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Wed Jun 19, 2019, 03:07 PM

Appropriate ways of describing what is happening at the border

Appropriate ways of describing what is happening at the border
Washington Post opinion, June 19, 2019, by Alexandra Petri

What should make us most upset, right now, is those disrespectful enough to suggest that what is happening is in any way similar to the tragedies of the past. This is not to be compared to concentration camps or the atrocities of the Holocaust, except to say that this is not anything like that. If we were to compare the two, we might discover similarities.

It is important to be precise with the language used to describe such places and such things.

For example, the things the children were kept in were Not Cages. The administration was very strong on that point. Whatever the thing was that the children separated from their parents were kept in, it was not a cage, so we can sleep at night, and our consciences are clear. It was not so bad. Keep to the words!

The words will help you see when you are going really wrong. A man is not providing water and succor for people walking thirstily through the desert; he is doing a crime, human smuggling. It is good that we have these words to make it clear that providing shelter and comfort to people in need is a crime, whereas letting them perish is well, is not unthinkable. It is nothing like the never-to-be-repeated past. It is merely something that is occurring in the present, when we are busy.


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Reply Appropriate ways of describing what is happening at the border (Original post)
teach1st Jun 19 OP
stillcool Jun 19 #1
teach1st Jun 19 #2
procon Jun 19 #3
dixiegrrrrl Jun 19 #4

Response to teach1st (Original post)

Wed Jun 19, 2019, 03:24 PM

1. If only there were a word...

Definition of concentration camp
: a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees, or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard


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Response to stillcool (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 19, 2019, 03:51 PM

2. The concluding paragraphs from this piece

We would know if this were the time to do something. We would know because if someone were to compare it to the Holocaust, everyone would agree, at once, that this was correct. We would rise, as one, to stop it. That is why language matters so much. That is why we must be so clear about what is not happening at the border. What is not happening is anything unthinkable or unrepeatable. We must be very careful with the words!

If we do not use the right words for this, we might think that something terrible was happening.

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Response to teach1st (Original post)

Wed Jun 19, 2019, 04:09 PM

3. A rose is still a rose by any other name.

The term "concentration camp" isn't trademarked. No one gets ownshep rights because authoritarian regimes are still using concentration camps to collect and punish segments of their population for being different and not conforming to the state's concept of permissible people.

No, concentration camps are not limited to just the Nazi version at one end of the scale of human atrocities. They are everywhere, all busily bringing state ordered cruelties and suffering to poor captive people who cannot save themselves.

We have the notorious Russian gulags, and the Chinese model with the pleasant sounding name, re-education camps, who wouldn't want to visit those camps. Does that term make is easier to swallow?

What about our own shameful past when we ventured into our own version of concentration camps with the Japanese Internment Camps?

Split hairs, invent new names, it does not disguise the fact that Trump has given us tent cities and kiddie cages as the latest American entry into the concentration camp international design challenge.

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Response to teach1st (Original post)

Wed Jun 19, 2019, 04:45 PM

4. this is worth keeping, so to speak.


When the books are written, this is going to be an important opinion piece.

Here's another word:
genocide.

United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

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