February 15, 2011
Egypt: The Council of Wise Men
A...Council...of...Wise...Men? 3 comments. 1: WTF? 2: Like, WTF? 3: Really, now, what the f--- is up with that? On another note - probably G# or thereabouts -- I seriously do think that this Council of Wise Men (WTF?) is the closest thing to the USA party-line going on around there (not the simplistics of "puppets" but there is an alignment going on). So, no, o ye puppet spotters, to play your game, it's not the military, not the politically deceased Mubarak, but the correct answer is probably that merry band of sagacious male folks. And, by the way, a Council of Wise Men, like WTF?
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Well, it's rather evidently a method to avoid direct engagement with the opposition that have experience. Note the complaints from the "youth protesters" that the military doesn't wisht to talk to people like El Baradie
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 16, 2011 07:09 AM
Seems logical. In any event, the names seems so 10th Century, or perhaps Hollywood American Indian.
Posted by: matthew h at February 16, 2011 10:26 AM
You sound surprised. The fact that they describe themselves in patriarchal ways just makes it a little more bare than we do here but not that different.
Even yesterday, Mona Eltahawy and others were asking Wael Ghonim on Twitter how many women were among the group of youth protesters that met with the high command or whatever... Ghonim's answer? @Ghonim: @perthtones @monaeltahawy @Fandango52 There was one girl: Asmaa Mahfouz. A girl. He acknowledged the subsequent criticism and made it his own, but it's not just at the top that these kinds of attitudes prevail.
Posted by: Guybrush Threepwood at February 16, 2011 11:57 AM
The patriarchal part doesn't surprise me as much as the "wise" part. Patriarchy? The Middle East? The Mediterranean? The human race, even? Good Lord, what a shock.
Still it's worth the ridicule.
But even a de-gendered Council of Sharp People, would still sound ridiculous in its own right.
Conceivably the problem is one of those dopey common translations -- like "Arab Higher Committee" or "mother of all battles" -- that the translators, the media, and translatees chronically and shamefully let slide, and pet peeve me to death.
Don't know the original Arabic - it might even be gender free in connotation and Wise Men may be more appropriately translated as "experts" in which case it is simply the Council of Experts. Not sure, the experts here can help.
Less stupid sounding is "Council of Experts" but if accurate, still paternalistic in a dangerous way, as opposed to patriarchal.
Posted by: matthew hogan at February 16, 2011 01:20 PM
He acknowledged the subsequent criticism and made it his own, but it's not just at the top that these kinds of attitudes prevail.
Far worse it is, at the bottom; the very far bottom, in the moral sense of the term.
Posted by: matthew hogan at February 16, 2011 01:29 PM
Mmm, well council of wise men does not sound bizarre to me in Arabic. The linguistic style in Arabic remains heavily influenced by classicism and good style isn't ... well doesn't follow the same paths as English.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 16, 2011 02:35 PM
This is a big issue to me though I feel "Cassandra"-like ignored in general. Mistranslations constantly mislead as to the nature and level of thought and culture, going on in other societies. Simple rule -- if it doesn't sound bizarre in the first language it probably shouldn't sound bizarre in the second (in fact I do not like translations - audio - that have foreign accents in English, the person didnt speak in a foreign accent in own language)."Mother of all battles", how about "Principal battle").
(Translations can be bizarre if the whole concept is alien.)
But in this case, it probably should be considered for translation as "Council of Experts" or "Experts Council".
Posted by: matthew h at February 17, 2011 09:46 AM
Your post reminds me of one of my favorite book titles of all time published at the height of the Cultural Revolution.
"People of the World, Unite and Overthrow the American Capitalist Running Dogs and All Their Lackeys (Second Edition)"
Posted by: at February 17, 2011 02:34 PM