Perception is everything, and with people in Iran chanting "Death to America" I wanted to point out a small caveat, that has to do with cross cultural translation of words and idioms. While it's easy to take "Death to America" as a violent threat, in truth it means something closer to "down with America" (still a threatening and negative thing to say.) I often see things like this, inaccurate translations, literal meanings of words taken out of the context of the idioms and culture of the person speaking them, and they come accross as much more stark, rather than keeping the nuance they actually have.
I posted a story below that illustrates this type of thing...the "Death to Potatoes" chant by the people in Iran. They don't mean to be threatening death to tubors, nor are they just using a turn of phrase ironically. What they really mean is "down with potatoes."
I think especially in the US, people have a problem understanding nuance and are in fact resistant to discussions about nuances in phrasing that are in opposition to their pet ideologies. This type of nuance is ignored repeatedly in discussions of "Islamists," "Jihadists," "Illegals" etc. The words are messaged into new meanings and then used to describe events which are actually happening under the original meanings.
Sometimes the whole world is like a bad Google translate.
What do you all think of this?
(Here is the article that illustrates my point.)
"As the voting gets extended beyond the planned cut off time in Iran’s Presidential election, it is worth noting the campaign slogan adopted by supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the ‘reformist’ candidate who appears to be seriously challenging the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
“Death to Potatoes” is the chant ringing out at Mousavi’s rallies in the final days of campaigning, a critical reference to tactics employed by Ahmedinejad’s campaign whereby the country’s surplus potato stock has been given away at greatly reduced prices to the rural poor. Critics think it is a blatent attempt to buy votes.
The popular cry at Ahmedinejad rallies is “Death to America”, so the potatoe adaptation is a not so subtle critique of both Ahmedinejad’s policies and rhetoric. By early tomorrow we should have an idea of whether the potatoes worked. Election results will be live on Aljazeera English."