ملحوظة لغويه – A Note on Language
The English language is what I do. Its how I plan on eventually providing a living for myself. It’s my passion and my ambition and a subject to which I have dedicated many, MANY years of my time, energy, and absolute love. I truly and honestly love and respect English.
That said, I AM NOT English/American/any other country in which the primary language is English (neither in blood nor in upbringing), and English is not my native tongue or my first learned language. Those indelible titles all go to Arabic. By blood and upbringing and schooling and all those primary, fundamentally important experiences I am an Arab and mighty proud of it.
But, I caught myself the other night doing something that I guess I’ve been unintentionally doing for about a decade now. I was thinking in English. As in my thoughts were being recollected, reorganized, and repeated to me in my head in English and reflexively. That is when I realized that I was beginning to cross a point from which there was no return. I was beginning to lose my Arabic (and all that it entails).
This was a scary yet enlightening sort-of (probably not) epiphany. I had always been a loud and proud Arab and have always taken the chance to let my Arab-ness shine at every chance I got. My heart and soul are honestly engrained in the Arab world and I legitimately care about all things Arab-related and I try my best to reflect my Arab upbringing in all my actions. But I had never really noticed how much of my Arab identity and pride in my heritage I was losing by choosing to speak, write, and even think in English as apposed to Arabic in times when I really didn’t need to (like at times when I’m around Arabic speakers and such).
The Arabic language is beautiful and whenever I read it (which I shamefully don’t do enough of) I am moved by it in ways that English fails in. And as much as I love English, it doesn’t hold a candle to the intrinsic beauty of Arabic. In some respects, Arabic can even be considered as better. The delicate complexity of the Arabic letters, which English lacks, makes Arabic a language which begs to be heard and spoken as opposed to read. The Arabic language wants to be felt rather than analyzed in a way that English COMPLETELY MISSES. To reflect on such a delicate and timeless tradition as that of the Arabic language is truly a thing of beauty.
In light of this realization of mine I am now currently making a conscious effort to speak, write, and, yes, think in Arabic at all possible times. I urge you all to take a look at how you could possibly be betraying your language (whatever it may be) and make a conscious effort to preserve this aspect of your identity which the English language will never, truly, be enough to replace.
Damn you globalization!
Now, I’ll end with the words of one of my favorite inspired, visionary, one of his kind poets, Mahmoud Darweesh, whose work I can proudly say I have only ever read in Arabic (and that’s how its going to be displayed here) and whose words, in thier beautiful Arabic incantation, have driven my eyes to tears and my heart home more times than I can count. This is a poem about stopping to remember the truly important, fleeting parts of ourselves which, in their transient beauty, should never be forgotten.
الآن، إذ تصحو، تذكر
الآن، إذ تصحو، تذكر رقصة البجع الأخيرة.
هل رقصت مع الملائكةِ الصغارِ وأنت تحلمُ؟
هل أضاءتك الفراشةُ عندما احترقت بضوء الوردة الأبدي؟
هل ظهرت لك العنقاءُ واضحةً… وهل نادتك باسمك؟
هل رأيت الفجر يطلع من أصابع من تُحبُّ؟
وهل لمستَ الحُلمَ باليد، أم تركت الُحلمَ يحلُمُ وحدهُ، حيث انتبهت إلى غيابك
ما هكذا يُخْلي المنام الحالمونَ، فإنهم يتوهجون،
ويكملون حياتهم في الحُلمِ..
قل لي كيف كنت تعيش حُلمك في مكان ما،
أقل لك من تكون
والآن إذ تصحو، تذكر:
هل أسأت إلى منامك؟
إن أسأت إذاً تذكر
رقصة البجع الأخيرة!
تُنسى، كأنك لم تكن,
تُنسى، كأنك لم تكن
تُنسى كمصرع طائر
ككنيسة مهجورة تُنسى،
وكوردة في الليل… تُنسى