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viernes, 11 de noviembre de 2011

The language (s) of Arab Spring

Algunos lemas de la protesta en países de Oriente Medio de derecha a izquierda y de abajo hacia arriba: Yemen: ("el pueblo quiere derrocar al régimen"); Libia ("Libertad para el pueblo de Libia); Argelia ("estamos con el pueblo hermano egipcio"); Arabia Saudí ("no nos gusta el asiento de atrás"); Marruecos ("el pueblo quiere un magreb nuevo"; Siria ("la gente quiere un cambio"); Irán ("¿dónde está mi voto?"); Bahrein: ("los ciudadanos de Bahrein contra la clase política"); Omán: ("derrocaremos a la burocracia"); Túnez ("nosotros estamos a favor de Túnez); Iraq ("el pueblo no mendiga solo exige sus derechos); Palestina (el pueblo quiere el fin de la división)

Studying Arab Protest through visual and verbal expressions in its resistance language is a very important and useful method. Lexical expressions like irḥal (go away) or al-ša‘b yurīd isqāḍ al-niẓām (people want to dismantle the system) are embodied in a language that, on one hand, has to organize and to coordinate the protest itself in the midān, neighborhood, mosque and hospitals and, on the other, to express the legitimate claims through electronic and mass media, newspapers and others to the international public opinion.
   Time after time, language shines as an important identity element that, in the case of Arab people, allows to incorporate some existing concepts as ḥurriya l-ta‘bīr (freedom of speech) or ḥurriya al-ṣaḥāfa (freedom of the press) to introduce the meaning of the “Arab Street” as a tool of self determination against corruption, censorship and persecution of several governments. The main weapon of Arab protest, after the model of peaceful mobilization, is the language, not only in grammatical rules of fuṣḥà but also in the wisdom of fresh vocabulary and proverbs of amiya and wusta levels.
   Throughout the twentieth century, Arabic Language underwent a modernization, reform and intellectual adjustment vis a vis the emergence of the economic, cultural and linguistic European influence where nahda´s movement was the preamble for the creation and adaptation of new terms that would help Arab people to demonstrate consensus or disagreements on several social issues in the Middle East Politics. Terms as qablu al-tārīj, telefizion or rādīū were concepts that spread ideologies and contestatory languages like aūrubaharakāt al qaumiya and harakāt al islāmiya, concepts that are not introduced by people in the so called “Arab spring”Thereafter, terms like binlādiniyyaawlamaslāydāt or qama‘stān were widely used to deal with contemporary problems in Middle East after the 9/11events; but now, contestatory and resistance language spreads through social networks as faīs būk or orkuut and even more so through mass media like al-ŷazīra, in an eloquent and clear way to express what people is concerned in modern times and what, why and how they demand it for. So, we have the potential to study the popular Arab demands through their slogans, actions, songs and pamphlets not only in Arabic language but also in English, Farsi and other languages that appeared in the streets since the so called “Tunisia revolution” and even before, in June 2009 in the streets of Teheran.       
   The social and civil demands by people, from I don´t like the back seat in Saudi Arabia, raye man kojast in Iran, irjal in Egypt, al-ša‘b yurīd isqāḍ al-niẓām in Syria and Yemen, al- ḥurriya li -ša‘b lībīa, among others, present itself just as “one wave” in the so called “arab spring” but at the same time each slogan presents itself as a different component of this phenomenon.

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