Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A quotation on language and violence

While I haven't read Gloria Anzaldua's beautifully written and dense text Borderlands in a while, I was reminded of the epigraph she uses at the beginning of her chapter "How to Tame a Wild Tongue." Here she quotes Ray Gwyn Smith who posits the following rhetorical question: "Who is to say that robbing a people of its language is less violent than war?" This theft amounts to: the premature silencing of a people; the erasure of an identity; the cutting of a tongue. This insidious erasure is at times subtle, silent, but never sudden. So let's not devalue our tongues.

Here's a painting by Ray Gwyn Smith:

Ray Gwyn Smith, Dream of Eritrea, 2002

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