Date: 28 Feb 2010


"ZEB" (AS IN AURANGZEB) IN ARABIA IS AN OBSCENITY /////////////// Saudi Arabia rejects Pakistani diplomat because of his name. ///////////////// See http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,584807,00.html ///////////////// Apparently it is a true story. ///////////// Owing to an unfortunate matter of translation, Pakistani diplomat Akbar Zeb will not become the next Pakistani ambassador to Saudi Arabia. ///////////// Mr Zeb's credentials are impressive: he is the former envoy to the United States, India, South Africa and Canada. But despite his impressive career, his name proved to be an immovable hurdle. ///////////////// When translated into Arabic, it means "Large penis". /////////////// In a region that stresses modesty in public, this could not stand. ///////////////// Akbar is a customary Muslim name meaning "great", and while Zeb is not an uncommon Pakistani name, in Arabic it is a slang reference to the penis and never used in polite conversation. //////////////// Obviously the diplomat's Arab hosts felt that references to "His Excellency the Big Dick" would not go over well. ////////////// A Saudi cultural critic said, "The media wouldn't dare to publish a name like this. So every time he would be in the media they would have to face the name issue, and it would make it difficult to work with him. /////////////// That would be an embarrassment for Pakistan." ////////////// Said an analyst, "You cannot just pronounce that name. It's too awkward. ////////////// How would he be announced at events? How would he be written about?" ///////////////// According to the Arab Times, this is the third instance of an Arabic-speaking country refusing Mr. Zeb's ambassadorship David Kenner of Foreign Policy magazine wrote that the issue was a source of embarrassment for Pakistan. "One can only assume that submitting Zeb's name to Arabic-speaking countries is some unique form of punishment designed by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry," he wrote, "Or the result of a particularly egregious cock- up." ///////////////// 000000000