…Libertad y Justicia Para Todos…

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2006/04/flag-thumb.jpgIn spite of my reservations over exactly what Monday’s protesters are standing for, I strongly believe that the opposition of many for the Spanish language version of the Star Spangled Banner is contradictory to the First Amendment.

Why are people so offended when its being sung in a different language? Would they prefer people sing lyrics they don’t understand? Isn’t the message more important than the text?

Alas, I write to the readers of blogging.la, a diverse group of Angelenos and others worldwide, to help with a similar project:

In the comments below, please adapt our Pledge of Allegiance into your language of choice. You can cheat with an online translation program, but please point out if you do so (as I did for the title… I didn’t pay attention in high school Spanish because I never thought I’d ever need to use it… silly me.)

English version for your reference after the jump.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to The Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

(image from Steph and the City’s Flickr page)

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25 Replies to “…Libertad y Justicia Para Todos…”

  1. This is a joke, right? I know you’re just being sarcastic. There’s no other explanation for it!

    If these immigrants want to be a part of OUR country so bad then they should learn OUR national anthem and OUR pledge of allegiance, NOT adopt THEIR own!

  2. I wonder if these same people who object to the national anthem being translated also object to people signing it (using sign language).

    Cynthia – translation is hardly “adopting their own” and why would we want people to learn something that they’re just parroting in a language they might not be fluent in yet?

    What I think is kind of cool about translations of songs like the anthem is that we can all understand it. Even if I don’t speak Spanish, hearing someone sing the familiar tune in another language still means the same thing to me – they understand it because it’s in their language, and I understand it because I already know it in mine.

  3. I have no problem with the Star Spangled Banner being sung in Spanish, it’s the completely re-written version I dislike.

    I’m sure any day now we will see a Spanish translation of the Pledge of Allegiance. It will start something like this “I pledge allegiance to the flag of Mexico”.

    Ed

  4. Si se puede yo quiero Taco Bell el Republicana d’America, Sanchez, rodriguez, hernandez, y piso mojado para todo.

  5. Why complain about changing things like the Pledge of Allegiance? It’s happened before… the words “under God” were not there until 1954. Besides, it was originally written by a socialist as a marketing tool to promote sales of US flags. Kind of apropos, actually, that we are pledging allegiance using a marketing jingle.

  6. The United States does not have an official language. There is no reason whatsoever not to sing the anthem (or pledge the flag) in your language of choice. As a slight aside, I wonder how many English-speaking American citizens know all the words to the anthem. I doubt I could sing the whole thing.

  7. Quick follow-up: it appears that I spoke hastily – the U.S. doesn’t have an official language, but California has adopted English as its official state language.

  8. How ironic that Californians adopted English as their official language in 1986, and when they voted for that English-only initiative in 1998, both were linked to upticks in anti-immigrant sentiment. Like clockwork, isn’t it?

    But if you think for a second about our state, and follow the idea to its extreme, we really should rename everything, right? California, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Figueroa, Sepulveda . . . .

    As for the atl.anthem – I have no problem singing it in a different language, nor hearing it sung in another language. As was mentioned above, its meaning is beyond the mere words and hearing just the melody makes me feel American. And I agree with the comment that most Americans, native speakers or otherwise, don’t know the lyrics in English – or that it came from a poem, or what the poem describes, or who wrote it . . . .

    I will say, though, that when I read the article about the song’s remix, I did pause over the added lines that wax on about immigration policy. I tend to be more of a purest, and I think simply singing the song in another language is an elegant political statement already. But the song is a poem, poems are art, songs are art, protests can be art – so sing on.

    (I also think that singing the anthem in another language is a far better way at getting across the message I *think* some protestors try to make when they waive a Mexican flag.)

  9. Isn’t it a tad ironic for a state whose name is in Spanish to proclaim English its official state language? Are we going to have to translate all our city and place names to English soon, just to make sure that we’re patriotic and not thinking in “their” language? It’d be great: we could have “Green Sticks” instead of “Palos Verdes” and “Mother Mountain” instead of “Sierra Madre”! Whew, I feel more patriotic already.

    Obviously anyone who thinks or speaks in Spanish or other languages can’t be a part of American culture – there aren’t any equivalent words for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, are there?

    (Just for clarity’s sake, everything after noticing the irony is indeed sarcasm.)

  10. Cynthia: I’m entirely serious. Personally, I prefer to hear the anthem and pledge in a language I best understand. I don’t see why you wouldn’t want the same for anyone else. Do you think the Bible should only be read in Latin?

    Edward: I agree – some people are changing the lyrics and intent of the anthem to fit their political view. I think some of their new lyrics are insulting, but whatever. Thats a novelty song and I encourage people to write whatever they can to offend me, so long as it comes from their heart. But I’m sure a couple assholes will make a Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of Mexico just to piss of Americans – however, this isn’t what my post is about.

    WestwoodNC: Thanks for getting into the spirit of things, albeit in the other direction.

    Davin: You’re dead on regarding the history of the Pledge. I hold the Pledge dear to my heart, but I’m not mistaken into thinking its been around for centuries or is sacred in its verbatim… its all about intent.

    Annika and Cybele: Thanks for contributing to the conversation with great points.

    To EVERYONE: Frankly, I was hoping someone out there would get cheeky and translate the Pledge into Klingonese… any takers?

  11. Have you ever noticed that the more staunchly anti-immigration the Internet poster is, the more he or she uses CAPITAL letters to EMPHASIZE his OR her BELIEF that these IMMIGRANTS should BURN their old costumes and SHORTEN their names and become AMERICANS, like, RIGHT NOW?

    Anyway. When I was in fifth grade, back in 1979, we said the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish every other day. As best I can recall, it went like this:

    Yo le doy mi lealtad a la bandera de los Estados Unidos de America, ya la Republica que representa, uno Nación bajo Dios, indivisible, con libertad y justicia para todos.

    Checking Google, I found that there were a couple of different versions floating around, so maybe there’s no “official” Spanish translation.

  12. Just wondering, are the same people who are so offended by the Spanish language version of our national anthem just as incensed by Jimi Hendrix’s version? I don’t recall any complaints about it the last time I saw Woodstock.

  13. In elementary school, I remember hearing a Spanish-language version of the Pledge of Allegiance when I was in elementary school in the 80s. I think the teachers used it for students who were in the ESL courses and would have them say it because they didn’t even understand what the English one said (or not completely)

  14. cybele – As Ed stated, they are not “translating” the words, they’re changing the words! I have no problem with them translating the national anthem – although I think learning those few words in English is a small thing to ask of people wanting so desperately to be a part of this country – but the audacity it takes to completely change an entire country’s national anthem is absolutely mind-blowing to me! That’s a line that Jimi Hendrix never came close to crossing with his instrumental version of the song!

  15. Cynthia: Most of the people changing the words and adding their own political agenda to the anthem – the people you refer to as “they” – are already English speaking citizens. And, again, this is a novelty song, not a serious attempt to ratify our national anthem.

    Also, I don’t understand why learning the anthem in English would be more of a priority than learning the meaning and purpose behind the song, as pointed out. A recent poll pointed out more than 60% of Americans can get through the very short and simple song without looking at the lyrics. I guess my question is, isn’t the intent more important?

  16. CD & Ryan: Interesting points. Wouldn’t a purely English translation also turn “The La Brea Tar Pits” into “The The Tar Tar Pits”?

    DB: In my first draft of this post I also address the Hendrix version, which was also controversial in its day. Thanks for bringing this up.

  17. Can’t go Klingon for ya, but here’s the pledge in binary:

    01001001 00100000 01110000 01101100 01100101 01100100 01100111 01100101 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 01100101 01100111 01101001 01100001 01101110 01100011 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100110 01101100 01100001 01100111 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01010101 01101110 01101001 01110100 01100101 01100100 00100000 01010011 01110100 01100001 01110100 01100101 01110011 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01000001 01101101 01100101 01110010 01101001 01100011 01100001 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110010 01100101 01110000 01110101 01100010 01101100 01101001 01100011 00100000 01100110 01101111 01110010 00100000 01110111 01101000 01101001 01100011 01101000 00100000 01101001 01110100 00100000 01110011 01110100 01100001 01101110 01100100 01110011 00101100 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100101 00100000 01101110 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01110101 01101110 01100100 01100101 01110010 00100000 01100111 01101111 01100100 00100000 01110111 01101001 01110100 01101000 00100000 01101100 01101001 01100010 01100101 01110010 01110100 01111001 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01101010 01110101 01110011 01110100 01101001 01100011 01100101 00100000 01100110 01101111 01110010 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00101110

  18. Hey will, you forgot: 0110100101101110011001000110100101110110011010010111001101101001011000100110110001100101
    (indivisible).

  19. Binary – lovin’ it!

    Also – as far as “changing the words” goes – there are two types of lyrics here and it’s probably important to keep them separate in the discussion. First, there is a “remix” version I read about that has some rapped/spoken lyrics over some musical bridges that express particular views about immigration policy. (that’s the part I like less, personally).

    Then, however, there are the English translated Spanish lyrics – if that makes sense – that I saw printed in the SF Chron (sorry I can’t find the link right now). If you have every studied another language, or studied translating things in general, you know that a straight word-for-word translation is never actually the accurate way to convey meaning across languages. So the Pablo Neruda poetry you read, or the Illad or Odessey, etc, is the not a literal translation of the original work. Translating is difficult to do and different languages are just that – different.

  20. Sorry for the misunderstanding Cynthia. I was reading David’s post as a statement about translation (as he was challenging everyone to make their own) and mistook your statements that way.

    Will – you had to play the robot card, didn’t you?

    Finally, I think the national anthem is pretty dismal as songs that portray the spirit of America. (And I just reread all the lyrics). I prefer This Land Is Your Land … but that’s another post.

  21. Cybele – picking up on your thought about the choice of national anthem: I can’t help but chuckle about song choices and recent current events.

    This latest wave of shut-the-borderness and xenophobia stems from 9/11, right? And post 9/11 were members of congress and everyone else singing the national anthem? Nope. They were singing “God Bless America.” Slick – just to make sure we go ahead and match religious dogma to religious dogma, I suppose (I also can’t help but think about Chris Rock’s underappreciate film “Head of State” in which we get the great line “God Bless America . . . and no place else”).

    Or they sang American the Beautiful. Or anything BUT the anthem.

    It’s much maligned as being hard to sing or hard to remember the words for. I happen to really like the Star-Spangeled Banner (lyric and music). But given the general star-spangeled animosity toward it – it’s funny that people get all don’t-mess-with-my-anthem now.

  22. Korean language:

    나는 미합중국의 성조기와 이에 의하여 대표되는 공화국, 하나님 아래 단일 국민이며 분립 불가 및 모든 이들을 위한 자유와 정의의 공화국에 충성을 맹세한다.

  23. German Version / Deutsche Version:

    Ich schwöre Treue auf die Fahne der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika und die Republik, für die sie steht, eine Nation, unteilbar, mit Freiheit und Gerechtigkeit für jeden.

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