Lawrence of Cyberia. I have visited this blog before, but not regularly. Today I followed a series of links and ended up on some very interesting blog posts.
There’s this one: Lost in Translation, about how the media chose the most inflammatory (and inaccurate) translation possible for a Palestinian politician’s speech (this was back in 2004):
OK, so now we know that Arafat isn’t randomly exhorting the Palestinians to go out and blow up Israelis, he’s actually finishing his speech with a quote from the Qur’an. (Though that verb “terrorize” is a very 21st century/War on Terror kind of vocabulary to find in the Qur’an, isn’t it?). Now, here’s the strange thing: I tried to look up that quote in the Qur’an, to see the whole verse in context so that I might get a better idea of what Arafat was saying by citing it. I was pretty sure I would find it quickly by searching for that damning verb “terrorize”, but when I looked it up in four of the most popular English translations (Yusuf Ali, Pickthall, Khan and Shakir), I couldn’t find a single instance of the word “terrorize” appearing anywhere in the Qur’an. So finding the verse in context wasn’t as easy as I thought.
and this one: They Hate, We Don’t, full of counterexamples to the usual old arguments that Arabs hate Jews:
In other words, I don’t look for the worst examples of extremism I can find and pretend they are representative of the whole culture, just so I can smear an entire religion as “a religion of hate” or a whole race as “not quite people like us”.
It is indefensible to incite hatred of Jews. It is yet more reprehensible when children are your target audience. But it is also reprehensible to want to cherry pick the worst examples of extremist behaviour, and to pretend it is representative of an entire people, just because it fulfils your own prejudices about what kind of people “they” are.
2. He wants to wipe Israel off the map! That’s what we were told in our news media’s hysterical reporting of Ahmadinejad’s speech to the “World Without Zionism” conference in Tehran on 26 October 2005. Except it turns out that, when correctly translated, he didn’t really say that Israel must be wiped off the map, but that “the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time”, which is not a threat of war or annihilation, but an expression of hope for regime change. Ahmadinejad isn’t a Zionist. He doesn’t believe that the Muslim-majority land of Palestine should be forcibly transformed into a Jewish state, and his speech is an expression of confidence that Zionist rule over Jerusalem will come to an end just as surely as other once-powerful regimes (he cites the examples of the Shah in Iran, the Communists in the Soviet Union, and Saddam’s rule over Iraq) all came to an end. If you look at the Middle East through a Zionist perspective, you might not like to hear that, but it doesn’t give anyone the right to pretend that he’s threatening to launch nukes at Tel Aviv or drive the Jews into the sea, as the “wiped off the map” language would suggest.
Adding to blogroll.