Third Party & Independents Archives

Semantics and Genocide in Syria

Everything is semantics isn’t it? When we ask that the Obama administration “label” ISIL’s deliberate and tragically successful attempts to wipe out Christianity in Iraq and Syria as genocide, we are saying what we need is a little linguistic marker slapped on the problem. Please put the label on all these corpses and then we’ll really know those guys are bad.

But that's just quibbling with how we think and talk in our post-modern world. Semantics is everywhere and a word like genocide should at least make a direct difference with regards to refugee policies. We use the verb, to label, unconsciously, without even thinking: how in the world can semantics can deal with evil?

Hannah Arendt's idiotic coining of the phrase "the banality of evil" haunts us still. Her own history with the later pro-Nazi Heidegger and her desperate search for assimilation into German culture - until she was forced to flee to America - seemed to shape her unwillingness to blame Nazi ideology on German culture. So she had to construct a philosophical argument that condemned Eichmann for sloppy thinking. The banality of bad thinking had led to the holocaust. Not a crazed ideology led my a madman.

And as she faulted Eichmann for his use of Kant to defend his obedient role in the deaths of millions, so today we feel that a word - genocide - is what is needed to curb ISIL. Semantics is what matters in the face of murder.

To expect anything other than genocide from a group of fanatical killers like ISIL is to wallow in childish denial. Christians forced from their homes and killed. Or made to pay bribes to remain in Syria. To be later killed. But ISIL do not merely target Christians, or Israel and those of the Jewish faith. They target muslims and anyone else who gets in the way of their crazed vision.

The one thing that seems to be clear in Obama's mind, is the hesitance to show favoritism to Christians as refugees. Couched in the progressive language of inclusiveness and nation building. Rather than focusing on how to destroy an evil enemy. Which is basically saying, ISIL is guilty of sloppy thinking. They just need to attend a few seminars at Harvard.

Hannah Arendt's ghost lives on.

Posted by AllardK at December 28, 2015 5:48 PM
Comments
Comment #401615

Allard, in my opinion, Obama deep down believes that this current evil is our fault.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 30, 2015 2:05 PM
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