|Synonyms of our main theme, "HARASS"
include all those outbursts of vengeance or other evil dispositions that
are practiced in times, or under circumstances, when liberties are absent
and where the oppressed and the weak are systematically subjected to abuse.
The following references to harassment
below, give a detailed picture of the subject matter:
A) Our first example is from an
excerpt on "The Jerusalem Center for Women" web site describing
the horrendous harassment of the original Arab natives of Jerusalem
by Israeli settlers.
“The settlers waste no opportunity to harass
us,” Maha explains. “Often, they intercept our children and beat them,
shout at them, and treat them in a savage way. The children, being
helpless as they are, just could not do any thing to confront their attacks.”
tells us that as a result of numerous experiences with settler harassment,
many families have forbidden their children from playing in the housh (compound)
courtyards. Maha continues, “Once, when my two-year old little
girl was playing in the courtyard, I heard her screaming. I rushed out
and found her crying and extremely scared, and my neighbor was also crying.
to protect my child, she was hit with an iron
door that the settlers had thrown into the courtyard, as they had done
several times before, insisting that it stay in our courtyard, but we removed
it away every time.”
In the December 22, 2006 issue of the British
newspaper, "The Independent" it is reported that Fadiyah Gamal
a 27-year-old Palestinian mother, with a weary watery smile, is quoted
as saying on the eve of Christmas "What would happen if the Virgin Mary
came to Bethlehem today? She would endure the same harassment
which I have endured," she says.
B) The second example is sadly
from Egypt. It is a graphic video clip posted by Egyptian Blogger
Abbas. The clip exposes the brutality of an Egyptian plainclothes policeman
savagely hitting a helpless detainee in his prison cell. Adding insult
to injury, is the sadistic atttitude exhibited by this torturer.
His callous enjoyment of inflicting hurt
and humiliation on none other but an Egyptian fellow compatriot is utterly
Click on the photo if
you wish to watch this shameful video, but be
warned: it is too graphic
and upsetting for some. I personally failed
to watch it all through.
Both examples sufficiently explain to the
reader, the many shades of meanings of the word "Harass". The humiliations,
beatings, the slaps in the face, derision, are all forms of harassment,
because they injure the integrity and dignity of everybody, children as
well as adults.
TYRANNY AND BULLYING IN OUR SOCIETY
ARE BORN IN THE NURSERY.
Alice Miller, a world renown
authority in psychology, has written numerous groundbreaking studies
of the origins of violence in our modern society. As she takes the
argument still further, she points out how harmful and cruel are the principles
ruling traditional upbringing in many modern societies. She further declares
that tyranny and totalitarianism are born in the nursery.
Having studied some of the worst dictators known to the modern world -
Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Ceaucescu - she says all four were systematically
beaten throughout their childhood, and all were deprived of the essential
mother-child bonding so necessary for good mental health and well being
of the child.
According to UNICEF, in Egypt, 17
percent of the population live in poverty and millions have trouble
meeting basic food needs. This means children are often seen as economic
tools rather than right holders who deserve care and proper schooling.
To survive in this urban jungle, kids better be tough. They are routinely
victims of physical abuse and constant harassment; they are made to drop
out of school and beg or work long hours on streets and under bridges at
an age when children should be learning and playing.
With a staggering estimate of 3 million
homeless children in Egypt, a third of them literally are roaming the
streets of Cairo alone. Their impact most certainly will be acutely
felt on our society in the years to come. If you are bewildered now by
the recent harassment events taking place in our beloved country,
just you wait until these deprived children come to age in future decades.
One needs not to be a rocket scientist to foresee how our society will
be called upon, in the near future, to pay a hefty price for its present
and gross neglect of its children.
Meanwhile, back to the subject of harassment,
the central etymological topic of this series. The Israeli settlers
who are willifully hurting Palestinians and the sadistic Egyptian plainclothes
policeman hitting a helpless detainee, introduce us to two new facets of
the harassment theme in this episode. These involve the notions
of hit and
which are all synonymous to
harass, and therefore are logically
the subject of this etymological investigation.
ETYMOLOGY OF "HIT"
According to the Oxford English Dictionary
(OED), hit is from the Old English: hyttan "come upon,
meet with," which in turn is derived from Old Norse; hitta "to
light upon, meet with," from a hypothetical Proto-Germanic
source *khitjanan. It is believed that the meaning shifted in the
late Old English period to "strike," via "to reach with
a blow or missile," and replaced Old English "slean" in this
sense. The first occurence in English literature was recorded in
ETYMOLOGY OF "HURT"
According to the Oxford English Dictionary
(OED), hurt c.1200, is from Old French hurter
"to ram, strike, collide," perhaps from Frankish *hurt (cf.
High German hurten "run at, collide," Old Norse; hrut-r "ram").
Sense of "injury",
according to Western etymolgists, is purely
an English development, while the sense of "knock" died out 17c.
The result of this investigation indicates
that the correspondences, between the English and Arabic terms exhibited
in the above JPEGs, are amazingly very similar (compare English _hit_and
addition, English _hurt_and
The Arabic examples are from the Gahiliyah period (before 7th century
AD) i.e. half a millennium earlier than any of the English terms.
These correspondences, therefore, cannot be fortuitous nor attributed to
independent development, that is unless one subscribes to the existence
of a parallel universe.
To be continued
P.S. In response to some private
e-mails I have received, speculating about Arabic language being the mother
tongue language, I would like to emphasize the following important
remark, both posted below, in Arabic and in English, concerning this subject.
|In conclusion, I
am am not suggesting that the Classical Arabic language is the so-called
tongue” language. A theory I do not subscribe to, nor believe
in its existence, period. Rather, the Classical Arabic language is
unquestionably one of the major linguistic traditions in the world, and
it is shown that it was an important catalyst or link in effecting profound
changes in the development of the other languages documented within the
realm of written history.
Contrary to the general
belief that civilizations and their languages developed in a unilateral
fashion, history teaches us by these examples above, that past civilizations
emerged separately. At times, through interaction, these civilizations
converged, effectively leading to an amalgamation forming a new hybrid
civilization, and then eventually diverged again. This process, which
is continued in a perpetual sequence of convergence and divergence, is
reflected in languages. Ishinan