Monday, April 15, 2024 -
Print Edition

George, welcome back

George Orwell resurfaces in the Newspeak of Hamas and its defenders.

George Orwell became famous for his chilling descriptions of totalitarianism. Among the most chilling was his observation that language becomes one of totalitarianism’s most effective promoters. Orwell shocked readers by pointing out radical inversions of meaning. For example, when extreme poverty and lack of freedom became “the workers’ paradise.”

Orwell’s target was Soviet communism in the 1930s and 1940s. Fast forward to the the 2020s and Israel’s war with Hamas. We have become well familiar with the defense of mass murder, rape, burning people alive and other inhuman atrocities as “resistance.”But here is a new one:

In describing negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza, a reporter for National Public Radio radically inverted the meaning of law, of justice, of innocent until proven guilty, of convictions for crimes of violence. All of these terms apply to those Palestinian terrorists who tried to, or did, murder unarmed Israelis, were caught, tried, convicted and imprisoned. Yet, to the NPR reporter, these people are not prisoners, terrorists or convicts. In noting one potential clause of a ceasefire agreement, the NPR reporter referred to the exchange of Israeli hostages (kidnapped on Oct. 7) for Palestinian . . . “captives.”

In NPR speak, a captured terrorist is a “captive.” An innocent person taken hostage by a terrorist is equivalent to a criminal convicted and imprisoned. The innocent = the guilty.

Breathtaking is this 21st-century inversion of language. Orwell saw it in Stalin’s Russia and warned against its import into democracy. Even so, we doubt he could have imagined a murderer convicted in a democratic judicial system being called a “captive”by a reporter in a democratic society.

A national radio source of news indulges the language of totalitarianism. George, welcome back.

Copyright © 2024 by the Intermountain Jewish News




Leave a Reply