Most English-speakers have been using the terms ISIL or ISIS when referring to the group that calls itself The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The occasional nutter has been calling them DAESH for a few years now, and I’m going to start doing so as well, for the following reasons.
- They don’t like it. They really, really, don’t like it. They’ll kill your family if you say it, level of don’t like it. Primarily [deleted] those guys and what they like. I’ll say what I please, dashies.*
- It’s the SAME THING as saying ISIS, but it’s a funny way of saying it. Think of how people would react, every time you were referring to daesh, and instead of using the popular acronym, you said “The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” a dozen times in a paragraph. That would be odd, right? But DAESH is an acronym as well, and it’s the same as ISIS. DAESH is an acronym in *Arabic* though, so it’s even closer to the group’s name in the the oh-so-sacred (the language of “god”) language they use. Except it’s not at all. Because in Arabic, nobody uses acronyms. It’s just not done. Think how weird people would think you are if you said the whole name of every word that gets an acronym, then multiply it ten times. That’s how weird it is to use acronyms in Arabic. The simple act of saying daesh is making fun of them because it’s a weird word. THE single most common thing in the Koran is the call for and/or pronouncement of damnation and eternal torment on people for making fun of Mohammed and his newly-promoted formerly-low-grade “god.” The islamists *really* don’t appreciate being poked fun of – so let’s go ahead!
- It’s a new word to suit the new organization. They don’t like new words or concepts that much, hence the jihad to return to the 7th century way of doing things. Bonus points: the neologism sounds like a slightly-demeaning word that doesn’t mean The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria at all. Think, if some super-serious group of serious people came up with a name with an acronym of FOO, and they wanted you to call them FOO and think “kung fu, badass mofos!” but instead people called them food, fools, poo, foot, or similarly not-the-same-idea kinds of words. It sounds like you’re making fun, to call them DAESH, in Arabic. They don’t like that.
- Calling them ISIS or ISIL in English is treating them seriously as a State, and in a small way giving in to their demands for respect. Mock the enemy and make him a subject of ridicule when you speak of him, vs. giving small respect when you speak of him. This is the most important reason of all to say DAESH instead of ISIS.
- If you’re that kind of a reactionary, it’s different to what President Obama says (ISIL) (unless he changes his mind) (this item is a joke, by the way) ( 🙂 )
It’s not a word that doesn’t translate. It’s not a word loosely related to other words in Arabic. It’s an acronym that is inherently strange to the Arabic-speaker, and slightly funny – regardless of ill-informed news reports to the contrary.
and BTW, DAESH is not a perfect translation. Arabic has sounds that English doesn’t. The “e” is added because it’s a sound from the throat, not “dash” as in “run quickly”. But if you pronounce it “dash” like John Kerry does, you’ll be poking that much more fun while referring to them.
*and I’ll make diminutive forms of the word and not even capitalize it. Because F what the terrorists want.