The semantics of war

I have already confessed to my penchant for military jargon here but recent events in Israel/Palestine have got me thinking on the topic again.

Stepping up to the plate on the Israeli side we currently have Operation Pillar of Defense. Another strong, masculine sounding name chosen by the IDF to follow up other corkers such as Operation Cast Lead (2008/9), Just Reward (2006) or the now slightly dated Grapes of Wrath (1996).

So what do all these names have in common? It dawned on me that they:
1. have some sense of the victim and its right to use force (eg defense, just, shield (2002));
2. have connotations of  righteousness (Determined Path (2002), Iron Law (2011)); and,
3. many use language that denotes the power of the IDF to change reality (Hot Winter (2008), Wrath of God (1972-79)).

Now, who’s stepping up for Hamas and the other baddies? Hmmm. At the moment, there’s ‘rockets exploded in residential areas’, or previously we’ve had ‘cross border raids’ and ‘suicide bombs’. While Hamas and Hezbollah may have operation names for their attacks on Israel (eg Operation Truthful Promise (2006)), most of the language we hear gives the impression of disorganisation, randomness and the inability to do anything right.

Seems now more than ever, Palestinians are in need of some amazing PR. Scrap the violence and begin with some good branding. Perhaps something for the Gruen Transfer to consider in its next season?

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