An update on Hajji, the Arabic term for “pilgrim” which has become the GWII term for “enemy”: it looks like it’s not just for GWII anymore. I found a Jan. 2002 usage in a short piece by Lisette Garcia, who writes,
Tampons, alarm clocks and Kodak film were easy enough for me to negotiate at the local Hajji shop. But giving a regulation haircut was simply too foreign a concept in the middle of the desert.
Garcia’s talking about the original Gulf War, I think, which gives the term a bit of breathing room, at least as far as its original coiners are concerned.
There are certainly some benign usages of Hajji around, and I can easily see how soldiers, hearing Arabs, Kuwaitis, or Iraqis address each other–or their elders–as “hajji,” could adopt it with clean intent. Try justifying the phrase “mowing down some hajjis,” though. I dare you.
For the record, this has nothing to do with Gus Van Sant.