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The Arabic Language: An intifada



Ed Jajko reports: "In re the politics of language: I recall seeing the movie "My Fair Lady" at the Cinema Rivoli when I was a Fulbrighter in Cairo in the mid-60s. It was presented in English, with Arabic subtitles. There was a jarring moment, a blip, in the Henry Higgins song "Why can't the English teach their children how to speak." It dawned on me only afterwards that the Egyptian censors had clipped out the second or two of the film, and the sound, that carried the words "The Hebrews do it backwards, which is positively frightening."

My comment: Ed reports this in connection with the foreign-language version of "Harry Potter". Reports show the appeal of the Harry Potter films to children all around the world. We would like to know how they were received in Arab and other Muslim countries. Are they dangerous to children? Boys are reported saying that physics and chemistry are a waste of time. Use magic!

Ronald Hilton - 12/17/01


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