What's in a Name

Geist - - Findings - MOEZ SURANI

From Γϱϝϡω Operación Op­er­a­tion Opéra­tion 作业 2ɩɟɪɚɰɢɹ. Pub­lished by Book­thug in 2016. Moez Surani is a poet and artist. He is the au­thor of three po­etry col­lec­tions. He lives in Toronto.

Dur­ing World War Two, Winston Churchill wrote a memo with di­rec­tives for how to name Bri­tish mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions:

1. Op­er­a­tions in which large num­bers of men may lose their lives ought not to be de­scribed by code words which im­ply a boast­ful or over­con­fi­dent sen­ti­ment… or, con­versely, which are cal­cu­lated to in­vest the plan with an air of de­spon­dency…

11. They ought not to be names of a friv­o­lous char­ac­ter… They should not be or­di­nary words of­ten used in other con­nec­tions… Names of liv­ing peo­ple—min­is­ters and Com­man­ders—should be avoided. … Af­ter all, the world is wide, and in­tel­li­gent thought will read­ily sup­ply an un­lim­ited num­ber of well-sound­ing names which do not sug­gest the char­ac­ter of the op­er­a­tion or dis­par­age it in any way and do not en­able some widow or mother to say that her son was killed in an op­er­a­tion called “Bun­ny­hug” or “Bal­ly­hoo.”

111. Proper names are good in this field. The he­roes of an­tiq­uity, fig­ures from Greek and Ro­man mythol­ogy, the con­stel­la­tions and stars, fa­mous race­horses, names of Bri­tish and Amer­i­can war he­roes, could be used, pro­vided they fall within the rules above.

These rules are still ob­serv­able to­day. Most of the names, even those Amer­i­can ones that were gen­er­ated au­to­mat­i­cally but al­tered and ap­proved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have dig­nity, an inspirational loft, a sense of wor­thi­ness and tend to­ward the heroic.

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