[conspire] NYLXS Press Release on the OLPC Project

Ruben Safir ruben at mrbrklyn.com
Thu May 1 14:01:53 PDT 2008

On Thu, May 01, 2008 at 01:40:09PM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Ruben Safir (ruben at mrbrklyn.com):
> > A lot of time and effort has gone into researching 'Jihad', and it is
> > not a translation for the word struggle and it ALWAYS has a meaning as
> > Rick eluded to, related to a moralistic endevor.
> Other than "_not_ a translation for the word struggle" (in which you 
> are simply mistaken), the above doesn't contradict what I said -- so I
> tentatively conclude you didn't read attentively enough.  The English
> word "war", to repeat one of the prior examples, has always had a
> bloody-minded sense -- in that case, the term's overwhelming usage --
> but that has never prevented people from warring on injustice, poverty,
> disease, lack of mirth, etc.
> If you can understand the multiple layers, metaphors, and connotations
> of darned near every word in English, you'll soon get around to
> understanding the key point:  that the same applies to every other human
> language on Earth.

Actually, English is a very preciese language compared to most others, but this
word is especially rift with duality of meaning, as is much of the Arabic language.

This words originates in Quaronic text and was essentially invented by Mohamed
outside of then current litergy of language which is why it has no hebrew equivilent.

> > You struggle with your plumbing.  Nobody would Jihad with it.
> I already mentioned that "jihad al-lisan" is perfectly unexceptional
> idiom in the everyday Arabic language.  You evidently are choosing to
> disbelieve my saying so.  That's too bad.  I will not belabour the point
> further.

> > Pretend that the term is devoid of inherent religous meaning....
> Even the English word "goodbye" is soaked with inherent religious
> meaning, for reasons I explained earlier.  And "mister" and "sir" are
> soaked with inherent feudal meaning.  And so on.  Perhaps you want
> language to be simpler than it is, but experience suggests that language
> will not cooperate.

Not withstanding the origins of words in religious context, and feudal meanings,
the word GoodBye is not presently religous.  The word Jihad is.  So I'm not certain
of the point your making here.  The context of Jihad has essentially gone unchanged
due to a number of factors, not the least of which is that the Classical Islamic
text and writing is still the only one which taught regardless of the broad dialecs
which are used throughout the Islamic/Arab world.

It straightjackets speech in "educated" "Arabic" speaking circles.  The duality
of the word is intentionally taught and promoted.

I'd be happy to invite you to the next lecture on this topic if you wish and
you can ask these questions to the liguist, tranlators and native speakers
yourself if you chose to.


> By the way, were you aware that you're flamebaiting?  I'm betting you're
> not even aware of doing so.  I don't rise to it, but, as you'll have
> noticed from Ed Cherlin's attempt to tangle with you, not everyone is
> quite so wary in that department.  (It's entirely possible that you're
> unaware of having done that.  _That_, then, is the first of the two
> problems you should address.)
> I would appreciate it if you would not do flamebaiting.  The firebrand
> act where you act out the classic rhetorical "poisoning the well" policy
> doesn't merely _get_ tiresome; it starts out that way and never
> improves.
> Also, quoting _entire_ Wikipedia and similar articles without need, when
> you know perfectly well how to use URLs, is a really bad habit.  (I
> note, however, that pretty much all of the ones you textbombed the
> mailing list with agree with what I said.)
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You must be a stupid engineer then, because politcs and technology have been attached at the hip since the 1st dynasty in Ancient Egypt.  I guess you missed that one."

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