Friday, October 3, 2014

从香港抗议看“法制”、自由与英文语言的必要 Rule of Law vs. Rule by Law

From Hong Kong Protest to See Rule of Law, British Colonial Tradition and the Importance of English Language


By Kai Chen 陈凯, October 3, 2014

As I watched the BBC coverage on Hong Kong student protest, I deeply sensed a very disturbing and sad phenomenon – an entirely opposite interpretation of the British tradition of Rule of Law from its original meaning by a Chinese speaking population.  As some physical altercation broke out between pro-Beijing Chinese speaking mobs and mostly English speaking student protesters, a Beijing’s mouthpiece appearing on BBC accused the student of violating “rule of law”.  And the students on the program somehow are acquiescent of such absurd accusation, using “civil disobedience” as their only defense.  I observed a horrible mal-interpretation of the concept of “rule of law”.  And such misunderstanding of the concept will possibly lead to meaningless actions and negative consequences, even tragedy. 

Under the British rule before 1997, English language is the basis to understanding legal and political terms and concepts.  And the concept of “rule of law” was based on the principle that freedom is God-given and laws are human attempt to safeguard individual freedom by curbing human abuses from the government.  Hong Kong residents, though without election, enjoyed maximum individual freedom with minimum government corruption.  This situation has been gradually reversed with the British departure in 1997.  The influx of Chinese speaking government officials and mainland residents gradually erodes the “rule of law”.  Instead, “rule by law” increasing becomes the norm. 

In Chinese language, there is no difference between “rule of law” and “rule by law”.   They are all mixed together into two characters “Fa Zhi”.  Yet the two concepts are entirely opposite to each other:  “Rule of law” as understood with English language is to ensure that government be not governed by some dictator’s whim to trample on individuals’ freedoms.  “Rule by law” as commonly understood in Chinese is that government has the ultimate authority to make laws to control the individuals and govern the society.  The former is for freedom.  The latter is for slavery and despotism. 

Since 1997, rule of law and individual freedom have been gradually and unmistakably eroded and taken away.  More and more, fear of government, corruption of government officials, self-censorship of the media, toeing government official lines and a Fascist tendency of businesses serving Beijing’s government interests become prevalent.  Now the “White Paper” Beijing issued to blatantly violate the “Basic Law” established to safeguard Hong Kong people’s freedom was the result of more than a decade of cultural erosion.  A despotic culture aimed only to preserve the power of the government and the interests of those who are associated with Beijing gradually stifles the way of life Hong Kong residents enjoyed, even took for granted, under the British rule.  Fear replaces joy and achievement to have become the new norm of Hong Kong.  Lies, falsehood and dead silence in the face of injustice and repression, all in the name of unity, peace, maintaining status quo in order not to offend Beijing masters permeated a culture in which a moral standard of human contact and doing business was a general rule.  Lawlessness from Beijing and the despotic Chinese cultural tradition of parental government and infantile people dependent on the rulers have edged away individual freedom under the British rule.  Now the same rhetoric from those with confused mind and fear of government to defend Beijing’s “rule by law” comes out again and again to attack the student protesters. 

Who has broken the law in the first place?  It is not the students.  It is Beijing and the communist party-dynasty which bases their legitimacy only by the muzzles of guns and by lies and deceptions.  Who will be the ultimate victims of such lawlessness in Hong Kong?  It is not just the students.  It is the entire population of Hong Kong and especially the business community.  Without trust and with a moral code broken down under Beijing’s iron fist, no meaningful transaction of values will happen.  True stability will disappear with Beijing’s irrational orders aimed only to save the communist dynasty.  Instead, stagnation and silence will reign supreme and the population of Hong Kong will be “Zombified” to become soulless walking dead. 

I am glad to have witnessed that most Hong Kong student protesters are English-proficient.  They are able to communicate with the rest of the world with logic and reason, thanks to English language.  There is an unmistakable gap of understanding the world between those who speak English language and those who are stuck with their ancient irrational mother tone.  With a logical language, questioning Beijing’s government and its legitimacy is a natural extension of using the language.  This is probably the most conspicuous difference between Hong Kong protesters and the crowd on Tiananmen Square in 1989. 

In the long run, the student protesters with their goal to ensure a genuine election and democracy in Hong Kong are protecting Hong Kong’s business interest and prosperity, not harming it.  Those who have come out to criticize the student protesters should understand their own mal-interpretation of “rule of law”, confusing with their Chinese despotic tradition of “rule by law”.  They should also understand Hong Kong must go forward toward a future of freedom, not being dragged backward toward a hopeless and soulless existence under the guns of their Beijing masters.  Most of all, they should keenly understand the fundamental premises of “rule of law” – Freedom is God-given, not bestowed upon them by government as some beneficent charity. 
Thomas Bartlett: 

Very eloquent and correct. May I forward this to the China-POL list?

Thomas Bartlett
Visitng Professor
Stanford University

Yesterday at 12:31pm · 10/3/14


Kai Chen: Absolutely Thomas. Please spread this message. It is very important for HK student and people who support the protest to understand the moral foundation of their argument.
Yesterday at 3:23pm · 10/3/14


Personal bio of Professor Thomas Bartlett: 

Thomas Bartlett has taught modern and classical Chinese at Cambridge (1975-76), Princeton (1977-79), Harvard (1987-94), Johns Hopkins (1995-96), and La Trobe (1996-1999) Universities, and modern Chinese at Middlebury (1973, 1983, 1987), Wellesley (1986), and Swarthmore (1987) Colleges, before coming to Stanford in 2010. He received the BA (cum laude) in Classics at Harvard (1961), with a thesis on Aeschylus' drama "Agamemnon", read in Greek. Five years' residence (1967-72) as a student in Taipei, Taiwan, ROC, led to receipt of the MA (1972) in early Chinese history at National Taiwan University, with a thesis on Confucian historiographical thought. In 1978 Bartlett was a finalist in the Department of State's selection of a full-time Mandarin interpreter. In 1980 he resided in Beijing, PRC, for six months as interpreter and translator for a major international corporation in contract negotiations with various Chinese official and commercial entities. In 1985 he completed the PhD at Princeton, with a dissertation on Gu Yanwu (1613-82), a classical scholar whose encyclopedic record of China's cultural heritage is widely recognized as an invaluable resource by modern researchers, and whose study of poetic rhymes was very influential in the history of Chinese linguistics. In 1987 Bartlett declined the award of a Mellon post-doctoral fellowship, when told by the offering institution that affirmative action guidelines would make him uncompetitive for a subsequent teaching position there. In 1989 his proficiency in Chinese was graded at level 4 (of 5) by the US Foreign Service Institute. From mid-1989 through 1994, Bartlett was Professor of Chinese Language and Director of Harvard's Chinese Language Program. In 1995-96 he was Director of the Language Teaching Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. From 1996 to 2010, he lived in Melbourne, Australia, and taught Chinese history at La Trobe University. His published writings have included articles on Gu Yanwu, on early Chinese history and, recently, a survey history of China's Song dynasty (960-1279), in Berkshire Encyclopedia of China. He is currently interested in the history of the word "Zhongguo", meaning "Central State", now usually translated as "China", and looks forward to publishing his doctoral dissertation.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

香港抗议是中共党朝灭亡的开始 Hong Kong Protest Spells the Beginning of the End of CCP Dynasty

Hong Kong Protest Spells the Beginning of the End of CCP Dynasty
Xi Jinping Could Be China’s Last Communist Ruler

Larry Diamond is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Director of Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.

At this point, China can neither negotiate nor repress the mass demonstrations

The recent eruption of popular outrage was prompted by Beijing’s decision, announced at the end of August, to defer indefinitely the dream of democratic self-governance in Hong Kong. China’s rulers have now delivered an Iranian-style interpretation of “universal suffrage”: everyone can vote, but only for candidates approved by the real rulers. Instead of “one country, two systems,” Hong Kong is getting “one country, one autocracy,” with increasing concentration of economic power and shrinking media and academic freedom.

Hong Kong’s youthful demonstrators are economically worried, but even more so, they are politically indignant. Many, like the 17-year-old student protest leader Joshua Wong, were born after the handover and raised in a prosperous, civically vibrant, and open society. They grew up tweeting and texting, and they see democratic self-governance as both their natural right and their constitutional promise. Many older Hong Kongers remember colonial rule, and cherish the civil freedoms and rule of law that they now see eroding under the lengthening shadow of economic and political control from Beijing. No one knows what percentage of Hong Kong’s population is willing to risk prosperity to press democratic demands to the limit. But hundreds of thousands of protestors and sympathizers view Beijing’s political intransigence as an existential threat to Hong Kong’s future.

This was an avoidable crisis. Over the years, many creative ideas have been floated to realize “gradual and orderly progress” toward democracy. China’s Communist leaders could have negotiated with moderate Hong Kong democrats to gradually expand the range of candidates permitted to contest Chief Executive elections, and to move in stages to a fully directly elected legislature (30 of the 70 members are now elected by narrow functional constituencies). Political compromise could have fashioned a popular majority accepting patient progress. What Hong Kong got instead was no negotiations and no progress, but rather an authoritarian imposition thinly masquerading as popular sovereignty.

Beijing’s intransigence was never solely about Hong Kong, and neither are the current protests. This is a struggle for the future of China itself. President Xi and his fellow Party bosses are consumed with fear that they will meet the same fate as Mikhail Gorbachev if they do not maintain tight, centralized political control. Xi will pursue economic reform. He will try to purge the party and state of brazen corruption (while also purging his rivals along the way). But political reform is ruled out. So, even, is discussion (or teaching or tweeting) about such concepts as “universal values,” “freedom of speech,” “civil society” and “judicial independence.

China is changing rapidly in the wake of rapid economic growth. A civil society is slowly rising, alongside a pragmatic and more independent-minded business class. People now debate issues through social media, even with state controls. The middle class is traveling and gaining exposure to democratic ideas and freedoms, most dangerously, in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Ironically, during this long holiday week when China celebrates its National Day (and now the 65th anniversary of the Communist Revolution), many Chinese vacationing in Hong Kong are suddenly watching a very different kind of revolution.

China’s rulers are now stuck in a trap of their own making. If they brutally repress mass demonstrations, as they did a quarter century ago, they will gravely damage their international legitimacy, wreck prospects for closer relations with Taiwan, and destroy the civic fabric of Hong Kong. If they do what they should have done months ago — negotiate — they fear they will look to be capitulating to mass pressure, thereby inviting more of it in a country where hundreds of local-level protests erupt daily. Thus they will probably wait, hoping the protests will ebb, while preserving the option of dumping the current Chief Executive, C.Y. Leung, as a sacrificial lamb.

If the protests persist and grow, China’s Communist rulers will face an awful choice, and they may well repeat the tragic mistake of 1989. But this is not the China of 25 years ago. Xi Jinping can no more will an emergent civil society out of existence than King Canute could command the tides of the sea to recede. But alas, King Canute understood the natural limits to his power. Xi Jinping does not appear to do so, and this is why he could well be China’s last Communist ruler.

Larry Diamond is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Director of Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

陈凯评论/李娜退役 Kai Chen on Li Na's Retirement

Kai Chen on Li Na's Retirement







2002年底,李娜离开大陆国家队,因为她与当时的队友、后来的丈夫姜山的恋爱,遭到官方反对。而且李娜请求拥有个人教练,而不是共用教练,也被拒绝。2009年,李娜聘请了瑞典籍前国家网球队教练——托马斯.霍格斯泰特(Thomas Hogstedt),当自己的专属技术教练。 







19号,李娜在微博中发出退役告别信,用了21 个〝感谢〞表达了对父母、丈夫、启蒙教练和经纪公司、媒体等的谢意,甚至包括传闻中与她不和的大陆体育界官员,唯独没有提一句〝感谢党〞。 

采访编辑/唐音 后制/肖颜 

Friday, August 15, 2014

新片推荐 - 救世主 New Movie Introduction - The Giver

新片推荐 - 救世主 
New Movie Introduction - The Giver

陈凯一语:Kai Chen's Words: 

"The Giver" is a newly released movie depicting a society where people have given up their freedoms for security.  This is where Obama and the American left want to lead you.  Do you want to live in a perfect society with great harmony like this one?  Think again. 

新片“救世主” 描述了一个全新的完美社会。 在这个社会中人们为了和平与安全放弃了自由与尊严。 这就是奥巴马与美西左派奢望建立的乌托邦社会。 你真想在这种社会中生活吗? 请三思。
Plot Summary: 

The haunting story of "The Giver" centers on Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver (Jeff Bridges), who is the sole keeper of all the community's memories, Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community's secret past. With this newfound power of knowledge, he realizes that the stakes are higher than imagined - a matter of life and death for himself and those he loves most. At extreme odds, Jonas knows that he must escape their world to protect them all - a challenge that no one has ever succeeded at before. "The Giver" is based on Lois Lowry's beloved young adult novel of the same name, which was the winner the 1994 Newbery Medal and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

Read more: The Giver Trailer, News, Videos, and Reviews |
Follow us: @ComingSoonNet on Twitter | ComingSoon on Facebook

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dinesh D'souza vs. Bill Ayers - Why is America so Great?! 假如这个世界没有美国

Dinesh D'souza vs. Bill Ayers - Why is America so Great?!

“America is the greatest, freest and most decent society in existence. It is an oasis of goodness in a desert of cynicism and barbarism. This country, once an experiment unique in the world, is now the last best hope for the world.”  
Dinesh D'Souza

“...capitalism satisfied the Christian demand for an institution that channels selfish human desire toward the betterment of society. Some critics accuse capitalism of being a selfish system, but the selfishness is not in capitalism - it is in human nature.”
Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About Christianity

“I now want to examine a second major feature of Western civilization that derives from Christianity. This is what philosopher Charles Taylor calls the 'affirmation of ordinary life.' It is the simple idea that ordinary people are fallible, and yet these fallible people matter. In this view, society should organize itself in order to meet their everyday concerns, which are elevated into a kind of spiritual framework. The nuclear family, the idea of limited government, the Western concept of the rule of law, and our culture's high emphasis on the relief of suffering all derive from this basic Christian understanding of the dignity of fallible human beings.”
Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About Christianity

“The life of West, Nietzsche said, is based on Christianity. The values of the West are based on Christianity. Some of these values seem to have taken a life of their own, and this gives us the illusion that we can get rid of Christianity and keep the values. This, Nietzsche says, is an illusion...Remove the Christian foundation, and the values must go too.”
Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About Christianity

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

陈凯呼吁美国人拒绝中共洗脑 抵制孔子学院 Kai Chen Calls for Abolishing Confucius Institutes in the West

陈凯呼吁美国人拒绝中共洗脑 抵制孔子学院
Kai Chen Calls for Abolishing Confucius Institutes in the West


图片: 中国人权关注者陈凯。 (大纪元/记者CK)









My Twilight Years ~ Clint Eastwood

As I enjoy my twilight years, I am often struck by the inevitability that the party must end. There will be a clear, cold morning when there isn't any "more." No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat.
It seems to me that one of the important things to do before that morning comes, is to let every one of your family and friends know that you care for them by finding simple ways to let them know your heartfelt beliefs and the guiding principles of your life so they can always say, "He was my friend, and I know where he stood."
So, just in case I'm gone tomorrow, please know this: I voted against that incompetent, lying, flip-flopping, insincere, double-talking, radical socialist, terrorist excusing, bleeding heart, narcissistic, scientific and economic moron currently in the White House!
Participating in a gun buy-back program because you think that criminals have too many guns is like having yourself castrated because you think your neighbors have too many kids.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

陈凯转载/一个自由人的个体操守 Personal Character of a Free Being

Personal Character of a Free Being


一个自由灵魂的个体道德操守经常体现在他/她要求自己不去/不能做什么,而不是自己做过什么。 他/她是一个依原则而生活的人,而不是一个用利益的考量而定义自身的人。 

Kai Chen's Words: 

Indeed, a free being's moral character is often reflected/revealed on what he/she does not do, rather than what he/she has done. He/she is a principled being of greatness, rather than a moral pervert defined only by calculation of gains and losses in physical world. 

精神强大的人 不会做的13件事: 













他们并非鲁莽的去冒显性的危险,而是不介意冒预计的风险。在做重大决定之前,精神强大的人会花时间衡量风险和成本,在采取行动之前他们能充分的预知潜在的风险。 你可能对此方面的信息感兴趣:积极的人不会做的十件事。 














精神强大的人努力的改善他们的健康。 当他们从头开始一项新的事业,他们不会期待马上就能获得成。 相反,他们会发挥其最佳能力使用他们的技能和时间并明白真正的改变需要时间。


13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do 

Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. Check out these things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become more mentally strong. 

1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves 

Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair. 

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power 

They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond. 

3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change 

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt. 

4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control 

You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude. 

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone 

Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy. 

6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks 

They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action. 

You may be interested in this too: 14 Things Positive People Don’t Do 

7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past 

Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future. 

8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over 

Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future. 

9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success 

Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success. 

10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure 

Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right. 

11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time 

Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone. 

12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything 

Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits. 

13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results 

Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

BBC纪录片:中国是怎样愚弄世界的 BBC Documentary: How China Fooled The World

China is now the second largest economy in the world and for the last 30 years China's economy has been growing at an astonishing rate. While Britain has been in the grip of the worst recession in a generation, China's economic miracle has wowed the world. 

It is a story of spending and investment on a scale never seen before in human history -- 30 new airports, 26,000 miles of motorways and a new skyscraper every five days have been built in China in the last five years. But, in a situation eerily reminiscent of what has happened in the west, the vast majority of it has been built on credit. 

This has now left the Chinese economy with huge debts and questions over whether much of the money can ever be paid back. Interviewing key players including the former American treasury secretary Henry Paulson, Lord Adair Turner, former chairman of the FSA, and Charlene Chu, a leading Chinese banking analyst, Robert Peston reveals how China's extraordinary spending has left the country with levels of debt that many believe can only end in an economic crash with untold consequences for us all.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Poem by Bei Ming - I am "Tank Man" 北明 诗 - 我是王维林 (天安门大屠杀二十五年纪念)

A Poem by Bei Ming - I am "Tank Man"  
北明 诗 - 我是王维林 (天安门大屠杀二十五年纪念)

Translator's Forewords - "Anthem" by Ayn Rand

序者:陈凯   Forewords by Kai Chen 
2006-04-02 16:55:45 


有什么能比这情景更自我嘲弄和自我讽刺的了呢? 在一个没有个体概念的文化环境中,人们拿什么去争取民主呢?用一个压迫个体的整体去代替另一个压迫个体的整体吗?“爱国”,去爱一个压迫个人,压迫自身的国家吗?有人半开玩笑的说出了真情:“毛泽东每次用95%的人去整剩下的5%的人,把中国人整了一遍。”“我是为人民服务的,又不是为你服务的”论调在中国到处可闻。“又不是我一个人”和“我一个人有什么用”成了中国几乎每一个人推卸责任与为所欲为的借口。在天安门惨案后的今天,海内外的中国人和关心中国的所有人们都认识到中国应该变。但用什么去变?变向何处?改革的意义在哪?民主的原则又是什么?是用理性之剑去澄清黄河之水,让它为人造福还是再用混浊的感性之泥去给那已经腐朽不堪的黄河之堤修修补补呢?希特勒的国家社会主义,邓小平的中国式现代化,以及中国与世界历代专制者的共同点在哪里呢?



安-兰德女士(Ayn Rand)在希特勒,斯大林时代的昨天,五十多年以前,就用“国歌”这部神话般美妙的小说一针见血地阐述了“个人与自我是人类社会进步的源泉”这一哲理。她的故事中的许多情节我想是几乎所有的中国人都有其亲身体验的。安.兰德女士用她那富有想象力的,简洁的语言说出了至今大多数中国人(虽然他们已经饱受其害)还没有认识到的简单而又极深刻的哲理。就是那几个简单的字所包融的含义,那几个字:人,个人,我,自我。



【《国歌》(Anthem)是安-兰德(Ayn Rand)创作的小说,最初发表于1938年,陈凯翻译。】


“国歌”- 安.兰德 著,陈凯 译 
"ANTHEM" by Ayn Rand (In Chinese) Translation by Kai Chen

请阅读 ”国歌“ 全文 

* Links to all the chapters of "Anthem" 国歌:

Author: Ayn Rand 安. 兰德 Translator: Kai Chen 陈凯 ”译者序“ ”作者前言“ ”第一章“ ”第二章“ ”第三章“ ”第四章“ ”第五章“ ”第六章“ ”第七章“ ”第八章“ ”第九章“ ”第十章“ ”第十一章“ ”第十二章“ 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sir Anthony Hopkins Hears The Waltz He Wrote 50 Years Ago 华尔兹/生命的激情与美好

Sir Anthony Hopkins Hears The Waltz He Wrote 50 Years Ago For The First Time. I’m Left Speechless

一个激情的人首次听到了他五十年前所谱的华尔兹 - 生命的激情与美好。
For the first time in his life, actor Sir Anthony Hopkins hears a waltz piece he wrote 50 years ago called “And The Waltz Goes On”. Played by Dutch violinist Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra, Rieu named one of his albums after the song.

Friday, March 14, 2014

陈凯访谈 - 自由,专制,语言,毛像、、、 Kai Chen Interview on Glazov Gang - Freedom, Despotism, Language, Mao...

The Glazov Gang-Kai Chen's Escape From China's Tyranny.

Jamie wrote: "NEW BLOCKBUSTER Glazov Gang with China's Basketball Superstar Kai Chen Kai shares his journey out of the tyranny of communist China to the liberty of America, explains how language shapes totalitarianism and freedom, how Obama has annihilated America as a moral leader in the world, and much, much more. Don't miss it!
Exclusive: Arabs’ Language Oppression Squelches Intellectual Growth
by DR. SAMI ALRABAA July 31, 2009
We Arabs not only suffer from lack of political and religious freedom, and economic backwardness, but we also suffer from a huge language and thinking problem, which hampers civilized change.  

The Arab countries have two levels of language: local Arabic, i.e. national and regional, called language varieties (dialects) versus Standard Arabic. There is Egyptian spoken Arabic, Syrian Arabic, Saudi Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, etc. These dialects are our mother tongues. They are, however confined to daily spoken conversations. We are not allowed to use them in writing, especially in books, print media, school textbooks, and other official documents.

Standard Arabic is the official language across all Arab states. It is not, though, our mother tongue; actually no one speaks this language as a mother tongue, we begin learning it at school at the age of 6 or 7. It is our second language as opposed to our national and regional spoken Arabic which is indeed our mother tongue.

As Standard Arabic has been the language of literacy in the Arab countries for 1400 years, used in poetry and translating scientific books into Arabic (especially during the so-called golden ages), it developed a huge repertoire of vocabulary. Spoken Arabic (dialects), on the other hand, has been stigmatized, colloquial and remained limited to simple daily conversations. The bulk of its vocabulary stayed poor.   

However, when you ask an Arab what their mother tongue is, they would misleadingly say, “It is Arabic,” meaning Standard Arabic, which is not true. Spoken Arabic is our mother tongue.

Both varieties/levels of Arabic share some vocabulary, which very often are differently pronounced. They also completely differ in terms of grammar and sentence structure.  

Middle Eastern Arabs in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, and Palestine use similar spoken Arabics. When they meet and talk they easily understand each other despite diverse local vocabulary and pronunciation variations.

North African Arabs speak almost a completely different spoken Arabic. A Syrian speaking to a Moroccan or Algerian, for instance, would maybe understand five percent.

Standard Arabic is for all Arabs a lingua franca; it is like Latin to the Spaniards, French, or Italians whose national languages stemmed and developed from Latin. As the Roman Empire ruled Spain, France, Italy, and Portugal, Latin was the language of education and science, but people in these countries, due to widespread illiteracy, used their own spoken dialects of Latin, exactly like Arabs are doing.

As Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula invaded what became today’s modern Arab countries, they imposed Arabic as the official language. Local languages like Aramaic, Pharaohnic, Cananic, and Hebrew were banned. As the majority of people in these countries were illiterate, they managed to learn a kind of Arabic, i.e. spoken Arabic, exactly like the Caribbean natives who learned English; a kind of broken English that is grammatically, and in terms of pronunciation, different from Standard English.
Standard Arabic, the official language across the Arab world is archaic, with an archaic grammar and method of analysis and teaching.

Therefore, Arab students find it extremely difficult to learn this language, struggling with its grammar and rigid structure. Arabic Language Councils and the Muslim religious establishment have been adamant against allowing any language reform. They have claimed that it is the language of the holy Koran and hence it is sacred.

While languages like English, French, and German have gone through linguistic reforms, Standard Arabic has not. While all these other languages have incorporated modern vocabulary and modern structures, Standard Arabic Councils have employed a purist custodian role. 

Sixty percent of Arabs are still illiterate or semi-literate and thus they are ostracized from reading and accessing education. The majority of Arabs sparsely read. They hate the pedantic structure of Standard Arabic. Their lack of command of this language forces them to do so. It is like Latin to Spaniards if they were forced to use it.

Standard Arabic is an artificial language. We Arabs do not identify ourselves with this “language.” We are not native to it.

People around the globe, especially Westerners, enjoy reading books because these use a language which is theirs. It reflects their mother tongue, culture, and mindset. Some books become bestsellers, but in the Arab world we lack this natural phenomenon.

In a comment on an article I posted on an Arab site, Wafa Sultan tells the story of her illiterate mother. An Iranian friend spoke Standard Arabic to her mother, but the lady did not understand a word. He was shocked and asked, “How does she understand the news on TV and the radio (which use Standard Arabic)?” Wafa answered, “She doesn’t.” The man concluded that the poor woman is not only imprisoned within the walls of illiteracy, she is ostracized; she does not know what is going on.

Using one’s mother tongue is a basic human right. The UN Charter stresses that. Humans have the right to use their mother tongue, or at least one that is close to it. The Kurds, for example, have been denied this right for decades. And we Arabs are still denied this right. We are forced to use a second language.
Both the Muslim religious establishment and pan-Arabists insist on preserving Standard Arabic as the official language for religious and political reasons.

The religious establishment insists on using Standard Arabic and its sheikhs sound well read and knowledgeable of a language which the majority of Arabs do not understand. Hence, Muslims clerics sound like scholars, and the language of the Koran sounds like really Godly.   

Pan-Arabists claim that Standard Arabic is a factor of unity among the Arab countries.
The truth of the matter is Arab societies have little in common, maybe backwardness and oppression. They are different in terms of language and culture. They all were colonies of the Muslim empire, subjugated by Islam. 

Linguistic research has shown that language and thought go together. When an Arab wants or has to express themselves in a formal setting, they think in their dialect (spoken Arabic) and try to formulate their thoughts in an alien language (a second language), i.e. Standard Arabic. They stumble. Their dialect is poor. It is not equipped with conceptual terms to explain abstract matters, and their Standard Arabic is poor.

For example, when an Arab politician like Amr Mousa, Chairman of the Arab League, improvises a statement he speaks Standard Arabic as though giving strenuous birth. He tries to accommodate his thoughts, embedded in spoken Arabic, into Standard Arabic formulas which rarely make sense. You have to figure out what he tries to say. The result is hazy statements. More often than not, some Arab politicians say things which they do not mean, but they sound literate.

This is one of the reasons why Arabs, in particular politicians, are so confused and vague. They do not know what to say, and if they say something they are not in command of what they say. They lack command of a rich modern means of expression. Therefore, they use repressive means to govern. They lack a flexible, resourceful, sophisticated means of argument. As they do not possess a persuasive language, they resort to repressive violent measures. 

In an Internet forum in Arabic, the majority of contributors hailed the idea of reforming the language situation in the Arab world.

Among other things I suggested melting both spoken Arabic and Standard Arabic in one language. As times passes by, this new language variety would be internalized by everybody and at the end of the day we would have a literate mother tongue through which we think and express ourselves. We do not need to switch between the language we think in and another that is alien to us. Only then Arab thinking would match the reality on the ground. We will be able to say what we really think.

A person who uses a resourceful means of expression as a mother tongue thinks more clearly. And this is exactly what is missing in Arab societies. Contributing Editor Dr. Sami Alrabaa, an ex-Muslim, is a professor of Sociology and an Arab-Muslim culture specialist. He has taught at Kuwait University, King Saud University, and Michigan State University. He also writes for the Jerusalem Post.