April 21, 2009

Holocaust lost in translation

Most readers who come here, deliberately anyway, will have seen or heard or heard something about the speech of Iranian President Ahmadinejad to the Durban II conference. I watched several BBC newses last night and all they had Ahmadinejad saying was that Israel was a cruel and racist government and that the west had used "Jewish suffering" (I'm literally quoting, that is what the translator said) to migrate Jews from Europe and America to Palestine, drive out the Palestinians and establish, what the translator said was a "racist government".

Well the Guardian has an article headed thus:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's attack on Israel triggers walkout at UN racism conference

• Iran's president launches tirade at tolerance summit
• Diplomats stage protest as speech denies Holocaust


And in the article it says this:
"Following world war two, [powerful states] resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless, on the pretext of Jewish suffering and the ambiguous and dubious question of the Holocaust .... and they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racists in Palestine," he said.
But the same passage in the Iranian state broadcaster, Press TV's website it says this:
Following World War II, they resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering and they sent migrants from Europe, the United States and other parts of the world in order to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine. And, in fact, in compensation for the dire consequences of racism in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine.
Sensitive stuff except the support of western governments for zionism goes back to WWI not WWII and the only government to change its position from the end of WWI to the end of WWII was that of Joe Stalin. I don't think he was ever in the business of compensation for ethnic cleansing.

But anyway, if you see the Guardian video clip, it has no translation going on while he talks. What you hear is what you get. It's the man himself, Ahmadinejad. I can't load the clip here but if you go there and listen, he clearly says the word "holocaust". So why does it not appear in the Press TV transcript?

It's like that ridiculous carry on when that Israeli minister prematurely announced "cast lead" by saying that Israel was going to inflict an "even bigger shoah" on Gaza. I think mad Mel Phlips called that the "mother of all mistranslations". I wonder what she'll say about this.

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