Free thoughts on language learning

Discussions on learning Spanish, English and other language issues. Occasionally, we may stray from language learning topics if there is something that catches my interest.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Spanish Star Spangled Banner and Immigration Protests

Today is May 1st and across the country there has been a call for immigrants to demonstrate, pray, not attend work or school and to refrain from all economic activity to show the effect of immigrants on America's economy. Among immigrant groups there is no unanimity of opinion as to whether economic boycotts or leaving work are the best methods to achieve the reform of immigration laws. Some feel that writing letters and sending petitions to politicians is a more appropriate way to voice their opinions while others feel that they will not be heard with anything less than a demonstration of their economic value to our country. There is a fear that there could be a backlash and no one wants that.

This is an election year and already we are hearing the anti-immigrant rhetoric heat up. Both sides know that the current situation of illegal immigrants being exploited works well for businesses wishing to pay less than minimum wage, offer no benefits nor necessarily guarantee safe working conditions. But the anti-immigrants do not want to "reward" those who have come here illegally by granting them citizenship and are rallying their supporters with the claim that jobs are being taken away from Americans. (I know I sure want to be a migrant worker when I grown up!)Additionally, businesses do not want to have workers who must be paid minimun wage in keep in safe workplace. On the pro-immigrant side are those who wish to make it easy to come to this country and become a citizen and want nothing punitive done to those who have come here illegally. This election year many races (election, not ethnic) will be hotly contested and even control of Congress is thought to be at stake. It's not the best climate for reasoned reflection on a hot button issue like immigration.

Now along comes the release of a Spanish version of the Start Spangled Banner. This gasoline (at over $3.00 per gallon!) thrown on the fire is unlikely to cool down the discussion. From the cultural / language enthusiast standpoint it's interesting to note where the spanish lyrics deviate from the original english (American?) lyrics. The fun here is just beginning...





"Nuestro Himno" (Our Anthem")
Amanece, lo veis?, a la luz de la aurora?
lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer?
sus estrellas sus franjas

flotaban ayer

en el fiero combate

en señal de victoria,

fulgor de lucha, al paso de la libertad.

Por la noche decían:

"Se va defendiendo!"

Oh decid! Despliega aún

Su hermosura estrellada

sobre tierra de libres,

la bandera sagrada?

Sus estrellas, sus franjas,

la libertad. Somos iguales.

Somos hermanos. Es nuestro himno.

En el fiero combate en señal de victoria,

Fulgor de lucha

Mi gente sigue luchando

al paso de la libertad

Ya es tiempo de romper las cadenas.

Por la noche decían: "!Se va defendiendo!"

Oh decid! Despliega aún su hermosura estrellada

sobre tierra de libres,

la bandera sagrada?

It's sunrise. Do you see by the light of the dawn

What we proudly hailed last nightfall?

Its stars, its stripes

yesterday streamed

above fierce combat

a symbol of victory

the glory of battle and the march toward liberty

Throughout the night, they proclaimed:

"We will defend it!"

Tell me! Does its starry beauty still wave

above the land of the free,

the sacred flag?

Its stars, its stripes,

liberty, we are the same.

We are brothers in our anthem.

In fierce combat, a symbol of victory

(My people fight on.)

and the march toward liberty.

(The time has come to break the chains.)

Throughout the night they proclaimed, "We will defend it!"

Tell me! Does its starry beauty still wave

above the land of the free,

the sacred flag?

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