Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Mekhabel

“Thirty-five years ago, Israel invented an untranslatable word to describe any Palestinian the military wanted to kill or arrest: Mekhabel (in the plural, Mekhablim). Its untranslatability was crucial: the point was to foreclose any universalisation. The closest English equivalent would be ‘saboteur’ (‘he who comes to disrupt’). But Mekhabel isn’t a euphemism; it was a new name that could be given to any Palestinian- and later to any Lebanese, or any Arab guerilla, or terrorist, or school, or hospital (it can be used for buildings as well as people). Tens of thousands have been arrested, tortured, expelled or killed for being Mekhablim.”
Yitzhak Laor Silent Partner London Review of Books 8 May 2003 page 24

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