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No Big Dicks for Saudi; Hitler Wins in Africa

Trausti

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Jul 30, 2005
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Oh how names can cause cross-cultural bemusement.

Saudi Arabia rejects Pakistani diplomat over name translation

In an unfortunate result of translation, Pakistani diplomat Akbar Zeb will not become the next Pakistani ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Zeb’s credentials seem in order: He is the former ambassador to the United States, India and South Africa. He held the post of High Commissioner Designate of Pakistan to Canada and is the former director general of Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.
But despite Mr. Zeb’s impressive career, the 55-year-old diplomat’s name proved to be the immovable hurdle. When translated into Arabic, Akbar Zeb means “Biggest Dick.” In a region that stresses modesty, particularly in public, this could not stand.

Akbar is a customary Muslim name for Arabic and non-Arabic speakers alike. The same cannot be said for Zeb. The name is common in Urdu, however in Arabic it is merely a slang reference to the male reproductive organ.

A man named Adolf Hitler Uunona wins a local election in Namibia, assures the German press he isn't 'striving for world domination'

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Honorable mention:

 
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