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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:45 AM
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Arab Nationalism Run Rampant at Middlebury
Interesting opinion piece on Yahoo. Mr. Salameh is a native of Lebanon.

Franck Salameh
Fri Aug 18, 7:30 AM ET

At Middlebury College's Arabic Summer School, where I recently taught Arabic, students were exposed to more than intensive language instruction. Inside the classroom and across campus, administrators and language teachers adhered to a restrictive Arab-nationalist view of what is generically referred to as the "Arab world." In practice, this meant that the Middle East was presented as a mono-cultural, exclusively Arab region. The time-honored presence and deep-rooted histories of tens of millions of Kurds, Assyrians, Copts, Jews, Maronites, and Armenians--all of whom are indigenous Middle Easterners who object to an imputed "supra-Arab" identity--were dismissed in favor of a reductionist, ahistorical Arabist narrative. Those who didn't share this closed view of the Middle East were made to feel like dhimmi--the non-Muslim citizens of some Muslim-ruled lands whose rights are restricted because of their religious beliefs.


In maps, textbooks, lectures, and other teaching materials used in the instruction of Arabic,Israel didn't exist, and the overarching watan 'Arabi (Arab fatherland) was substituted for the otherwise diverse and multi-faceted "Middle East." Curious and misleading geographical appellations, such as the "Arabian Gulf" in lieu of the time-honored "Persian Gulf," abounded. Syria's borders with its neighbors were marked "provisional," and Lebanon was referred to as a qutr (or "province") of an imagined Arab supra-state.

Nor was the Arabic school's narrow definition of Middle Eastern culture restricted to the classroom. Alcohol was prohibited during school events and student parties, and although a school official claimed the ban reflected Middlebury's campus policy, beer and wine flowed freely during cookouts and gatherings organized by the German, French, and Spanish schools. Banning alcohol is a matter of Islamic practice and personal interpretation--not accepted behavior throughout the Middle East--and reflected the Arabic school's conflation of Arabic with Islamic. Similarly, the Arabic school's dining services conformed to the halal dietary restrictions of Islam, an act implying that all Arabic speakers are Muslims, and that all Muslims are observant; yet less that 20 percent of the Arabic school community was Muslim. No such accommodations were made for Jewish students who kept kosher, even though they outnumbered the Muslims.

Arab nationalism was also evident in the school's official posture toward America's national holidays. The Arabic school was alone among Middlebury programs to ignore Fourth of July festivities. Worse, visiting faculty from the Middle East cold-shouldered older students sporting the closely cropped hair, courteous manners, and discipline suggesting membership in the U.S. armed forces. Most students and faculty avoided contact altogether with those dubbed hukuma (government) or jaysh (army).

<snip>

http://news.yahoo.com/s/realclearpolitics/20060818/cm_r...
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:51 AM
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1. ugh nt
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:54 AM
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ugh what?
not a very elucidating comment.
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:00 AM
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4. the new master race spreads like a cancer on society
exclusionary religion preaching hate.

there, more elucidating?

Msongs
www.msongs.com/political-shirts.htm
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. No. n/t
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matcom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:55 AM
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3. from the last paragraph
"The same Arabist orthodoxy that seeks to indoctrinate summer language students in Vermont is at work every day in classrooms across the country, where professors whose vision is limited by ideological blinders ill serve their students and the nation."

:eyes:
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panader0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:54 AM
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2. Arabs have become the latest racist craze in the US
Why some people need someone else to feel superior to is beyond me. I think cultural diversity is a wonderful thing. It's the spice of life. What fun would it be if everyone was the same? What if everyone was the same color, same facial features, same sex, what fun would that be?
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. I think some folks here can distinguish between ethnicity & philosophy...
The dangers of Islamist philosophy have no more to do with someone's ethnicity than do the dangers of Christianist philosophy. We're in a sorry state if we can't talk about the dangers of certain philosophies.
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a la izquierda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:06 AM
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6. If this is true...
this is extraordinarily frightening. However, one can't make too much of this. Crazed American nationalism has taken over this country since 2001. I find that to be more of a threat than Arab nationalism (though either instance is wrong).
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:09 AM
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7. sounds like a christian school near here
to bad reality is far different than what they "teach"
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
9. Many foreign language departments mirror the cultures
of the societies that the languages are spoken in. More so with lesser taught languages that are given their own governance.

This plays into the Title VI controversy from 2002. Title VI, among a number of other things, was to produce specialists to staff the translation/interpretation services of US government and business. But in every department I know, East Asian, Near Eastern, Slavic--students that were interested in the language per se and not in the linguistics, culture, or literature were denied funding.

It actually led to students being denied admission if their track-record didn't show clearly enough that they wanted into the program to get PhDs to do research. And to faculty asking those that got in if they wanted to research or do something else; students in the Slavic program I was in learned to lie.

Better to be a librarian than an NSA translator during the Cold War. If the USSR found out that you trained CIA/NSA folk, *you* would be denied collaboration with Soviet researchers. It's worse in depts. where most of the faculty are immigrants, they frequently bring their politics with them.

I hope to audit Arabic this fall. I won't say why I'm taking the course. I know better.
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