11 - 24 October 2013 #677

Dear Bill,

An open letter by Sudarshan Subedi to Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, Facebook, 5 October

I don’t have any regrets about not speaking fluent English. But so many Nepalis living in different parts of the world, seemed offended by my supposed inability o speak the language. So I flipped through an old photo album to console myself.

I looked through pictures of people from my community. I was eight when I developed a limp and since then I have lived with polio and have been helping others with the disease. My work for the National Federation of the Disabled Nepal has taken me to places where people speak Tharu, Newari, Bhojpuri, Lepcha, Raute, and other local tongues. So being fluent in English has never really mattered. When I attended college, it was to give exams and pay admission fees because I was so immersed in social work.

The disabled and poor Nepalis who I have served so far have never judged me on my ability to speak English. Neither have those who gave me various human rights and social work awards and fellowships.

I feel I have plenty to learn and do for this country, so I don’t really care about not knowing English. To speak a language is to communicate and one can do that in many different ways. I want to spend what time I have by helping improve the living and working conditions of disabled people throughout the country.

I have nothing else to say about this episode except that Fox News anchor Jesse Watters foxed me. Are journalists supposed to conduct interviews by thrusting a pedestrian in front of their cameras and harassing him? Is this how journalism is done in America? I spent only four days in New York and I am none the wiser.


Sudarshan Subedi