QOTD: Language Barriers

Obama’s Treasury Secretary spoke all day. And felt no one understood him. Because Jack’s mother tongue is English, the language of business; but more precisely, Lew spoke American, with a New York accent - the dialect of money. Sapin spoke the language of love. Of course, there’s no more beautiful tongue, but those who speak French have grown tone deaf to American, bitter that it’s not love, but money, that makes the world go around. Jack called Schauble, who spoke the language of aggression, domination; and stained by the consequences of former, and failure to achieve the latter, German is Europe’s most bitter, painful language. Nearly as hard on the ear as Mandarin. Which went unspoken, replaced by a simple satellite image of an artificial island, built deep within the disputed South China Sea; because nothing says “I hate you” like an island. Egypt’s military dictator called Qataris terrorist lovers, in Arabic, a language at war with itself, fighting for its soul. Anyhow, Lew phoned Dijsselbloem, who spoke the language of international trade and un-pronounceable surnames. The Dutchman chairs the 19 Euro-area finance minister group, tasked with extending Greece’s drama from episode to Odyssey. Which required he translate Varoufakis’s demands into German. But of course, Greek is the language of rhetoric, refined over two thousand years of chronic defaults - for without mastering the art of rhetoric, could any nation borrow so many times, and repay so few? Naturally, the Germans have had enough. But rising above the cacophony that is Europe, sounded the only language they share. Warfare. And rising above the quiet of Ukraine’s nascent ceasefire, came the sound of Russian; the language of the world’s greatest literature, inspired by centuries of self-inflicted misery, the tragedy of stealing defeat from the jaws of victory. And in a flash, Greece talked its way out.

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