August 31, 2005
Lebanese Media: As-Safir, Intro and August 31
I was planning, upon completing my Arabic course and resuming my new career as a gentleman of leisure, on doing a daily translation of the front page of one of the big Lebanese newspapers, preferably one that doesn't have an English edition already on line. Sadly, having attempted that the other day, I now understand why all the big-name middle east bloggers tend to translate little bits and pieces of news reports: because doing full translations is bloody exhausting.
So I'll be trying to do a daily headlines-and-summary report of the front page of As-Safir, a leftist-Arabist newspaper ("The newspaper of Lebanon in the Arab World and of the Arab World in Lebanon") which has the virtue of (1) being cheaper than most of the other papers and (2) not already having an English edition on line, so that this little exercise might add a little value for someone, somewhere.
Without further ado, As-Safir, August 31, 2005:
Above the fold, big headline
Mehlis "surrounds" Lahoud with suspicion and arrests his security group
(perhaps better translated as "Security Cabal"??)
Security Council Continues Hearings and Renews Calls for Syrian Cooperation
Still smaller, below:
Inspector Elias 'Id interrogates Sayyid, Haj, 'Azar, Hamdan, and Nasir Qandil.
Sa'ad Hariri: Lebanon isn't afraid of Arabism.
Jumblatt: We must look for a new President.
Big story of the day, taking up half the front page and the entire above-the-fold region. The story is pretty straight narration: Detlev Mehlis, head of the UN commission investigating Rafiq Hariri's death, went to the minister of Justice and the PM and requested the arrest of these five men, and they were subsequently detained for questioning by the Commission. The five men include former director of General Security Jamil as-Sayid, the former director of Internal Security "Ali al-Haj, the former director of Army Intelligence Raymond 'Azar, current head of the Presidential Guard Mustafa Hamdan, and former MP Nasir Qandil.
Walid Jumblatt, who's been calling for the replacement of President Emile Lahoud, said, "President Lahoud is finished, and we need to find a new President".
Below the fold (big headlines only):
American Slaughterhouse in al-Qa'im: 56 Dead
(subtitle: Washington Reopens Discussions on Clauses of the Constitution)
Opens with a report on the airstrikes in al-Qa'im, near the Syrian border. Briefly reports on remarks by Zalmay Khalilzad on how the final draft of the Iraqi constitution is maybe not quite so final, then quotes from President Bush's speech at a World War II memorial at some length.
"Al-Madina" sealed with red wax
A photo of the closing of a bank in the Hamra district of Beirut, at the decision of the primary branch. I guess "sealed with red wax" means "closed its doors" or something like that. Strange.
Joseph Samaha: A dose of "truth" restores health
Joseph Samaha: A dose of "truth" restores health (or something like that - anyone know what maDaad (meem Daad alif daal) means? T'ain't in Hans Wehr, or at least I couldn't find it)
Joseph Samaha is a big reason why I'm not doing a full translation. Ow. Read the thing three times, making copious use of good old Hans Wehr, and I still don't really know what he's trying to get at. I think he's saying that the commission has a chance now to help the Lebanese body politick to clear up the suspicion that has infected it lo these many years and inhibited its proper function. Also, later on, he notes that there remain two questions about how much farther the commission's probe will go: will it finger President Lahoud himself? And will it accuse members of Syrian state security?
I think Mr. Samaha is one of those writers who attempt to obviate argument through obscurity. That last paragraph took me an hour to write. I particularly appreciated spending twenty minutes trying to translate the phrase "the power to cut through clouds of obscurity" (qadr min al ta'yiin al maHaat binuu' min al ghamuuD).
Netanyahu is Nominated for Leadership of Likud: "Sharon is Ruining the Party"
Sulayman: We are with you until you achieve a state within the '67 borders
(subtitle: [Egyptian] Government Refuses Israeli Control over the Rafah Border for 6 Months)
Sulayman is 'Abbas Sulayman, head of Egyptian Intelligence, who in a recent press conference reiterated Egypt's support for a Palestinian state in all of the pre-'67 Palestinian territory. (That is, the whole West Bank plus Jerusalem.
There's also a front-page ad paid for by AMAL, commemorating the disappearance of Musa Sadr and announcing an official ceremony at the national stadium.
(There's a big picture of flooding in Norleans on the back page, if anyone's wondering.)
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Tracked on August 31, 2005 02:26 PM
Good and interesting work Tom, and now you know why I don't play Mr. Translator of Arab Media. Bloody time consuming.
However, if you're going to set yourself to this, bloody good and useful value added activity. Of course good deeds are usually punished.
A word, however. This was a trifle hard to follow as organised and hard to contextualise in terms of meaning etc. That would be terribly useful to understand the meaning - to punish your good deed, can I ask for something like a commentary on the arties? Commentaries, syntheses or glosses in my mind are useful and somewhat easier than running the translations as you give yourself a freer hand.
See, do a good deed, and what's the bloody reward, the fuckers ask for more work!
Posted by: The Lounsbury at August 31, 2005 03:11 PM
Well, in theory this should get (marginally) easier as I go along. Next one (sept 2) I may try messing with the formatting a bit to set the different arty's off from each other.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at September 1, 2005 10:21 AM