"Two authors look at words as a weapon of conflict, after-conflict
By MARJORIE MILLER
Los Angeles Times
"A Wall in Palestine" by Rene Backmann, translated from the French by A. Kaiser; Picador (272 pages, $17 paper)
"Rebel Land: Unraveling the Riddle of History in a Turkish Town" by Christopher de Bellaigue; Penguin Press (270 pages, $25.95)
Language is a weapon of war and of the after-war. It is ammunition for making history and for writing it. This is why governments and their challengers fight over the names of things. This is why it matters whether a stretch of concrete and barbed wire running through Jerusalem and the West Bank is called a fence or a wall, a security barrier or a border. And it is the root of the argument over whether the slaughter of thousands of Armenians at the start of the 20th century was a massacre or genocide."
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