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The "Linguistic" Component of the Khashoggi-gate Narrative

By Fareed Marjaee

Ultimately, "language" and "metaphor" are the building blocks of an established political paradigm. In that vein, we can examine the linguistic framework that international news is presented to the public.

The "Regime"-- For some years now, in its official language the American media refers to the governing bodies in Iran, Syria, Russia and Venezuela as "regime". On the other hand, Egypt and Pakistan have (legitimate) "government". Saudi Arabia is a "kingdom". However, after Jamal Khashoggi's death, in the past 3 weeks, Christian Amanpour and a number of media pundits have been using the term "Saudi Regime" in their language. We have to wait to see if the terminology will change back to "kingdom", or not.

"Lebanon Premier, Hariri" - In the past 4 weeks, we notice that the reporting around Saa'd Harirri's recent journey to Saudi Arabia surprisingly has been presented as kidnapping or involuntary stay in Saudi Arabia. This language by former diplomats, pundits in the media certainly has a new tone. Whereas, before, only Iran and Hizbollah in the region had emphasized Harriri's controversial stay in Saudi Arabia as involuntary.

The "Yemen war" -- Up to Khashoggi's disappearance three weeks ago, the language and the narrative of Yemen war and blockade in the news was not highly charged; certainly it was not apprehensive enough to question weapons transfer from UK, Germany and the US to Saudi "Kingdom". In the past 3 weeks the civilian toll and the destruction of Yemen war has taken on a highly charged tone in the news media. For example, on Monday October 21, 2018, The New York Times published a first page story on Yemen war.

Lastly, the CIA official Gina Haspel's trip to Turkey was another interesting news item. In the public sphere, the irony was missed that an intelligence official who had destroyed "evidence" on torture, had gone to Turkey to investigate "evidence" on torture and assassination.

... Payvand News - 11/02/18 ... --

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