Sunday, January 14, 2007


Insurgency or Insurrection -- Language Misappropriation

An "insurgent" is someone who "rises up against". The archaic word, no longer a part of the language, for what the insurgent does, was "insurge". The modern word is "revolt". An "insurgent" is a "revolutionary". Up until recently, there was a wonderful word that described what propelled and fueled the insurgent's actions: "insurgency". "INSURGENCY: the state of being insurgent or the tendency to revolt". The work of the insurgents is (a perfectly fine word) "insurrection", a fine synonym for revolution or uprising.

Why is it that in today's world there are no revolutions, revolts, or insurrections? Why have we, instead, been told that there are insurgencies? Why is this misappropriation and misuse of the language tolerated? Why was it thought a good idea? By whom? Who thought it necessary? What spinning of ideas necessitated the warping of the language?

I fear it is too late. I fear the language is changed. Insurgency is now, officially, the label of choice for "uprisings". Language usually slowly evolves in wondrous ways. I fear that those who tell us what to think and how to feel all too often play fast and loose with language and change it all too fast, none for the better.

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