Tuesday, July 31, 2007


There are several choices. This is one of them

السلام عليك يا مذل المؤمنين

The word (peacenik) was invented with the suffix \"-nik\" in order to associate the idea of seeking peace with Soviet sympathizers (\"soft on communism,\" as they used to call them in the Cold War). In other words, the word was invented to mockingly malign pacifists or peace activists. All traditional words describing peace activists had postitive connotations, so a new word was needed with negative, subtly anti-American, anti-democratic connotations. Although the Cold War and the Soviet Union are gone, the word has proven useful in many contexts where one seeks to malign or mock peace activism as naive or misguided. Peace activists themselves, by and large, do not mind the word, although they are aware of the mocking intentions behind it.

ArabInk: I strongly disagree that "peacenik" has such negative connotations. It depends very much upon whom you ask and how the term is used. It is very much an artifact of the cold war era, the -nik suffix coming from Yiddish/Russian. See also "beatnik".

As to connotations, the term may very well be construed as an insult in meetings of Rumsfeld's inner circle, but in a meeting of Quakers - or soccer moms, for that matter - it would be a point of pride. I suspect "beatnik" is the parent of "peacenik"; the original intention probably being to associate the negative mainstream stereotype of the beatnik/hippie with anti-war activists of the 60s. But of course, once the term got loose there was no way to prevent the intended victims of its sarcasm from turning it on its head and making it a positive.

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