For at least 2,000 years, presumably since before the Romans learned the name from the local Celts they found here, the Isis has been the local name here in Oxford for the River Thames – indeed should be so as far as meeting the River Thame at Dorchester. In Oxford we have been so proud of that, and many of our institutions and organisations bear the name. It is the name of the second Oxford crew in the boat race; it is the name of a host of local businesses and clubs; and it has been hijacked.
Not to belittle the horror of what is going on in the Middle East and now threatens us here, but nevertheless, for the sake of Oxford, we should remember that this terror is being waged by a group whose original name translates into English as ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’. It was badly abbreviated by someone in the West to ‘ISIS’, but should be ‘ISIL’. Most media outlets have for several weeks been calling them, more correctly, ISIL instead and now they have renamed themselves in any case Islamic State, or simply IS, some several weeks ago.
So please, for the sake of a 2,000 year old tradition let us not allow some bad abbreviation to tarnish a name that we Oxonians are so fond and proud of, and celebrate it again for all it is worth.
Jennifer Waller, Aldrich Road, Cutteslowe, Oxford
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