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Nuestro Himno, My Eye!

Timed to debut the week Congress returned to debate immigration reform, with the country riven by the issue, “Nuestro Himno” is intended to be an anthem of solidarity for the movement that has drawn hundreds of thousands of people to march peacefully for immigrant rights in Washington and cities across the country, says Adam Kidron, president of Urban Box Office, the New York-based entertainment company that launched the project. ~The Washington Post

I really should thank the people behind the creation of a Spanish version of the National Anthem. Nothing could better symbolise the new Latino immigrants’ pride in their failure to assimilate to the language and customs of our country than a translation of the anthem into another language. Note that it is being called Nuestro Himno, Our Hymn, as if it belongs to them. I don’t think they get to claim it. Certainly not when its purpose is to serve as cover for justifying mass lawbreaking, which is what it is intended to do. Some of them already showed a preference for flying the Mexican flag in their protests, so why not sing the Mexican anthem as well? I don’t know what’s more irritating–the presumption of translating the anthem, or the political cynicism behind the effort to translate it.

National anthems may be dubious aids in helping to form national identity (a friend of mine who grew up in Europe once marveled that our anthem was just a very long question), but surely there is no sense in having a national anthem in a language that most of the people in the nation do not speak and which reinforces one of the most obvious aspects of the cultural separation between the new immigrants and the natives. But I’d be willing to compromise: if the creators of the song can tell us who wrote the national anthem, the battle to which it referred, the causes of that war, and basically recount in sufficient detail an outline of the history of the United States from independence to the time the anthem was written the rest of us might entertain having a translated version of the anthem.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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