We Turned The Bad Guys Into Barbarians?

In ancient Greek society the Greek people referred to individuals who didn’t speak their native tongue barbarians ,more specifically those of another non-Greek speaking region , simply because it sounded to them as if they were just saying just “bar -bar-bar” , according to our academic teachings . Today the meaning of the term “barbarian” has conceptualized to have an entirely different meaning and have a different connotation. In today’ media we are likely to stumble across the term “barbarian” as a conduit for expressing an inhumane or uncivilized act/person. When we hear or read the word barbarian we associate it with a negative connotation and the media is no help to these inaccurate discrepancies.
Let me put it in perspective , in the article ” ISIS Barbarians ‘Jim a martyr for freedom’ Parents proud amid anguish & rage at slay”
(New York Post , Golding , 2014) it informs us about a young journalist , James Wright Foley, who was beheaded by a middle eastern terrorist group , ISIS. Now , this group is seen as a group full of hate and cruelness because they use religion as a scapegoat to murder and torture humans for not joining forces with them, having the same religion, etc.. ISIS beheaded the young man , then posted the heading on YouTube. Many were appalled and disgusted in this behavior which resulted in deeming them the names “barbarians” in the article.For instance , “”He met the most horrific end, and it haunts me how much pain he must have been in and how cruel this method of execution is,” .The word barbarian which is simply use to describe someone who doesn’t speak Greek was converted by modern society to describe ruthlessness or someone that is cruel.
Likewise, in the article ” The Barbarians!” ( The Northlines, 2017), the text informs us of a mob from Kashmir, India who lynched a police official , Sh. Mohd Ayub Pandith. We also learn of a stream of violence towards police officers in India by the citizens who feel as if the system is against them. Once again , we inappropriately mix up savagery with the term “barbaric/barbarian”. As , expressed by the text , “A deputy superintendent of the police, Sh. Mohd Ayub Pandith was lynched by an irate mob near ” and “two policemen were killed by terrorists in Srinagar’s Hyderpora area. A police check post in Anantnag town was attacked by terrorists and one assistant sub-inspector and a police constable were killed on June 3. 11 policemen have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir in the past month.” Again , we see terrorist and “irate” acts and label them as barbarian acts even though it has nothing to do with the original translation. In fact , in the original Greek literature Herodotus it says, “For Asia , with all the various tribes of barbarians that inhabit it , is regarded by the Persians as their own; but Europe and the Greek race they look on as distinct and separate.”. In other words, anyone besides the Greeks or those with similar dialects were barbarians, like the Asians according to Herodotus.
In my final analysis , we can conclude the two articles ” ISIS Barbarians ‘Jim a martyr for freedom’ Parents proud amid anguish & rage at slay” and ” The Barbarians!” both identify the word “barbarian” with inhumanity which illuminate a negative appeal , which is far from the mother definition that mean’t those who don’t speak Greek. In modern day society we have morphed the definition into something it originally wasn’t, and the original Greek literature Herodotus proves it.

Sincerely , Samantha , Team Minerva

MLA Citations:

-“ISIS Barbarians ‘Jim a martyr for freedom’ Parents proud amid anguish & rage at slay.” New York Post [New York, NY], 21 Aug. 2014, p. 004. New York State Newspaperslogin.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=SPN.SP01&sw=w&u=nysl_me_brookcol&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA379415941&it=r&asid=7857ee2eb8a496c5d0c3dc6ea0321191. Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.

-“The Barbarians!” Northlines [Kashmir, India], 24 June 2017. Infotrac Newsstandlogin.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=STND&sw=w&u=nysl_me_brookcol&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA497067714&it=r&asid=c43f749cfef003b6b3e2520c3e760c10. Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.


One thought on “We Turned The Bad Guys Into Barbarians?

  1. I always thought it was strange that we used it the way we do once I found out the original meaning!! It’s probably because members of “The Great Empires” continues to refer to others as barbarians, and maybe it became associated with demonization when foreign countries those empires colonized rebelled? We’ll probably never know though


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