A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

feeling punny

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on March 7, 2008

Working in Dubai is a barrel of laughs, at least judging by the emails that S has been forwarding since moving there in September. I enjoy them all – even the ones I have to work at to understand, like this one.

Below is the list of the names of the ministers of the “new Iranian government”. Its a joke: the names are all puns, playing off the fact that many Arabic/Iranian names do have meaning in Arabic.

For example, the new Minister of Agriculture is: Growing Bigger Eggplants. In Arabic, the word for “agriculture” is الزراعة. The word for “growing” is زارع. Same three roots (zaa, raa, and ayn), but different form.

حكومة إيران الجديدة

تشكيلة الحكومة الايرانية الجديدة وضمت الوزراء التالية اسماؤهم

وزير الاتصالات : تلفنتلو رأساً جاني

وزير الزراعة: زارع أكبر باذنجاني

وزير الدفاع: علي أكبر مدفعي

وزير الخارجية: سافر منشي شهر

وزير الطاقة: مفجر آباري

وزير الداخلية: قامع أكبر تظاهراتي

وزير النقل: منتظر فين يجي

وزير الصحة: خابط أكبر إبري

After the list of ministers comes the list of foreign dignitaries who sent telegrams to congratulate the new government – standard practice and a mind-numbingly common feature of state-run media outlets. The dignitaries’ names are mostly expressions in Arabic – like the Chinese President, “Min Shan Chou” or “for what purpose”, and his foreign minister, “Moo Mishan Shi” or “not for any purpose”.

Or they are puns, like the Kuwaiti foreign minister, Saher Hatta al-Sabah. The Kuwaiti ruling family all has the last name “al-Sabah”, which also means “the morning”. So the foreign minister’s name means “Staying up all night until morning”.

وتلقى الرئيس برقيات تهنئة من الرئيس الصيني من شان شو

ووزير خارجيته ‘مو ميشان شي ‘ ..

ومن نظيره الفرنسي’جاك من وراك

كما تلقى اتصالا من وزير الخارجية الكويتي

الشيخ ‘ساهر حتى الصباح

ثم القطري ‘ كل ما ضربتو آل تاني

اما السفير لروسي’هجم بلاخوف’ فتمنى نجاح التشكيلة الوزارية الجديدة

هذا ويتوقع ان يصل الى ايران وفد تركي يرأسه وزير العلاقات

مرسل اعتذارات

للتباحث في شؤون تهم الدولتي

What a hoot – I’ve been giggling all morning. S., thank you for sending these!

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