08 May 2018

Atrocity

Minnesota Public Radio provided the story:
[In 2015] Asma Jama sat chatting with her family in a booth at the Coon Rapids  [Minnesota] Applebee's, a glass of cranberry juice just set before her. A few minutes later, she was in an ambulance and bleeding, her lower lip split in two... As Jama waited for her pasta alfredo, a woman at a nearby booth smashed a beer mug in her face.

The reason? Jama had been speaking Swahili with her family.

Jodie Burchard-Risch, 43, and her husband had been sitting in the booth next to Jama, who was with her cousins and nieces. The couple became upset when they heard Jama and her family conversing in a foreign language, according to a criminal complaint.

Jama said the couple told them to "go home." They said that "when you're in America you should speak English."

Jama, an ethnic Somali, came to Minnesota in 2000 from Kenya. She speaks three languages: English, Swahili and Somali.

"I'm home," she told Burchard-Risch at the Applebee's. "I can speak English, but we choose to speak whatever language we want."

Authorities say that's when Burchard-Risch hit Jama in the face with the glass mug. 
A reader at BoingBoing provides a Biblical counterpart:
Judges 12:5-6 King James Version (KJV)
5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;
6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

13 comments:

  1. Not that it isn't an atrocity, but this happened in 2015, before Trump was even elected.

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    Replies
    1. Trump is not the cause of intolerance, just a manifestation of it.

      I've amended the tense of the verb and inserted a clarifying date. Tx.

      Delete
  2. Every English and American tourist, AND ex-pat I've encountered in the Netherlands speaks English with their family and countrymen. I speak Dutch all day at work and at home, but if I'm out with native English speakers it's nice to use my native tongue.
    No-one has yet hissed at us to speak Dutch or die. Maybe it's because we're white.

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  3. What do these people speak on holiday ?

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    Replies
    1. They must be the kind of Americans who have never been outside of the USA.

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    2. David I think that's a major reason for much of rural America's xenophobia and hostility toward immigrants. Even apart from travel, many of them have never even met a person of another ethnic group.

      Delete
  4. Not to mention that a Swahili speaker is most likely black.

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  5. I'm curious about the reason for adding a Bible verse to this story.

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    Replies
    1. To show that fear and hatred of "the other" is not a new phenomenon.

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    2. To be fair, Gilead and Ephraim were descendants of two brothers, and were not "foreigners". They were also at war. Nothing at all like this situation - closer to the civil war though for less of a cause.

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    3. Right, Mike. The context is a civil war, and the belligerents are badly defeated, yet when they throw down their weapons, they blend in perfectly with the locals. The shibboleth was used to expose the defeated enemy.

      Delete
  6. Of course this assumes the old testament is a true history and not an obvious fiction.

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  7. Looks like she got six months in jail for it after pleading guilty.

    http://www.fox9.com/news/woman-sentenced-for-assaulting-applebees-customer-for-speaking-swahili

    ReplyDelete

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