Saturday, January 15, 2011

Headlines and Why Words Matter

A headline in the NYT on Saturday 15 January reads:  
Belarus Accuses Poland, Germany of Takeover Plot 
Having just finished reading Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands, I am immediately reminded of Stalin's same accusations, the results of which were the famines of Ukraine (where multi-millions of people died), the murders of hundred of thousands of people who were Poles, Belarussians, Ukrainians, and Jews.  Stalin said what he wanted to say, regardless of truth and reality. People were too afraid and/or brainwashed  to contradict him.
Currently reading The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson and on page 153 in the paperback edition, one of the characters is talking about anti-Semitism and where that leads: "Soon it would be full-blown Fascism, Nazism, Stalinism.  There was nowhere for them to go.  They were indestructible, non-biodegradable.  They waited in the great rubbish tip that was the human heart."  On page 156, another character continues "The trigger isn't the violence in Gaza.  The trigger, in so far as they need a trigger-and many don't-is the violent, partial, inflammatory reporting of it. The trigger is the inciting word."

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