I was posting this Monty Python clip last month,
and now it’s Instapundit‘s turn, because of this story:
Diplomat Whose Name Is Dirty Word in Arabic Rejected as Saudi Ambassador
A high-ranking Pakistani diplomat reportedly cannot be appointed ambassador to Saudi Arabia because in Arabic his name translates into a phrase more appropriate for a porn star, referring to the size of male genitals, Foreign Policy reported.
The Arabic transaltion of Akbar Zeb to “biggest d**k” has overwhelmed Saudi officials who have refused to allow his post there.
Zeb has run into this problem before when Pakistan tried to appoint him as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, where he was rejected for the same reason, according to Foreign Policy.
Scott Johnson takes a more dignified look at the story,
Which raises the question of Akbar Zeb: What, precisely, is the problem? Surely Mr. Zeb would be welcome as Pakistan’s ambassador to France, or Great Britain, or the United States, or Israel, for that matter, if only Pakistan would recognize Israel.
What’s the problem with dispatching Mr, Zeb to Saudi Arabia? Like Pilate, Saudi Arabia appears to have a problem with possible jokes about Mr. Zeb’s name. Could the problem be that among the rules of joking in Islam is the one laid down by Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez: “Fear joking, for it is folly and generates grudges.” Muhammad himself is quoted as having issued the edict: “Do not laugh too much, for laughing too much deadens the heart.” We see where Mr. Zeb might present a problem in Arabic-speaking countries.
Indeed, it is not just Saudi Arabia that has refused to welcome Mr. Zeb. As the news story notes, David Kenner reports on the Foreign Policy site that, according to the article in the Arab Times that is the source of the story, “Pakistan had previously floated Zeb’s name as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, only to have him rejected for the same reason.”
Kenner can’t help himself. He adds his own interpretive twist to the story: “One can only assume that submitting Zeb’s name to a number of Arabic-speaking countries is some unique form of punishment designed by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry — or the result of a particularly egregious cockup.”
Explained by a Johnson, too.