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Great Expectations

* Is it just me or does everyone think the Annapolis conference guaranteed to be a success? All sides have lowered expectations so much that if the handshakes are “firm” the summit will have wildly surpassed our greatest hopes.

* Arabs really are at the forefront of equality, what else would you expect? Too many men in the Middle East smoke, the solution? Yeah, get those women smoking too! Are we placing unrealistic expectations on womens’ bodies? Let the plastic surgery craze include the men!

This surgery (breast reduction) is common among Qatari men.” Embarrassment over the size of their breast is believed to be the driving force for this increase and is most popular among men who are overweight or middle aged. These men are uncomfortable going to the swimming pool or even going shirtless at home. Other popular plastic surgery procedures for Qatari men include rhinoplasty (nose jobs) and stomach reduction.

* On a serious note, the Kalima Project has decided to translate 100 “great works” into Arabic. At first I was a little skeptical when I heard about this project, or at least the article, as it seemed a tad condescending. Every mid- to large- sized Arab city I have been in (which includes 11 countries) is littered with book shops, many of which carry foreign books translated into Arabic. Additionally, every major Arab city I have been in has at least one massive annual book fair. Yeah, it sucks that Clash of Civilizations is omnipresent and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is relatively easy to find, but there does tend to be quite a range of titles. However, from the article:

“The choices reflect what we consider are the real gaps in the Arab library,” said Karim Nagy, the founder and chief executive of the project, which was launched yesterday in Abu Dhabi. “We shy away as far as possible from best-sellers.”

The list is very interesting and not at all what I expected it to be (Great Expectations is actually not on the list). Although my guess is some books I have seen are translated without permission and sold on the black market, this statistic from the article is a bit depressing:

One of the triggers which led to its creation was a widely-circulated statistic from the 2003 UN report into human development in the Arab world. It estimated that more books (about 10,000) were translated into Spanish every year than had been translated into Arabic over the past millennium.

It is also worth noting that the project plans to start translating Arabic books into English, which is also very important. Looking at the list, you can tell the the head of the project has a literary/consulting background. What books would you like to see translated into or from Arabic?

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2 Responses to “Great Expectations”

  1. Ghassan Kanafani’s stories and all his writings, love letters included.

    Posted by yousef | November 25, 2007, 1:13 pm
  2. I cant wait to see what Tuesday holds. I live in Annapolis and as a Muslimah inshaAllah they (the leaders of Muslim nations) will do all of us Muslim proud inshaAllah

    Posted by ummsultan | November 25, 2007, 3:58 pm

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