Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Something of a Response and Clarification | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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On Sunday the 27th of November, I wrote about the death of Fidel Castro, and the article was entitled “Warrior’s Rest”. I was contacted by a colleague who only contacts me when he catches me offending or making a mistake, and who hurries to deride me and take revenge on me. He said “What are you doing today?” I did not reply because I was sure that “I was not doing anything today”.

He went on by saying “How could you steal the title from the magazine Al-Hawadith? Do you think people forget so easily?” Again, I did not reply or, God forbid, put the phone down. When I felt that he had finished deriding me, I wished him well and put the phone down.

However, I owe an explanation to the reader. During the early seventies, my colleague Nabil Khouri returned from Kuwait in order to become the Editor in Chief of Al-Hawadith. I went to his office in order to congratulate him and I found him shuffling through the papers in front of him as usual. He then walked over to the window and then returned towards me with his hand on his forehead. This was a sign that he was perplexed. Shortly after, he said “I’ve spent hours thinking of a title”. I asked him what the title was for. He said: “We want to dedicate a weekly corner of the magazine to non-political topics where the editor writes about his troubles and experiences.

Before I went to visit Nabil’s office, I watched Le Repos du Guerrier (Warrior’s Rest) in which Brigitte Bardot and Robert Hossein starred. The film had nothing to do with wars, fighting and warriors, and so I asked Nabil what he thought of the title “Warrior’s Rest” because it seemed suitable. As usual, Nabil (May he rest in peace) jumped for joy and the title featured in the magazine for many years. The “Rest” attracted more readers and journalists than any other material.

In other words, I did not steal the title but rather I am its owner, even though the French director Roger Vadim, Brigitte Bardot’s husband at the time, came up with the original title. Let me use this occasion to clarify something else as well; another colleague lovingly scolded me for using the term Chinese “characters” rather than “alphabet”. I explained that the Chinese language is not like the alphabet of Arabic or European languages but is a group of hundreds of hieroglyphic like images. Therefore “characters” was the best description.