Saturday, February 9, 2008

Language - a tool to transform different into dangerous

Alastair Crooke interviewed by Christian Porth, Daily Star, February 2, 2008

"“If thought corrupts language,” the English author George Orwell wrote in his famous 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language,” “language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation, even among people who should and do know better.” Alastair Crooke, a fellow Briton, would agree. A former British intelligence officer and co-founder of Conflicts Forum - a Beirut think tank and international movement which engages with Islamist movements broadly - Crooke spends much of his time advocating that the West move toward serious intellectual engagement with Islamists, unfortunately more often than not to no avail.

For Crooke, the origins of the current dialogue (or lack thereof) between the West and Islamists are fundamentally a function of two things: language and power.

If you want to look at why we use language like this, you would have to look very much at the philosophical origins,” he told The Daily Star. “You have to look clearly at how in the West we now see power.”....."

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