I’ve recently been on vacation in Spain. I went to enjoy myself and learn more about the Basque language and culture. Because of the attacks of July 14, in Nice, France, I learned about my own society in the US.
On a Spanish train, I was handed a Spanish newspaper, El Pais, which is well-known and mainstream there. On page 2 I read an editorial that ended,
With every terrorist act we re-make the war, militarize our democracies, prolong fear, and lose our identity little by little.
Right below that, I read another with the conclusion,
For the moment, by anti-anxiety means, the French are resisting. But war isn’t going to stop. And every day, more war, fear, and the danger of desperation grows. There the ultra-right Front National party lurks, to regain the votes of those who want quick solutions.
I never read anything so tough in the US mainstream press. The call for calm and anti-violence astounded me. It reminded me that learning another language is a political act, because it disrupts the point of view that my country, society, and community repeat to themselves and to me.