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How About Them Names?

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   2 comments
Message Mark Sashine
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TJ wrote the Declaration of Independence. BF invented the lightning rod. GW was a commander in the Revolutionary War and the first President of the US. AL was our President during the Civil War and delivered the Gettysburg address. JD was a President of the Confederacy. FDR was a President during the WWII. Together with WC of England and JS of Russia he fought AH of Germany. MA and 18 others performed a terrorist attack on 9/11.

Etc. etc. What if our history in schools is described as the paragraph above? How would we like it? No names, just initials; the whole narrative gains a sense of anonymity, like it never happened in reality. The paragraph above sounds strange, even grotesque. Names matter. They enliven the events, make them what they are. Names are the reference points which we use to make the description coherent, build a connection between the reader and those people described. Here's what we get when we don't use the name:

CIA captured KSM"

CIA is an organization. KSM is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a person. An organization captured a person. That's how it becomes an OK thing. If a person captures an organization (a case when Vincent Bugliosi- VB, tried Helter- Skelter)- that would be a big spin, something really unusual. Otherwise- we are OK with the process, no biggie. Organization in Russian means "organu'. In Russia organu were always right and never had an individual name. That way an individual becomes an object of the organu's affection. The loving hand of the organu seized KSM and delivered him for processing. He confessed. End of the story. Nothing personal. Nothing humane either.

We should not try KSM in the open court because he already confessed in being a mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attack. That's what we hear in the media every day. In the book To Kill A Mockingbird a black man, Tom Robinson stays on trial for allegedly raping a white woman. A very much biased court convicts him but he remains Tom Robinson, a human being, not a TR. Those bigots, they were more human than we are now. They accepted a responsibility of their actions; they looked into the eyes of their victim. We don't. The name of the man we target is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. You can google the name and find out that Khalid is the name of the pre-islamic Arabic general Khalid-Ibn Walid who defeated Byzantines and Sassanides. Sheikh means a man of wisdom and Mohammed is the name of the Prophet. That's how his parents called him. How do you call your children? Would you prefer your child to retain his/her name under any circumstances? If we detain a human being and want to try him we should at least have a decency and courage to look him into the eyes and call him by his name. We extended that courtesy to John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed deserves that much.

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The writer is 67 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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