In the Harry Potter series author J. K. Rowling introduced us to the ‘boggart‘, a shape-shifting ‘non-being’ that takes on the form of its observer’s worst fear. Because of its shape-shifting ability, no one knows what a Boggart looks as it changes instantly upon encountering someone.
One of the ways to defeat a boggart is to laugh at it and use the ‘Boggart-banishing spell’ Riddikulus. If the caster is able to laugh aloud at the Boggart, it will disappear at once. The intention is to force the Boggart to assume a less-threatening and hopefully comical form.
I submit to you that a similar strategy can be used when talking, writing and thinking about terrorism. No, I am not at all dismissing the seriousness of terrorism or the pain and suffering they cause but sometimes laughter (and satire) are indeed the ‘best medicine’.
With that in mind, I’d like to present my Top Ten Worst Terrorist Group names. I came up with the list by thinking of all the groups I have come across over the years as well as by looking at ‘listed terrorist entities’ concocted by various governments (finally! An actual use for such tools!). Some of the names are, well, how to put this, ‘riddikulus’! Have a look for yourself.
NB this Perspective is accompanied by a Borealis Quick Hits podcast. Have a listen!
Top 10 Worst Terrorist Group Names:
#10 – Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors (Myanmar/Burma)
Led by a guy called, wait for it, ‘Johnny’. Sounds more like a high school basketball team to me!
#9 – Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order (Iraq)
Do these guys have a bit role in Game of Thrones? Or the Masons? Ironic, isn’t it, that a group which wants to re-establish the Ba’athist regime of dead President Saddam Hussein is trying to sow ‘disorder’, not order.
#8 – Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA – Kenya, Uganda)
Not too sure who they are resisting – the Lord himself? – but they relied on a spirit medium named Alice who heard voices and anointed its ‘soldiers’ with oil that apparently repelled bullets. I wonder how that worked out in a firefight?
#7 – Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
Not to be confused with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) or the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Is it just me or does everyone immediately think of Monty Python’s Life of Brian when they hear this group’s name?
Brian: Excuse me. Are you the Judean People’s Front?
Reg: Fuck off! ‘Judean People’s Front’. We’re the People’s Front of Judea! ‘Judean People’s Front’.
#6 – Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei (Greece – anarchist)
Are these guys the QAnons of Greece with their conspiracy theories? Is the conspiracy around the mastery of fire? Did Prometheus NOT discover it? And what’s the link to nuclei?? I didn’t know fire had them!
#3 – Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA)
Someone should have used Grammarly to avoid the repetition! Or was this to differentiate them from the ‘Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Aruba’??
#2 – Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
This nasty bunch goes by the Arabic name Daesh (or الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام) which ISIS REALLY hates as it is slang for ‘bigot’.
You know you have an unfortunate name for a terrorist group when you reportedly threaten to cut out the tongues of anyone it hears using the term! Back to the drawing board guys!
So there you have it. Borealis’ Top Ten worst terrorist group names. Do you have any you want to add? Drop me a line! Note that there is a podcast that accompanies this text – have a listen!