only their
actions but their language, and denounce its perversion, whether in dealing
with the "Islamic State" or with the "Arc of Governance" (a
designation given to the three parties that dominate Portugal). Calling a spade
a spade is a fundamental obligation of journalists, and without it, information
becomes fiction or becomes an element of propaganda.