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Freed Egyptian Activist Speaks Out

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Posted on Dec 28, 2011
Democracy Now!

“Democracy Now!” hears from Alaa Abd El Fattah, a prominent Egyptian activist and blogger just released after 56 days in one of the country’s worst prisons on charges of inciting violence against the military. Fattah, who denies the charges, is optimistic about the revolution “completely renegotiating the order of power in Egypt and across the Arab world.” —ARK

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By gerard, December 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

I admire so much the many people who, like Ala Abd El Fataah, can understand and communicate so clearly in English even when complicated and complex issues are at stake.  It eases my spirit somewhat because many times, in the past, I have doubted and questioned the mixed effects of teaching English as a second language abroad.  I know that every language carries with it nuances of emotional and psychological significance far beyond mere meaning.
I recognize, too, the dangers of misunderstanding (which are all too rife even among native speakers!).
Still, on balance, I am aware that we are all experiencing more and more frequently that a basic universal understanding is being brought about by speaking English worldwide which would be, if not impossible, at least slower if we had to deal with a large number of other languages. So,on balance, I feel less critical of myself as a teacher of English as a Second Language than I used to feel.
There simply is not yet any othter alternative. Perhaps instantaneous translation apps may soon be widely available—but meantime, English is helping to bring about some degree of universal sympathy and acceptance which is very much in demand everywhere.

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