Why Words Matter - Why Terror Must be Named

Paula R. Stern,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Paula R. Stern
Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier"s Mother. The blog continues as Elie moved on to Reserve Duty, her second son, Shmuel served in Kfir and continues as her youngest son David now serves in Givati. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish. Links to the Author's blogs: * A Soldier"s MotherPaulaSays Israel Blogger...

As I was closing down my computer last night, my mind on all that I had to do today, first reports came in of another attack in London. This morning, it seems that there were three attacks...or perhaps two...still not clear to me.

There were two "stabbing attacks" at restaurants and there was a ramming attack on London Bridge. First reports said 10 people were killed; this morning I am reading 6 people killed and 3 terrorists were shot dead.

I am very critical of the way CNN reports the "news". This time, as is only fair, I have to admit they got it right. The headlines screams "Terror Attacks Strike Heart of London" - exactly so.

And even more accurately than perhaps ever before, CNN identifies not only the attack as terror, but the assailants as terrorists.

As right as CNN was this time, finally, we still aren't there yet.

BBC offers its latest fail in the war against terror by carefully covering these three "incidents without once mentioning terror - at least not on the critical front page.

Does it really matter? Doesn't everyone know that this is terror? The answer is that yes, it does matter; and no, not every one accepts it as terror - certainly not Islamic terror. For example, the mayor of London, a Muslim himself.

BBC writes of an attack, of knives, of fake suicide vests but fails to use that "T" word.

Why is the use of the word "terror", and perhaps more importantly the word "terrorists" important? At the end of the day, does it really matter what it is called? Isn't the main point the victims, how many died, what they suffered, rather than the reason for those deaths, the motive behind it all?

So, I believe the answer is that words matter. As a writer, I have come to learn the power of words; come to accept the responsibility that comes with using words carefully. Long ago, Israelis came to terms with the fact that we have an enemy seeking to destroy the very foundations of the society we have built. We are an insult to Islam - our very presence here in this land.

Ultimately, though, more telling than how the news reported the latest atrocity in London is a tweet made by the Mayor of London and quickly deleted. While Sadiq Khan did condemn the attack as a terrorist one, his indignant anti-Trump was very telling. Rather than thanking the US President for condemning the London attack and focusing on the people of the city that elected him to office, the mayor chooses to defend Islam.

Does Islam deserve to be defended? The answer will be found in the coming hours. If Muslims across the board condemn this attack and the words of the terrorists, "This is for Allah," by saying that Allah would not condone suicide attacks...then there is what to defend. If they state clearly (in English and in Arabic) that those who die in such attacks are terrorists and barbarians, not martyrs and heroes...then there is what to defend.

When the mayor of London stops worrying about "alienating mainstream Muslims and focuses more on defending his constituents, then and only then can we believe he is right and is serving London above Islam.

As for London proving Trump wrong, what we all know is that London is proving Trump right. Extremists are taking over, enabled by men such as Sadiq Khan, who lack the courage to even identify the true enemy, let alone fight it.

It is important to identify terror as terror and terrorists as terrorists because they thrive on our cowardice, on our need to deny that these are not random attacks, disgruntled people sending a message to their workplace. There was nothing random about the Manchester attack, the London Bridge attack, the kosher deli attack in Paris, the Sarona Tel Aviv attack and the others. Each was carefully planned by an enemy of our civilization...nothing less.

The first step in defeating these extremists is acknowledging them and that which drives them. Sadly, the media takes an active role in denying us that first step. We have to demand that they stop.

Nothing random. Not an incident. Unprovoked. Anti-west, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, anti-infidel. Terror attacks perpetrated by ruthless terrorists who are as likely to stab an infant in Israel as blow themselves up in Manchester.

Despite the media, the UK is taking that first step in acknowledging what is coming at them. Baby steps perhaps, but as we all know, the first steps we take are always small.

Terror. Terrorism. Terrorist. 

As I was closing down my computer last night, my mind on all that I had to do today, first reports came in of another attack in London. This morning, it seems that there were three attacks...or perhaps two...still not clear to me.

There were two "stabbing attacks" at restaurants and there was a ramming attack on London Bridge. First reports said 10 people were killed; this morning I am reading 6 people killed and 3 terrorists were shot dead.

I am very critical of the way CNN reports the "news". This time, as is only fair, I have to admit they got it right. The headlines screams "Terror Attacks Strike Heart of London" - exactly so.

And even more accurately than perhaps ever before, CNN identifies not only the attack as terror, but the assailants as terrorists.

As right as CNN was this time, finally, we still aren't there yet.

BBC offers its latest fail in the war against terror by carefully covering these three "incidents without once mentioning terror - at least not on the critical front page.

Does it really matter? Doesn't everyone know that this is terror? The answer is that yes, it does matter; and no, not every one accepts it as terror - certainly not Islamic terror. For example, the mayor of London, a Muslim himself.

BBC writes of an attack, of knives, of fake suicide vests but fails to use that "T" word.

Why is the use of the word "terror", and perhaps more importantly the word "terrorists" important? At the end of the day, does it really matter what it is called? Isn't the main point the victims, how many died, what they suffered, rather than the reason for those deaths, the motive behind it all?

So, I believe the answer is that words matter. As a writer, I have come to learn the power of words; come to accept the responsibility that comes with using words carefully. Long ago, Israelis came to terms with the fact that we have an enemy seeking to destroy the very foundations of the society we have built. We are an insult to Islam - our very presence here in this land.

Ultimately, though, more telling than how the news reported the latest atrocity in London is a tweet made by the Mayor of London and quickly deleted. While Sadiq Khan did condemn the attack as a terrorist one, his indignant anti-Trump was very telling. Rather than thanking the US President for condemning the London attack and focusing on the people of the city that elected him to office, the mayor chooses to defend Islam.

Does Islam deserve to be defended? The answer will be found in the coming hours. If Muslims across the board condemn this attack and the words of the terrorists, "This is for Allah," by saying that Allah would not condone suicide attacks...then there is what to defend. If they state clearly (in English and in Arabic) that those who die in such attacks are terrorists and barbarians, not martyrs and heroes...then there is what to defend.

When the mayor of London stops worrying about "alienating mainstream Muslims and focuses more on defending his constituents, then and only then can we believe he is right and is serving London above Islam.

As for London proving Trump wrong, what we all know is that London is proving Trump right. Extremists are taking over, enabled by men such as Sadiq Khan, who lack the courage to even identify the true enemy, let alone fight it.

It is important to identify terror as terror and terrorists as terrorists because they thrive on our cowardice, on our need to deny that these are not random attacks, disgruntled people sending a message to their workplace. There was nothing random about the Manchester attack, the London Bridge attack, the kosher deli attack in Paris, the Sarona Tel Aviv attack and the others. Each was carefully planned by an enemy of our civilization...nothing less.

The first step in defeating these extremists is acknowledging them and that which drives them. Sadly, the media takes an active role in denying us that first step. We have to demand that they stop.

Nothing random. Not an incident. Unprovoked. Anti-west, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, anti-infidel. Terror attacks perpetrated by ruthless terrorists who are as likely to stab an infant in Israel as blow themselves up in Manchester.

Despite the media, the UK is taking that first step in acknowledging what is coming at them. Baby steps perhaps, but as we all know, the first steps we take are always small.

Terror. Terrorism. Terrorist.