Arabic School Video Stirs Controversy

Billed on this mysterious website as the “THE VIDEO BANNED BY THE MIDDLEBURY LANGUAGE SCHOOLS,” it appears (but unconfirmed) that a group of Middlebury Arabic students out at Mills College in California have gotten themselves in some trouble for this video:

Austin Davis ’11, a Middlebury Arabic student interning in DC at the Center for American Progress this summer, watched the video and had this response: “It’s really dumb, definitely not in good taste, and a bit racist (the dress, esp.), but it’s not mind-blowingly offensive. It looks like it was done by culturally insensitive first years.” Davis also helps translate some of the main phrases from Arabic:

Muthifakhr = “another employee,” “Thalith Alif”=”3000,” and “Tanwiin Fatha” is just a grammatical device.

While much of the controversy may be manufactured by the students themselves, the Arabic students’ response video below implies some sort of censorship. The students cry censorship in their video description:

Stand up against censorship. Stand for freedom of speech. Say no to the Middlebury College Language Schools and the stifling of student-sheep. Say yes to thoughts and intersections and the the meeting of two cultures not in a clash but in an embrace.

Props for finally rivaling the Chinese school videos, but anyone know for sure what happened here or care to help further enlighten readers as to the content of the video?

UPDATE: post above edited for clarity. See below for a response from one commenter that claims to be a Midd at Mills administrator that says the video was not censored: “It was shown at the Arabic School Talent Show on Monday, with a disclaimer read beforehand.”

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4 thoughts on “Arabic School Video Stirs Controversy

  1. The video was not censored. It was shown at the Arabic School Talent Show on Monday, with a disclaimer read beforehand.

  2. While well put together and performed, it’s pretty clear that these students watched the Middkid rap one too many times and got some bad ideas.

    As a student who also lived/is living in the Middle East from Midd, I can’t say I personally find it offensive, but it’s playing too closely with a line. Censorship is one thing, but cultural sensitivity (and respect) is another entirely. It seems to me like they missed the point.

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