Sunday, October 25, 2009

Growth of the English Language

image is Line of Fire &(c)2009 V. Coskrey

American English is constantly growing in the number of words in everyday usage. Today while watching Book tv on C-SPAN2 I heard David Finkel use a word in a sentence that broadened the definition of the word. He said it so matter-of-factly that I could tell that this definition must now be in common use since the original show was David Finkel's talk on the Good Soldiers given 9/16/09.
He said, "...where the Shiite had pretty well cleansed the Sunni..."

Have the dictionaries been updated as yet? If not, I offer these suggested definitions to be included in next year's editions:

to cleanse
-to destroy an identifiable subset of the human race.
-the destruction of a population or culture by a competing population or culture.

Of course we all know this word from watch spy and special agent and rogue assassin movies:
-one who destroys all evidence and witnesses of an incident

I once said the Holocaust was not a unique incident in history. Ethnic Cleansing practices of today are the equivalent of the Holocaust. There are incidences throughout history, too, even America's. I'll bet we could make a list of dozens of such incidences if we begin with the dawn of man and continue until today. Any takers?

I suppose we must be very careful not to make familiarity with a human practice and frequency of a human practice equate with acceptance of a human practice. Considering the horror of the Holocaust as a unique event forced us to partition its effects as something we hoped would never happen again and to punish the perpetrators. Now we must face the fact that such horrors continue, albeit under a different name--a name that insulates us from the continuing horror and thereby makes us more complacent.

Maybe the United Nations should create stiffer penalties against such hate crimes. Certainly America should.

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