Language policy and politics
Standard Arabic speaking:
They have accused me of bareness in the prime of my youth.
I would that I were barren, so that I should not suffer the
words of my enemies.
I have encompassed the book of God in word and meaning.
And have not fallen short in any of its verses and exaltations.
I am the sea; in its depths pearls are hidden.
Have they asked the diver for my shells?
I see the people of the west full of power and might.
And many a people have risen to power through the power of
Ḥāfiz. Ibrāhīm (1871–1932)
In his poem about Arabic, by which he meant SA, Ḥāfiz. Ibrāhīm sums up the feelings of the majority of Arab intellectuals about the language. Arab governments in their struggle for freedom from colonising powers often appealed to language as a shield for their identity.1 It is indeed true that the power of language reflects the power of its people. Still, the struggle is not always fair, nor is it always fruitful. In February 2007, the Arab League held a conference to discuss the future of SA with emphasis on teaching it to children. The conference was the collaborative work of many parties: the Arab Council of Childhood and Development, the Arab League (AL), the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organisation, UNESCO, the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development, and the Islamic Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (ISESCO). The reporter of the event