I don't care about Iran or their laughingstock president…posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:55 PM Permalink …but it gets sorely annoying to hear the incorrect translation of a quote from one of his speeches that Ahmadinejad, "…threatened to wipe Israel off the map…," a mistranslation used by the MSM, too many politicians, and innumerable times by various talking heads and supposed experts. It was again shown onscreen by MSNBC newsreader Peter Alexander just this morning.
Juan Cole, whom I believe is considered an authority both on Iran and the languages spoken in Iran, New Persian and Farsi, has repeatedly debunked this myth despite the efforts of one journalist, Christopher Hitchens, to perpetuate the bad translation and seek to use it as justification for the idea that Iran is a radical country seeking the destruction of Israel.
I refer you to Mr. Cole's Informed Comment where he again criticizes Mr. Hitchens' alleged theft of Mr. Cole's email and Hitchens' persistent use of the incorrect translation of Ahmadinejad's quotation.
…he [Hitchens] should behave like a journalist, not like a hired gun for the far Right, smearing hapless targets of his ire. That isn’t journalism. For some reason it drives the Right absolutely crazy that I keep this little web log, and so they keep trotting out these clowns in amateurish sniping attacks. It is rather sad, that one person standing up to them puts them into such piranha-like frenzy.Mr. Cole isn't the only authority on Iran and its languages to make this correction of a false translation. There was also a Jewish group of scholars, the name of which escapes me, that agreed with Mr. Cole and his proper translation of the quote, [I am still recovering from an awful bevy of deleterious side effects caused by some prescribed medications and just don't have the energy or clarity of thought to do the research to find the name of this group. But I assure you this group exists. Bill]
The precise reason for Hitchens’ theft and publication of my private mail is that I object to the characterization of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as having “threatened to wipe Israel off the map.” I object to this translation of what he said on two grounds. First, it gives the impression that he wants to play Hitler to Israel’s Poland, mobilizing an armored corps to move in and kill people.
But the actual quote, which comes from an old speech of Khomeini, does not imply military action, or killing anyone at all. The second reason is that it is just an inexact translation. The phrase is almost metaphysical. He quoted Khomeini that “the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time.” It is in fact probably a reference to some phrase in a medieval Persian poem. It is not about tanks.
I have grown so tired of the ability of the far Right to keep repeating a lie so many times in so many venues that the lie eventually becomes considered to be the truth. It's farging amazing to watch this process, repeated countless times by the far Right, in turning a lie into the truth. It's even more amazing to me that people don't recognize what's happening and buy into the new 'truth' whole hog.
But that's just my opinion and I certainly could be wrong.
Ciao, bella âmi.