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Jan 21, 2009

Bridges

After many years of working in other roles as a researcher, teacher, software developer and more than I will probably ever remember I ended up as a translator. There were many reasons for this, and there are many reasons why I love the profession and can picture myself being involved with it as long as my mental capacities remain intact in very old age. Communication and ideas are important to me, and translation is the medium for communicating across language divides between cultures and countries.

For the past eight years I have watched with anguish as communication has been perverted to political ends and has often been reduced to a farce on the world stage. There has been too much spoken from the barrel of a gun and too many lies force-fed to people often too stupefied to think for themselves any more. At a time when the armed forces of my native country suffers from a desperate shortage of translators and interpreters skilled in Arabic, many of those in uniform with the necessary skills were discharged as unfit because of their sexual orientation. While the color of one's skin may no longer have mattered as much as it did fifty years ago, under the Bush regime, it was all too clear that the content of one's character was not a positive, primary consideration.

Tonight I listened with tears to the words of a man who has taken on a great challenge to right some great wrongs and try to steer a course through difficult economic waters. I do not know whether he will succeed or whether he and his administration will be wrecked by one or more of the many hazards to be navigated. But I am pleased that we once again have a man in the office of the president of the United States of America who has the willingness to listen, to think and to serve interests beyond those of a narrow circle. I am pleased to see a president who is capable of showing respect to adversaries, and whom I believe sets a moral example in tolerance, compassion and family values. And I think that whatever the success of his presidency, he will approach the tasks ahead of him with the courage, concentration and agility they require.

I hope that my international friends and those who are open to the possibility of friendship will see an extended hand and not a clenched fist from the country of my birth and that we translators can enjoy many future opportunities to build bridges of language over which convoys of peace and prosperity can travel.

2 comments:

  1. Beautifully put. I had tears in my eyes too when this man was elected.

    I believe America has turned a corner. Away from materialistic overconsumption. Towards a generosity of sharing. Sharing its innate creativity, depth of scientific knowledge and can-do spirit. But first, the demons that have brought it to its knees through a complete perversion of its financial systems must be exorcised.

    America is truly a child of the entire world. Language plays an important role in bridging cultures. So does a nation such as the US.

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  2. There is so much to be put right that I'm not sure four terms in office would suffice. But at least the US is lucky enough once again to have a president who is able to think before shooting. We'll see where it goes from here; I have great hopes for my former classmate, but he's not the Messiah, and millions will have to join him in working earnestly and intelligently for reform.

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