When words become their opposite

Or: How Hamas inverted the meaning of winning and losing

laughzilla's cartoon on hamas' latest declaration of "winning" in the latest war against Israel

Once upon a time, words mattered. You learned a word. You knew its definition. That was that. Then came the great devaluation of words, thanks to their escaping the shackles of rules. You can thank the Internet for a good deal of that.

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But more than that, political words lost their meaning a number of decades ago, once the world’s greatest offenders began to call the victims of the world’s greatest crimes, by the names of the criminals who committed such awful acts as eugenics, legalized discrimination and ultimately genocide.

It used to be rather evident who won the war, who lost the war, who was victorious, who was defeated. Now, however, small, even terrorist groups can run havoc on free, democratic countries, and despite getting their backsides handed to them on a silver platter, said terror organization can declare “victory” and some percentage of the media-consuming public simply believes it, because the side they prefer said so.

It is an offense to language to abuse words, and if I had my way, I would take such offenders to the Hague, to be tried at the International Court, for the high crime of misusing and perverting the meaning of certain words. Or at least I’d have the bailiff whack their tushy.

But you know what is even more offensive, at some deeper level, than all the crazy people who take their orders from God to spout their insane hatred? Good people, with good hearts and good intentions, who chastise, curse and censor other people for simply stating their opinion, or posing reasonable questions, because they don’t like their “tone”. And this is, in many ways, worse than what the crazies with guns are doing, for one very simple reason. That reason is quite simply, that the madmen with munitions are generally expected to be nuts and hateful and not pro free speech. However, the supposed liberal members of society, those who shout loudest for the need for a free press, are regularly the same people who then censor, squelch or otherwise shut down any form of speech that does not agree entirely with theirs.

Like it or not, at least the terrorists are honest about their crackpot view of the world. And that’s a lesson in honesty that some extremely sensitive and politically-correct advocates should learn, because frankly, I have more respect for an honest crazy person than I do for a polite liar.

Full disclosure: When not penning thoughts and art with a laugh in the madness of wartime, Yasha Harari has written music and composed songs of peace, love and war, performed for millions of people, built and torn down homes in Jerusalem and invested in music, the internet, media and political organizations in the U.S., Europe and Israel.