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November 2007

THE SAIS OBSERVER Listen Up

Translator

Indonesia

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intermingled in villages adjacent to neighborhoods of non-violent civilians. Innocent families had to be detained and to most locals, the U.S. actions appeared offensive and intrusive. Jensen had the capability of assuaging the locals by explaining the operation in detail. In the mean time, the U.S. military was able to successfully drive out Al Qaeda from the village area. What could have been an even more difficult and violent situation was appeased by the abilities of an interpreter. Lechner offers several remedies to improve the results provided by interpreters in Iraq. First, he says, one needs to work with more than one linguist. According to Lechner, a “utopian” situation is having both an Iraqi and U.S. interpreter. To work with someone who is able to understand higher negotiations beyond just simple language is “very far between and rare.” Both Sterling and Lechner mention that the United States could use more interpreters. Arabic speakers are difficult to find and are not usually available to hold posts in Iraq as they have normally already served their time overseas. Lechner recommends that the US sustain the monetary incentives given to this group of language specialists. These incentives are similar to those that the US military enjoys. He also recommends that more people of Arabic descent contribute to the effort of facilitating dialogue in regions like Iraq. Lechner stresses that American education systems ought to be multifaceted, emphasizing language training as a priority in schools. Jensen notices that as stability grew in certain regions, dialogue would improve and become more accurate; people felt more secure and would not be as inclined to let sectarian differences get in the way. Yet the U.S. has a long way to go before finding the right number of interpreters with the skills necessary for improvement. Lechner states that the utilization of interpreters has proved to be adequate to succeed. Yet Jensen is not satisfied with the status quo. His overall assessment is that the progress of interpretation in Iraq is as good as it is going to get. Although he wishes it would improve, he is not so optimistic. With trust comes success, yet trust seems to be a scarce resource these days.

at the fans in the Kazakh section who were actually waving the Kazakh flag. The scene involved me and my teammate blocking a spike from the Chinese team. The spiker was actually a really good volleyball player and got a lot past me. However, I was instructed to always jump straight up and never try to block a ball that is too far to the side. So I swallowed my pride and took the instructions. Like a general told not to commit his troops, I was not permitted to unleash my full arsenal. After about 10 takes we finally got it right. At about 11:45 PM, I was told it was over. The other teams continued filming, but the Kazakh team was disbanded and we could go home. I had thoughts of returning home to Kazakhstan a national hero. The only question was how long the parade route would be and how many Uzbek girls would throw themselves at my feet. Snapping back into reality, my agent ushered me downstairs and handed me a stack of cash – 2 million Indonesian Rupiah ($220 USD) to be exact. Dividing that by the staggering number of hours I worked over the course of two days yielded an hourly rate approximately equal to the US minimum wage. But I was never in it for the money. Some people say they did it for the guy in the foxhole next to them. It wasn’t about that either. Others did it for the women. But I did it for the glory, pure and simple. And so my dream has been fulfilled. I have now acted in my first Indonesian cigarette commercial. Taking this with my previous experience modeling for a whisky company in Thailand, it is evident that my new career trajectory is advertising for vice in Southeast Asia. That suits me just fine.

Tania Hamod is a 2nd year MA candidate concentrating in Middle East Studies

Wine Society continued from page 5

grounded in “valuing our wine experiences more in terms of content rather than in ribbons, plastic corks and fancy bottles.” Despite her frustrations from experiences involving businessmen expounding the virtues of a wine they know little about, Ourania hopes to organize wine tastings and events similar to those held in Bologna – with an American twist – and to embrace SAIS DC into the wine family. “I know that there are tons of good American wines out there,” she attests. But as the Society’s current members know, and future members will know, wine is not just about wine itself. Just as there is no perfect society or perfect president: “There’s no perfect Cabernet Sauvignon – there is however a perfect moment, a perfect goal, a perfect set of efforts, a perfect mood that suddenly makes an objectively imperfect notion, subjectively perfect.” Abby Lackman is a 2nd year MA candidate concentrating in International Law

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Visit the SAIS Observer Online Your Life Might Just Depend On It!

SAISgeist The Official Blog of the SAIS Observer www.saisobserver.org

David Michaels is a 2nd year MA candidate concentrating in Southeast Asia Studies

or blogs.sais-jhu.edu/saisgeist

Last year we invaded Pakistan, blew up Djibouti and made peace in the Middle East. What will happen this year?

IT’S COMING SAIS Crisis Sim 2008 March 7, 8, 9

stay tuned for details

SAIS20036Nov  

For more pics see page 12 Diversions 2 On Campus 4 Bologna Connection 5 SAIS Students 6 Arts and Culture 8 Op-Ed 9 November 2007 Volume 8 No...

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