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Good work so far. I am a bit apprehensive about the Jesusland reference though. Do you really think it applies? Andersa 12:24, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Hamastan is not a deraugatory nickname[edit]

The leader, as stated in the article, accepts the term and welcomes the establishment of an Islamic state in Palestine like in Afghanistan.

The use of the term also predates the election of Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza, so Netanyahu is only echoing a word Hamas uses to define itself. --04:42, 20 August 2006

I'm afraid it is kind of derogatory -- Mahmud al-Zahar can accept it as shorthand for "Islamist Palestinian state in which Hamas would predominate" in the context of a journalistic interview, but I seriously doubt whether it's a term that the Hamas leadership would ever use spontaneously to define itself. AnonMoos 20:51, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Arabic script[edit]

The Arabic spelling would be حماستان , but that doesn't really look like an Arabic word. However, it does get 588 Google hits: [1] -- AnonMoos 20:48, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Wow -- now that same link gets 105,000 hits! AnonMoos 07:50, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Careful, please. We should make a distinction here between "spelling in the Arabic script" and the "written form of an Arabic word", because, as others have noted, "-stan" is Persian in origin. -Fsotrain09 22:05, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
It wasn't originally an Arabic word, but it looks like it's on the way to becoming one... AnonMoos 08:54, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
The first recorded use I found is from a Nov. 2004 piece by an Israeli general [2] and I think it was used mainly by Israeli's right before the disangagement, so maybe a Hebrew script is more precise. DGtal 11:42, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
The Hebrew spelling in the Interwiki link in the article is חמאסטאן (i.e. he:חמאסטאן), but "Hamas" is of course originally an Arabic word, while the "-stan" suffix has an accepted standard spelling in Arabic script (as found in the Arabic names of countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan). Hamastan may have started out in Hebrew in 2004, but حماستان seems to be all over the Arabic media in the last week or so... AnonMoos 13:53, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I see my sense of humour isn't too good. The theory was that the word wasn't used at first be arabs, rather by jews, so adding a hebrew word is just as (ir)relevant as an arab one. My theory is that the creation and popularity was inspired by Fatahland (he:פתחלנד), a similar language mix-up, with similar meaning (a palestinian group taking over a territory, etc.). DGtal 15:50, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Gaza vs. West Bank[edit]

Right now, it's looking like Hamastan is Gaza, but the term was originally meant to refer hypothetically to all the Palestinian territories being under Hamas domination... AnonMoos 21:41, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Conception of expresion[edit]

In may 2005 Silvan Shalom already used the expresion (hope you read hebrew) and I doubt he was the first. Maybe we should remove the whole "I invented it issue?" DGtal 22:34, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

surprize surprize[edit]

i'm not interested in fighting over this one, i figure i'll accept the "surprise" notation if it was referred to someone gullible about palestinian issues... like say, the british media or haaretz newspaper. JaakobouChalk Talk 07:08, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Both versions suck equally, really. "Hamas won the election" is succinct and factual, and really does not need qualifiers unless someone can point to sources to the contrary. Tarc 11:59, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
i think there is room to add the (gullible) westerner sources which were surprized. JaakobouChalk Talk 13:16, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

a crude propagandist concept[edit]

  • I suggest to replace this expression by "pejorative" for NPoV Ceedjee (talk) 08:50, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Al-Zahar saw the expresion as a compliment, so even if it was meant to be pejorative, not everyone sees it that way. DGtal (talk) 11:03, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
It is pejorative and Islamists take this with irony...
Taking their irony at first degree is not NPoV.
Ceedjee (talk) 11:12, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Maybe we can add: "a crude propagandist concept, originally meant as pejorative...".
This will both reflect the fact it was born as pejorative, and the current reality where you can occasionally hear it used as a statement of fact: Hamastan in Gaza and Fatahland in the West Bank. DGtal (talk) 22:03, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
What makes you think al-Azhar, who takes money and training from Iran, takes the term with Irony? JaakobouChalk Talk 22:11, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
What makes you think the term is not pejorative? Has al-Azhar or anybody else said so? MeteorMaker (talk) 23:01, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
It might be a pejorative among some American/British/etc. to be affiliated with Iran, but certainly a good number of people are quite happy to take that money and the ideology that follows. What makes you think Hamas considers the term a pejorative when it's clear that they have mutual goals and ideological bond? JaakobouChalk Talk 08:25, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
We have a reliable source that describes the term as pejorative, and your conclusion that it's not appears to be original research. If you want to add a note that one Hamas executive liked the sound of it in an interview with Newsweek, that's fine with me, but it doesn't make the term less pejorative. MeteorMaker (talk) 08:41, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Some selected Hamas figures or Hamas supporters may defiantly embrace the term on certain occasions, or provisionally accept it as a rough-and-ready useful term of political discourse, but overall and generally it's pretty clear that the term is in fact pejorative. Just in terms of Arabic sprachgefühl, the word itself has a rather crude and outlandish air, from the point of view of morphology, since it incorporates an acronym, haplology, and a Persian suffix. If a Hamas-run state were to be founded, it's a 100% safe bet that its leaders would not choose to give it the name "Hamastan" (something like the Islamic Emirate of Palestine or Islamic Republic of Palestine would be much more likely...). AnonMoos (talk) 15:14, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

There's really no validation that "it's pretty clear that the term is in fact pejorative". Certainly, a Hamas co-founder and spokesperson is an indication to the opposite. JaakobouChalk Talk 16:08, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
See comment of "20:51, 2 February 2007" above... AnonMoos (talk) 17:45, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
That comment doesn't make it clear at all. Do you have something tangible other than the op-ed about eastern-asia countries? JaakobouChalk Talk 18:28, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
MeteorMaker, I'd appreciate an explanation to why you'd remove the Hamas co-founder perspective as well as the reasoning why the term is deemed a pejorative by the used source.
Warm regards, JaakobouChalk Talk 16:14, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
The warmest of regards to you too. I have not removed it (except from the lead), and I think you agree that a sole off-the-cuff remark from an interview with a magazine reporter does not give anything official status. As for your request to explain William Safire's thinking when he deems the term pejorative, here is the full text:

"At the turn of the new millennium, attention was called to newly independent states on the fringe of the former Soviet Union — Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan — which the BBC identified as “collectively known as the Central Asian ‘stans.’ ” They were derogated by Stephen Kotkin in The New Republic in 2002 as “a dreadful checkerboard of parasitic states and statelets, government-led extortion rackets and gangs in power, mass refugee camps and shadow economies. Welcome to Trashcanistan.”

"That pejorative use of the suffix -stan to describe a place largely populated by Muslims — in 1990, Islamistan — was applied by Time magazine to the city of London in 2001: “So many volunteers to the bin Laden cause use the British capital as a base between visits to Afghan camps that French antiterrorist officials now call the city ‘Londonistan.’ ” In 2006, The Weekly Standard wondered who, if our efforts in Iraq did not succeed, “would take the trouble to ensure that some portions of Iraqi territory do not become little al Qaeda-stans?” U.S. News & World Report discovered Hamastan at about the same time The New Yorker coined Hezbollistan."[3]

MeteorMaker (talk) 18:24, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that it's still a single op-ed and we have a more notable opinion by Hamas co-founder. I could agree to moving that text down but the neutral way of registering the nature of the term is 'controversial' as there's a disagreement towards the use. To be frank, I believe current version explains both perspectives (pejorative/not) in a clear and neutral manner so that readers can get the full sense of the term from the WP:LEAD and can go deeper into the article for background notes about Hamas.
Cheers, JaakobouChalk Talk 18:33, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
We have a reliable source that describes the term as "pejorative", and that's all we need. Your opinion that it is not pejorative, based on a creative interpretation of an off-the-cuff remark by a Hamas member, is mere original research and does not in any way outweigh William Safire. MeteorMaker (talk) 20:28, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Dear MeteorMaker,
  1. The source is an opinion piece which explains that the term has been used in a pejorative manner outside of it's normative use. The opinion of said writer is no more important than that of Hamas co-founder (and it would be easy to argue the opposite). Elonka has recently explained to you how material is inserted in these instances so I'm not following why you'd try to promote removal of a clearly notable and well referenced opinion (Review the policy, it is not original reaserch).
  2. Certainly, I'm not a person to agree with many of Hamas official opinions, and even if I were, the only issue here is what notable opinions believe and not what you or I believe. Please comment on content and not on fellow ediotrs (see also: WP:NPA and WP:CIV).
Warm regards, JaakobouChalk Talk 21:13, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
But you keep removing "pejorative", based on your own interpretation of a remark from a Hamas member. Does Mr al-Azhar actually say it's not pejorative? MeteorMaker (talk) 22:54, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Are you trying to persuade that the Hamas co-founder says his organization should be berated?
p.s. I did not remove the word. JaakobouChalk Talk 23:22, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but you actually did. If it's fine with you, I'll put it back where it belongs. I'm not trying to persuade you in any way, just asking for a reliable source for your claim that the term is not pejorative. Or have I misunderstood you, are you not claiming that? MeteorMaker (talk) 23:33, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Jaakobou -- Don't want to impugn your perceptivity or anything, but the majority of editors of this article who have considered the context of the interview have not come to the conclusion that he was wholeheartedly endorsing and embracing the term "Hamastan"... AnonMoos (talk) 03:39, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Heyo AnonMoos,
Please explain to me where I'm mispercieving "It should be Hamastan. Why not?".[4]
Cheers, JaakobouChalk Talk 10:30, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
For instance, has al-Azhar taken any steps to elevate the term to official status? Has he mentioned it again in other contexts? MeteorMaker (talk) 10:36, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Because his intended meaning was presumably mainly to indicate that the idea of a Hamas-ruled state was a good idea, and not to fully take as his own the particular word "Hamastan" (which sounds linguistically somewhat grotesque to many Arabic speakers, and which furthermore doesn't really fit with the term which Hamas calls its own ideology by, namely "Islam", not "Hamasism"). AnonMoos (talk) 11:55, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Comment - I just read the entire discussion and don't see how an opinion piece by the columnist William Safire can be interpreted as set in stone. In fact, opinion pieces in general should not be used to source facts. It is clear that not everyone thinks that the term is pejorative, as proven by the link that Jaakobou provided. Hamastan is a term widely-used by the Israeli media, including the left-wing Haaretz (op-ed by Ze'ev Schiff). Because the term has clearly generated some controversy, I suggest using 'controversial', which is a neutral term that doesn't take sides. Alternatively, the label should be removed entirely. -- Ynhockey (Talk) 11:45, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Again, we have an RS (and one who cannot reasonably be accused of anti-Israel bias at that) and that is all we need. In the other corner: Jaakobou's personal interpretation of an off-the-cuff remark by a Hamas member, in all likelihood intended as a joke. Even if al-Azhar had explicitly said "Hamastan is not a pejorative term" (which he did not), that would only be him speaking his personal opinion and not something that somehow nullifies what other sources say. But I can agree it would be helpful to add a note that the term is "widely used by Israeli media", as you point out. MeteorMaker (talk) 12:53, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
The -stan suffix is not grotesque. It is a naming convention for Islamic territories under control of X group. i.e. if an Islamic group/tribe with the name X is in control of an area, it is sometimes referred to as X-stan. The term becomes a pejorative only when intended as one (e.g. 'Londonistan' suggests Islamic groups have taken over London which can be regarded as an offensive suggestion) and not automatically. This is illustrated by a good number of areas who use the suffix out of their own will.
It seems that you agree Hamas take a liking to the standard meaning of the term (per "the idea of a Hamas-ruled state was a good idea") but that the standard interpretation is alien to your ears. If you note my suggested phrasing, it deals with presenting both perspectives.
Warm regards, JaakobouChalk Talk 14:10, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
I never said "-stan" on its own was grotesque; I said that the term "Hamastan" as a whole -- with its incorporation of an acronym, haplology, and use of a non-Arabic suffix to refer to a location in Arab lands -- is rather crude and outlandish in terms of Arabic sprachgefühl. I could have also mentioned that it's a compound, while the Arabic language doesn't have true compounds (only the idafa or "construct state" construction). AnonMoos (talk) 14:17, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
With all due respect,
  1. These are a lot of personal notes without anything specific to the subject at hand.
  2. Hamas sees itself as a member of the Islamic Ummah rather than the Arab World (A reason they are rejected by Arab leaders as well as Western countries).
  3. It still seems that you agree Hamas takes a liking to the standard meaning of the term (per "the idea of a Hamas-ruled state was a good idea") so I don't understand what you want us to do about it. I have no objection to a formal source that repeats your perspective but Hamas' perspective is certainly notable. Suggestions/Thoughts/References?
With respect, JaakobouChalk Talk 17:35, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but the fact that Hamas sees itself as part of the global Muslim community doesn't mean that it's eager to adopt a bastardized pseudo-Persian name (invented by an Israeli!) for the territory it rules. Refer to the history of Shu`ubiyya, to start with. My "personal notes" are an explanation of why Hamas will never use the word "Hamastan" when picking the flag, anthemn, motto, coat of arms, and name of a Hamas-ruled state. Your own "personal notes" about an offhand remark in one particular interview do not change all this. AnonMoos (talk) 20:33, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
If this is about the chance that Hamas will call their territory Hamastan officially, then we have no quarrel as I think that will (almost certainly) never happen. The only issue here is if in their perspective, it is a pejorative - which it is not. Hamas co-founder said they see no problem with the nickname suggesting Gaza should indeed be the 'land of Hamas' (i.e. Hamastan). Have you looked at my suggested phrasing? It's certainly not the best of phrasings though and I'm open to suggestions.
Cheers, JaakobouChalk Talk 20:57, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Suggested rephrase for the second part:

The 'stan' suffix has been approved by Hamas co-founder for it's "place of" standard meanning, although the suffix has also acquired a pejorative connotation in English regarding "government-led extortion rackets and gangs in power, mass refugee camps and shadow economies"'.'[1]

Thoughts/suggestions? JaakobouChalk Talk 02:31, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
  1. ^ William Safire, Year of the Stans, New York Times, December 31, 2006

Jaakobou, we have a reliable source that characterizes the term as "pejorative". Your OR that "it has been approved by a Hamas founder" does not in any way nullify that. MeteorMaker (talk) 13:38, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Dear MeteorMaker,
Two editors, one of which is an admin, noted to you the value of op-ed articles and we're still calling it a pejorative in the very next paragraph. Can you accept this compromise or do you want to take this argument all the way to ARBCOM? Please stop repeating the same argument ignoring the points raised by fellow editors.
With respect, JaakobouChalk Talk 16:39, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I see no consensus at all for your wording (that you keep repeating while ignoring fellow editors as well as WP policy), particularly not your OR claim that Hamas has somehow "approved" it. Could you find an RS that corroborates that claim? And while you're at it, one that characterizes William Safire's "On Language" column as an "op-ed"? MeteorMaker (talk) 16:50, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
  1. Please comment on content and not on fellow editors (per WP:NPA). I'm not ingnoring WP policy at all, to the contrary - I've been making a concerned effort to explain the issue as well as propose a compromise and allowed for a 'wrong version' of the article to stay up in the meantime.
  2. If there's better suggetsions, I'm open to consider them as long as they include Hamas' perspective on the matter. Please note that there's a crude consensus towards 'controversial' as it was suggested also by fellow wikipedia admin Ynhockey and was not objected to by Anonmoos once I explained and gave a proposed compromise. Consider that the relevant sources are one opinion column and one official spokesperson with opposing perspectives. Add to this the note about Haaretz using the term without and you come to the conclusion that there is no single perspective to consider the term and this is a good compromise.
  3. If you insist that the opinion poll trumpts out the opinion of Hamas, then we cannot agree on this and my only suggestion here is to open up the discussion for review through WP:RfC but I believe you're misreading the value of the news report vs. Hamas/General use sources.
Warm regards, JaakobouChalk Talk 17:44, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I have not commented on you, only your suggested changes to the article, which I find insufficiently sourced. Again, kindly find sources for your claims that
1) Hamas has approved the term "Hamastan" (you have now added "Hamas perspective" and "Hamas opinion", so clearly you must have sources that you have not shown yet)
2) William Safire's "On Language" column in the New York Times Magazine is an "op-ed"
3) the term is considered anything else than a pejorative by anybody notable.
MeteorMaker (talk) 18:08, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Jaakaobou, please don't cite me as accepting your views; my actions are explained by the fact I don't care to get involved in any kind of edit war on this matter. Also, while Safire's column is often problematic in some respects (when he verges into the area covered by scholarly linguistics, as discussed in the Language Instinct), it is most definitely not an "Op-Ed"[sic]... AnonMoos (talk) 18:12, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Heyo AnonMoos,
I apologize if you felt I marked your 'acceptance', but I've only meant htat you've not shown a real sense of disagreement, which leaves MeteorMaker at a crude minority with the people who left their opinons on this thread. I'm not sure on how you'd like this article to account for if not as an opinion piece. Anyways, if you have better suggestions on the phrasing, I'm certainly open to hear them.
It really seems that we're going around in circles. I've cited Hamas co-founder saying "It should be Hamastan. Why not?"[5] and it feels disparaging that you state this to somehow not account as Hamas opinion. As I wish to find an agreeable consensus, I've offered a compromise which I believe to be fair and I'm also open to compromise suggestions that you are willing to make. Otherwise, I only see WP:DR (possibly WP:RfC) as a possible way to move forward.
Warm regards, JaakobouChalk Talk 20:28, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to find an agreeable consensus too, but it should be based on reliable sources and not an individual editor's own interpretations of the available sources. We have a reliable source that says the term is pejorative, and your position that it's not seems insufficiently sourced. You claim the term has been "approved" by Hamas, but I don't think there's support in policy for interpreting an offhand remark by a Hamas member as "Hamas perspective" and "Hamas opinion". Just to check that we are on common ground regarding what constitutes a pejorative, would you say the term nigger is an example of one? MeteorMaker (talk) 10:35, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, and we've said repeatedly that the strongest possibility is that he was endorsing the concept of a Hamas-ruled state, while not choosing to quibble at that particular moment with the interviewer over the terminology the interviewer used. Those among Hamas supporters who are sensitive to matters such as symbolism, history, and sprachgefühl — and who are considering terminology as terminology — would be likely to have a much more negative view. AnonMoos (talk) 11:35, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Note: If it is an agreeable course of action, I'd be inclined to open an WP:RfC to resolve the dispute around this issue. We seem to have a deadlock between two highly involved editors and it might be better to get external perspectives.
Warm regards, JaakobouChalk Talk 13:00, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

RfC - Pejorative terminology[edit]


  • There's a semblance of consensus by uninvolved editors. JaakobouChalk Talk 08:35, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Request: User:MeteorMaker requests[6][7][8] that the term Hamastan will be marked first and foremost as a pejorative as he believes the term can only be/is only used with derogatory intent or underscores. His assertion for this is based on the belief that Hamastan should be equated with the clearly pejorative "Zionist Entity"[9] (i.e. the Islamist terminology intending to suggest the evil nature and short living status of the State of Israel) and a single opinion column by William Safire published on New York Times titled: Year of the Stans.

Response (by Jaakobou): .

Relevant past discussions:

  1. Talk:Hamastan#Hamastan_is_not_a_deraugatory_nickname
  2. Talk:Hamastan#a_crude_propagandist_concept

In any regard, my response to the "pejorative" claim (as seen above) was/is that:

  • William Safire doesn't actually say that Hamastan is a pejorative:
    • The column by William Safire source is an interesting opinion piece which explains that the -stan suffix has been used in a pejorative manner outside of it's normative "place of" usage by Stephen Kotkin who commented that, areas in newly independent states on the fringe of the former Soviet Union — Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan — which the BBC identified as “collectively known as the Central Asian ‘stans.’” were "government-led extortion rackets and gangs in power, mass refugee camps and shadow economies" adding a "Trashcanistan" punditry to his observation/theory.[10]
    • Safire adds that other pejorative uses of -stan exist as well, like describing a place as being largely populated by Muslim when this is not the case (Islamistan/Londonistan — applied by Time magazine to the city of London -- came from French antiterrorist officials). Another mentioned use, which is sort of derogatory is that of the Embassy of Kazakhstan not appreciating Borat's portrayal of their country calling him "Boratastan — a country of one" but this could be seen as the correct usage of the term as well and a mere attempt at saying that "Boratstan" should not be confused with Kazakhstan.
    • Safire mentions the naming a place as "al Qaeda-stans" (if the movement takes over it) or mentioning that U.S. News & World Report discovered Hamastan at about the same time The New Yorker coined Hezbollistan but Safire does not actually make any statement if Hamastan has pejorative intentions but rather focuses on the "plays on names"[11] making movie goers confused about the existence of Kazakhstan as a real country. This is further illustrated by the article's first paragraph where an official living in close quarters to numerous states that use the "place of" (-stan) suffix notes his confusion "with all these stans".
  • The term has been used in it's original 'place of' meaning and also in a favorable context:
    • Hamas co-founder has used the term favorably. e.g "It should be Hamastan. Why not?"[12]. This was described in an early article version as "In interviews Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar has described the creation of Hamastan as a goal of Hamas." which would certainly fit the source content.
    • Numerous sources also use the term with it's original "place of" meaning:
      • Samples:
      • [13] - Hamas's takeover of Gaza, which yesterday seemed closer than ever, is destined to split the territories into two entities that are politically and even culturally separate: Hamastan (the Gaza Strip) and Fatahstan (the West Bank).
      • [14] - "...I cautioned that it was a tactical and strategic error by the State of Israel to recognize the state of Hamastan," he added, referring to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
      • [15] - what is now being dubbed "Hamastan" will not only be physically cut off from their compatriots in the West Bank but will also be ruled by a movement that advocates armed resistance and is boycotted by Israel and the international community," says the paper's Middle East editor. "Neither side will be in a position to conduct negotiations with Israel or anyone else."
      • [16] - As the dramatic news broke there was already excited talk of the Islamist movement "proving its credibility" and of the hope that with Johnston now finally free, the siege on Hamas could be lifted too. If Hamastan is seen to be functioning, this line of thinking goes, then Hamastan can break out of its isolation.
      • [17], [18], [19] (Hebrew samples)
    • There is, off course, an added subcontext with the Hamastan terminology that suggests to Hamas being (a) Islamist, and (b) economically and strategically backed by Iran; but these are known facts and not meant to embed as an added pejorative.

Previously suggested compromise:[20]

Using "controversial" as the main descriptive and adding the following text to the lead:
Although the 'stan' suffix has acquired a pejorative connotation in English regarding ''"government-led extortion rackets and gangs in power, mass refugee camps and shadow economies"'', it has been used in approval by Hamas co-founder with it's standard "place of" meaning.".[1]

I'm actually feeling, based on the inspection of sources, that citing only the Hamas co-founder for using the "place of" meaning is inaccurate as others have used it without malice as well. I'm open to rephrase suggestions but I'm thinking that 'pejorative' should not be the main descriptive.
Warm regards, JaakobouChalk Talk 15:02, 18 April 2009 (UTC)


  • We have a reliable source (and here's another one) that state that the word is derogatory, and I don't understand what else is needed, absent sources for the contrary position. If you wish, we could perhaps compromise and add the information that the term is primarily used (presumably non-pejoratively) in Israeli media. Your earlier main argument that Mahmoud al-Zahar has made an informal remark about the term that you interpret as approval is very weak, and I'm glad to see you're finally abandoning it. MeteorMaker (talk) 16:27, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Add your notes here.

Comments by others:[edit]

  • Sorry: where are the sources stating that it's pejorative? I see only a link by MeteorMaker to a source calling it a "boo" word; I don't know what that means. I don't see the link to the other source. Sources stating that a word is pejorative may be opinions, not universal fact. The sources provided by Jaakobou above make it pretty clear that sometimes it is not pejorative. Yes, that's original research: based only on that we can't say in the article "sometimes it's not pejorative", but we can nevertheless consider that information while writing the article. Most words do not have sources stating that the word is not pejorative: it wouldn't be reasonable for us to require that. I suggest using prose attribution: that is, say something like "Source X states that the term is pejorative" (whatever statement can be reasonably based on the source). We don't present opinions as fact just because no source explicitly states the opposite opinion. Coppertwig (talk) 18:15, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
    • Sorry if I didn't repost the "On Language" link, I incorrectly assumed people would look at the relevant sections Jaakobou linked to. Here it is again (and I added it to my above post as well). MeteorMaker (talk) 19:26, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm going to avoid directly opining on this RfC, but I must ask, why on earth do we have this article at all? The article doesn't have a single source that is actually about the term "Hamastan." The sources are simply articles about real subjects which contain brief mentions of the term. The Safire column, for example, is explicitly about the proliferation of annoying cutesy neologisms, and expends exactly one half of one sentence on "Hamastan." One would find sources of roughly similar weight for terms like "IsraHell," "Zionazi," "AmeriKKKa," "Micro$oft," "Soviet Canuckistan," "People's Republic of Lumps in My Oatmeal," etc ad nauseum. Why should Wikipedia shed undeserved light on such silly partisan epithets? <eleland/talkedits> 23:38, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
    • Ugh, the more I read this crap article, the worse I think it is. The vital claim of notability, "Since 2007, the term has been used to refer to its 2007 victory in Gaza over Fatah in the inter-Palestinian conflict," is cited to a source saying nothing of the kind. An offhand comment by one Hamas guy becomes "Hamas response." The article is almost as long as our actual Governance of the Gaza Strip. I'm going to be WP:BOLD and redirect it. Of course, it will be reverted, at which point we can all expend our energies on an AfD debate, which I'm sure will be productive and civil </sarcasm> <eleland/talkedits> 23:52, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
      • It's undeniably derogatory in its way, but it is NOT a simple insult or epithet and nothing else (like Amerikka); in fact, it's a useful shorthand term for "Palestinian Islamic state" which has acheived a respectable amount of use in mainstream media sources, so that I really fail to see what deleting the article is supposed to achieve... AnonMoos (talk) 01:16, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
  • As per Jaakobou I am offering my 2₵ on the subject: William Safire notwithstanding (And I am singularly unimpressed with any effort that cites him; as far as I am concerned, the man can kiss my ass. Now if Noam Chomsky was cited, then I might be more receptive -- provided that the word was actually listed in a reputable dictionary. More on that momentarily.) I don't consider Hamastan to be a word. Try googling it and not one dictionary -- not one -- comes up! Quite frankly, it seems to me that this is an esoteric attempt to broaden the Israeli/Palestinian fight here at the English Wikipedia site.
    --NBahn (talk) 00:31, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
    • Comment - the term was coined became popular only recently, following Hamas' occupation of the Gaza strip, and has actually become quite common in use. It's probably too soon to come up with a "definition" though. Anyways, this term actually has a lot more to do with the Fatah-Hamas fight than the Israeli-Arab one.[21]
      Cheers, JaakobouChalk Talk 01:27, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
      • The term was actually invented before the Hamas takeover of Gaza, and its main implication is to refer to the concept of a de facto Palestinian Islamic state, in various present and future scenarios; it is not simply a synonym for "Gaza". AnonMoos (talk) 01:21, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
        • You have a point, though, no one could come up with a term that suggests Hamas has taken ownership over Gaza before the signs of them trying to do so became apparent. I rephrased myself to be more accurate since you did have a point.
          p.s. best I'm aware, this term is not about the entire would be Palestinian state but only about the current status of Gaza.
          Warm regards, JaakobouChalk Talk 01:35, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
  • obviously derogatory. why else would israeli officials "warn" that gaza might become it? is this rfc serious? untwirl(talk) 02:12, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
    • re because Hamas' main ideology is that they seek the destruction of Israel. No offense, but it seems that you are not very familiar with this topic and might have skipped the given #favorable context sources as well. JaakobouChalk Talk 09:17, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
      • um, yeah, i read them. how you can say that even those articles use the term "favorably" is beyond comprehension. your unique interpretation of sources does not trump the other ones that explicitly say "that pejorative use of the suffix -stan to describe a place largely populated by Muslims" and "boo word" in regard to the term hamastan. untwirl(talk) 19:07, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
        • re Hamas' position, as part of the Iran-Syrian-Muslim Brotherhood-al-Jazeera group is viewed poorly by most others who are involved in the Israeli-Arab conflict and this includes Egypt, Jordan and Morocco and not only Western countries. The Hamastan term itself was not the one being given a bad context and surely, the first of the example sources[22] does not add any pejorative context to either Hamastan or Fatahstan. I'm willing to reconsider my perspective on this source if you would like to explain to me how the use of the word (Hamastan) adds a pejorative context in the article's text.
          Warm regards, JaakobouChalk Talk 20:11, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I am not deeply familiar with Israel/Palestine politics or with Hamas, so this opinion is based chiefly on the sources that have been cited in this talk page: it does seem to me that most of these sources use "Hamastan" as at least a dismissive term if not an epithet, so I think "pejorative" is a legitimate descriptor. I don't agree that the Haaretz piece uses the term in a neutral way; the thrust of the piece is that it is unfortunate and wrong that Gaza should be split at all, and both "Hamastan" and "Fatahstan" have negative connotations there. The Guardian piece uses quotation marks around the name to acknowledge that it is a politically charged, partisan term. And even al-Zahar's "positive" use of the word appears to be at least tongue in cheek. I think Eleland (t c) is right and this article should be merged into Hamas, and I think it is appropriate to continue describing the term as pejorative (using the Safire source). Tim Pierce (talk) 16:46, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
    • Actually, I'm fairly certain that the quotation marks are used to show that it is not an official name and that people are unhappy to see the Palestinians splitting has no bearing on the name. I'd appreciate an explanation on how the Hamas co-founder's use of the word is viewed by you as "at least tongue in cheek". I just don't see nothing of the sorts when looking at the "It should be Hamastan. Why not?" text, supplemented by him saying that they (Hamas) are good people and that there's nothing wrong with them being in control.[23] It looks more like he's offended as though the reporter suggested they should not be in control over Gaza. JaakobouChalk Talk 17:00, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Your position, that Hamas endorses the term, would be considerably better if you could show evidence that they do so officially, by eg. using it in press releases, or consistently referring to Gaza as "Hamastan" in speeches and interviews. I think you're drawing several unfounded conclusions from an incidental remark, above all that it somehow nullifies the reliable sources that say the term is pejorative. [24][25] MeteorMaker (talk) 20:56, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
If I'm not mistaken, both the sources you are mentioning in this comment are already linked in your rebuttal and you've already mentioned your points for disagreement with me. Please allow me to post questions/comments to others without jumping on my case with the same issues you've raised already. Thanks, JaakobouChalk Talk 21:06, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
p.s. I think you misunderstood the concept of the synthesis policy. I'd suggest you run through it and examine again where you believe I am violating that policy by saying that al-Azhar is viewing the term with approval when he states that Gaza should become governed by Hamas. JaakobouChalk Talk 21:08, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Sorry to repeat my rebuttal, but if you look closely, it was in direct response to the third time in this RfC only you repeated your argument "it's not pejorative because one Hamas bigshot has said 'why not?'". As about WP:SYNTH and how it's applicable to your hypothesis: you appear to be drawing a WP:OR conclusion (that Hamas approves the term) from one primary source, then use that OR as a source for another OR conclusion, that that means the term is not pejorative. MeteorMaker (talk) 21:31, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
  • I think the quote is "tongue in cheek" because neither al-Zahar nor anyone else in Hamas has proposed or argued elsewhere that the region should actually change its name to "Hamastan". I think therefore that it is not a task that they are actually pursuing. I think that you are right that they would not object to the term, but I don't think they are considering it seriously in the first place. Jalapenos do exist (t c) makes an excellent analogy by comparing it to "Red China". Tim Pierce (talk) 21:12, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Oh certainly Tim, no one was suggesting Hamas wanted to rename the region to Hamastan but only that they are not offended by it's use as a nickname for the area as it means, to them, that they are the organization in control. The use is "approvingly" as in - not offended by - but certainly not as the "officially approved as a new name". For the record, I thought his comparison was well put as well :) JaakobouChalk Talk 13:11, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Note: btw, in that sense, I consider the phrasing used in the Red China article -- "Red China was a frequent appellation for the PRC..." -- to work well for me. JaakobouChalk Talk 13:14, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
It's worth noting that Red China does not have its own article however — it redirects to People's Republic of China. MeteorMaker (talk) 13:44, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
  • I admit to not having read the article for Red China before getting here, but if that article had said Red China was a pejorative term used to refer to the People's Republic of China... I would not object. It is "pejorative" not because it is inherently humiliating but because those who use the term apply it with a negative connotation. Tim Pierce (talk) 14:51, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
  • People's perception that it's bad for the Palestinians to have Hamas in control doesn't mean that "those who use the term apply it with a negative connotation" (pardon the quoting). For example, one of the sources given above states that "If Hamastan is seen to be functioning, this line of thinking goes, then Hamastan can break out of its isolation.". Sources which are not hostile to the Palestinians have no qualms about using the term as a short descriptive for Hamas' control. The control itself, many believe is and, I feel that, finding the term offensive is a subjective matter rather than source based. I wouldn't mind a secondary review on sources but the ones I've picked up cannot (in my opinion at least) be viewed as an attempt to ridicule Hamas or Gaza. Anyways, another one-two uninvolved people sharing your perspective would be a quick end to this RfC :) JaakobouChalk Talk 15:13, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
this is the crux of the matter. we have two sources which discuss the term's negative connotation on one hand, and your opinion that other sources which use the word do so favorably on the other hand. obviously, we go by the sources' interpretations and not those of wp editors.


  • The term is undoubtedly negative, but it is not a "pejorative" as it lacks an element of ridicule, mocking or belittling. The term is used to indicate that a Hamas regime would be radical and repressive, traits that are perceived by the speaker to characterize some of the "-stan" countries, primarily Taliban Afghanistan, I would imagine. There is nothing inherently or universally negative in the name, which is why a Hamas figure can see it as acceptable; you wouldn't get a similar reaction to a name like, oh, I don't know, Hamasturbation. Thus Hamastan is not really similar to Israhell, but is more like Red China: the audience considers it a negative term, but it is not mocking and the target of the term could consider it positive. Jalapenos do exist (talk) 23:38, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
    • Arabic and Persian may sound somewhat similar to you, but from the point of view of Arabic speakers, there can be a quite definite pejorative connotation resulting from just the use of a Persian suffix to name an Arab land by itself alone (quite independent of the specific associations attached to the various different countries with "-stan" -- countries which may be perceived quite differently by Hamas members than they are perceived by you). AnonMoos (talk) 01:22, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
      • Arabic and Persian, both of which I hear occasionally, sound very different to me. You raise an interesting point, which I was unaware of, regarding a possible negative connotation of "-stan" to an Arabic speaker, but it has no effect on whether Hamastan is a pejorative. That negative connotation is accidental: it is not intended by the speaker, and it is completely unrelated to the negative indication that is intended by the speaker. In any case, we know for a fact that a Hamas figure did not see it as a negative term, so I doubt if the accidental negative connotation is really significant. Continuing with the Red China analogy, it's as if "red" happened to be the Chinese word for "Japan". That wouldn't make the term a pejorative, much less if a Chinese leader said "yeah, we are Red China, and proud of it". Jalapenos do exist (talk) 11:36, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
        • It's extremely dubious whether we know any such thing, merely based on one offhand remark in one interview, as explained above. And can you give me one good reason why Hamas members would view a bastardized pseudo-Persian word, which is not good Arabic and was invented by an Israeli, as not being an insult? English speakers are generally amused by Engrish terms, but we might not consider it to be all that funny to find our basic beliefs and affiliations labelled in the eyes of the world using pseudo-cutesy but bogus Engrish terminology -- and educated Arabic speakers are often much more touchy about their "classical" traditional cultural and linguistic heritage than English speakers are... AnonMoos (talk) 23:41, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
          • Like I said in my last comment, even if Hamas members are insulted by the etymology of "-stan", that has no bearing on the question at hand. In any case, the idea that they are is at present no more than your own opinion; we have zero evidence for it, and we have evidence (admittedly limited) to the contrary. Jalapenos do exist (talk) 11:28, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
            • I think that how Arabic speakers perceive the word could have a lot of relevance to the issue at hand. Furthermore, you may consider all this to be purely subjective, but if you found that your own chosen political ideology / political party / religious denomination was known worldwide by a name that violates the linguistic or cultural conventions of your language in the same way that Pocari Sweat goes against the connotations of English words, then you might not find it to be a trivial matter. AnonMoos (talk) 21:35, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
              • Like I explained two comments ago, and illustrated with the Red China analogy, if a term has an accidental, unitended negative connotation, that does not make it pejorative. If you can provide any evidence that this unintended connotation indeed exists (so far you have not done so), then I would be happy to see an explanation of the connotation in the body of the article. In the meantime, the word "pejorative" should be removed from the lede as inaccurate. Jalapenos do exist (talk) 19:04, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
                • I remind you that there are two RSs that contradict your notion that the term's negative connotations are "accidental" and "unintended". MeteorMaker (talk) 19:12, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
                  • Please try to read threads before you comment on them. I never said that the term's negative connotation is accidental or unintended; in fact, I said the opposite. However, I also said that the separate, etymology-based alleged negative connotation about which AnonMoos was speaking is accidental and unintended, if it indeed exists. The only RS that has been brought that can bear light on this separate alleged connotation indicates that it doesn't exist. Jalapenos do exist (talk) 11:34, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

The "Red China" analogy is very poor, since there's nothing inherently derogatory or non-Chinese about that phrase in itself ("red" can have positive connotations in Chinese culture, and a song entitled "The East is Red" was the unofficial anthem of China for several years). "Red China" only becomes derogatory by implication when it's used with an intent to imply that the People's Republic of China is not the legitimate government of China. By contrast, the word Hamastan just by its form alone (Persian suffix, non-Arabic morphological pattern, strange inexplicable haplology) strongly indicates that it's outlandishly un-Arabic. I don't know if it was originally intended to be derogatory, but the Israeli coiner of the word was obviously a whole lot more concerned with coining a rough-and-ready catchphrase for use in political analysis than he was with respecting Arab cultural and linguistic traditions -- and it shows... AnonMoos (talk) 02:19, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

There's a limit to how many times I'm willing to repeat myself, and we've just about reached it. I said that Red China would contain an analogous element to your alleged etymology-based negative connotation (and I quote) if "red" happened to be the Chinese word for "Japan". I said that in the hypothetical, that wouldn't make the term a pejorative, much less if a Chinese leader said "yeah, we are Red China, and proud of it. If you want to dispute that argument, keep in mind that you have still not brought any evidence to show that this alleged negative connotation even exists in anyone's mind but your own. Jalapenos do exist (talk) 06:29, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
Whatever, dude -- I'm getting really, really tired of being told that something which I know for a fact is important is somehow supposedly not important by people who seem to know a whole lot less than I do about the specfic subject matter in question. The best way I can explain it in non-technical terms is that Hamastan is the Pocari Sweat of international geopolitical labels (since none of you seem to be able to understand, or to be willing to make any effort to understand, the linguistic explanation I offered). AnonMoos (talk) 12:47, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

I came here in response to the RfC. This is a no-brainer. Hamastan is clearly not a neutral term. It has no official status (a Hamas spokesman trying to dispute the prejudice behind the word in the middle of an interview does not count as adoption, for heaven's sake), and is clearly a "boo-word", as one of the sources cited above suggests. Those pushing it as a proper title are clearly POV pushing. This is an encyclopaedia, not a political chatsite.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 03:35, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

No one said it was a neutral term so I'm not following the attack on fellow editors' intentions. The issue is whether it is first and foremost a pejorative (e.g. like Amerikkka) or that it is also used without pejorative intentions as a quick and easy denominator (see above samples). Well... it seems that most people find it offensive regardless of the source examples above, so I'll figure out a way to fuse the issues together into the lead paragraph.
Warm regards, JaakobouChalk Talk 08:34, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
no, you misunderstand. your interpretation that it is used as a "quick and easy denominator" is OR. two sources which discuss the term refer to it as a pejorative and a "boo word." if you have a RS that states it is a ""quick and easy denominator," please cite it. otherwise this is your personal interpretation and not supported by sources. untwirl(talk) 13:45, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Jakkobou, there is no evidence that it is not pejorative (I've pointed out the cynicism in interpreting that Hamas interview as evidence), and positive evidence that it is. Suggesting that those who go against the evidence in reliable sources in order to promote such terms in such a rhetorically sensitive area are POV pushing is hardly an attack. It's calling a spade a spade. It's not an offence to cite WP regulations.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 14:13, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Ignoring the attacks on the "spades" (as this has been called), I'm not sure this is a case of original research and it seems far more basic English understanding of the text. The term is (a) used, and (b) explained immediately after. Two sources put it in the context of "boo" words and I agree that it could be viewed as a pejorative. Per consensus, I am forced to agree that this is the main viewpoint of fellow wiki-editors who chose to participate. Did I miss anything?
Warm regards, JaakobouChalk Talk 10:37, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

"Wrong" suffix[edit]

It is quite common to give oriental muslim countries a name with the suffix "-stan" (Pakistan, Afghanistan Turkmenistan and so on), as it usual to give european and other western countries names with the ending "-ia", even if it´s name in the native language is constructed in another way (slawic languages are forming the state name often with an "-o", see cesko or slovensko.) Nobody takes care when we say "Egypt" to misr or Slovakia for Slovensko, Algeria to al-Jazā’ir, Georgia to sakartvelo, so it is pseudo-political correct to cry about an nonarabic suffix in an english neologism. I have removed the sentence. --Feliks (talk) 10:26, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

The suffix "-ia" actually has an accepted counterpart in Arabic (as in the Arabic names of "Libya" and "Syria"), so that's a non-issue. More importantly, if you had been reading above, you would have noticed that it's not at all usual to give the suffix "-stan" to an Arab-ruled and Arabic-speaking country or region, and some Arabs would find it objectionable. The form حماستان is actually linguistically objectionable from several points of view, when considered in the light of standard traditional "correct" Arabic (not just the choice of the -stan suffix), and in any case "Hamastan" was not actually first created as an English neologism.. AnonMoos (talk) 05:21, 16 August 2011 (UTC)