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Al Jazeera’s cheeky Burj Khalifah headline 5, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Al-Jazeera.
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4 comments

Al Jazeera’s headline on a lead article discussing the opening of the world’s tallest building in Dubai is, I believe, an example of the type of journalism that angers various people around the region.

دبي تتجاهل الديون وتفتتح برجها

Dubai ignores the debt and opens its tower

My translation is, I think it’s fair to say, a kind one. The root of the verb that they use for ignore  VI جهل means, according to the universally recognised most authoritative arabic-english dictionary:

to ignore; to refuse to have anything to do; shut one’s eyes, disregard; to affect ignorance, pretend to know nothing

Whilst my arabic is in no way, shape or form good enough to pronounce something to be the case, I really would suggest that this is a really rather cheeky headline. This word has well-known connotations and other meanings that are rather negative. There is, incidentally, no way of knowing what the author really was trying to get at: he could have been meaning to say ‘Dubai pretends to know nothing about its debt and opens its tower’; both are written exactly the same in the Arabic language but mean, of course, different things. This kind of naughty quasi-double entendre is par for the course for many journalists as an interesting headline to attract attention. I doubt, however, whether the powers that be in Dubai would be quite as forgiving.

Update:

Poor form, I forgot the Hat tip: Abstract JK and his tip-top blog http://alajnabi.blogspot.com/