Language is a virus

20 03 2015

In honor of National Foreign Language week, a school in upstate New York decided to have students broadcast the Pledge of Allegiance in different languages.

Including Arabic.

Which, of course, upset some people.

The reading became the subject of angry talk throughout the school and a cascade of tweets both from students who criticized the reading and those who supported it.

The controversy has “divided the school in half,” according to [Pine Bush High School] Superintendent Joan Carbone. She described the reading as “something that was supposed to be good but turned out not to be.”

Early Wednesday afternoon, high school Principal Aaron Hopmayer made a building-wide announcement explaining the reading’s context and apologizing to students who took offense.

The apology appears to have done little to quell the situation; it may, in fact, have fueled resentment from students who feel the reading was appropriate.

Carbone said she had received complaints from district residents who had lost family members in Afghanistan and from Jewish parents who were equally outraged by the reading. (emphasis added)

Afghanistan, where the major languages are Dari and Pashto, and where the minor languages include Uzbek and Kyrgyz, but not Arabic. And who knew that merely speaking Arabic—itself a Semitic language—is anti-Semitic.

(By the way, nothing like reading the comments to remind oneself not to read the comments.)

Carbone apparently erred in allowing the Pledge broadcast in other languages—Dept of Ed regs require that it be read in English—but the OUTRAGE is less about the regs than the language itself.

It shouldn’t surprise me that a language can become a target—the US government is not the only one in the world which has attempted to snuff out a culture by snuffing out a language—but jeez. . . I. . . I don’t even know what to say.

Except: jeez.


h/t Huffington Post




2 responses

20 03 2015

shouldn’t we learn Arabic to properly understand and obey our new Sharia laws?

20 03 2015

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