As'ad AbuKhalil, aka The Angry Arab, has as good an ear for weasel words as any in the business. He wrote yesterday in his blog about the appearance of a (relatively?) new one, anxiety:
"Bigotry is bigotry but it seems The New York Times now reserves a special word, anxiety, for anti-Islam bigotry. Can you imagine the paper labelling anti-Semitism as 'anxiety'? And notice how this bigotry is justified: 'Nearly 9 years after the Sept. 11 attacks ignited a wave of anxiety about Muslims, many in the country's biggest and arguably most cosmopolitan city still have an uneasy relationship with Islam. One-fifth of New Yorkers acknowledged animosity toward Muslims. Thirty-three per cent said that compared with other American citizens, Muslims were more sympathetic to terrorists. And nearly 60% said people they know had negative feelings toward Muslims because of 9/11'."
Interesting. Come to think of it, have you noticed how often the word pops up whenever our political masters begin talking about asylum seekers and Muslims? Some examples:
"There is, I suspect, an anxiety that the great prize of Australian citizenship is insufficiently appreciated and given away too lightly." (Tony Abbott, Immigration lost in translation, tonyabbott.com.au, 29/1/10)
"The former Mufti of Australia Sheikh Hilaly's highly publicised attacks on women and Jews have struck many people as un-Australian and prompted much anxiety about importing social problems." (ibid)
"We've seen a lot of refugees in this country and done it so well but people do feel a sense of anxiety when they see boats on the horizon." (Julia Gillard, Gillard in the hot seat on tax, refugees & the man she deposed, Gretel Killeen, The Age, 14/8/10)
I'll add further examples to this post as I find them. Feel free to send in your own examples as comments.