[ by Charles Cameron — third in a series nibbling at the edges of the importance of precision in language ]
Charles Lister, presently a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center and previously with Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center, is a respected analyst specializing in the Middle East. Two days ago, he tweeted:
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) October 7, 2014
In the first post in this series, Language as tripwire: the Khorasan Group and the active and passive voices, I said “place-names matter”. I have also discussed the matter of names and how they can shift in geostrategic meaning on this blog before, eg in my post, Damascus, Dearborn, Rome, Vienna?
Ayn al-Arab is the Arabic name for Kobani, Kobani is the Kurdish name for the same city.
Language matters, place-names matter..
And for what it’s worth, I am sure that I make silly mistakes o this kind, too — it goes with the conceptual territory being so much larger and more nuanced than any map an individual can carry in his or her head.