Daily Archives: January 16, 2006

Torture exportation hides behind ‘extraordinary rendition’

By Salman Rushdie, from The Register Guard

Beyond any shadow of a doubt, the ugliest phrase to enter the English language in 2005 was ”extraordinary rendition.”

To those of us who love words, this phrase’s brutalization of meaning is an infallible signal of its intent to deceive. ”Extraordinary” is an ordinary enough adjective, but its sense is being stretched here to include more sinister meanings that your dictionary will not provide: ”secret,” ”ruthless” and ”extralegal.”

As for ”rendition,” the English language permits four meanings: a performance, a translation, a surrender – this meaning is now considered archaic – or an ”act of rendering,” which leads us to the verb ”to render,” among whose 17 possible meanings you will not find ”to kidnap and covertly deliver an individual or individuals for interrogation to an undisclosed address in an unspecified country where torture is permitted.”


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