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Språkproblem i Irak

Många artiklar om kaoset i Irak pekar på en gemensamma nämnare: att ockupationsmakten inte har tillräcklig språklig beredskap, för få tolkar, och så vidare. Max Rodenbecks skrev i New York Review of Books (se notisen Irak: Ockupationen nu):
"In numerous situations, Iraqi civilians have been killed either because American soldiers were unable to communicate such simple instructions as Stop..."
Och Slate skriver om huruvida "tummen upp" i arabvärlden betyder vad de amerikanska soldaterna tror. (Skeptiska kommentarer hos Prentiss Riddle)

Jonathan Steeles rapport i The Guardian är allvarligare:
"Another reason for the chaos is the coalition's failure to keep an accurate central list of detainees, with names in Arabic, to which searching families can refer. (---) Trawling through lists of thousands of badly transliterated Arabic names, major Flores finally found a reference to an "Ahmed Mahjoub Zakariya, born in 1948". "I think it is your husband," he told Medhat."
("It was punishment without trial".)
Märkligt nog påstås detta även gälla fångarna på Guantanamo Bay:
US says it doesn't know how many detainees in Cuba
(Reuters, 12 Aug 2003, 11:21 AM)

SAN FRANSISCO - The US government said today it had neither an exact count nor all the names of hundreds of people captured in Afghanistan over a year ago and now detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

US government lawyers made the disclosure during a court hearing in a case on behalf of Falen Gherebi, a Libyan national believed to be in US custody in Cuba. (---)

A panel of appeals court judges hearing the case on Monday expressed shock about the apparent lack of record keeping on a group of hundreds of people, possibly including some children, who have been in custody for 577 days.

"It strikes me as astonishing that the government says they have no idea whether this gentleman is or is not being held," one said. "Don't you even keep records?"

Government lawyers responded that while they had attempted to keep records, they were incomplete because some of those who were arrested had not co-operated with authorities. They said that translating the names from Arabic to English had created further problems with spelling.

After scanning a list for names similar to that of Falen Gherebi, the lawyers said: "We think we have him but we're not sure. We can't confirm it 100 per cent."
(Lagrat hos The Memory Hole.)

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17 aug 2003


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