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Culturally Speaking

October 03, 2003

Re "Lost in Translation," Opinion, Sept. 28: While the American military in Iraq certainly needs more proficient Arabic speakers, there is a continuing need for Arabic studies for civilians here in the United States. By encouraging the study of Arabic in high schools and universities, we can hope to achieve greater cultural understanding and avoid the Orientalism deplored by the late Edward Said.

Some of us working adults are struggling with learning Arabic in the excellent UCLA Extension program as well as in courses at other local institutions. War should not be the only stimulus for communicating our values or understanding others.

John Stephen Glaser

La Canada Flintridge

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