فلسطين (Palestine)

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. Today (22 Nov. 2015) it reports that Israelis are removing Arabic language from signs in Israel.

sign.hebrew.Jerusalem
An Israeli road sign that omits Jerusalem’s Arabic name (‘Al-Quds’), instead using the Hebracized Urshalim.

 

It’s consistent with other measures taken to effect ethnic purity in the Levant. Traditional hasbara students are educated in a set of arguments that proclaims Palestinians  unpersons. I have read handbook-quality materials that seek to “explain” that the first Palestinians came into being on a single day in the 1967 war. It is easier to control a people when that people does not exist.

Arabic does not have a “P” sound in its alphabet, Romance alphabets do; for example, Paris in Arabic language is ‘Baris.’ It would not be phonetically logical to expect to hear the word ‘Palestine’ spoken in Arabic. It makes sense to acknowledge that the English equivalent Philistine begins with an “F” sound. Filistine.

A-boy-with-the-word-PALESTINE-written-on-his-face-takes-part-in-a-protest-against-the-Israeli-blockade-of-the-Gaza-Strip-in-Amman-December-5-2008-Reuters

Image from Palestinian Arabic

There are efforts to force (or phorce) the history of the Palestinians into a more convenient geography that better serves their argument by employing the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent. It’s a method that has been effective ever since Homo sapiens lived in a land without a people.

The British Empire efficiently ran their worldwide enterprise by employing a divide and conquer strategy. Sometimes overlooked was their ability to impose the imperial language upon the occupied. The Palestinian scholar Edward Said, in his seminal work Orientalism published in 1978 described the dynamic. From his birth he found himself split between cultures, with a juxtaposition of the English name Edward and the common Arabic surname Said. This caused some difficulty in the multicultural multi faith city of  Jerusalem. In thought he would begin a sentence in English and end it in Arabic, or vice versa.

quote-every-empire-however-tells-itself-and-the-world-that-it-is-unlike-all-other-empires-edward-said-85-49-00

The same British Empire used a puppet mechanism for control of The Raj in India. It’s not always wonderful to live in a culture that writes in the language of the conqueror. English has become the principal  medium of the written word in Indian literature: English is an unfortunate medium that replaces Hindi, a tongue with deep roots.

Aatish Tameer

Under the British Mandate many worked fiercely to have Hebrew included along with English on public signs, as a signal for their cultural and ethnic identity. The irony of witnessing removal of Arabic on signs is not lost on this author.

 

 

 

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