Among a few other accomplishments ;), former IAEC head Mohamed El Baradei has figured out social media, sending regular messages from Twitter to his 70 thousand plus followers. El Baradei is Egyptian, and after many years in exile returned home recently. Like most Egyptians, he is completely caught up in the wonderful events there in the past month. Many of his tweets reflect his thoughts about the revolution and what comes next.
I *think* that two tweets El Baradei sent this morning, the first in Arabic and the second in English, are intended to say roughly the same thing. If Google Translate didn’t make a complete mess of the translation, however, Arabic sure packs more meaning in fewer words than English! Here is the first:
الشعب مصدر السلطات. مطالب الشعب واضحة وصريحة. الإستجابة الصادقة والفورية لها هى بداية لإعادة بناء الوطن. لا يجب أن نكرر أخطاء الماضى.
Google renders that as:
People are the source of the authorities. The people’s demands are clear and explicit. Sincere and immediate response it is beginning to rebuild the country. Should not repeat the mistakes of the past.
Like most Google Translate renderings, it is a bit awkward, but mostly comprehensible. A few minutes later, El Baradei sent this tweet out in English:
Peoples’ demands for a fresh start are crystal clear & should not be derailed. Let us not repeat the blunders of the past.
The linguist in me finds the contrast between the two interesting. The writer is impressed with El Baradei’s utterly sure and succinct command of English. The human being can only say “Amen!” to this. I hope that people inside and outside of Egypt take it to heart.