There shall be but one language

Are you kidding me.

A public school in New York state’s foreign language department arranged to have “the pledge of allegiance” recited in a different language each day for a week. I despise “the pledge” for many reasons – I think it’s nationalistic, coercive, theocratic, and just generally dopy and obnoxious – but if you’re going to have one, reciting it in different languages is quite a cool idea.

And Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, New York decided to do that and it did it but uh oh uh oh, one of the languages was…brace yourselves…Arabic. Oh no!! Not Arabic!

So people pitched fits and the school said it was so so sorry and will never do it again.

Complaints were received from residents who lost family in Afghanistan and from Jewish parents, an official said.

What’s that got to do with anything?! Arabic is not the language of Afghanistan, and it isn’t invariably the language of anti-Semitism either. It’s a language, not a political affiliation or a party platform.

The school district superintendant, Joan Carbone, told the Times Herald-Record newspaper that the Arabic pledge has “divided the school in half” and that she had received numerous complaints.

A statement from the district apologised “to any students, staff or community members who found this activity disrespectful” and said the reading was intended to “promote the fact that those who speak a language other than English still pledge to salute this great country”.

An Arabic-speaking student read the pledge during morning announcements at Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, New York, on Wednesday.

I bet that student feels super-welcomed and accepted now.

Many students reportedly shouted their disapproval during the recitation, and later complained on social media.

Later in the afternoon, the school’s principal made a school-wide announcement to explain why the pledge was read in Arabic and to apologise for those who took offence.

Ms Carbone said the pledge would only be read in English in the future.

The school’s student leader, Andrew Zink, who is in charge of the morning announcements, told the local newspapers that he knew the reading would attract controversy.

He permitted it to go forward, because he believed it was “the right thing to do”.

But the school unfortunately went belly-up to the ignorant and benighted people who “shouted their disapproval.”


  1. Blanche Quizno says

    The best solution is to stop the Pledge reading altogether.

    @1 theobromine: Precisely. This is one of the places where we see that Yahweh is afraid of its “creation” – the other is in Genesis 3, the Garden of Eden story. After cursing Adam and Eve for being hornswoggled into eating from the Forbidden Tree by a being Yahweh both created AND left running around the Garden, not to mention leaving such a tree within easy reach in the first place, Yahweh suddenly has an “Oh snap!” moment as it realizes it also left the Tree of Eternal Life right there within easy reach! Now that A&E knew stuff, they could be counted upon to run right on over and help themselves, and Yaweh feared the competition, so they got the boot. That wasn’t part of the curse punishment, you see.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    The obvious solution is to recite the pledge in Klingon, every day. No one has ever lost a family member to a Klingon attack, and using a made up language to swear an oath of loyalty to a scrap of cloth seems fitting to me.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    … residents who lost family in Afghanistan …

    What with tourism, business travel, and World Unpleasantnesses One and Two, a thorough search would almost certainly find someone in Pine Bush who’s had a relative die in the United Kingdom: therefore, PB students should never recite the Pledge in English, either.

  4. Al Dente says

    chigau @6

    The two official languages of Afghanistan are Dari, a dialect of Farsi, and Pashto, the native tongue of the Pashtuns, the largest tribe in Afghanistan. Over 95% of Afghans speak Dari as a first or second language.

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