Terrorism Is More Dangerous Than Your Furniture

Europe’s effectiveness in combatting terrorism has been diagnosed many times as being very low. There is increasing solid evidence about the devastating nature of global Islamist terrorism and its thousands of victims each month, from Nigeria to Southeast Asia and also, increasingly, in Europe. A recent survey by the French daily Le Monde revealed that in Europe alone, there have been 2,239 victims of terrorist attacks since 2001. Increasingly, global terrorism is not only a political problem; it also has become a global public health problem, despite certain tendencies among Western social scientists to portray global terrorism as a relatively rare phenomenon.

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After the Deal: Resistance in Iran

“What appears to be a new Iran”: the ABC News host takes us inside Iran with these words, while the ABC News reporter in Iran is ready to match him with the following: “We needed a permit, but once we got it, the city opens up to all kinds of surprises.”[1] Meanwhile, the reporter spills the end of her report reassuring us that changes are on their way but not overnight, and a new Iran is embracing pop music, iPhones, Steven Jobs, and most importantly, nose jobs so that Iranians can look more Western. This overtly Orientalist narrative presents Iran as a new and young country, in contrast to an ancient, old, mystic, and mysterious Iran that has captured and mesmerized the Western unconscious for centuries. The reporter finishes her report by conditioning these changes on the nuclear deal that will facilitate all these sweeping shifts and alterations.

Not everybody shares this Orientalist narrative, but the promising economic market in the near future of Iran is what focuses many analysts’ ample attention. Richard Javad Heidarian, a specialist in geopolitical and political affairs, unveils another aspect of this ubiquitous hope: “And similar to the case of China, an Iran–West rapprochement holds the promise of unlocking one of the world’s most promising markets, with broad implications for the global economy.” Regardless of all these cost-benefit driven analyses, the deal generated two opposing queues of political observations, rotating around a simple “yes” or” no” response to the deal. John Bell, the director of the Middle East program at the Toledo International Peace Centre in Madrid, provides us with a snapshot of all the debates over the deal: “The debate over the Iran nuclear agreement has been vibrant and will continue all the way up to the American Congressional vote. Progressives have lined up with the deal, as has most of the world. However, there are many voices in the U.S., Israel, and the region lined up against it.”

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Language and Revolution in Egypt

Reem Bassiouney’s “Language and Revolution in Egypt” appears in Telos 163 (Summer 2013). Read the full version online at the Telos Online website, or purchase a print copy of the issue in our store.

Based on the assumption that language is a social resource, this article contends that during political conflicts, issues of linguistic resources and access to them are disputed. Issues of inclusion and exclusion are predominant. Note that Egypt is a diglossic community, a community in which two language varieties exist each with a different function. Examples are drawn from Egyptian media directly before, during, and after the revolution of January 25, 2011. Two newspaper articles are analyzed in detail, as well as additional material from TV talk shows, films, Facebook pages, and poetry. The first section in this article outlines how linguists in the Arab world at large, and in Egypt in particular, have referred to the diglossic situation to explain and justify negative social and political phenomena, especially the lack of democracy. Section two discusses examples of linguistic manipulation that took place during the revolution and in which the Egyptian state media attempted to cast doubt on the identity and motivations of the protestors in Tahrir Square. The conflict was not one sided, and the Tahrir Square protestors counterattacked the state media through poetry and other means. The main contribution of this section is to show how the diglossic situation is used after the revolution to lay claims on political legitimacy and credibility of the revolutionaries rather than the pro-Mubarak group. In a final section, the concept of linguistic unrest is introduced and defined.

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