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New contributions to the English language.

YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT you will learn when you attend an academic seminar, sometimes you will pick up something entirely unexpected, as happened to me when I attended a meeting on Islamic banking in London, a few months ago.

I noticed that many of the participants were using the word 'Gaza' loosely as a synonym for disaster, brutality, calamity and the like. I overheard one woman saying to her friends that the economic conditions in Britain are really "in a Gaza situation". Another told his partner, "I think that Mr. Cameron wants to do a Gaza with the banks". His companion replied, "Oh, no. I think that the banks have thrown him into a pretty messy Gaza already."

The English people take the liberty of doing anything they please with their language. They have borrowed many of the misnomers from Obama as a synonym for indecision, frequently drawing on Shakespeare in recent weeks to describe him as being 'another Hamlet'. They create new words from any notable event. You hear a student referring to his final exam as his 'Waterloo' and a Mayfair hooker describing a night with a Middle East client as a 'Stalingrad'. 'Gaza' is now among the newer additions to the English language, signifying all that is savage, bloody, inhuman and irresponsible. And it is to Israel we must give the credit for this new contribution to English. Alas, we Arabs do not like innovations to our 'lingo', the language of the Holy Koran. I remember the eminent academic Professor Mustafa Jawad objecting to the use of 'the ship arrived to the shore of safety', saying that this was a foreign borrowing. Arabs don't generally travel on board ships but on camels.

Away from all that, I think the use of 'Gaza' as a euphemism for any inhuman and wanton act of brutality is quite reasonable and effective. Instead of calling Saddam Hussein's attack on Halabja the Halabja massacre, we could call it the Halabja Gaza. The American administration of Iraq may be likewise described as the American Gaza in Iraq.

Many other derivative words, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, may be coined from the root word 'Gaza'. Instead of reporting that the Syrian government brutally gassed their own people, it could be simply said that they Gaza-ised or Gaza-tised them. A Saudi national hit by the collapse of oil prices might express his losses by beating his chest and moaning: "By Allah, what a Gaza I find myself in!"

To be soothed: "Oh no, Ahmad, don't Gazatise yourself so readily. This is only a small Gaza which will soon pass with the help of Allah."

Religious incantations may likewise be enriched by the use of the new term. If you are going to a wedding, you should congratulate the couple by wishing them well: "May the Almighty bless you and protect your marriage from any unpleasant Gaza."

Years will pass and perhaps, in time, students of linguistics will be told by their professors: "Gazatisis is used in this poem to signify extreme brutality; the word 'Gaza' being derived from the name of a place, known as Gaza, where a series of terrible massacres were wreaked, hundreds of years ago, on innocent people by a barbarian tribe who repeatedly attacked their neighbours."
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Title Annotation:Mosaic/FILM
Author:Kishtainy, Khalid
Publication:The Middle East
Date:Nov 1, 2013
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