The most difficult thing to translate are concepts that have no equivalent in the target language. I’ve been struggling for 10 minutes with the expression “grilled cheese.” What can be simpler (and more delicious) than a good grilled cheese sandwich? Yet, the Russian equivalent does not exist because grilled cheese isn’t cooked in Russian-speaking countries.
One way out of this is linguistic borrowing. Until the word “boyfriend” became a word in Russian (it sounds exactly the same and is spelled with Russian letters), one had to say something like “the man I’m seeing romantically” to transmit the idea.
Instead of boycotting Israeli academics for a completely fictitious “Apartheid”, like some of my colleagues keep suggesting, it would make a lot more sense to boycott Birzeit University that has allowed a group of unhinged religious fanatics to bully a professor for posting a bunch of cartoons on his office door. The administrators of the university actually participated in the bullying in their attemps to shut up the professor to appease the crazed fanatics:
According to Budeiri, the university then removed the cartoons from his door, and sent three vice presidents to ask him to issue an apology. He agreed to issue an explanation, but not to apologize. . . At that point, the university issued a statement that said Budeiri did not intend to offend Muslims. While the university criticized attacks on anyone for expressing their views, Budeiri said that no action was taken against the students who threatened him. Student protesters also reported having been told that Budeiri would not be returning to the university, he said, and so considered that a victory. He said that various university officials have continued to ask him to apologize and/or take a leave and go abroad for a semester.
If we allow such actions on the part of fanatics go unpunished and do not respond in any way to the universities that let such things happen, we should expect these quasi-religious freakazoids start persecuting us in the same way.
Something tells me, however, that I’m not likely to receive any passionate messages from my colleagues asking me to support a boycott against this sorry excuse for a university.
Irrespective of whether the stickers say “Romney”, “Obama”, “Feminists of the world unite” or “Patriarchy has got to go”, placing them on a baby is wrong and stupid. This is a baby, for Pete’s sakes, not a billboard.
I found the photo here.