I'm not here much right now. God knows I shouldn't be here today. Too much school work to do. I'm taking what amounts to a full load in two institutions of higher learning. It's been tough, especially with our Boston winter from hell, but this I can't ignore any longer.
My father was born in the United States, in Kansas in 1934. His parents who were both Mennonite, had been born outside the US and came here as children before 1901. Their families with other Mennonite families settled in central Kansas. They spoke German, in fact in their communities the only persons who spoke English were the ones who had to deal with those outside their communities .
German was spoken in their churches. German was spoken in their homes. German was spoken to and with the shop keepers, right there in the US in central Kansas. In fact my aunts did not learn English until they started grade school. My dad wasn't so lucky.
With the rising tide of the Nazis in Germany, German speaking families here in the US stopped speaking German for fear that they would targeted as Nazis and Nazi sympathizers. My grandparents stopped speaking German sometime around 1937/38. My father doesn't remember any German.
What was lost to future generations is immeasurable. My cousins and I (save one) can not read letters, writings or even recipes from our great grandparents, great-great grandparents, etc. We've lost knowing who they were, and even what they liked to eat. The only family member who could, though he hasn't spoken/read/written German in years is my cousin who took German as a foreign language in high school. He used to write to our grandmother in German for practice and for a time during the Viet Nam war he was stationed in Germany.
For the past few decades speaking a language, other than American English, even between friends in public has been derided, besieged. Even though those who speak another language have been heavily needed and utilized in war efforts. Navajo literally saved our ass in the Pacific Theater in WWII. To speak another language and speak it well requires use and practice. But in general Americans treat those can with great suspicion, especially if the person speaking is "brown" speaking a "brown language."
We have even had politicians whine that speaking two languages is too hard for native born Americans (read: white people). Not realizing that in saying that they are saying that immigrants are smarter, and already work harder.
There is a joke told in Europe:That is not a compliment.
Q: What do you call someone who speaks many languages?
Q: What do you call someone who speaks 2 languages?
Q: What do you call someone who speaks 1 language?
A: An American
We actively seek out and "stomp" on those who do not speak English even among their friends.
Overheard in a grocery store by someone waiting in line behind a woman talking on her cell phone in another language. Ahead of her as a white man. After the woman hangs up he speaks up.In the spirit of inclusion, during foreign language week this year, it was decided that Pledge of Allegiance*, should be given in Arabic (It was recited in two different languages the two days before).
Man: "I didn't want to say anything while you were on the phone but you are in America now. You need to speak English."
Woman: "Excuse me?"
Man: [talks slow] "If you want to speak Mexican, go back to Mexico. In America, we speak English."
Woman: "Sir, I was speaking Navajo. If you want to speak English, go back to England."
(yes I know it's a facebook meme, I just couldn't find it)
And this prompted an angry outcry (though there wasn't an angry outcry during the first two days)
PINE BUSH - An effort to celebrate national Foreign Language Week by reading the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic Wednesday has polarized Pine Bush High School into angry factions.FoxNews got into the act (of course, how could they not) and said that the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic would encourage Muslim youth to join ISIS. smh The young man who recited the pledge has been called a terrorist.
The morning's regularly scheduled announcements included the Arabic reading of the pledge. According to students, the announcement was greeted by catcalls and angry denunciations in classrooms throughout the school by students who felt the reading was inappropriate.
- Times Herald Record
Angry people demanded that the school apologize
“I would ask what he would be apologizing for exactly. Was his apology directed at those who have spread anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry with hostile comments about this Pledge of Allegiance?” says Hooper [spokesperson for CAIR]. “I mean, what could be more quintessentially American than offering the Pledge of Allegiance no matter what language it’s in.” - WAMCThat hostility is the same sort that my grandparents faced and feared in the run up to our entry into WWII.
Through all of this I have been reminded of an episode of "The Waltons." It probably was the most transformative episode of the program I ever watched. It was aired in Oct of 1976, I was 14. Episode 5 of Season 5, "The Firstorm."
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in 1937, John Boy Walton (Richard Thomas) decides to publish excerpts from Hitler's Mien Kampf in his newspaper. Not because he is a Nazi or a Nazi sympathizer but because Hitler laid out his plans for Europe in the book and he wants his fellows to know. He wants to shine light into the darkness, to overcome ignorance with knowledge. He wants, in the very finest of the tradition of Sun Tzu for his fellows to know the enemy they may be fighting.
He and his family are targeted as Nazis. They are threatened. He also finds out there is a woman in the village who speaks German, but doesn't want it known for she fears she will also be targeted.
That fear was very real back then. My grandparents felt it, others in other cities and towns across the US were targetted. And along with the American-Japanese we did intern a few German-American citizens too.
The village minister (John Ritter) calls him out in a sermon and even plans a book burning. His plan is to "symbolically" burn Mein Kampf, but someone else finds more books in German to add to the fire. John Boy tries to stop them, in a speech I cannot transcribe because I get too emotional hearing it, even now. Then he finds, in the pile of books to burn a book that they, the Christians they think themselves to be, should revere. It's a Bible in German.
The school did apologize for the pledge being said in Arabic and said it would only be said in English from now on. Even though there is no official mandate that that is the only language it's supposed to be said in. But should they have?
No one cared about the other two languages it was said in. It was inclusive that that was fine. Only ignorance, fear and hatred, pumped up by a network and a party that has a vested interest in making it so, makes it so.
Is this all it takes, for something to be in Arabic? Is that all it takes to divide, to call up the hatred? Not what the words mean, but the language they are spoken in?
They would then burn a Bible in Arabic? (it is translated in many different languages, including Arabic)
If the words don't matter, ONLY the language they are spoken in then by all means vilify and burn this:
3 طوبى للمساكين بالروح .لان لهم ملكوت السموات .
4 طوبى للحزانى .لانهم يتعزون .
5 طوبى للودعاء .لانهم يرثون الارض .
6 طوبى للجياع والعطاش الى البر .لانهم يشبعون .
7 طوبى للرحماء .لانهم يرحمون .
8 طوبى للانقياء القلب .لانهم يعاينون الله .
9 طوبى لصانعي السلام .لانهم ابناء الله يدعون .
10 طوبى للمطرودين من اجل البر .لان لهم ملكوت السموات .
11 طوبى لكم اذا عيّروكم وطردوكم وقالوا عليكم كل كلمة شريرة من اجلي كاذبين .
12 افرحوا وتهللوا .لان اجركم عظيم في السموات .فانهم هكذا طردوا الانبياء الذين قبلكم
It's in Arabic after all. You have no clue what is there. It might be from the Quran. You've shown it's not the content that matters only the language its delivered in. Show your ignorance and hatred to the world. And in the process stop calling yourselves Christian or even an American.
You've taken freedom away from others.
If the video isn't working try this link - the book burning starts at 44:18