Monday, February 21, 2011

The Economist - Gaddafi and Ali have something in common?

Feb 21st 2011, 16:46 by R.L.G. | NEW YORK
LAMEEN SOUAG at Jabal al-Lughat catches Saif Qaddafi, in a speech to Libyans, announcing his intention to forgo written notes and speak "directly" to the people in dialectal Libyan Arabic. We noted something like this before: Zine el Abedine ben Ali surprised viewers by speaking Tunisian dialect in trying to forge a bond with his compatriots during the protests against his government, but it was too little too late—that was his last speech as president. Hosni Mubarak kept things grave and formal with Modern Standard Arabic in his last speeches, perhaps trying to avoid the whiff of desperation around Mr ben Ali's efforts. That didn't work either. So Saif Qaddafi, the son of Libya's dictator Muammar Qaddafi, has tried Mr ben Ali's tactic, sort of:
əlyōm saatakallam maʕākum... bidūn waraqa maktūba, 'aw xiṭāb maktūb. 'aw natakallam maʕakum bi... luɣa ħattā ʕarabiyya fuṣħa. əlyōm saatakallam maʕakum bilahža lībiyya. wa-sa'uxāṭibkum mubāšaratan, ka-fard min 'afrād hāða ššaʕb əllībi. wa-sa'akūn irtižāliyyan fī kalimatī. wa-ħattā l'afkār wa-nniqāṭ ɣeyr mujahhaza u-muʕadda musbaqan. liʔanna hāðā ħadīθ min alqalb wa-lʕaql.( YouTube - first minute; conspicuously dialectal bits bolded)
Today I will speak with you... without a written paper, or a written speech. (N)or even speak to you in the Classical (fuṣħā) Arabic language. Today I will speak with you in Libyan dialect, and address you directly, as an individual member of this Libyan people. And I will speak extempore. Even the ideas and the points are not prepared in advance. Because this is a speech from the heart and the mind.

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