Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When can speaking English result in death?

Although this is generally not a place where I discuss politics, it is a place to think about the use of English in the world. On Sunday night's '60 Minutes' program, I had to consider that sometimes speaking English (in this case, working as a translator in Iraq for American soldiers) can be lethal. Not only have Iraqi translators risked their lives for Americans in combat situations (it's well-known that there are few American soldiers who have gotten training in Iraqi Arabic), but even after they've left their jobs with us, they and their families are targeted by the 'insurgents' and anti-American elements. These English speakers have nowhere to go. What a turning point in their lives! Imagine their initial excitement at getting a paying job from the U.S. government because they were bilingual in English and Arabic.

Here's the '60 Minutes' link for your own contemplation.

1 comment:

tinkerbellchime said...

Thanks for the link to this important article. I feel concern for Rami, his family, and all the others refuges. Life is unfair.