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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

London photo: “STOP ISIS”

stopisis

This graffiti appeared in Wood Green the other day.

Wood Green is, perhaps not coincidental to this, heavily immigrant, with many residents from the Middle East. There has been lots of public pushback — like from, say, imams and spokespeople from Muslim organizations — in the U.K. against Islamic radical fundamentalism, including ISIS/ISIL, and the radicalization of young British Muslims. So this could be part of that.


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  • Bluejay

    I wish they’d all just say ISIL. They’re ruining the rep of a perfectly good Egyptian goddess.

  • Danielm80

    I know. It’s ruining my childhood memories:

    http://www.urngarden.com/images/blog/IsisL.jpg

  • Except “the Levant” is such an old-fashioned leftover of colonialism. Like “the Orient.” I bet many people today don’t even know what it means.

  • Bluejay

    Yeah, I’d like to be able to yell “Oh, mighty Isis!” without looking like a terrorist sympathizer.

  • Bluejay

    Sure, but we can use acronyms despite the outdated words that they stand for. We still refer to the NAACP even though we (mostly) don’t say “colored people” anymore.

  • LaSargenta

    Or Daesh/Daiish: داعش

    I cut and pasted that bit of Arabic from a Washington Post article. I do not know the language. I gather Daiish is a transliteration into the Latin alphabet of that Arabic acronym of الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام. Talk about degrees of separation!

    Apropros of your statement downthread about anachronisms in acronyms, we also don’t always call a group by the acronym of their name in English. Like the FLN (Front de Liberation Nationale in Algeria…which we don’t translate into National Liberation Front and call it NLF) … nor … the PPP among WWII resistance groups (we don’t translate Polskie Panstwo Podziemne into Polish Secret State and call it PSS) … nor … PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Espanyol, not Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party and SSWP) … et cetera.

  • LaSargenta

    …and when I was little, I was confused about why the land at the east end of the Mediterranean Sea was named after this guy: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0505157/?ref_=tt_ov_st

  • Good point. But that acronym has been in use since the time when we *did* use “colored people.” ISIL is a weird coinage for anyone to have come up with today.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Given that Muslims aren’t traditionally big fans of pagan deities — Egyptian or otherwise — I’m surprised that they haven’t already changed the name of that organization.

  • Bluejay

    Good point right back atcha. To follow up on LaSargenta’s point about using original-language acronyms, why don’t we just call them what they call themselves, in their language? After all, we call Al-Qaeda “Al-Qaeda,” not “The Base.” And we say “Jemaah Islamiah” not “Islamic Congregation,” and “Hezbollah” not “Party of God,” and so on.

  • David

    They have. It’s simply called IS now.

  • David

    What are you talking about? People use that term all the time including the author of this website. I constantly see people writing “Person of Color”.

  • David

    I used to study Arabic a few years ago but I stopped and switched to Hebrew. I can still read the Arabic alphabet phonetically though. One cool thing about studying languages in a non-latin alphabet is that it makes learning languages in a Latin alphabet much easier. I can read, write, and carry on casual conversations in Hebrew. Then I started studying Spanish and am finding it much easier to pick up.

  • Danielm80
  • David

    LOL, exactly.

  • By whom? I still hear “ISIS” and “ISIL” on the news.

  • LaSargenta

    Oooookaaaaaayyyyy….BUT what “they” call themselves is not what OTHER arabic speakers call them. In fact, apparently, “they” don’t like DAIISH.

    I mean, the Catholic Church calls itself the True Faith, but, obviously, lots of the rest of us don’t.

  • Bluejay

    Well, it’s complicated and interesting, and has to do with connotation, history and intention:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/03/30/295931070/the-journey-from-colored-to-minorities-to-people-of-color

    http://wocinsolidarity.tumblr.com/post/55369254035/woc-in-solidarity-mod-post-colored-people-vs

    “Colored” was historically used by white people to refer to black people, often negatively, and today carries all the baggage of that history. “People of color” is today intended to be inclusive of people, not just blacks, who would otherwise be described as “nonwhite” or “minority” (which I sometimes use myself, but I see how those terms can be problematic too). The terms are not the same in context or connotation. I can see how some people might want to dismiss that difference as semantics or PC, but language is a messy thing that can’t be separated from history, intention, and politics. That stuff all matters.

    For the record, I’m not completely satisfied with “person of color” myself, but that’s for a longer discussion I don’t feel like having. :-)

  • Overflight
  • David

    I don’t like the term because to me it seems ridiculous to take people from Korea, China, japan, South America, Asia, and the Middle East and lump them into a super category called “people of color”.

  • David

    They refer to themselves simply as the Islamic State (IS). The idea being that they are the true adherents to Islam. Most of the Western media still refer to them as ISIL/ISIS. Probably to imply the opposite.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I suspect most people like myself treat terms like “people of color” the same way we do Democratic presidential candidates: we don’t consider them perfect but they’re still usually better than the usual alternatives…

  • Tonio Kruger

    Is this supposed to be a Bill Clinton joke? Because I seem to recall a big controversy about the term “IS” during his administration…

  • David

    Um, no.

  • David

    See, I tend to feel that way about Republican candidates.

  • Bluejay

    I see what you’re saying, and I agree that it papers over some real differences between groups, but it’s still a useful term depending on the issue you’re talking about. It’s easier to say “There are relatively few people of color in leading roles in Hollywood films” than to say “There are relatively few people of Korean, Chinese, Japanese, South American, and Middle Eastern descent in leading roles in Hollywood films.”

  • Beowulf

    I call them “ISN’T.”

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