Arts English and Arabic
posted by December 11 at 12:55 PMon
I. Abu Dhabi.
According to a 2003 United Nations report into human development in the Arab world, more books are translated into Spanish each year - 10,000 - than have been translated into Arabic in the previous 10 centuries. Now this situation is being rectified by the sheikhdom of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven Muslim United Arab Emirates, which last month officially revealed its plans to translate 100 epochal foreign-language texts into Arabic by the end of next year.
Among the first to be translated: Stephen Hawking, Jurgan Habermas, Umberto Eco, and Murakami. Right now, translators are hunched over desks, working on volumes by Milton, Galileo, and co-decipherer of DNA, James D. Watson.
Over the last three years, it has been possible to catch the “Chewing Gum Man” at work somewhere in London, crouched on a pavement. From a distance, he could be homeless or a drunk - his coat is spattered with paint - but as you near, you see that he is painting in enamels, with great delicacy, a picture on the discarded gum that litters urban pavements.
Arrested and charged with criminal damage in front of a crowd of horrified tourists, he ended up being punched and dragged across a police cell.
England’s got issues:
Absurd recent examples of how far these [policing] powers stretch include a drunken Oxford student who said a police horse was gay and ended up with an £80 fixed-penalty fine. And the penalty fines handed to wearers of a “Bollocks to Blair” T-shirt. The most egregious instance of this new civic conformity was Tony Blair’s measure to ban political protests within a mile of Westminster.
Back to the artist:
Once at the station, he was told they wanted a DNA sample, which under a 2004 amendment, the police are entitled to take from everyone accused of a recordable offence. Even if the person is never convicted, or even charged, the DNA sits in a national database until they die, or their hundredth birthday. Wilson balked at this invasion of his privacy; he tried to reason with the police, and ended up on the floor being punched, as six or so hairs were taken for the DNA sample. Charges of obstructing police in the course of their duty, and criminal damage, were brought against him and then dropped.