01 May 2006

See how simple it really is?

AP is going through excruciating period of re-definition of some vitally important terms. Look at this article, for instance. While the headline says "Police: Suspected Rebels Kill 22 Hindus", the first sentence in the article uses another term:

Suspected Islamic militants raided a village and killed 22 Hindus after lining them up outside their homes in India's portion of the disputed territory of Kashmir, police said Monday.

So what it will be: "suspected militants" or "suspected rebels"? We'd like to help AP using our local vocabulary. Usually any terrorist killed by IDF is designated as "citizen" by some media outlets. No matter whether it is an innocent bystander, a Molotov cocktail thrower or an armed to his teeth Jihad Islami martyr-to-be.

The problem is that the term "citizen" is reserved solely for the Israeli-Palestine conflict, and we are prevented from recommending it. Let's look at the material provided by the dictionaries.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary offers the following assistance for "militant":

1 : engaged in warfare or combat : FIGHTING
2 : aggressively active (as in a cause) : COMBATIVE <militant conservationists> <a militant attitude>

Both of the above definitions are hardly helpful. After all they carry a suggestion of possible violence, and the good folks of AP would like to avoid this, wouldn't they? But wait, there seems to be a way out:

synonym see AGGRESSIVE

Obviously "aggressive" by itself is not a good replacement for "militant". There still is some lingering taste of violence that may be interpreted wrongly in some quarters. So we went to the definition of "aggressive" and found a gold mine! There are two useful synonyms:


We think that now all AP problems are resolved. All it should take is a short inter-office memo, and the brave new world is here. No more militants, rebels, terrorists (god forbid!) - only assertive and/or enterprising good people.

As if this is not enough, there is a third and even a fourth option: it is offered by my faithful WordWeb dictionary on this here laptop, thus I cannot link to it. It fished out another two excellent replacements to "militant":


See, dear AP friends: the world is yours just for asking. Be well and prosper.

P.S. Re the 22 dead Hindu fellows: "kill 22 Hindus" should read "allegedly kill 22 Hindus". One cannot be too careful these days. After all, the said fellows may have died suddenly and simultaneously of bird flu, who knows?

Cross-posted on Yourish.com