Call Them Daesh

Translated to English, what the 21st century’s barbarians call themselves, is “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” and hence we get ISIS. They mean to create a caliphate in that territory, no matter what the citizens of Iraq and Syria may want and destroying everyone who doesn’t think as they do is part of the plan.

Calling them Islamic State or ISIS is accepting their idea of who they are and what they’re doing. Furthermore it is a huge insult to Isis, the Egyptian goddess of antiquity in charge of childbirth and healing. Isis was a fine name to give your daughter until these guys erupted in the last decade. The Egyptian goddess Isis has been the name, for example, of a metaphysical bookstore in Englewood, Colorado for 35 years. People who have never studied ancient history, apparently, have recently thrown bricks through their sign and otherwise vandalized the place.

Da’esh, or Daesh, which Middle East leaders have been using, is the acronym of their name in Arabic. For several reasons, according to Alice Guthrie, translator of Arabic, the group hates that name and has threatened to behead whoever uses it. (Daesh, I say!) Guthrie says acronyms, so common in English, are rare or not used in Arabic and doing so is like a putdown. Also, Daesh is one letter off from several insulting words in Arabic, one which means something like “one who crushes others.”

I want everyone to stop defaming poor Isis, that mythical goddess who had the power of healing and helped women have babies. Stop being idiots about the innocent bookstore named after her many years before this group arose. That includes you, mainstream media. We can do this; it’s not that hard. Call them Daesh.


Information drawn from an article by Alice Guthrie:

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4 Responses to Call Them Daesh

  1. I’m sharing this one, if only because it shows that language matters. Thanks, Pat!

  2. C.M. Mayo says:

    Yes, language matters, gracias Pat!

  3. Bob Jaeger says:

    Thanks, Pat—clear, succinct, true. I’d like to see this one in the Post.

  4. Jean Queneau says:

    What a great, well-considered discussion on the possibilities of names! I heard ‘Daesh’ used on the radio a few days ago – probably on NPR. No discussion about it, just a commentator assuming people would know what the speaker meant. I loved it.

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