Democracy Campaigners

The phrase “Freedom Fighters” has long been a euphemism.  If you ever hear it used in earnest, it’s a clue that you’re hearing something from the archives of yesteryear.

Democracy Campaigners” is on the same path.  Journalists may still use it, but we know that it means no more than a faction we would like to support against some government we don’t like.  Sometimes it gets used in support of groups that are at least arguably actively anti-democratic.  Can’t be long before it becomes such an obvious euphemism they have to drop it.  Which is a shame, because just occasionally it may still mean what it says.  Burma, for instance, where supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi have legitimate democratic credentials.

And now Egypt, where supporters of deposed president Morsi appear to have similarly valid credentials, and are being slaughtered at a rate that makes the early stages of the Syrian civil war look like a gentle restraining hand.  Except, noone is calling them any such thing: they’re just “supporters of …” (as if their man didn’t have a mandate).  Or worse, just “islamists“, as on the news a few minutes ago.

History is being written, and the writers are apparently intent on relegating Morsi to a footnote.  I guess Egyptians will have to go on voting until they Get It Right.  Or revert to emergency rule, made necessary by all those terrorists who suddenly appeared – and who will be a reason they won’t be better-off even under a hypothetical government that is both benign and competent.

Though to their credit, our media seem to be coming down (albeit hesitantly) in favour of calling a coup a coup.  There’s a word that looks – for now at least – to be surviving the advance of newspeak.

Posted on July 8, 2013, in newspeak. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. There’s actually quite a good piece in last week's (I think) Economist that addresses this question. Democracy, it argues, is more than just elections. Most importantly, it’s about how you handle dissent, particularly in the form of the courts and the press.

    It’s a wee bit woolly and subjective, but I think it makes a good point.

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