Robert Malley insists upon using the noun "militants" to describe members of Palestinian organizations who attacked a military base inside Israel, killing two soldiers and seizing a third as well as members from the Lebanese Hezbollah who crossed an international border, killed three Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two others ("A New Middle East", Sept. 21).
I would suggest that these persons are not "militants" but "gunmen", "militia men", "armed infiltrators" and maybe even "terrorists".
Otherwise, we are in a quandry, for just how "militant" was this militant? Was he fiercely militant? Meekly militant? Non-violently militant? Was he militant enough to kidnap a CNN or Fox news reporter? To carry an AK-47? To fire a Kassam missile into a civilian center in a border town?
Corruption of the term "militant", once reserved for activists on behalf of social, economic and political campaigns who preferred direct non-violent action is a by-product of misplaced sympathy for causes.
Monday, September 04, 2006
A Letter Sent to NYRB
Reading the opening paragraph of this article caused me to send this letter for publication:-