Saturday, September 4, 2010

Anxiety Watch

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,, 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.

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