The Libya situation is far from resolved, with Gaddafi unwilling to step down and rebels entrenched in cities in Eastern Libya. Every newspaper and evening newscast shows this, nothing new seems to happen in this impasse. I tune it out.
Except for an intriguing word usage, not by some Western journalist, Pentagon or NATO official or even by a politician. In the March 21, 2011 issue of TIME Magazine, the article titled The War Between The Libyas ends with the following paragraph:
Wanis Kilani, an engineer, reflects on the word mujahedin. “We are mujahedin in Libya only,” he says. “We don’t have any interest outside Libya.” Then he pauses. “Actually, don’t use the word mujahedin. Use revolutionaries.”
Wikipedia offers a succinct and quite complete definition and usage of the term mujahideen. Given the bigotry-filled image of Muslims in the Western World, a wise correction of the word usage is recommended by an educated Libyan looking in, reaching into our imageworld full of twisted visuals about Islam, the Quran, Islamic militants, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the jumbled misunderstanding of these elements.
Please join me in using revolutionaries to refer to the courageous Libyans who are standing for their own freedom and against oppression. Let’s honor them by using the right word.