Sunday, October 26, 2014

Acronym of the Day: HoGeSa

A word worth knowing:  HoGeSa (pronounced HO-gay-sah).  German for: 

    “Hooligans gegen Salafisten”

(hooligans against salafists).   And you say:  Wha- ? - ?

(1) Historical semantics

The word hooligan (possibly related to the Irish surname Hoolihan) was first attested in England in the late 19th century, referring initially to Irish rowdies.   It carried no ideological connotation.
The word then took a very strange detour into Russian, as Хулига́н.  For the Soviets, it functioned as a sort of defanged continuation of the ever-useful term Lumpenproletariat, which dates back to Marx.  Again, for the Soviets, it denoted no clear political current, but was still -- class-analysis being paramount in Marxism -- more or less eingestuft into a class-struggle worldview:  Lumpen and hooligans being the dregs who, logically, should fight alongside the proletariat, but who instead engage in pointless criminality.  (The very phenomenon rather jarred with the neatness of Marxist analysis, which overestimates the purely economic.)

Later, in England, from the ‘70s on, it took on a particular coloring, being associated especially with soccer rowdies, who got quite a reputation on the Continent for acting up, and were banned from some countries.  For some reason, this phenomenon was much more characteristic of England than of any of the other soccer-mad nations of the world;  to elucidate that fact might prove quite revealing.

And now, in our own day, the word pops up  borrowed once again into a foreign language, this time German, and still with a particular association with soccer (or, in European terms, football).  Colloquial abbreviation:  die Hools.

Now:  What is quite interesting  is that this German term, Hooligans, is a self-designation, not an exogenous pejorative epithet.
But: Why would any group do that?
Well, this is not the place to delve into the psychology thereof, but it’s a plucky thing to do, and many groups have done it.  Thus, Quakers, Tories, etc. etc. : the defiant adoption by an outgroup of the ingroup’s trashtalk.   The most recent (and rather close) analogy is the word behind the “N” in NWA (which, as a non-N, I am not allowed to write out).

Lesen Sie die Geschichte  spesenfrei !
(2) Morphology

For concision, I called HoGeSa an ‘acronym’, since that is a familiar word.  It is composed, though, not of initial letters, but of initial syllables.

Again, there is a Soviet parallel.   This sort of logopoeic confection was completely characteristic of the Russian of the time, e.g. Komsomol (roughly: COMmunist /SOviet/MOLodyets (youth).)
Somewhat similarly, in German, among the opponents of the Hooligans (who are perceived as right-wing) are the Antifa  -- those who oppose what in French are called the fachos (fascists).
Most famously:  the GeStaPo (Geheime Staatspolizei). 

Contemporary bureaucratic German  is likewise given to such things.  Thus:  LaGeSo (Landesamt fuer Gesundheit und Soziales), a virtual/vocalic palindrome of HoGeSa.

For those of my generation (for you young’uns: i.e. :  Old!  Fagedabouddit !!), these syllabic abbreviations (as Wiki calls them) have a certain relent louche,  owing to their association with the whole Proletkult/Agitprop deviations of the Soviet era.  (Twenny-thirdy-fordy-somethings:  Any idea what I’m talking about?  Never mind.)  But they have much to their credit, over against “acronyms” in the narrow, initial-letter sense. 
At the time, the issue was pronounciability.  With strict-acronyms, you never know:  FBI (letter by letter) vs. NASA (like a word).  Whereas now, in addition to that (still valid), there is the matter of cross-linguistic searchability.
Thus, strict-acronyms are often translated (FMI vs IMF;  ADN vs. DNA), which makes online string-search  perilous.  But if you confect what is obviously a word -- yet a word in no obvious language -- everyone will let it be, like a proper-name (“Washington”; “Napoleon”), which no-one would dream of “translating”.

From this strictly philological standpoint, we salute the “Hooligans” for their coinage:  HoGeSa.

(Note:  Granted, as a vocable, as a hoagie-of-syllables,  it is not especially attrayant.   Cf. Gröfaz.  Ah well.)

Gratuit !
Lisez le conte entier

So much for the linguistics.  Now we get down to brass tacks.

Today in Cologne, roughly five thousand “Hooligans” answered the call to demonstrate, against the IS-leaning Islamist extremists known broadly as Salafists.  Whence:  HoGeSa.   This led to fairly violent street-confrontations.

This very significant public demonstration has so far scarcely been reported outside of Germany:  and when so, curly and dumbed-down, simply referring to “hooligans and neo-Nazis” battling police -- apparently for no reason.

To undumb you back up, consider this:

(1) Recently in the streets of Hamburg:  400 Kurdish demonstrators were attacked by 400 IS-supporters.

(2) A cri de coeur, from the Lower Depths:

Notice that the speaker invites moderate Muslims to join with them.

The speaker also seems to allude to recent beheadings in Germany.  Whether that happened, I have no idea;  if it did, it was hushed up.  But certainly it is in the offing:

German hostages of Salafists in the Phillipines

~ Sigmund Freud  und  Sherlock Holmes: ~

(3)  Overview:

Rasantes Anwachsen der deutschen Salafisten-Szene
Die Behörden sehen sie als Sammelbecken für Kämpfer der Terrorgruppe Islamischer Staat und befürchten Stellvertreterkriege mit Kurden, Hooligans und Rechtsextremen.

The fact is, Germany has long been unwisely importing problems from abroad;  and now is too frightened to do anything about it.   Like the socialos in France,  the German authorities have been dithering;  it thus falls to the wretched of the earth, at last to roar in protest.

European background:

[Mise à jour, 28 oct 2014]
A parallel in Calais:

[Update 9 December 2014]  And now HoGeSa is joined by two new syllabic acronyms: 
Pegida „patriotischen Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes“
Dügida, „Düsseldorfer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes“

Pronunciation of Pegida:  peh-GEE-da  (with hard "g" -- rhymes with "Uneeda").

Update 13 Dec 2014]  Good heavens, and now this:  äRTeäS  (sic).

[Update 14 Dec 2014]  Oof, and now this (of all things):

[Update 5 January 2015] The latest re Pegida, in English:

As one might expect, the New York Times turns itself into pretzels trying to minimize the march, referring instead, early in the article, to the much smaller pro-immigration march in the liberal stronghold of Berlin (a few hundred), while claiming that “No figures were immediately available for the turnout in Dresden”.   (Somehow, the BBC was able to get these, stating: “A record 18,000 people turned out” -- and this, despite a chilly rain.)

The Times interviews no-one from Pegida or, indeed, from average Germans, but recur to the usual anti-Pegida crowd: “On Monday, business leaders had joined the swelling chorus against Pegida”  (well, they would, wouldn’t they;  they want a cheap workforce, importing a Reserve Army of the Unemployed to keep the unions in line).

The Times describes Pegida as “murky” -- a purely rhetorical flourish”, and quotes this remarkable dismissal of the marchers:

“For my taste,” Mr. Schneider wrote in the newspaper Die Welt, “the crowd was too white.”

Also, far too German!

For much better coverage, from a mainstream German source, try this:

Another example of the lengths to which the bien-pensants will go, to sweep the popular upswell under the rug:

Pünktlich zum Beginn der Kögida-Demonstration um 18.30 Uhr wurde wie angekündigt die Außenbeleuchtung des Kölner Doms ausgeschaltet. Dompropst Norbert Feldhoff wollte verhindern, das eines der bekanntesten deutschen Wahrzeichen den Hintergrund der rechtspopulistischen Demonstration liefern würde.

[Update Monday, 12 January 2015]  And now Legida:

In Leipzig stellten sich am Abend rund 30.000 Menschen dem Aufmarsch des Pegida-Ablegers Legida entgegen.

Likewise Kagida (Kassel), Cegida (Chemnitz).

[Update 8 March 2015]  Another HoGeSa demo in Cologne.  The march monitors wore police-style jackets labeled, amusingly,  "HOOLIZEI"  (i.e., Hooligan Polizei).

[Update 20 March 2015]  The German mania for APO-related syllabic acronyms  proceeds apace.  The latest is Blockupy : from Block (as in Black Block) plus Occupy (Wall Street).

Here they are exercising their right to free speech

They turned out to the numbers of roughly ten thousand, in the staid old banking capital of Frankfurt-am-Main, breaking and burning and sending a hundred cops to the hospital.   Nothing done by Hogesa or Pegida or Legida or any of that, approaches that level of violence, but the bien-pensant press is much more muted in criticizing Blockupy.

[Update 26 July 2015]  And now this ungainly confection:
EnDgAmE : engagierte Demokraten gegen die Amerikanisierung Europas

[Update 23 Sept 2015]
They haven't gone away:

Rund 5000 Menschen haben sich nach Polizeiangaben in Erfurt an einer Demonstration gegen die Asylpolitik von Bundes- und Landesregierung beteiligt. Sie zogen am Mittwoch durch das Zentrum der Thüringer Landeshauptstadt bis zum zentralen Platz der Stadt, dem Anger.

A reader comments:

Bei PEGIDA waren letzten Montag in Dresden nach meiner Überschlags-Zählung auf dem youtube-Video mehr als 15.000 Menschen dabei (die Polizei gibt offenbar keine offiziellen Zahlen mehr heraus).

Warum herrscht darüber totale Stille im Blätterwald?

1 comment:

  1. The core of the matter:

    "The fact is, Germany has long been unwisely importing problems from abroad; and now is too frightened to do anything about it."