Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Daesh, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Assholes: Acronyms and Acrimony


You may have noticed there is not much consistency in the way the press and public officials make reference to the bands of murderous fanatics who claim to be part of a new caliphate. Others can do as they please, of course, but for my part, in any story I write or edit, these guys are referred to in the first reference as "the so-called [or self-declared, or self-appointed, or self-anointed, or putative] Islamic State" and afterward as ISIS (which I no longer bother to explain comes from the earlier name Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham), or sometimes as Daesh, the Arabic acronym for ISIS, with occasional nods to the U.S. government's preferred ISIL (from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). 

One takes some pleasure in the fact that the so-called self-declared self-appointed self-anointed putative Caliph Ibrahim, formerly known as Abu Bakr al Baghdadi a.k.a. Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al Badri, hates those old acronyms. Not reverential enough. What he wants is for all of us to get used to describing his collection of murderers as the Islamic State.  But, let's be clear, whether we call these guys Daesh, ISIS or ISIL, really, they are just assholes. At the risk of sounding acrimonious, but more in sorrow than in anger, I wish those publications that have fallen into the IS trap (like the BBC) would re-think their policies.
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