A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

adventures in Arabic: transcribing websites

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 29, 2006

My friend M forwarded a series of jpgs this morning, with the subject line “only in Syria”. there is an entire genre of images like this – photographs of mis-spelled signs, ‘ironic’ juxtapositions (in this case, a photograph of a donkey-driven cart of butagaz containers), etc. Some of them are funny; some annoy me with their presumption of what should be normal and how Syria (or any other country unlucky enough to be outside the 50 states) deviates from this norm.

I did have fun with the following image, though – not because I found anything strange about the transcription of a website (English transcriptions of Arabic are equally awkward), but because it took me so long to figure out what the site name was.

Here is the image, with the website address highlighted:


dblyo I first read as “diplo”, thinking “diplomat” or “diplomatic”, but soon realized stood for “w”.

ghof I figured out relatively quickly meant “gov”.

mwelek was more difficult. mawilik? muwelek? finally, I considered what “wizarat al-kahraba'” meant in English, and understood. The Ministry of Electricity’s website is:

http://www.moelec.gov.sy, or http://www.moelec.gov. The latter I imagine is a typo as .gov is an American government server indicator, and I doubt that the US government is willing to host Syrian ministries.

As for moelec.gov.sy, I can “see” it on google, but … an “only in Syria” moment indeed: the country’s electricity ministry website is down.

On the other hand, perhaps the ministry’s employees are busily updating it to reflect the new electricity agreement signed with Iran yesterday. Iran will link its power grid to Syria’s via Turkey and Iraq. Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria (which in turn connects, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the changing affections of the shaqiqatayn, to Lebanon). This story should be receiving more attention in the global media than it has thus far.


4 Responses to “adventures in Arabic: transcribing websites”

  1. skunk said

    hahaha funny stuff indeed.

    that lil iran syria thing is indeed very interesting. surprisinghow nothing was mentioned about it when the two heads of state met a couple weeks ago.

    new regional dynamics could result from this with syria becoming relatively subservient to iran.

    makes you go hmmmmm especially when it looks like the gulf countries will be signing some agreement with NATO next week here in kuwait.

  2. I’m hmmming and hmmming over here under my little academic rock but no one seems to be hearing me! these are the (admittedly rare) moments when I wish I were an economist or a business analyst so I could speak with authority rather than conjecturally :-).

  3. skunk said

    lol diamond, you dont need authority to point out something that the ‘pros’ have obviously missed. infact its oneof the advantages to not being a pro, your mind can wander and make odd connections.

    but yeah being a stockmarket participant i’m trying to figure out how to play this bit of info on the markets 😛

  4. Yes, do – and good luck! Did you see the related announcements on Syria’s planned Iranian gas purchases, which will also come through Turkey? They came out late last month. Here’s the Reuters article, republished in the Khaleej Times:

    Syria wants Iranian gas via Turkey:Turkish official

    27 November 2006

    ANKARA – Turkey’s Energy Ministry has received a letter from Syria expressing interest in receiving Iranian natural gas via Turkish pipelines, it said on Monday.

    Syria aims to buy 2 billion to 3 billion cubic metres of Iranian gas annually, a senior ministry official told Reuters, adding that officials from the three countries may meet in the next few days to discuss the issue.

    ‘When other energy projects are also taken into account, Turkey is growing stronger in the region (as a transit country),’ the official said.

    Turkey is examining with Russia, its main gas supplier, the possibility of extending the Blue Stream pipeline to Israel. Turkey is also central to a $5.8 billion pipeline that would pump Central Asian gas to Austria via the Balkans.

    Other pipelines across Turkish territory are planned.

    An official from Botas, which runs Turkey’s gas pipelines, said Syria could receive the gas via a planned pipeline that will link Nevsehir in central Turkey and Kilis, a town near the Turkish-Syrian border.

    ‘In this situation, there would not be any need for the construction of a new and expensive pipeline… Syria’s needs for 2-3 billion cubic metres could easily be met with this pipeline,’ the official said. The Botas official said Syria’s integration into the pipeline system would boost Turkey’s role in the region.

    ‘With this project Iran, Syria and Turkey will be working together in the energy field… This would also contribute to solution of problems we have faced until now with Iran over the quality and quantity of natural gas,’ he said.

    ‘(This is) because Syria will move with and back up Turkey in talks with Iran.’


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