My father, a lover of words and numbers, was the head of the accounting department for Baghdad Railway Station. On the side, he did translation, from Arabic to English and vice versa. His free services included being a bonesetter and representing people who could not afford an attorney in court. People trusted him because he was a just man and he knew how to play with words as if they were marbles.
Words can be used with good or bad intentions. My father used words to help heal and free people. Some people, like government officials and media personalities, play with words to instill fear and oppress people. They will take a word like communism and flavor it with all the necessary negativity to cause an unwarranted fear and create an Us vs. Them attitude. Anyone slightly associated with that word is the “Bad Guy” and anyone against that word is the “Good Guy.”
Let me demonstrate a specific way the government played with words to help its war campaign against Iraq. The communists of Iraq are rarely mentioned because, for the sake of showing what a brutal man Saddam was, these communists were renamed anti-Saddamists. Look at the infamous black and white televised image of Saddam at the podium. He announces that “There are traitors among us (i.e. communists).” Then he calls off a list of names (given to him by US gov.). He wipes tears from his eyes because some of these men, although communists, were his friends. But he was willing to do anything to align with his western allies and gain power.
The US helped the rise of the Baathist Party because they did not want another communist country. From the beginning, they offered a list of 800 Iraqi communists to the Baathist insurgents, and all were killed. Many communists fled Saddam’s regime. The televised image of Saddam calling out the names of these communists (later called anti-Saddamists) was circulated to convince people that the world would be safer and more peaceful without Saddam.
Ironically, removing these 800 communists, then removing Saddam, has not made the world safer or more peaceful. We’ve actually achieved the opposite effect. Yet, when I watched Trumbo the other day, I realized that we’ll be doing more of the same thing and expecting a different result (the definition of insanity). We’ll continue to be tricked into a fear-based atmosphere which will distract us from what’s really going on and rob us of our true freedom.
I write not to point fingers. I write from experience. Having grown up in a totalitarian regime, I can smell oppression thousands of miles away. For that reason, I strongly encourage people to not only watch Trumbo, but to learn from it.