About four years ago, some liberal over at Think ProgressÂ came up with the term “Voldemort Effect.” Â Using the main plot of the Harry Potter series, this lefty thought he was being cute and invented an idiom that really meant nothing, but was supposed to be a sort of echo chamber euphemism for what happens when conservatives get an idea in their heads that some liberal sacred cow or politician is less than what the left presents and proceeds to tear their constructs apart.
Fast forward a few years and we in the United States have an Occupant of the Oval Office who will not use pointed and direct language to describe the current scourge of the Middle East. Â Many frustrated words have been said, written and otherwise disseminated on this topic. Â On Fox News this morning, the term “Voldemort Effect” was used far more correctly to pin this particular tail on the Democrat in the White House. Â Obama cannot say the words “Islamic terrorism”.*
Infuriating as this may be, the answer to why this is the case may have popped up on CNN. Â According to an interview withÂ Global Affairs Analyst Kimberly Dozier by CNN’s Lynda Kinkade, there has been an attempt by the Arabic community to control the rhetoric:
“DAESH or daesh is an acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in Arabic, but it sounds a lot like the word that means to crush something underfoot or to sow discord, so the group itself doesn’t like it. Â That’s why many of the Arab and Muslim nations have refered to them as DAESH and have asked the US and other western nations to do the same. Â They’ve also asked President Obama and other leaders not to use the term Islamic militant or Islamic terrorist because they don’t want to play into ISIS’s hands, which is trying to portray this as Islam verses the west. Â They’re trying to discredit the phrase Islamic State Group and that is one of the reasons that the president has decided NOT to use the term Islamic State Group and that has gotten him a lot of criticism from Republicans across this nation who say you’ve got to call it what it is in order to build a campaign to fight it.”
There was further commentary on various leaders and officials being frustrated with the terminology, but the bottom line is that it sounds like the “good, moderate” muslims do not want their slow and sneaky takeover modus operendiÂ that they have practiced for hundreds of years disrupted by the people who are REALLY giving them a bad name: the Islamic State thugs, who are raping, pillaging, burning and otherwise taking over as much territory as possible since no one on the world stage at the moment has the cajonesÂ combined with will and fire power to stop them.
The problem with not calling Islamic terrorism what it is, is not so much the inability to build a coalition to fight them, or identifying the problem to be dealt with, but the deliberate disappearance of evil. Â In Christianity, we are fond of observing that one of Satan’s best moves is to disappear in such a way that the people will eventually forget that he exists. Â By not naming the problem specifically, Obama and other world leaders who are accommodating those in power in the Middle East, are contributing to the suppression of the reality of evil in the name of religion. Â (Well, other than the Crusades, of course, which were defensive wars meant to free sacred and holy sites and cities from muslim occupation, but that’s a completely different post.)
Calling the group we know as ISIS by its Arabic acronym DAESH is starting to take hold among our leaders since their video and words will be played and repeated over and over world wide. Â If it infuriates the terrorists, fine. Â But in the west, to those who speak languages more of Latin, Germanic, Scandinavian, and Cyrillic origins, it means nothing. Â They are still Islamic, and that fact needs to be part of their daily identification in the west. Â Otherwise, it is the true Voldemort Effect for muggles: refusing to be specific in calling a spade a spade so as to diminish discomfort and helping the reality of evil disappear.
*For those who have not indulged in the Harry Potter series, the evil leader’s name is Lord Voldemort. Â Throughout the books, the people refer to him as “He who shall not be named.” Â Didn’t realize through the first six books that it was foreshadowing.