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Iran Mistranslated Again

I try to avoid politics these days. Well, I try to avoid ideology.

One of my pet peeves, one that threatens to thwart our efforts for peace, has resurfaced in another prominent publication.

It seems that the popular desire for peace in the middle east will be thwarted by a few individuals for whatever crazy reason.

This in the economist:

Given their history, a lot of Israelis will run almost any risk to prevent a state that calls repeatedly for their own state’s destruction from acquiring the wherewithal to bring that end about. (from The Economist, 26/6/08)

Bullshit. Here’s why:

  1. Ahmadinejad has been severely mistranslated on this one, to serve the political end of making him look bad. The proof for this has been documented in detail by Information Clearing House in this expose. In summary, the extent of “Iran’s call” is that regime change is desirable for Israel (not specifically named).
  2. Even if Amadinejad has said this, which he hasn’t, he is one man in a state of over 70 million people. According to reports, he doesn’t speak for all of them. The language of this Economist article incites anxiety by pinning the mistranslation of one man on a whole country. Anyone would be led to believe that Iranians do not like Israelis. However, everyone in the middle east knows that it’s just the governments being ideological and paranoid (plus the interference of foreign powers).

None of that is to say that I explicitly support Iran’s government. I’m not sure that there’s any truly functional government system in this world, because I am sure that people aren’t ready for a functional government, because people in this world are still learning to function as people.

The global situation is becoming better, and people are learning to live and love in leaps and bounds – but this type of hype from irresponsible media is not helpful.

I really encourage journalists to be more loving in their attitude towards world governments, and not to isolate and blame them.

My challenge to world media is to deal in positives as much as negative. I’ll expand on this in the neat future.

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  1. I wrote to the magazine…

    Dear Economist Editor

    I enjoy the economist and view it as a positive and non-ideological gift to world media. I was recently disappointed to find, in the June 29 edition, a reiteration of the old “wipe Israel of the map” mistranslation. If any one piece of recurring information does less for peace on earth it must be this one. Actually this is a simply bad interpretation of a wrong translation.

    The Iranian president (who I do not specifically support) has benignly quoted a previous leader saying that the “regime in Israel must vanish from the world”. “Regime” doesn’t mean “state” and “must vanish from the world” doesn’t mean “be destroyed with a nuclear weapon”. So Ahmadinejad expressed his support for regime change in Israel. I encourage your writers to take utmost care when dealing with such important matters as this. Information Clearing House has detailed the often repeated mistranslation here.

    I hope that your publication continues it’s positive trend and takes proactive steps to rectify this dangerous mistranslation.


    Alistair Dark
    Brisbane, Australia