Wednesday, June 23, 2004

There are no counter-examples

     One may have examined my last two posts and scratched their head and said to themselves "Well, what about..."  I can only find one serious counter-example, which I address here.  I will now address the most obvious examples which might lead one to wonder if there is a linguistic base to terrorism.  Before I get into the examples, please simply imagine how easily negotiations fall apart over small miscommunications, even when both sides are speaking the same language.

Country Issue Language
IsraelPalestiniansMost Palestinians speak Hebrew.  Few Israelis speak Arabic.  Palestinians have to know two languages just to get by in their "own" country.  Imagine having to understand a Russian immigrant in the IDF yelling orders in his accent-ridden Hebrew.  Remember, your life is on the line.  A tribe from Peru was also made honorary Israelis.  Their Hebrew must also be interesting.
ColombiaFARC & ELNThis case is mostly about the drug war, however, the concerns of indigenous populations, speakers of Native American languages, have been adopted by the "terrorists."
MexicoChiapasAgain, the Chiapas rebels adopted the concerns of local Native American speakers, who are most numerous, of all Mexican States, in terms of percentages, in Chiapas.
SwitzerlandFour languagesThe first three, and next eight, Swiss Cantons, spoke German. All but one of the non-German speaking Cantons were conquered by Switzerland, or attached by outside powers.  The law in Switzerland is published in German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romansh.  This is one of the more stable countries on Earth.

No comments: