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Arab Semantic Games

Reader comment on item: Palestinian Word Games

Submitted by B. Yoffe (United States), Jan 4, 2005 at 18:36

Some people claim that Arab propaganda adopted the Nazi and Communist brainwashing techniques and cliches. This may be true—but let's recall our own contribution to shameful semantic games.

During the Cold War years every Soviet citizen who was allowed to travel to the free world and preferred to remain there was invariably called a "defector" by the US media. No American who traveled to another country to settle there (and there are plenty of Americans who lived and live abroad) was ever called a "defector."

The word "defector" used in that sense is not a translation of a Soviet Communist propaganda word. The Soviets called such people "nevozvrashchentsy" ("ones who did not return"). The word "defector" was created by American intellectuals, American politicians, and American reporters.

To "defect" means to betray a cause.

Thus we have an almost universal conviction of virtually all American intellectuals, politicians, and journalists that only the Communists had a real cause and that cause was shared by all Soviet citizens. In contradistinction we, Americans, had and have no real cause.

Not everyone shares this conviction. There exist people who think that Americans had and have a real cause. This cause is as strong and vibrant today as it was when this republic was first proclaimed. Many Americans gave up a lot (including their lives) for that cause. Their cause is called "freedom".

Isn't it amazing that we, descendants of our parents and grandparents, forgot their cause just paying a lip service to it? Were our Founding Fathers "defectors"?
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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