Adam Borowski

The dangers of using obscure language

As Israelis, you’ve probably come across newspaper articles and even people who use – deliberately or without really thinking about it – obscure language. So, instead of an Israeli getting killed by Hamas, you’re going to get, ”an Israeli died” without mentioning all the details, who’s responsible, what happened and so on.

I recently read an article by a British news agency about a courageous Brit who had died helping Ukraine. In the article, a word ‘battlefield’ was used. Now, why the quasi-quotation marks? Is this to imply that the battlefield isn’t real and exists only in Ukrainian imaginations? It also wasn’t specified who had killed the courageous man of principle.

You see, some might roll their eyes at the above, wave their hand or say, ”Who cares?” Well, these seemingly subtle language manipulations then influence how we think about the world. How victims are supposed to just roll over and die because they annoying the great, proud, Russia and its polezny durak (useful idiot) helpers. Or just psychopaths and cynics who are in it for the money. No, sorrry, we’re not going to roll over and die, we won’t roll over and be your slaves. We’re going to fight you and die fighting if need be. We won’t make it easy for you, no matter how much it offends you. It’s not because we’re heroes, it’s because we might not have a choice.

Now, please read the following headline:

A British man dies on the front line fighting Russians.

Sounds much better, doesn’t it? The message is clear who is who. No obscure language.

I read a while back that The Holy Father, ”thought about that poor girl, Darya Dugina.” Holy Father, I know you’re not going to read it but miracles do happen sometimes: were you also thinking about the victims of Dugina’s incitement to genocide? Adults, babies, Azov fighters cynically burned alive in Russian captivity? Oh, I can already hear Russians scream and threaten: they were Nazis, Nazis! Azov has controversial history, that’s a fact, sure. But it doesn’t give you a damn right to burn people alive, particularly POWs. Oh, Ukrainians did it? Of course. It’s always someone else’s fault. Exactly how pathological narcissists behave.

And then just block anyone who disagrees, be it in life or online, if you can’t torture them or kill them, that is. This, dear reader, is how a brainwashed mind works. Zombified mind. You can predict what that mind is going to do like a psychic and if you get blocked – that’s a badge of honor. Maybe you’ve hit a nerve, though it’s unlikely (zombified minds lack introspection, as I’ve pointed out earlier).

I don’t know what Trump’s likely victory is going to bring. Sure, he seems to like Poland but he’s a businessman and I see two scenarios: either he’s going to let Putin roll into Poland in exchange for business as usual with Russia or he’s going to tell Putin – accept my deal or I’m gonna bomb Moscow and make Russia my bitch. Trump is unpredictable like that.

Yuri Felshtinsky, a well-known Russian-American historian I deeply respect, says that Trump is a Russian asset. He also claims that Russian assets/puppets can’t say anything bad about their handlers and that’s how we know Trump is a Russian asset/spy/puppet. I don’t know. This isn’t proof to me. Logically, you’d want your puppet to pretend to be mad at you to deflect attention, but that might not be Russian logic (if there is any). Maybe Trump is their asset, maybe he isn’t. By their deeds you shall know them.

At any rate, as I know many of you share my sentiment, this really is like living in a perplexing parallel universe where people die, yet many say it’s fake. That’s exactly what happened to me at the beginning of the full-scale invasion in Ukraine. I was in Warsaw at the time and sent a message about the invasion to a high-ranking former government official in Kenya. A former diplomat. You know what he told me? ”I’ve got to check with my sources.” He didn’t even believe Russia could actually do this. He also implied that Wagnerites are the good guys. That’s the attitude of the Global South in a nutshell. I don’t believe they are even that naive to think Russia is so great. They just want to see Europeans suffer for past sins.

This is the world we live in. When you, Israelis, struggle with getting your narrative out there, I know exactly how you feel. Being denied not only your opinion, your statehood but even your right to exist, is the stuff of horrors. Especially when that denial comes from seemingly respectable and intelligent individuals and international organizations (looking at you, UN, generally speaking, though I know you couldn’t care less, but at least I got it off my chest).

About the Author
Adam Borowski is a technical Polish-English translator with a background in international relations and a keen interest in understanding how regime propaganda brainwashes people so effectively. He's working on a novel the plot of which is set across multiple realities. In the novel, he explores the themes of God, identity, regimes, parallel universes, genocide and brainwashing. His Kyiv Post articles covering a wide range of issues can be found at
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