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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

MEDIA, covering immigration march fairly

Proviso Probe covered the immigration rights march to the office of Speaker Dennis Hastert's office before. The discussion included some heated posts.

Both Chicago Tribune (Sara Olkon) and Beacon News (Tim Wagner) covered the event.

I have some criticisms of the coverage.

Beacon News:
One youth from Batavia was turned over to juvenile authorities after it was determined he was launching eggs that hit several people in the area of the crowd that supported immigration reform.

A 31-year-old man from Melrose Park was arrested after he spit on a person attending the event.

Why wasn't the name of the adult from Melrose Park included? I checked the Beacon News police blotter and suspects who were merely arrested were idetified by name. Does the Beacon News have a policy of protecting the identity of bigots who are arrested?

Chicago Tribune began:
Passion filled six blocks of Batavia on Monday as approximately 2,000 immigrant rights activists rallied near the home office of U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

"Yes we can!" a jubilant crowd cried in Spanish. "We are America!"

What the people chanted was, "Si se puede." There are a couple problems with translating "Si se puede" as "Yes we can." Wikipedia explains that "Yes, it is possible" is a better and more accurate translation.

I would argue, "Si se puede" should not be translated, because it has a cultural context that is completely lost in translation.

If one were to translate a Jew saying, "never again" into a language where the average listener was ignorant of the Holocaust, you would lose most of the meaning in translation. "Never again" means something because of the context of the Holocaust.

"Si se puede" is the say way. If the readers don't know the struggle of the United Farm Workers then the translation loses most of its meaning. The words should be left as "si se puede" to make it clear to audiences that there's a backstory--a backstory that's as American as the struggles of other ethnic labor organizers--to why Latinos chant "si se puede".

BTW, Bill Dwyer (Forest Park Review) has a column on the immigration march.

[UPDATE: For another perspective see Catholic Explorer (Ann Piasecki)]

[UPDATE: For yet another perspective see Workers World (Lou Paulsen).]

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