"Bad names have played a tremendously powerful role in the history of the world and in our own individual development. They have ruined reputations, stirred men and women to outstanding accomplishments, sent others to prison cells, and made men mad enough to enter battle and slaughter their fellowmen. They have been and are applied to other people, groups, gangs, tribes, colleges, political parties, neighborhoods, states, sections of the country, nations, and races."Name calling is bad. Given that, what do we make of the U.S. State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)? The government came up with a number of terrorist qualifiers in 1997 - detailed reasons groups might make this frightening list of FTOs. In summary, if a group is foreign and hijacks, assassinates, harbors, or otherwise engages in "any activity which is unlawful under the laws of the place where it is committed (or which, if committed in the United States, would be unlawful under the laws of the United States or any State)" then it is an FTO. This list of 42 organizations (current number) is designed to "play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and is an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business." Not surprisingly, the democratically elected Palestinian government, Hamas, is on the list. So is the Palestine Liberation Front, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. No Israeli organization is on the list. But, then, injuring seven Palestinian school girls in an air attack in the Southern Gaza Strip doesn't specifically make the list of qualifiers. Israeli military troops did that yesterday. They were trying to hit a suspected Palestinian fighter who was on a bicycle. Trying to take him out with explosives from the air. Here's what that looks like, in case you're wondering: I don't know about you...but this would terrify me if I lived in Gaza. My children would not be going to school. In fact, we would not be leaving our underground bunker for any reason. And I might be calling Israelis terrorists. "The name caller is feeling weak right now," is the advice my parenting book gives me for talking to my kids about making a response to being called a name. Another "useful self-thought" say the experts, is this: Whatever people say about you really says nothing about you, but it says a lot about them. So, what about that FTO list? Peace.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
My oldest son tells a story about me that I'm sure can't be true. He says when he was four-years-old, he was dragged into the house by his little elbow and taken to the sink to have his mouth washed out with soap. He had called his best friend a name, he tells anyone who will listen... It was Slowpoke. Oh, surely I was not that maniacal over our number one non-negotiable rule, which was: No name calling. Then again - perhaps I was. Nothing good ever happens when we start calling people, or groups of people, names. Ever. Have you heard of the Institute for Propaganda Analysis? It was formed in 1937 by a team of social scientists, educators and journalists who were concerned that increased amounts of propaganda were decreasing the public’s ability to develop its own critical thoughts. The organization went belly up in 1942. Analyzing war propaganda in the throes of war (WWII) was not profitable. But, take a look at what the IPA published in 1938 on the subject of name calling:
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