Further silberstein shows how construction of

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Unformatted text preview: and to a lesser extent by the American soldiers and their families not belonging to that group of Americans who will benefit from the war most. Lakoff also identifies two more auxiliary metaphors, i.e. WAR IS A GAME and WAR IS MEDICINE, which also distance us from the suffering and death inherent in war. The concept of ‘war’ in the humanities 105 Lakoff’s analysis was further developed by Sandikcioglu (2000), who proposes yet another schema activated by the rhetoric used to justify the First Gulf War. She concentrates on analysing the asymmetrical relation in the representation of self and the other in the media discourse. She believes that the prejudice present in these representations results from the perceived dichotomy between the so-called Orient and the West, stemming from the colonial past, where the Orient is attributed such features as barbarism, weakness, immaturity, emotionality and instability, while the West is constructed as adhering to such values as civilization, power, maturity, rationality and stability. Let’s have a look at just two selected oppositions and their consequences. For example, the immaturity – maturity contrast facilitates the metaphor THE ORIENTAL IS A STUDENT and THE WESTERNER 18 IS A TEACHER. Thus the war may be seen in the terms of the necessary schooling of the Iraqis. Similarly, juxtaposing the oriental emotionality with the Western rationality renders negotiation impossible. Another study dealing with the linguistic construction of reality designed to canvass for the support of war is Silberstein (2002). She investigates the media representations of 9/11. First, she shows how three speeches delivered by President Bush on the day changed the framing of the event from a tragic crash of two airplanes into attacks on ‘our way of life’. The focus of the speeches transforms from declarations about assisting the victims and ‘hunting’ the people responsible for the tragedy to a ‘war on terror’. Further, Silberstein shows how construction of national identity, or as she calls it ‘nation-building’ through ‘convergence by divergence’ is an important condition for securing national support for a military action. Convergence by divergence, a term coined by Smith – Smith (1994), refers to persuasion techniques, which build unity through a contrast with the external enemy. As in a war on terror the enemy is rather elusive, it was necessary to construct one narratively. Thus the Taliban of Afghanistan were identified and simplistically categorised as Al Qaeda. Following Linde (1993), Silberstein claims that the construal of identities, both personal and national, involves story telling or a construc- 18 This metaphor is related to the idea of the educating obligation of the colonizers towards the natives, most forcefully expressed by Kipling’s reference to the ‘white man’s burden’. 106 Chapter III tion of socially displayed and reconstructed narratives.19 The eyewitness accounts were a step in the...
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