A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

Lebanese humor

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on March 13, 2008

Oh great, H said one evening earlier this week, frowning at his laptop. Someone sent me a joke in Arabic. Like I have time to try and read through it.

I didn’t really have time, either – but I did have the curiosity. So while H fielded a call from his mother, I commandeered his laptop. I’m very curious about what people in this culture find funny – although in this case I wish I hadn’t been.

Here’s the joke, stanza by stanza:

توقيف ألماني وسوري

ولبناني في السعودي

The arrest of a German, a Syrian, and a Lebanese man in Saudi Arabia.

في السعودية تمَّ القبضُ على ثلاثة مخمورين،

الأول ألماني، والثاني سوريّ، والثالث لُبناني،

.وحكم القاضي الشرعيّ بجلدِ كلٍّ منهم عشرين جلدة

Three men were arrested for drunkenness in Saudi Arabia: the first one was German, the second Syrian, and the third Lebanese. The sharia judge sentenced them to twenty lashes each.

وأثنا إعدادهم للجلد، أقبلَ الجلادُ عليهم مسروراً

وقال لهم: لقد وضعتْ زوجتي اليومَ مولوداً جديداً

.وطلبتْ منّي أَن أمنحَ كلَّ واحدٍ منكم أمنيةً بهذه المناسبة

While they were preparing for the flogging, the flogger [literally, executioner, but that’s not what is meant here] approached them happily, and said: today my wife gave birth to a new son, and she asked me to grant each one of you a wish on this occasion.

:قال الألماني وكان أوّل من تقرّر البدءُ بجلده

أرجو أَن تربطَ إلى ظهري وسادةً قبلَ الجلدِ،

.فقامَ الجلادُ بذلك، وتمزّقت الوسادةُ في الجلدة العاشرة،

فلمّا انتهى الجلادُ أخذَ الألمانيُّ يبكي بشدّة

.وقد تمزّق ظهرُه وسالت دماؤه

The German was scheduled to go first, and he said: I ask you to tie a pillow to my back before the flogging. The flogger did this, but the pillow ripped on the tenth lash. When the flogger finished, the German began crying violently, for his back was torn and his blood flowed [down it].

قال السوريُّ وقد حان دورُه:

.أمّا أنا فأُمنيتي أَن تربطَ وسادتين إلى ظهري

ففعلَ الجلادُ ذلك، ولكن ما لبثت الوسادتان

.أَن تمزّقتا من الجلدة الخامسة عشر،

.وتلقّى السوريُّ باقيَ الجلدات وهو يصرخ ويبكي من الألم

When the Syrian man’s turn came, he said: As for me, my wish is that you tie two pillows to my back. So the flogger did this, but the two pillows did not last long. They tore on the fifteenth lash, and the Syrian received the remaining lashes yelling and crying from the pain.

:قال الجلاد للبناني وقد كان آخرهم

.أنتَ أخٌ عربيٌّ وجارٌ شقيقٌ لذا سأمنحك أمنيتين،

فقال اللبناني: شكراً لك يا سيّدي على كرم أخلاقِك،

وتقديراً لإحسانِك فإنَّ أُمنيتي الأولى هي أَن تجلدَني

مئةَ جلدةٍ بدلاً من عشرين،

The flogger said to the Lebanese man, who was the last to go: You are an Arab brother and a full/true neighbor. For this I will grant you two wishes.

The Lebanese man said: Thank you sir for the nobility of your character, and with appreciation for your charitableness. As for my two wishes, my first is that you beat me 100 times instead of twenty.

فقال الجلادُ مُتعجّباً: ما أشجعك من رجلٍ،

لك ذلك، وما أمنيتك الثانية؟
فتبسّمَ اللبنانيُّ وقال:

!فأمّا الثانية فهي أَنْ تربطَ السوريَّ إلى ظهري

The flogger said in amazement: I have never seen a man as courageous than you. And what is your second wish?

The Lebanese man smiled and said: As for the second wish, it is that you tie the Syrian man to my back!

Nice people, the Lebanese. And just to be certain that the reader has no trouble understanding the joke, the original comes with full diacritical markings.

But in a way the Syrian does have the last laugh. The original joke came in MS Word-friendly format, which means that each script is coded according to nationality. The Arabic used for this joke was AR-SY: Syrian Arabic.

2 Responses to “Lebanese humor”

  1. Oz Ozzie said

    Very funny. thanks

  2. intlxpatr said

    Holy smokes.

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