When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

01 January 2006

Hirabah and the Splodeydopes

To ring in the New Year, Chap's got a long, but worthwhile, post on the concept of hirabah.

What's hirabah? It means "terrorism," basically--the killing of innocents--and is the word that modern, moderate and peaceful Muslims use to describe the activities of the likes of Al Qaeda, rather than jihad.

Here's Chap's executive summary.
  1. Given that a center of gravity for our enemy is related to their ability to recruit new dopes, it is in the West’s best interest to prevent that recruitment or at least change the environment in which dopes grow. I characterize a little of the environment and mention some possible means of improvement.

  2. Some of the recruitment is a perversion of otherwise noble concepts.

  3. We won’t know how much we affect public opinion until a sudden cascade appears. It is very hard for someone in certain situations to be able to do and say the right thing. We have the ability to influence those situations.

  4. I link to various calls to action: one from the Wall Street Journal, one organization’s categorization of which Muslims are using this word hirabah to refer to who we’re fighting, and a few ideas on information warfare.
A usage note:

"Dopes," above, is shorthand for "splodeydopes." These are the folks who (a) strap on the explosive belts and (b) detonate themselves in public places in order to (c) murder innocent people (d) at the behest of their masters, who as a general rule tend to avoid blowing themselves up.

Thus, "splodeydope."

I believe that as a term of art, "splodeydope" may have originated at LGF. I like this neologism, as it contains the right admixture of contempt while simultaneously providing an alternative to calling them "suicide bombers" (as if the only people they're aiming to kill is themselves.)

(Other alternatives include the somewhat redundant "homicide bomber," the current preferred usage at Fox News, and the unwieldy but descriptive "not-so-smart bomb," which appears to be enjoying a certain vogue in military circles.)

Sorry about the linguistic digression. It's what I do.

Where do splodeydopes come from, and how do we discourage future production of same? Chap has a few ideas.

Now a person doesn’t normally wake up one day and decide it’s time to go die for God by killing off some more of God’s children. There is a socialization process for many of the fighters we see, and a path that people take from being normal person to evil beast.

Some of the primordial soup for the people that join the Bad Team includes such factors as the media environment, the conventional wisdom, the zeal of the recent convert, the rite of passage, and a person’s need to do something greater than oneself.
He goes on to make useful suggestions about how to alter each of these elements.

Chap's got the bones of a really good article in this post, and the density of good ideas is unusually high even for him. Well worth reading and mulling over, even in its early stages; I fervently hope that he develops it further, as the ideas in this one post could foster a year's worth of worthwhile blogging.

Chapomatic » Hirabah

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