‘ISIS, Tomorrow’ has a question for us today

A still from ‘ISIS, Tomorrow, The Lost Souls of Mosul.’ (Image supplied)
Updated 12 September 2018
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‘ISIS, Tomorrow’ has a question for us today

  • The film narrates the stark reality of a Mosul recaptured by Iraqi forces where descendants of rebel fighters continue to deal with post-war trauma

VENICE: In less than 80 minutes, “ISIS, Tomorrow, The Lost Souls of Mosul” tells us how more than 500,000 children were trained by the militant group to become terrorists of the future.
Directed by Francesca Mannocchi and Alessio Romenzi, and screened at the Venice Film Festival last week, the documentary is an insight into the heart-breaking stories of innocent children trained to become suicide bombers.
The film takes us to a time in January 2018 — six months after Mosul was freed from the clutches of Daesh (referred to in the film as ISIS) — where we see a ravaged city, with houses reduced to makeshift tents. Captivating cinematography takes us through buildings that have been flattened from the intense bombing.
Through it all the directors weave a sense of gloom and hopelessness, before panning the camera onto a 16-year-old boy who narrates his experience of being recruited by Daesh and coaxed into joining the bloody movement. The teenager describes how several others were taught to kill their neighbors — to further the ideology of Daesh — complacent in the belief that there is no greater honor than supposed martyrdom.
The film narrates the stark reality of a Mosul recaptured by Iraqi forces where descendants of rebel fighters continue to deal with post-war trauma.
While history has borne witness to how defeated forces bury their weapons and hide their arsenals, in Daesh’s case, the militants left behind a powerful and dedicated army of children indoctrinated with the values of the extremist network.
In the end, we feel not anger but compassion for these minors, manipulated by Daesh during the three years that Mosul was held captive. And as the world wonders whether Daesh has been truly defeated or not, the film forces us to ask a more pressing question: How do we stop children from turning into the terrorists of tomorrow?


Score! Scrabble dictionary adds ‘OK,’ ‘ew’ to official play

Updated 24 September 2018
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Score! Scrabble dictionary adds ‘OK,’ ‘ew’ to official play

  • Among more than 300 additions are yowza, OK and ew
  • There’s another special new entry because it involves use of a q without a u: qapik

NEW YORK: Scrabble players, time to rethink your game because 300 new words are coming your way, including some long-awaited gems: OK and ew, to name a few.
Merriam-Webster released the sixth edition of “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary” on Monday, four years after the last freshening up. The company, at the behest of Scrabble owner Hasbro Inc., left out one possibility under consideration for a hot minute — RBI — after consulting competitive players who thought it potentially too contentious. There was a remote case to be made since RBI has morphed into an actual word, pronounced rib-ee.
But that’s OK because, “OK.”
“OK is something Scrabble players have been waiting for, for a long time,” said lexicographer Peter Sokolowski, editor at large at Merriam-Webster. “Basically two- and three-letter words are the lifeblood of the game.”
There’s more good news in qapik, adding to an arsenal of 20 playable words beginning with q that don’t need a u. Not that Scrabblers care all that much about definitions, qapik is a unit of currency in Azerbaijan.
“Every time there’s a word with q and no u, it’s a big deal,” Sokolowski said. “Most of these are obscure.”
There are some sweet scorers now eligible for play, including bizjet, and some magical vowel dumps, such as arancini, those Italian balls of cooked rice. Bizjet, meaning — yes — a small plane used for business, would be worth a whopping 120 points on an opening play, but only if it’s made into a plural with an s. That’s due to the 50-point bonus for using all seven tiles and the double word bonus space usually played at the start.
The Springfield, Massachusetts-based dictionary company sought counsel from the North American Scrabble Players Association when updating the book, Sokolowski said, “to make sure that they agree these words are desirable.”
Sokolowski has a favorite among the new words but not, primarily, because of Scrabble scores. “It’s macaron,” he said, referring to the delicate French sandwich cookie featuring different flavors and fillings.
“I just like what it means,” he said.
Merriam-Webster put out the first official Scrabble dictionary in 1976. Before that, the game’s rules called for any desk dictionary to be consulted. Since an official dictionary was created, it has been updated every four to eight years, Sokolowski said.
There are other new entries Sokolowski likes, from a wordsmith’s view.
“I think ew is interesting because it expresses something new about what we’re seeing in language, which is to say that we are now incorporating more of what you might call transcribed speech. Sounds like ew or mm-hmm, or other things like coulda or kinda. Traditionally, they were not in the dictionary but because so much of our communication is texting and social media that is written language, we are finding more transcribed speech and getting a new group of spellings for the dictionary,” he said.
Like ew, there’s another interjection now in play, yowza, along with a word some might have thought was already allowed: zen.
There’s often chatter around Scrabble boards over which foreign words have been accepted into English to the degree they’re playable. Say hello to schneid, another of the new kids, this one with German roots. It’s a sports term for a losing streak. Other foreigners added because they predominantly no longer require linguistic white gloves, such as italics or quotation marks: bibimbap, cotija and sriracha.
Scrabble was first trademarked as such in 1948, after it was thought up under a different name in 1933 by Alfred Mosher Butts, an out-of-work architect in Poughkeepsie, New York. Interest in the game picked up in the early 1950s, according to legend, when the president of Macy’s happened upon it while on vacation.
Now, the official dictionary holds more than 100,000 words. Other newcomers Sokolowski shared are aquafaba, beatdown, zomboid, twerk, sheeple, wayback, bokeh, botnet, emoji, facepalm, frowny, hivemind, puggle and nubber.