The Artist’s Jihad

Jihad. Now there’s a word that sends shivers down the spine and heats the blood. It’s a word that – here in the West – invokes vengeance, bloodshed and terror.

Linguistically, it best translates to ‘struggle’.

Jihad is also a first name. Pity the man called Jihad who happened to be boarding an American plane just as news of 9/11 broke.

A word with many meanings.
A word with many meanings.

Jihad can be used in many contexts. Through his artwork, the great 16th century painter Hieronymus Bosch waged a jihad (translate here as ‘holy war’) against the corruptions of the Catholic Church.   In my novel ‘The Infidel’s Garden’, Soheila wages a jihad against corrupt Christian and Muslim clergy. As well as a jihad with her own heart.

So jihad refers to both inner and outer struggles – a war against both the lower self and the injustices of a world warped by lies and corruptions.

Unfortunately this word affiliated with noble aspirations has been hijacked and now comes loaded with as much ideological shrapnel as a cluster bomb. And, thanks to agenda-driven journalism and echo-chambers like Facebook that have reinforced our own often distorted perspectives, 2016 has waged a jihad with truth.

So as we farewell the star and truth-swallowing black hole that was 2016, I’d like to suggest a jihad on jihad.  Because the only way to correct misrepresentation of this word is to assimilate it into our everyday language.

So let’s make 2017 the year of the inner and outer jihad. In other words, a jihad against ignorance.

Here’s more on this massively misunderstood word:

To encourage correct usage of this word and for more on personal jihads, my historical novel: ‘The ‘Infidel’s Garden’ is currently .99 cents at Amazon and free across all other platforms  until the end of January.

Happy New Year!