Revanchism: An Ideology That’s Swept the World.

The word of the month is “Revanchist”.

[ruh-van-chist, -vahn-shist]

1) An advocate or supporter of a political policy of revenge, (“revanche” is French for that), especially in order to seek vengeance for a previous military defeat. (Noun)

2.) Of or relating to a political policy of revenge. (Adjective)

I rediscovered the word just about a month ago, and realized what a wonderful, useful one it is. This is an ideology that is sweeping the entire world, and no commentator has been able to properly describe it. Oh sure, they know what it is, and reams of pages have been spent on discussing the horrors that are going on at the moment, from Mexico to Afghanistan to the South Pacific, but they never seem to get it quite succinctly. That’s because they forgot about this terrific world I just rediscovered and couldn’t find one to fit the bill.

Let’s look at a modest example of he phenomenon: The Scottish Nationalist party, I use them because they seem to be rather nonviolent. However, they’re a bunch of haters just the same. They want REVENGE on all things English, especially since they just lost the referendum on independence a year or so ago, and have been seething ever since.

They’ve had a chip on their shoulder for decades. They still haven’t gotten over the fact that Bonnie Prince Charlie lost the battle of Colloden in 1745, or that they’re not getting their unfair share of the UK’s budget. They seethe over what English King Edward (I) Longshanks did to William (Braveheart) Wallace in the 13th century. The fact that seven of the last 22 prime ministers were Scots, including the current one’s two predecessors, doesn’t mean that much, as it would ruin that glorious crescendo of bile that revanchist ideology requires. You can’t demand revenge if things are actually pretty good, well you can, but I digress.

When the SNP lost the referendum, there were howls of anger. The SNP screamed bloody murder! The vote was STOLEN!!!!! (It wasn’t, and they knew it) They must have REVENGE!!!! So when there was an election recently, the SNP swept the boards in Scotland, and the 52 (up from six or something), started stealing spots on the benches reserved for the Labour party, and opened a spigot of extremely whiney tweets that have yet to stop flowing.

That is revanchism.

The entire culture of Gaza and the West Bank is revanchist. Everything, the government does, from preschool to tourism to garbage collection, revolve around hatred of Israel and that quest for REVENGE!!!! The bees don’t produce enough honey? Israel. Your car breaks down? Israel. The PA government is a bunch of thieves? Israel. A shark bit your third cousin, while holidaymaking in the Red Sea? Israel. A comet slams into the innocent Planet Jupiter? Israel.

Your girlfriend ditched you at the Nabka day dance?…

You see how a single word can make life so much easier everyone? One clear word can replace hundreds of unclear ones. An honest discussion can take far less time or bandwidth and everyone can go away understanding everyone else. Clarity will rule.

The Scottish Nationalist Party is revanchist. The Palestinian Authority is revanchist. The Shiite militias are revanchists, as is ISIL. The government of Iran is especially revanchist. The reasons are a bit muddy, but the sentiment isn’t. Revanchism is everywhere and is getting stronger.

Learn the word, Use the word.

About the Author
Eric Lurio is a freelance writer and artist. He's been a movie critic for the past fifteen years and has been writing about travel and politics since the 1970s. Among his books are "The Cartoon Guide to the US Constitution and "A Fractured History fo the Discovery of America."
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