The Republic of T.

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Army Needs Cunning Linguists

Am I wrong for laughing at this?

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Because I did laugh at it yesterday, and I would have laughed longer if the hubby hadn’t reminded me that we were sitting in the middle of a military hospital.

But can you blame me? I mean, now they decide they need linguists who speak arabic?

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If you know what that means, call Mohamed. In the U.S. Army’s latest campaign to recruit Arabic linguists as translators, two bright yellow billboards popped up in Oak Forest and Oak Lawn about two weeks ago. Both have identical Arabic text that reads “In a land full of opportunity (Fi Ard Amira bil furas), here’s one that may not have crossed your mind. A job with the U.S. Army.” Underneath the words at Cicero Avenue and 167th Street, the only line in English says “If you can read this, call Mohamed.” The billboard at Harlem Avenue and 95th Street directs readers to Tarik.

You’re fucking kidding me, right?

…The two billboards are the only ones of their kind in the Chicago region, said Tim Turpin, the Army’s regional chief of advertising and public affairs. An estimated 30,000 Arab-Americans live in Chicago’s southwest suburbs.

“Predominately, we’re looking for linguists to assist us in Iraq,” Turpin said.

Oh, come on. Just lie to me a little and tell this is really a gag from The Daily Show or something. Has somebody called Jon Stewart about this? Seriously.

The billboard campaign isn’t new. In fact, the military has used it on and off for about two years, Turpin said. Similar signs pepper the streets of Dearborn, Mich., Los Angeles, and New York, New Jersey and Florida. Last year, as many as 10 billboards were scattered in communities heavily populated with Arab speakers in the Chicago area, said Ahmad, 35, of Chicago.

Since the two billboards went up in the Southland, Ahmad’s been busy answering phone calls. Most of them were positive calls from potential translators, he said. Some people called to express disapproval. Curiosity motivated others.

“I get a lot of calls from Americans who can’t read the sign.” Ahmad said.

You had Americans who could read that sign.

You had at least 20 Americans who could read that sign.

You may have had as many as 60 Americans who could read that sign.

You got rid of them.

The only thing more disheartening than the above is that the irate phone calls you’re getting are about the billboard in arabic and not the arabic linguists you discharged because they were gay.


  1. I’m sorry, did they mean cunnilinguists?

  2. Pingback: A thousand words « Greg Prince’s Blog

  3. Good, you said it. Bastards!