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Freedom Fries: The Remix

« March 2015 »

Memo to Zuhdi Yasser and most of Pine Bush, NY: YOU ARE DUMB.

This is why we can't have nice things, you know.

You know what's a nice thing? Learning about other languages and cultures. It help makes you aware that there's an entire world out there, and that not all of it is American and not all of it speaks English. It helps fight xenophobia and jingoism except when it totally triggers it like a bell triggers Pavlov's rabid dog.

The language department of Pine Bush High School in the uncivilized part of New York State decided to celebrate foreign languages by reading the Pledge of Allegiance in a different language each day. One of those languages? Arabic.

I think we can all know exactly what followed. And exactly how ugly it was. And how wrong it was. I could provide examples, but there's a picture accompanying stories about this of a car in a parking lot. Soaped on the window? "This is America, we speak English."

Yes, and we speak other things too, and also there is more than America and they speak other things there and the school actually teaches other languages that's why there was a language department to do this in the first place and just fucking die already, OK?

That said, if I must give an example of something, let's turn to the commentary on this story on Fox News, bastion of even-handed level-headedness.

First, a story on the Fox News website claimed that students heard the Pledge as "One nation, under Allah", which, of course, didn't happen. The plan wasn't to speak one word of the Pledge in a foreign language. So what the students heard included the Arabic words for "one", "nation", and "under" too. It's almost as if the story was worded to create an inflammatory phrase that would make stupid people angry.

And then Fox and Friends had Zuhdi Jasser on. Jasser is one of those brown people who makes his living telling white people that the other brown people are coming to get them. And also say horribly racist and jingoistic things to give white people cover for thinking them.

The first thing Jasser claimed was that speaking Arabic while we were at war with radical Islam was like speaking German during World War II, which is true, in that xenophobic assholes would have treated them like the enemy and been completely unjustified in doing so, and wrong in every other way a thing can be wrong.

And then Jasser suggested that reciting the Pledge in Arabic might encourage young Muslims to join ISIS. Which is not only wrong, but is in fact the precise diametric opposite of right. Because if anything, beyond mental instability, would encourage a young Muslim-American in New York to join ISIS, it's his entire community, plus a national cable news network, telling him that his native language (assuming it even IS his native language) makes him The Enemy. So, nice job, assholes.

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