Roger L. Simon

The English Lesson

You would think that Reuters, a British company, would have respect for the English language, but they still consider the terrified murderer photographed below an “insurgent.” ter.jpg Here’s how the great impartial “Olympians” at that news agency describe the photo:

A suspected insurgent asks residents for mercy after they caught him planting explosives under civilian vehicles, at a busy area in Baghdad, January 3, 2005. Insurgents killed 17 Iraqi police and National Guards on Monday in another bloody spree of ambushes, bombings and suicide attacks aimed at wrecking Iraq’s January 30 national election. (via Michael Totten)

Oh, well, I take it back. He’s a “suspected insurgent.” We don’t know for sure from this photo whether the fellow can officially be elevated to the exalted plain of full “insurgent” – a veritable Emiliano Zapata perhaps. Never mind that workaday Iraqis might call this dude a “terrorist” because he is about to blow as many of them to smithereens as possible, Like my friend Omar, they must be “misguided.” (Apologies, Omar, that’s American sarcasm, though I imagine you know that.) Reuters knows best. Only through impartiality can one arrive at “the truth.”

Of course that is a Big Lie. Reuters is no more impartial than I am. Language itself is not impartial–it always seeks to persuade, covertly or overtly. The word “insurgent” glamorizes fascists and its use assists the fascist cause. Do I go too far? Let me ask the people at Reuters a simple question, although I am dubious any of them would respond. Can they identify one single Iraqi “insurgent” whose politics was not Baathist or Jihadist, both different sides of the fascist coin? Well, I realize some are common criminals as well, but other than that… I’m waiting…

MEANWHILE: Greyhawk comments on journalistic ethics.