Saturday, 3 November 2018

A bet on the Geegees.

What is the BBC saying about Saudi Arabia, arms sales and the grizzly murder of the man they call a 'dissident journalist' who we eventually discovered was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

(How do you pronounce Khashoggi?- Is it hard ‘K” or soft ‘H’  - aitch not haitch - and is there supposed to be a hard ‘G’ followed by a soft ‘g’ rather than two soft gees? It’s quite a difficult word to enunciate effortlessly, but hat’s off to the announcers that have mastered a smooth 'Hashog-jee.'

From a position of sheer ignorance, I instinctively feel that’s the best bet (and good luck with Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.) 

I can’t help seeing parallels between the media's apparent advocacy of an immediate cease-fire and/or an embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of, a) the murder of Khashoggi and, b) the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the same media’s attitude to various Hamas/ Gaza/ Israel wars. Immediate cease-fires may not always produce the best outcome, arguably.

I know next to nothing about the Houthi insurgency and I can’t see much information about it in Paul Adam’s ‘explanation’. I understand that Paul Adams is far from impartial in this (or any other) area.

The BBC does provide some info here - circa 2015. Judging from the fact that the Houthis are (or were) known as Ansar Allah (Partisans of God), that they seem to be a spin-off of al-Shabab, and are backed by Iran, one might reasonably wonder if an immediate cease-fire would prolong the suffering of the unfortunate Yemeni population rather than bring it to a decisive end. 

I speak from a position of near total ignorance, rather like various panellists and pundits I’ve heard vehemently opining on the Beeb.


  1. The 26/10 episode of 'Newswatch' looked (at some length) into how exactly Jamal Khashoggi's name should be pronounced.

    I'm still trying to get my head round it.

    Here's my best attempt and transliterating it all:

    John Sweeney - Gash-oggy
    Mark Lowen - Hash-oggy
    Bill Hayton - Hash-od-JEE (strong emphasis on last syllable)
    Chris Buckler - Kash-od-Jee
    James Landale - HJ(throat clearing sound)-odjy
    Frank Gardner - HJ(heavy throat clearing sound)-odjy

    Some viewer said, as the victim's friend, she pronounced it Kash-oggy, so that's that.

    Samira Ahmed said "the BBC's pronunciation service differs with its official guidance"...

    ...which is interesting.

    The BBC's pronunciation service recommends the Gulf Arabic rather than the standard Arabic version: HJash (heavy throat clearing sound at the start)-od-jy. And then Samira pronounced it much the same.

    And THAT is pretty much your smooth correct version, Sue! (if you've still got the will to live).

    1. On this theme, a language professor once calculated that there were more than a million different ways to spell the name of the deceased dictator Ghadaffi using the Roman alphabet. Sounds counter-intuitive until you start going through all the
      orthgraphical opportunities K/Kh/G/Gh/Q/Qu etc

      It's actually been spelt over 100 ways in the media, but I can see how you could generate a million variations, if you started combining elements of these variations with other variartions.

  2. I was also getting extremely annoyed at the reluctance of the UK media, BBC to the fore, to refer to Kashoggi as anything other than a "journalist"...He was a political activist, closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact you can't really make sense of the whole sorry tale unless you realise it was not just a political murder but also a calculated insult aimed at enraging Erdogan, another man closely allied to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood clearly represents an existential threat to the corrupt Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    1. So I can take the gaffa tape off as I stand in the driveway?