Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lost in Translation

In a follow-up to my previous post, Ynet News carries this little real life dittie:
Hizbullah's television station rushed to warn its viewers about the close ties between Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Israel, following a flawed interpretation of an article written by Yedioth Ahronoth columnist Nahum Barnea.

In his article, Barnea was aiming to criticize Israel's domestic political scene and used the situation in Lebanon as a metaphor. The essence of his argument was that the process undergone by Israel in recent years could lead to a situation whereby the government would not be able to exercise its power, as is the case in Lebanon.

"One day we will wake up and discover that our prime minister is Fouad Siniora," Barnea wrote, but then quickly clarified: "Maybe not Siniora himself, but rather, a Siniora-twin: Someone who orders the army to operate, but the army chief ignores him and the troops remain in their barracks…someone who needs to resort to tears, to outside help, or alternately to the mercy of God in order to exercise State authority."

Several Lebanese websites proceeded to translate a summary of the article, and used the first sentence about Siniora as the headline. This was apparently enough for the editor on shift at al-Manar, Hizbullah's television station, who rushed to post a breaking news bulletin at the bottom of the screen implying that Yedioth's story was an Israeli admission of the close ties between Jerusalem and Siniora.
Generally, in Mid-East politics, one just slanders a political opponent with the Israeli 'slur', so you can imagine how excited Hezbollah was to have a real life Israeli allegedly acknowledging an association and jumped the gun.

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