Today while I was waiting to finish registration for a new year of graduate school I started flipping through a copy of the Institute’s journal and came across a really interesting piece. I’m not going to go into the full details and name names in this post because that really isn’t the issue that I’ve been thinking about tonight, but rather the article itself investigated a really interesting question.
The article was an evaluation of negative discourse regarding an individual and a study of what the content of the discourse was based on the language in which it was written. I did not take time to delve into the details of the study to check the veracity of the data but the general conclusion was this. In articles published in one language the figure was presented as anti-American, anti-Western, Islamist, Seeking to re-establish a global caliphate 90% of the time. Yet, in articles written in another language the same figure was presented as being a CIA agent, controlled by Westerners, a Zionist, a Westernizer 98% of the time.
What do these figures tell us? Well it tells you that it is imperative that you think for yourself. It is necessary to acquaint yourself with multiple sources of information. It should inspire you to learn another language (a task I personally need to undertake with even more vigor). It should at the very least encourage you to read articles written by “them” whoever them is for you. No matter what your background or occupation or goal if you desire to interact with people successfully you need to understand what they think and know and to do that you are going to have to learn what they are learning. You just never know what they might be hearing about you.