• Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Republicans Attack Ilhan Omar Somali Speech Translated Wrong

Democratic House Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, And Summer Lee Call For Cease Fire In Gaza


Democratic House Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, And Summer Lee Call For Cease Fire In Gaza

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks during a news conference calling for a ceasefire in Gaza outside the U.S. Capitol building on November 13, 2023, in Washington, D.C. | Source: Anna Moneymaker / Getty

Here’s the thing the GOP and white conservative America refuse to understand: They don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to literally any other culture outside of their own. (I know, “What culture?” right?) Conservatives really don’t understand the traditions, values, languages, colloquialisms, slang, or cultural context of anything that exists outside of the white, Christian, and proudly American paradigm and that’s why they always get it wrong when trying to interpret or properly assess anything else.

Right now, Republican legislators and their constituents are calling for the resignation, censuring and even the deportation of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, all because they didn’t understand the language she was speaking to a Somali audience at the Minneapolis Hyatt Hotel last weekend, and they relied on a wrong (and probably white) misinterpretation of what she said.

It all began Saturday when Omar spoke at the hotel during a celebration of the recent election in the Puntland region of Somalia.

From the Minnesota Reformer:

She spoke about the dispute between Somalia and the breakaway republic Somaliland, which is not recognized by the international community but recently made a sea access deal with landlocked Ethiopia.

Omar told the audience that Somalia would remain united, and that she would use her influence to keep it that way.

Social media posts have asserted Omar said they are “people who know they are Somalians first, Muslims second.”

This led to a wave of attacks about Omar’s failing to state her allegiance to the United States.

“Ilhan Omar’s appalling, Somalia-first comments are a slap in the face to the Minnesotans she was elected to serve and a direct violation of her oath of office,” House Majority Whip Emmer, R-Minn., wrote on X. “She should resign in disgrace.”

Emmer shared a story about Omar’s remarks that was published by the conservative outlet Alpha News, which acknowledged in the text of its article that it had “not independently verified the accuracy of the translation.”

Neither of the Reformer’s translations show she said “Somalians first, Muslims second.”

Those independent translators include “a federally certified court interpreter,” the Reform, which included a full transcript of Omar’s speech, noted. But even if there weren’t translators who actually speak the language to let cultureless MAGA minions know how insufferably loud and wrong they are, people who know the U.S. isn’t the center of the globe know Somalis, use the term “Somali” not “Somalian.” It also just generally doesn’t make sense that Omar, a proud Muslim, would tell an entire ballroom full of proud Muslims that being a Muslim comes second. If that was the language she used, don’t they think that Somali Muslims would be the ones who are outraged, not a bunch of white right-wingers who probably roll their R’s with a fake accent when ordering Mexican food?

Obviously, the “Muslims second” part of what Republicans thought Omar said wasn’t the issue—because all conservatives do is indicate that they’d rather see Muslims exterminated than counted at all—their issue was the “Somalians first” part, which she also didn’t say. (Because as far as white conservatives are concerned, “America First” is the only “first”-related speech that can be allowed.)

If you read the correctly translated text of Omar’s speech (which we’ll post below), you’ll notice two things; that the words “Somalians first, Muslims second” don’t show up in any form, and the essence of Omar’s speech was that Somalia is for Somalis, and that Somalis in Minnesota are as American as anyone else, and thus, they will be protected by the U.S. as Americans.

Now, whether that last part is true is debatable, to say the least, but conservative white America has taken a speech that was not addressed to them at all, mangled the language, and now they’re running with their false interpretation in an effort to paint Omar as an anti-American collaborator with foreign allegiances (including the Somalis who are*checks notes*—American citizens.)

“Ilhan Omar’s appalling, Somalia-first comments are a slap in the face to the Minnesotans she was elected to serve and a direct violation of her oath of office. She should resign in disgrace,” House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) tweeted Tuesday.

Georgia Congresswoman and dumb blonde stereotype perpetrator Marjorie Taylor Greene took things even further and filed a resolution to censure Omar, which she said isn’t going far enough, because Omar should also be deported, presumably to Somalia, where she hasn’t lived since she was 8 years old.

“Today, I introduced a censure resolution against Ilhan Omar, and the reason why I did that, and I’ll just say this, censure is not going far enough,” Greene said Thursday in a video posted to X. “If it were up to me, we would expel Ilhan Omar and deport her out of the United States.”

Of course, this isn’t terribly surprising coming from the same woman who once made a video declaring that Muslims shouldn’t be able to run for office in the U.S., and that the country was grappling with an “Islamic invasion.”

This is also coming from the woman who once suggested that Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), who is also Muslim, weren’t “really official” members of Congress because they didn’t take the oath of office on the Bible and said they “should go back to the Middle East” despite Omar not being from there. Greene also joined Rep. Lauren Boebert in referring to Omar as a “Jihad Squad” member, which is among the things that resulted in the stripping of her own committee assignments.

So, you know, maybe this isn’t actually about what Omar said or didn’t say, and Greene and her ilk are simply continuing to be the racist and xenophobic bigots that have always proven themselves to be.

Anyway, here’s the full English transcript of Omar’s speech:

We Somalis are people who love each other. It’s possible that we might sometimes have disagreements but we are also people who can rely on each other. We are people who are siblings. We are people with courage. We are people who know that they are Somali and Muslim. We are people who support each other.

So when I heard that people who call themselves Somalis signed an agreement with Ethiopia, many people reached out to me and said I needed to talk to the U.S. government. They asked, what would the U.S. government do? My answer was that the U.S. government will do what we tell the U.S. government to do. That is the confidence we need to have as Somalis. We live in this country. This is the country where we pay taxes. This is the country that has elected a woman from your community. For as long as I am in Congress, no one will take over the seas belonging to the nation of Somalia and the United States will not support others who seek to steal from us. So feel comfortable Somali Minnesotans that the woman you sent to Congress is aware of this issue and feels the same way you do.

I want to tell President Hassan Sheikh that we are happy with the great work that you have done. We are happy that you have made the people of Somalia and those who live everywhere feel that no matter how difficult our current situation, we are people who have power and who believe in their country.

I want to congratulate Somalis living in Minnesota and elsewhere for being united, for standing with our president because he needs our support. Somalia is Somali. Somalia is one. We are siblings. Our land will not be divided. God willing we will seek to return our missing territory and will not allow the territory we have now to be divided.

I want to thank you for how you have welcomed me. May peace be upon you.

SEE ALSO:

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