A FAQ reply that takes the time to take you through the thinking behind a decision.
Yes I refer to #isis as #daesh increasingly because I think it is not necessary to call a terror group what it likes to be called. I prefer to call them a name that is also accurate (Daesh is the acronym in Arabic for the group) that the group does not like.
Some tell me that as a journalist we should be objective about everything.
I have never believed that. Fairness is the goal, not indifference, not forced equivalence – as if every side in every situation deserves equal deference.
Sure in US politics when the parties are raging at each other we often let you score the fight, but at other times we vet facts and arguments on an individual basis.
There is rarely an even split on the merits in most situations. The job is to expose the points of merit and demerit in each case.
But this is not about journalism, really. It is about decency. And disrespecting those who don’t respect human life. Objectively.
I try not to say the names of mass killers in US for the same reason. It is a way of balancing the responsibility to tell you what is going on with the desire to not glorify the bad guys.
And there are bad guys. Like mass murderers. And that’s what terrorists often are or aspire to be.
So why mention them at all? Why give Daesh and other terror groups the attention? Are we just fanning the flames and making them more popular? Tough questions. I wish it were as easy as ignoring them and they go away.
But it is a balance: telling you what matters – and the movements of those who want to rule the world and kill all who disagree matters, with the unnecessary hyping and legitimacy that often finds its way into selling a story.
We can do better in the balancing. And we will. Daesh is not dominant. Not anywhere. They are being disrupted and destroyed in most areas of ongoing conflict by most credible accounts. But the war is far from over, mostly or reasons that can’t be defeated on the battlefield.
They are not true Muslims, they are Islamists – an ancient perversion of the faith motivated by equal parts violence and ignorance. They are closer to a social disease than anything else – the result of ills like poverty, disaffection and lack of education.
And while they are taking losses on the battlefield, are we addressing the real causes of their existence?
That would require countries that are “allies” changing how they educate (or educating at all), attention to poverty and social structures of oppression.
Those changes will be much tougher victories than any military campaign. Not to mention that war plays into their false narrative of being victims and it encourages violence…as violence begets violence, doesn’t it?
So the move to #Daesh is a step toward proper perspective on a group that may capture headlines with its indifference to human life and the focus of sovereign nations when they hold their people hostage, but that makes them worth of attention, not respect.