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mlundin

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Arabic to English: The True Face of Obama
General field: Social Sciences
Detailed field: Government / Politics
Source text - Arabic
قادتني عدة رسائل وصلت بالبريد الإلكتروني من أصدقاء أحترمهم، إلى موقع "يوتيوب"، لأرى ماهية ردة فعل عدد من العرب، الشباب على وجه الخصوص، تجاه خطاب باراك أوباما الذي ألقاه يوم الرابع من حزيران (يونيو) الحالي في جامعة القاهرة، وعُدّ تعبيراً عن رغبة إدارته بفتح صفحة جديدة مع العالم الإسلامي، وطيّ صفحة إدارة بوش.

ثمة نشاط محموم لتنبيه العرب إلى "الوجه الحقيقي لأوباما" من خلال نشر مقتطفات من خطاب كان ألقاه أمام لجنة الشؤون العامة الأميركية الإسرائيلية "إيباك"، أثناء حملته الانتخابية للفوز بالرئاسة، وكرر فيه وقتها "ثوابت" السياسة الأميركية المعروفة تجاه إسرائيل، مثل إلزام الفلسطينيين بالاعتراف بحق إسرائيل في الوجود، وبيهوديتها، ثم التسليم بالقدس عاصمة موحدة وأبدية لإسرائيل، واعتبار إسرائيل خطاً أمامياً للتصدي للإرهاب، وحليفاً للولايات المتحدة على أساس المصالح والقيم المشتركة، وصولاً إلى استنتاج أن إسرائيل تستحق الدعم المالي والسياسي من الولايات المتحدة، والالتزام بأمنها وتفوقها العسكري في المنطقة "من غزة إلى طهران".

هذه القواعد التي كان كررها أوباما يومها، ونال عليها كثيراً من التصفيق، يجري توزيعها باعتبارها دليلاً على عدم جدية خطاب أوباما في جامعة القاهرة، الذي قال فيه، وعلى العكس تماماً من خطابه أمام "إيباك"، إنه جاء "سعياً إلى بداية جديدة بين الولايات المتحدة والمسلمين في العالم، ترتكز على المصالح المتبادلة والاحترام المتبادل، وعلى حقيقة أن أميركا والإسلام لا يُقصي أحدهما الآخر ولا يحتاجان إلى التنافس"، وأكد خلاله أنه سيسعى لتطبيق حل الدولتين كسبيل وحيد لإنهاء الصراع "الفلسطيني الإسرائيلي".

وهكذا، فإنه إذا كان أوباما صادقاً في نيته تغيير السياسة الأميركية تجاه العالم الإسلامي، فإن ثمة بين العرب والمسلمين من يهتمون بمنع تحقيق ذلك، من خلال ممارسة هواية التذاكي والادعاء بمعرفة ما وراء ظواهر الكلمات، بالاستفادة من استرجاع كلام قديم كانت له سياقاته الخاصة، أما إذا كان أوباما غير صادق، فإن ثمة في العالم الإسلامي من يجتهد لمنحه الذرائع التي ستبرر مستقبلاً عدم تحويله الكلام إلى أفعال!

لست مهتماً بالطبع بالدفاع عن أوباما، وإنما بالدفاع عن حقنا في الحصول على "تاريخ جديد ومختلف". لا يبدو أوباما حريصاً على مصالح العرب والمسلمين، ولا على مصالح اليهود والإسرائيليين. لقد كان حريصاً على مصلحته المتمثلة بالوصول إلى الرئاسة يوم ألقى خطابه أمام "إيباك"، وهو اليوم حريص على مصلحة بلاده من خلال إقرار سياسة جديدة تجاه العالم الإسلامي، فليس ثمة إذن وجه حقيقي وآخر كاذب لأوباما.

ما هو مؤكد، أن خطاب أوباما يحتاج استثماراً كي تُستخلص منه بعض الفوائد العملية لقضايا العرب، سواء من هم في بلادهم، أو في المهجر الأميركي أو الأوروبي، بخاصة لأنه لم يُعلن خطوات عملية واضحة لتطبيق العموميات التي تحدث عنها. غير أن طريقة التعامل السلبي هذه، التي تقودها "المعارضات" العربية، لن تفضي إلى شيء، وستضيع الفرص التي يمكن اقتناصها من وجود الرجل الأسود في البيت الأبيض. كذلك هو الحال بالنسبة لعدم التقدم بإيجابية تجاه إدارة أوباما، على أساس برنامج عمل واقعي، وهو المجال الذي يبدو "النظام العربي" مقصّراً فيه، فذلك سيضيع هذه الفرصة التاريخية أيضاً.

علينا أن نتذكر أن الإسرائيليين تلقوا خطاب أوباما في القاهرة بغضب، تماماً كما تلقينا نحن خطابه أمام إيباك. تُرى، لو كان الترتيب الزمني معكوساً، وكان "الارتداد" لصالح الإسرائيليين، هل كانوا سيرفضون الموقف الجديد، ويذكّرون أنفسهم بكلام قديم قيل لأغراض انتخابية كما نفعل نحن اليوم؟ أظنهم كانوا سيهبّون لاستغلال اللحظة، وفتح صفحة تاريخية جديدة.
Translation - English
Recently, I’ve received many e-mails from friends I respect urging me to look at the many responses from Arabs, and specifically young Arabs, to Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University on June 4th that have been posted on Youtube. In his speech, President Obama expressed his administration’s interest in turning over a new leaf with the Islamic World and his wish to close the book on the Bush era.

There is an almost frantic amount of activity online alerting Arabs to "Obama’s true face,” replaying selections from a speech he gave in front of the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) during the presidential election campaign. In this speech, he reiterated many well-known aspects of American policy towards Israel, including his commitment to procure Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist as well as an understanding of Jerusalem as the united and eternal capital of Israel. In speaking to AIPAC, Obama recognized Israel’s steps towards fighting terrorism and emphasized that the U.S.-Israeli alliance is based on a foundation of shared interests and values. According to the president, Israel deserves America’s financial and political support as well as a right to security and military supremacy in the region stretching from “Gaza to Tehran.”

These points, which were met with much applause, supposedly serve as evidence of Obama’s lack of sincerity when he more recently spoke at Cairo University. In contrast to the speech he gave in front of AIPAC, President Obama said in Cairo that he wanted to work towards a new beginning between the United States and Muslims world-wide, a beginning focused on mutual interests and mutual respect. He said that America and Islam are not, in fact, far removed and that there is no reason for them to be in opposition to each other. In addition, Obama reassured the audience that he would work towards implementing a two-state solution as the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

There are both Arabs and Muslims who allege that Obama’s intention to change American policy towards the Islamic world are impossibly idealistic; these same critics are working to decipher the true meaning behind Obama’s words with amateur analysis of president’s past rhetoric. However, past speeches were given in a completely different context and, even if Obama was truly disingenuous, there would be plenty of people in the Arab World ready and willing to produce ample evidence of past schisms between the administration’s words and actions.

I am not interested in defending Obama, but rather in defending our right to achieve a “new and different history.” Obama does not seem to be working for the interests of the Arabs and Muslims, nor for the Jews and Israelis. He was looking out for his own interest in becoming president when he gave the speech to AIPAC and he was looking out for the interests of his country by deciding on a new policy towards the Islamic World. Therefore, there is no such thing as the true face (or the deceitful face) of Obama.

What is certain is that we need to use Obama’s speech in order to extract from it some practical benefits for both the Arab cause and for Arab immigrants in the U.S. and in Europe. This is especially true because Obama did not outline any clear or practical steps in order to implement the things he spoke of. If we, the “Arab opposition,” continue to be uncooperative, then we will lose the opportunity afforded by having a black man in the White House. This is also the case with the Arab regimes as well, who are seem unable to come to a consensus on a tangible peace program and so are unable to make any positive progress with the Obama administration. It seems they too will lose this historic opportunity.

We have to remember that the Israelis responded Obama’s speech in Cairo with anger, much like our own reaction to his speech in front of AIPAC. If the sequence of events had been the other way around, and President Obama had changed his position to favor the Israelis instead, would they reject his new position, analyzing and criticizing what Obama said in the past like we Arabs are doing now?

No. I think that they would seize the moment and open a new page of history.
Turkish to English: NHA- Principles and Goals
General field: Social Sciences
Detailed field: Education / Pedagogy
Source text - Turkish
Amaç ve İlkeler

"Filozoflar dünyayı, çeşitli biçimlerde yorumlamakla yetindiler; oysa, asıl önemli olan dünyayı değiştirmektir."
(Karl Marx; Feuerbach Üzerine Tezler, 11. Tez Brüksel, 1845)
 
1996’da Nâzım Kültürevi adıyla yola çıkmıştık. 2004’ten bu yana İstanbul Kadıköy’de Nâzım Hikmet Kültür Merkezi ve bir dizi il ve ilçede kültür evleri olarak süren çalışmalarımıza yeni ve daha gelişkin bir boyut eklemek için bir süredir hazırlık içindeydik. 2009 sonbaharında Nâzım Hikmet Akademisi adıyla Marksist bir düşün ve üretim merkezinin kuruluşunu gerçekleştirdik. NHA çatısı altında Edebiyat, Müzik, Sinema ve Sosyal Bilimler dallarında eğitim programları var ve bu programların ayrılmaz parçası olarak organize edilecek olan çalışma ve araştırma grupları yer alacak. 
 
Tüm dünyada entelektüel ortam piyasanın kuşatması ve saldırısı altında. Piyasalaştırma ve çeşitli sonuçları, bunu hissedenler tarafından farklı yanlarından tutularak betimleniyor; çoğunlukla ve esas olarak, şikâyet konusu oluyor. NHA şikâyetin ötesine geçmeyi, insanlığın yarattığı bilimsel ve sanatsal birikimi savunmayı ve geliştirmeyi, bu savunma ve geliştirme eyleminin kadrolarının yetişmesinde üstüne düşeni yapmayı amaçlıyor.
 
Piyasalaştırma dediğimiz olgu kapitalizmin her şeyi metalaştırmaya eğilim gösteren yasasından kaynaklanır. Kapitalizmin bu genel eğilimi her zaman geçerli olmakla birlikte, kimi alanlar kârlılık kriterinden ve piyasa ilişkilerinden belli bir özerklikle varlıklarını sürdürebilmişlerdi. Ancak özellikle son on yıllarda sermaye eski duvarları yıkıp geçmeye, geçmişin kamusal alanlarını tasfiye etmeye yöneldi. Bilimsel ve sanatsal üretim, kendisine dayatılan piyasa ilişkilerine karşı bayrak açmalıdır. • Bu gereksinim, bilimin ve sanatın kurtarılmasıyla sınırlı değildir. İnsanlığı özgürleştirme uğraşının son derece önemli bir unsuru da entelektüel etkinliktir. Piyasaya, piyasacılığa, metalaşmaya direnmeksizin, bilim ve sanatın bu sorumluluğunu yerine getirme olanağı da olmayacaktır.
 
Bu görev, ister halen yarı kamusal niteliğini korusun, ister büsbütün özelleştirilmiş olsun, düzenin önemli bir kurumu olan “resmi akademi” içinde yerine getirilemez. Resmi akademi alanında üretken aydınların bulunmasını, bu insanlarımızın değerli ürünler vermelerini, hatta liberalizm, milliyetçilik veya dincilik gibi bilimsellikle taban tabana zıt ideolojilere karşı saygın ve nitelikli bir birikim yaratılmış olmasını ise, NHA, sahiplendiği bir miras olarak görmektedir.
 
Görev, buraya kadar çizilen çerçeve içinde yeni bir aydın dinamiğinin şekillendirilmesidir. NHA işte bu sürece katkıda bulunmayı hedeflemektedir.
 
Günümüzün egemen ve yaygın tanımları ve kurumsallığı, tek tek bilim ve sanat disiplinlerini geçirimsiz bölmelere hapsetme eğilimindedir. Sanatsal ve bilimsel üretimin bütünselliğini göz ardı eden bir “derinleşme” dünyayı daha da anlaşılmaz kılar. NHA bilimin ve sanatın bugünkü düzen içi tanımlarının dışına çıkacaktır. NHA düşün ile üretimi, bilim ile sanatı, farklı bilim ve sanat dallarını karşılıklı ilişkileri, geçişkenlikleri içinde, ayrılmaz bir bütün olarak kavrayan bir anlayışı savunmaktadır.
 
Aydın dinamiği derken kastettiğimiz bir özellik de, bu anlamda bir formasyon bütünlüğü ve/veya bütünlük arayışıdır. NHA bünyesinde farklı bölümlerin ders programlarında, hatta yer yer tekil derslerin işlenmesinde bu bütünlük gözetilecektir. 
 
NHA dünyayı kavrama ve değiştirme uğraşının en gelişkin yöntem ve biliminin marksizmde içerildiği görüşünü temel almaktadır. Marksizm aynı zamanda yukarıda değindiğimiz bütünlüklü bilim anlayışını kendi yapısında barındırır. 
 
NHA’nın herhangi bir bölümünün amacı piyasaya eleman yetiştirmek olmayacaktır. NHA kuşkusuz katılımcıların, konularında gelişkin bir formasyon edinmelerini sağlayacaktır. Ancak kısa ve özlü bir tanım istenirse, NHA’nın amacı, dünyayı değiştirecek, ileriye taşıyacak aydınların ortaya çıkmasına katkıda bulunmaktır. 
 
Kapitalist bir düzende entelektüel etkinlik, bir eğilim olarak piyasa kuralları çerçevesinde tanımlanır. İçinde yaşadığımız dönemde bu eğilim kendiliğindenliğin sınırlarını çoktan aşmıştır. Eğitim, kültür ve bilim, bilinçli biçimde piyasa esasları üzerinde yeniden yapılandırılmaktadır. NHA bu yapılanmaya karşı bir mücadele aracı olacak ve ancak toplumsal ölçekte inşa edilebileceğini bildiğimiz bütünüyle farklı bir alternatifin şekillenmesi için uğraş verecektir. 
 
NHA eğitmen-öğrenci ayrımının mutlaklaştırılmasını reddeder. NHA bünyesinde, alanlarında derinlikli bir birikime sahip olanlar veya “ustalar” ile bu birikimi edinmeye henüz yalnızca “karar vermiş olanlar” birlikte çalışacak, birlikte üretecekler. Öğrenme sürecini, üretme ve var olanı değiştirme düzlemlerinden yapay biçimde ayıran yaklaşımlar NHA’dan uzak duracaktır.
 
Entelektüel üretim günümüzde bencillik ve tahrip edici bir rekabetle birlikte anılır hale gelmiştir. NHA dayanışmayı, paylaşımı esas alan kolektif bir üretim ortamını hedeflemektedir. 
 
NHA belirlenen bölümlerin ikişer yıllık, kendi içlerinde bütünlüklü ve nitelikli ders programları için kayıt açacak, ancak bununla yetinmeyerek her bölümün kendine özgü niteliklerine uygun somut, üretime yönelik çalışma gruplarına katılım sağlanmasını amaçlayacaktır. Bu haliyle NHA yalnızca bir eğitim servisi sunmamakta, sosyal bilimler ve sanat dallarında kolektif üretime yönelik bir örgütlenme için çağrıda bulunmaktadır. 
 
Bu çağrı sanat ve/veya bilimsel etkinliği yaşamında merkezi bir yere oturtmaya kararlı, dolayısıyla bu kararı almaya elverir ölçüde bir ön birikime sahip aydın adaylarına yöneliktir. Kayıt başvurularının değerlendirilmesi sırasında, başvuru sahibinin hangi okullardan mezun olduğu veya halen nerede okuduğu gibi bilgiler, yalnızca kişinin ilgili sanatsal/bilimsel alanla arasındaki ilişkiye dair anlamlı veriler sunduğu ölçüde değer taşıyacaktır. 
 
Doğası gereği bir ülkenin sınırlarına sığması olanaksız entelektüel ilgi ve emeğin bu özelliği, günümüzde, aydını piyasaya ve düzen kurumlarına bağlamak için istismar edilmektedir. Uluslararası çalışma, işbirliği ve ilişki, yerine göre, yüzeysel ve biçimsel bir resmi akademik standart, daha yüksek kazançlı piyasalara erişim kanalı veya bilimsellik ve sanatsal kaliteden ödün verilmesi karşılığında oluşturulmuş bir ödüllendirme mekanizması olabilmektedir. NHA bilimin ve sanatın evrensel karakterinin gereği olarak uluslararası ilişkiler kurmaya yönelecektir. 
 
NHA, bünyesindeki çalışmaları topluma tanıtmak, paylaşmak ve yaygınlaştırmak çabasında olacaktır. Bu doğrultuda gereken araçları geliştirmek, yayın yapmak, toplantılar ve etkinlikler düzenlemek, var olan gündemlerde kendi ilke ve perspektifleri yönünde ağırlık koymak ve gündem oluşturmak NHA’nın ilgi ve etkinlik alanına girecektir. NHA’nın hazırlıkları için bir araya gelenler, Türkiye’de entelektüel etkinliği benzer biçimde kavrayan bilim insanları ve sanatçılar toplamının yalnızca bir parçasını oluşturduklarının bilincindedirler. NHA bu birikimin diğer tüm bileşenlerini yan yana getirmek, katkılarını almak, eğitim ve üretim sürecinin parçası kılmak, bu anlamda kendi çatısı altında toplamak için samimi girişimlerini artırarak sürdürecektir. NHA’yı oluşturmak için yola çıkan ve bugüne kadar çeşitli geçici biçimler altında hazırlık çalışmalarını yürüten bizler, benzer yaklaşımları paylaştığımız sanat ve bilim insanlarıyla bu zemin ve hedeflerde bir araya gelmek arzusundayız. İlkesel yaklaşımlarımızı özetleyen bu metin aynı zamanda bu yönde bir çağrıdır.
 
Translation - English
Nâzım Hikmet Academy


Goals and Principles  
"Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it"
(Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach, Thesis 11, Brussels, 1845)  
The Nâzım Hikmet Culture houses were first launched in 1996. The Nâzım Hikmet Cultural Center has been open in Kadikoy, Istanbul, since 2004 and we are  now in the process of widening our efforts to include a series of provincial and district culture houses. 
In the fall of 2009, we succeeded in launching a center for Marxist thought and intellectual output: the Nâzım Hikmet Academy.  
Under one roof the NHA will include both an educational program including a Literature, Music, Cinema, and Social Sciences branch as well as organizing work and research groups that will form an integral part of their activities.  
-The World's intellectual sphere is under fire by the free market. According to those who complain of being affected by it in various ways, the main cause of this attack is marketization and its various effects. The NHA aims to go beyond mere complaining and to educate a group able to defend and develop humanity's scientific and artistic knowledge.  
This phenomenon of marketization is caused by Capitalism's tendency to commodify everything. This general tendency of Capitalism is always at work, although some areas have been able to keep a level of autonomy apart from the usual demands of profitability and the pressures of market relations. In the last ten decades, however, these walls have come crumbling down and this has led to a liquidation of the public domain. Scientific and Artistic production, must take a stand against the market that is being imposed on it.
Taking a stand is not limited merely to protecting  Science and Art from commodification. Intellectual activity is a vital element of the struggle for human liberation. In fact, there will be no place for Science and Art to participate in the struggle unless marketization and its own commodification is resisted.
This task cannot be fulfilled in the 'official centers of academia' neither if they are semi-public or wholly privatized.  (The NHA does acknowledge the output of these intellectuals from official academies, regardless of whatever un-scientific ideologies they possess, be it liberal, nationalistic, or religious, as being part of their intellectual heritage.)
The mission of this organization, within the framework drawn up here, is to shape the dynamics for the emergence of a new intelligentsia. The NHA aims to contribute to this process.
Presently, there is an overriding tendency to partition and confine the different disciplines of science and art.  Specialization of scientific and artistic production without a holistic understanding of such renders the World incomprehensible.  The NHA, in its definition of Art and Science, will avoid this. Instead the NHA will champion an all-inclusive conception of intellectual production that combines thought with practice, science with art, and an interactive relationship  between their different branches.
When we speak of an intellectual dynamic we are speaking in the sense of creating this type of holistic approach to intellectual production.
The NHA will aim to integrate the curricula of its different departments, even at the level of individual lessons, to achieve this type of holism. 
The NHA will use Marxism as its intellectual foundation as it is the most advanced and scientific method for both understanding and struggling to change the World. Marxism also fosters the type of holistic scientific understanding mentioned above.
The purpose of the NHA will not be to ready minds for the free market. It is rather to contribute to the formation of knowledge by NHA's members of their respective disciplines. To put it concisely, NHA's goals is to contribute to the emergence of educated individuals who will strive to change the World.
Intellectual activity in the capitalist system has a tendency to work according to market rules. The age in which we live sees this tendency going beyond even its own limits. Education, culture, and science, is being consciously restructured along market lines. The NHA aims to fight against this trend and to strive towards building an entirely different alternative for society than what we now know.
The NHA refuses to see a distinction between teacher and student. The structure of the NHA will be such that those with thorough knowledge of a subject, “experts”, will work together and produce together with those who want to gain from their experience. The NHA will avoid being artificial in the process of learning,  intellectual production and working towards change.
Today's intellectual production is characterized by its selfishness and destructive competitiveness. The NHA aims at being an environment of solidarity, communion, and collective production.
NHA courses will be for two years and will be offered to enrolled students in order to ensure the integrity and quality of its courses the different departments. In addition to this they will host concrete, production-oriented workshops aimed at ensuring participation.
NHA will not merely provide educational services, but will also make a call for collective production in the social sciences and arts.
This call if for those who want Scientific and artistic activities to be central to their lives and who have sufficient background to be able to make such a decision. During the candidacy process, students will be evaluated by which school they graduated from or where they went to school as much as it bears a relationship with their respective scientific/artistic field.
Nowadays there is an effort by the market and institutions to constrain intellectual work within borders in order to be able to exploit it.  Instead of a system of international cooperation based on superficial and formal academic standards, a drive towards higher profits and compensation which is opposed to scientific and artistic quality, another mechanism for motivation and reward is possible. The NHA is aimed at building international relationships with a global character.
NHA's work will strive to connect, share, and work with the community.  The NHA will stress in its agenda the development of the necessary tools for the publishing and the organization of meetings and activities according to its own principles and perspectives.
Those who have worked in founding the NHA are aware that we are only part of Turkey's scientific, artistic, and intellectual community who shares our perspective. The NHA hopes to bring together these others under its roof with an ever increasing amount of activities undertaken with their contribution, education and production. We who have worked since the inception of the NHA, now hope to share with those artists and scientists who share our outlook and goals .
 This text is both a statement of our principled approach and a call to work in this direction.
Turkish to English: Arab-American Soup
General field: Art/Literary
Source text - Turkish

في الوقت الذي يسعى فيه الرئيس الأمريكي باراك أوباما لتسوية العلاقة بين أمريكا وشعوب العالم العربي، من المثير للاهتمام رؤية كيف ستتطور العلاقة كذلك داخل أمريكا بين العرب الأمريكيين والأمريكيين في التيار الرئيس.

شعرْتُ أحياناً، كطفلة نشأت في الولايات المتحدة، بأن ثقافتي وتراثي العربيين لم يكونا ممثلين في البوتقة الأمريكية. كانت الثقافة الأمريكية في تسعينات القرن الماضي تميّز بين الناس بناءاً على العِرْق والثقافة، وكانت المجموعات موزعة بين الأبيض والأسود والإسباني فقط.

وقد شجّع على هذا التمييز وعمِل على تطويره إعلام التسلية، الذي فشل بشكل عام وما زال في تصوير الحياة اليومية واهتمامات المجموعات الثقافية الأخرى في المجتمع الأمريكي. وقد انعكس هذا بدوره على المجتمع نفسه، الذي أصبح يدرك هذه الشرائح من المجتمع فقط، بحيث أصبح الجميع خارجها يمثلون أقلية مبهمة على الأطراف.

كانت واحدة من ذكرياتي الأكثر وضوحاً عندما كنت طفلة صغيرة في أوهايو، عدم قدرتي على الاختيار بين لعبة سوداء أو بيضاء، لأنني كنت أشعر أن أياً منهما لا تمثلني. تركتني تلك التجربة، ضمن تجارب أخرى، مرتبكة أسعى بيأس للحصول على أي مؤثر على أن الناس الذين لا ينخرطون ضمن أي من هذه الشرائح المتطرفة هم جزء من الثقافة الأمريكية.

بدأت فيما بعد أرى أمريكيين من أصول آسيوية في خليط الهويات التي يمثلها الإعلام. إلا أن العرب والمسلمين، رغم تواجدهم بشكل متساوٍ، بقوا غير مرئيين في إعلام التيار الرئيس الأمريكي، وبالتالي في المجتمع.

يستخدم مجاز "بوتقة الانصهار" في أمريكا أحياناً لتفسير كيف تذوب الثقافات المهاجرة المتنوعة في أمريكا معاً لتشكّل نكهة ثقافية فريدة بشكل كامل. جزء أساسي من هذا المجاز التوقع بأن القادمين الجدد سوف يتم استيعابهم في التيار الرئيس للمجتمع.

يُتوقع نتيجة لذلك أن يتشارك الأطفال الأمريكيون من كافة الخلفيات في تجربة شائعة نسبياً، مثل حضور الحفل الراقص بعد التخرج من المدرسة الثانوية، وحضور صفوف البالية وقضاء ليلة في منزل صديقة. إلا أن العديد من العرب، وخاصة المسلمين منهم، وأسرتي واحدة منهم، يشعرون أن ثقافتنا غير متناسقة مع بعض هذه النشاطات، ولذا لا يمكننا المشاركة في هذه التجارب الأمريكية الجوهرية.

وقد سهّل ذلك من جعلنا نوصم بأننا غرباء، والنظر إلينا كمجموعة، على أننا مختلفين، بدلاً من إدراك الإنسانية فينا والرغبات التي يشترك فيها المجتمع ممن يسعون لتحقيق الحلم الأمريكي. ولد الكثير من العرب الأمريكيين في الولايات المتحدة وأقاموا هناك طوال حياتهم، وتعتبر رغباتهم الأساسية هي نفس رغبات الأمريكيين. يأتي المهاجرون العرب إلى أمريكا على أمل تحقيق حياة أفضل لهم ولعائلاتهم، تماماً كما يفعل جميع المهاجرين.

يريدون أن يحصلوا على فرص عمل تدر عليهم الدخل، وأن يعيشوا بسلام مع أسرهم.

هل يعتبر الاستيعاب الشامل مطلوباً لبناء مجتمع أمريكي قوي؟ هل يضمن الاستيعاب أمن الوطن؟ الجواب برأيي هو كلا.

واقع الأمر أن الثقافة الأمريكية طالما كانت حساءً ثقافياً وليس بوتقة انصهار واستيعاب. لقد تحركت ثقافة البيض البروتستنت التقليدية التي هيمنت على المجتمع الأمريكي لسنوات عديدة، تحركت قدماً، وأصبح المجتمع ككل أكثر قبولاً للفروقات الثقافية. يقف الناس من مختلف الخلفيات اليوم ويعلنون عن فخرهم بتراثهم الفردي.

والواقع أن الثقافة الأمريكية في التيار الرئيس حاولت اشتمال مجالات من ثقافات أخرى. فعلى سبيل المثال يتمتع برنامج الأطفال ثنائي اللغة "دورا المستكشفة"، الذي يعلّم الأطفال اللغة الأسبانية بأسلوب تفاعلي، بالشعبية لدى الأطفال من كافة الخلفيات. وتعتبر المطابخ الإيطالية والصينية، جزءاً عادياً من الطعام الأمريكي. وتحتفل أفلام مثل "حفل زواجي اليوناني الكبير السمين" بالتراث، بينما يطرح البرنامج التلفزيوني “OC” فكرة Chrismukkah، وهي خليط من عيد الميلاد المسيحي وعيد هانوكا اليهودي.

ويمكن لذلك أن يحدث أيضاً في الثقافات العربية والإسلامية. قد تصبح اللغة العربية في يوم من الأيام لغة ثانية شعبية تدرَّس في المدارس الأمريكية، ليس بسبب السياسة وإنما لأنها جميلة ومعبّرة. يمكن وقتها للإعلام والبرامج التلفزيونية أن تحتفل بالأسرة العربية الأمريكية وتدعم فرديتها وشخصيتها وتتقبلها كجزء من الخليط الأمريكي الثقافي بدلاً من تجنبها على أنها "أخرى".

قد يتعلم الأمريكيون كيف يقدّرون الموسيقيين مثل Outlandish، وهي فرقة موسيقية متعددة الأديان والأعراق، تركز أغانيها على الدين والحياة، وNative Deen، وهي فرقة من المسلمين الأمريكيين من أصول إفريقية، يغنون عن المصاعب التي يواجهها المسلمون في أمريكا.

سوف تكون هناك دائما توابل من ثقافات مختلفة في الحساء الأمريكي متعدد الثقافات، وهذا كله جزء من النكهة الأمريكية.
Translation - English
While President Barack Obama works to reform relations between the United States and the Arab world through his sojourns abroad, the developing relationship between Arab-Americans and mainstream, white America has become increasingly interesting.

The metaphor of
 the “melting pot” is most commonly used in the United States to describe how different immigrant cultures have been able to blend together in order to form a single, unified group.

I sometimes felt, as a child growing up in America, that my Arab culture and heritage were not fully represented in the “melting pot” of the U.S. In the 1990s, American culture typically divided people based on ethnicity and background. There were three categories and only three categories: Whites, Blacks and Hispanics.

A diversionary media that widely failed to represent either the daily lives or concerns of other cultural groups in American society encouraged these divisions, highlighting differences and ignoring common bonds. Society limited itself to only these generic brands, leaving anyone outside the aforementioned clear-cut racial boundaries confined to an obscure minority and resigned to the fringes of American life, to an “other” category that guaranteed insignificance.

One of my clearest memories of my childhood in Ohio was being unable to choose which group to play with- the black kids or the white kids. Neither set represented my own background and I had trouble discovering how to fit in. That experience, among others, left me wondering where those of us who don’t fit neatly into a pre-determined “American” mold belong.

As time progressed, I also began to see Americans of Asian descent represented in the mixture of identities portrayed in the media. But Arabs and Muslims, despite the fact that we were equal in number to Asian-Americans, remained unseen by the mainstream media and by society as a whole.

The metaphor of “the melting pot” is used in America to describe how different immigrant cultures are able to meld together in order to form one single culture. An essential part of this metaphor, however, is that newcomers will be absorbed into the mainstream of society.

As a result of this tendency towards assimilation, American children of all backgrounds share common experiences, such as attending the Prom, going to ballet lessons, or spending the night at a friend’s house; while seemingly common-place, these are activities that many Arabs, and especially the Muslims among them, feel are out of line with our culture. We are, culturally and often religiously, excluded from vital parts of the American experience.

This made it easier for us to label ourselves as outsiders and to see ourselves as a community set apart. We Arabs simply declared ourselves different instead of understanding the common humanity inside of all people and realizing that all those who strive to obtain the American dream share a passion and a desire to live that is unique to this nation of immigrants.

Many Arab-Americans were born in the United States and have spent their entire lives here. They consider their fundamental aspirations to be the same as all Americans. Arab immigrants continue to come to America with the hope of building a better life for their families, like all immigrants do. They want to have job opportunities, to live in peace with their families. Is complete assimilation necessary in order to build a strong American society? To ensure homeland security? In my opinion, the answer is a resounding no.

The truth of the matter is that the United States has always been more of a cultural soup than a melting pot. The traditional white, protestant culture that dominated the U.S. for many years has given way to a society far more accepting of cultural, religious and ethnic differences. Today, people from many backgrounds stand tall and announce their pride in their unique heritages.

Amidst the rise of cultural individuality, mainstream “white” American culture has tried to integrate aspects of other ethnicities and other backgrounds into the mix. For example, the bilingual children’s program “Dora the Explorer”, which teaches children Spanish through interactive television, enjoys popularity with children from a wide range of backgrounds. Italian and Chinese dishes are considered a routine part of American cuisine. Films like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” celebrate cultural heritage and the television program “the OC” made the use of “Chrismukkah”, a word that captures the spirit of both Christmas and Chanukah, popular across the country.

Today, Arab and Muslim cultures are also strongly present in daily American life. Arabic has become a popular second language to study in American schools, not for purely political reasons but because it is a beautiful and expressive language. In time, media and television have begun to celebrate Arab-American families and to support their identity and individuality - we are now openly incorporated into the vast mixture that is American culture rather than being shunned and avoided for being “different”.

Americans have learned how to appreciate music from groups like
 Outlandish, a band with members from different religious and ethnic backgrounds that explores the connection between religion and life through music. There is also Native Deen, a group of Muslim Americans of African decent who sing about the hardships Muslims face in America.

The truth of the matter is, the American soup will always be flavored with the spices of cultures from around the world; today, Arab-Americans are proud to now add our own heritage to the mix and become part of the American aroma.

Translation education Other - Certificate in Community Interpreting
Experience Years of experience: 14. Registered at ProZ.com: Jun 2008.
ProZ.com Certified PRO certificate(s) N/A
Credentials Arabic to English (MCSDC)
Turkish to English (Okan Universitesi)
Memberships N/A
Software Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office Pro, Microsoft Word, Powerpoint
CV/Resume CV available upon request
Bio
My name is Matthew Chovanec and I am an Arabic and Turkish translator currently living in Austin, Texas. I have a PhD in Arabic and Turkish literature and 12 years experience in Translating document to and from Arabic and Turkish as well as community interpreting. I have two published literary book translations from the Turkish.  
Keywords: Arabic, education, politics, religion, culture, NGO's, human rights, community service, low-income


Profile last updated
Oct 27






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