A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

Condoleezza’s hopes: further misadventures in Arabic

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on May 27, 2007

On Friday morning a number of us were gathered around our various computers, chasing the latest news from Tripoli. We were discussing which channels were carrying what information – and how they were covering the story.

Al-Jazeera, for example, has been giving the story very little coverage, at least in its morning news reports. Al-Arabiya, on the other hand, has devoted much airtime to lavish footage and news reportage – fitting, as many have noted, given the station’s pro-Sunni, pro-Hariri outlook.

A few of us noted that the best online source for updates has been Tayyar.org, the Aounists’ news portal. It provides one or two line summaries of the latest events (or non-events – it also reports on how long the “tense calm” prevails when the army and Fatah al-Islam are not actively engageing).

This is a sample from earlier today:

05:45 هدوء حذر يلفه الترقب ويخرقه اطلاق رصاص متقطع عند جبهة مخيم نهر البارد

01:31 اشتباكات محدودة واطلاق رصاص متقطع يسود في مخيم البارد.
00.29 تجدد الإشتباكات بين عناصر فتح الإسلام و الجيش اللبناني في مخيّم نهر البارد


I like Tayyar’s updates because they come frequently and provide me with the latest news -without making me slog through an entire news story, as with al-Jazeera’s stories, or wonder just how old the ‘news’ is, as with BBC.

What about the Lebanese media? one of the non-Arabic readers asked. What does LBC’s site say?

Dutifully I went off to www.LBCGroup.tv, which plays a news scroll that closely approximates the one that runs across the bottom of LBC News’ screen.

Mmmm, I said, reading. The scroll is mostly covering US activity in Iraq, although there is an item stating that American planes bearing military aid began arriving last [i.e., Thursday] night.

Oh! I exclaimed, continuing to read. Here’s something interesting. The scroll says that Condoleezza Rice hopes the government can work things out with the extremists in Nahr al-Bared.

What? the others said.

I know, I replied. I can’t believe it either.

Luckily, disbelief coincided with Arabic literacy for some of the others, who soon went off in search of the site themselves.

Diamond, one said. The scroll does not say that Condoleezza hopes the government will work things out with the extremists. It says that she hopes they will deal with the extremists.

Oops. This is exactly why when I translate something that will be published, I double-check my work with a dictionary.



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