Saturday, April 15, 2006

EU New Speak

The EU are again showing that they want to regulate everything. Where before this just included regulating the fruit we eat now they want to regulate the language used in Public Comunication.
Now the EU officials are “discreetly reviewing the language it uses to describe terrorists who claim to act in the name of Islam. EU officials are working on what they call a ‘lexicon’ for public communication on terrorism and Islam, designed to make clear that there is nothing in the religion to justify outrages like the Sept. 11 attacks or the bombings of Madrid and London. The lexicon would set down guidelines for EU officials and politicians.”
The term “Islamic terrorism” will no longer be used. Nor will words such as “Islamist,” “fundamentalist” and “jihad.” The latter, for example, is often used by Islamic terrorists to mean warfare against infidels, but according to an EU official “for a Muslim Jihad is a perfectly positive concept of trying to fight evil within yourself.” The EU civil servants drafting the lexicon claim it will be a “non-emotive lexicon for discussing radicalisation.” The lexicon will be submitted to the 25 EU leaders in June. An EU official said the point of using careful language was not to “fall into the trap” of offending and alienating citizens. “This is an attempt [...] to be aware of the sensitivities implied by the use of certain language.”
While it is honorable in intent. It is counter-productive to its objective. It's aim is to encourage tolerance of difference it will only increase intolerance as instead of being out in the open and dealt with. It will fester in the hearts of men and women. Before it finally boils over into something ugly. Owell would be proud


Eamonn said...

to paraphrase:

Don't you see the whole purpose of Eu Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make offence literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed in exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidary meanings rubbed out and forgotten...The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect

Fergal said...


(a) The EU are not "regulating the language used in public communication". That's censorship, and is done by the member states themselves. What the EU are regulating is the language *it* uses. You've missed or chosen to elide this rather vital distinction.

(b) "regulating the fruit we eat". The EU banana regulation story is a myth, peddled by the British xenophobic press and apparentlty swallowed by yourself.

(c) "Orwell would be proud". No, if the point you make is that the language is obfuscatory, then Orwell would, rather, be worried. Your formulation suggests that Orwell made it his mission to stir up racial hatered, and would welcome any measures which have the effect of advancing this mission. This does not correspond to my reading of Orwell

That is all.

Simon said...

EU are regulating is the language *it* uses.

Where did I say different. Remember the EU is made up of Men and Women as well.

I did not mention bendy banana's and in fact the EU does regulate fruit

Your formulation suggests that Orwell made it his mission to stir up racial hatered,

No that is far from my formulation.

Fergal said...

(a) Where did you say different? You say it right here: "regulating the language used in public communications". This states that the EU wishes to regulate all public speech. That the EU includes all it's citizens is not relevant here, hecause no attempt is being made to force EU citizens to use particular speech codes. You are creating, either deliberately or by accident, an impression that this is what they are trying to do.

(b) My asumption was that you referred to the "bendy banana" rule, which was actually introduced by a pre-membership British Government. The EU reg that you cite doesn't mention bends, you'll notice. Anyway, that's what I thought you were referring to. It seems you weren't. Fair enough.

(c) "No that is far from my formulation". Then please tell me why on earth Orwell would be proud? Or did you mean to say Orwell would be apalled?

Simon said...

regulating the language used in public communications"
Ya exactly public communications. Communications the EU and I am presumming MEP's have with the public.

I meant Orwell would be appalled as in sarcasm. Sarcasm usually doesn't work with out body language

Stephen_Boyle said...

On a slight aside about Orwell: if you've read 'why I right' he has a very interesting discourse on the use of political language. In particular he railes against the use of stock phrases and creating a false impression. He reccomended that people endevour to come up with new ways of getting things accross to their audience.

I don't see how he would have objected to an initiative that seems to embody those aims. Reffering to people as 'Islamic terrorists' has been a pet hate of mine for a while. We certainly never went around calling the IRA catholic extremists here, and with good reason. We saw a distinction between the distortion and warping of religion, versus the real views of a population.

Similiarly I'd agree with the aim of this lexicon, which is to encourage people in public discourse to use more accurate language to describe people and the events that they choose to perpetrate on a case by case basis rather than using the current stock phrases.

Orwell would be proud.

Simon said...

IRA catholic extremists here, and with good reason.

But they were called Irish terrorists.

The northern conflict is not about religion it is about nationality. We don't call some of the 9/11 yemani terrorist as they were not fighting for the yemani nation they were fighting for islam.

(in the same way the IRA are fighting for Ireland even though none of us support them)

Stephen_Boyle said...

And do you seriously think that the category term of 'Irish terrorist' in any way gives a clarity to the situation? It's exactly the kind of easy category term that Orwell was against!

Simon said...

From my reading of Orwell. he was against the changing of language to change what people thought

Stephen_Boyle said...

No, he's against the reduction of language to a limited vocabularly of phrases that do not represent enough of the situation to get accross the true meaning. As I mentioned earlier this is dealt with explicitly in his (non fiction) essay 'Why I Write', subsection 'On Political Language'.

'Islamic extremist' would be one such case where an easy to use phrase is inserted instead of something that actually belies the true meaning.

Simon said...

Are the EU not also reducing the "language to a limited vocabularly of phrases"? By saying what the organisation can and can not say are they.

Using the phrase "persons who abuse Islam" is just as guilty of the crime of being "easy to use phrase is inserted instead of something that actually belies the true meaning." as islamic terrorist.