Volume:6, Issue: 3

Dec. 15, 2014

Articles by #getArticle.ind_name#
The Right to Language and the Language of Human Rights Abuse: Educational Paradox of Post-conflict Bosnia
Besirevic, Zinaida [about]
A claim to one's own language as a fundamental human right seems as intuitive and incontestable as a claim to one's identity. A mother tongue after all, IS an essential building block of one's identity. To claim or forfeit the right to it ought to be a matter of personal choice, not of national policy. Yet as much as identities have been politicized throughout history and especially since the rise of the Nation State, so have languages, whether they are official or unofficial, rarely spoken or forbidden. In devaluing a language, one devalues a community, implying there is something inherently inferior about it. Under the auspices of Universal Human Rights however, many such communities, have, in the past few decades, began to realize their linguistic rights. The battle though is all uphill against the hegemony of the dominant languages. In the light of that reality, it would seem absurd to suggest that there are situations where the reverse is true. Where linguistically homogenous communities seek not to be. Where through contrivances, a single language is being torn to create different languages. This paper examines one such instance, with an aim to demonstrate that the power of language and the notion of linguistic identity can be abused in more than one way to violate human rights. I present the case of postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and the political agenda to mutilate the language and the ideology behind it.

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