Words are important! So said Nanni Moretti in a cult scene of his memorable film, ratifying the statement with a resounding slap to a journalist guilty of speaking with a mediocre and inappropriate eloquence.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the brilliant filmmaker’s heartfelt cry of pain. These days the perverse abuse of words has become a common practice that doesn’t evoke any suffered reactions. Recently, the Italian prime minister perverted the meaning of words yet again, by replacing the Italian word for “amnesty” with the less indecent sounding Anglicism “voluntary disclosure.”
The order in the speech and word choices can become especially tricky when it comes to Israel, the Israeli government, Israelis, Jews and so on. I was accused of being an “opponent” because I described the Israeli settlements in the West Bank as “colonies” instead of describing them with the neutral term “settlements.” Leaving the pro-Israel extremists aside, but also those who are not extremists — let’s call them the moderates of all persuasions — show an immediate aversion against the crude language of truth, when it is used in regard to Israel.