London, Asharq Al-Awsat- It seems that neither the American president’s luck nor his choices of words are working in his favor. This was evident once more at the recent Bush-Blair conversation during last week’s G-8 meeting in St Petersburg.
It was also evident, that the media was ready to pounce, as always … Mr. Bush’s words were instant headlines.
The US President was involved in a “private side conversation” with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, when he happened to say ” thing is what they need to do is get Syria, to get Hezbollah to stop doing this sh*t and it’s over “.
However, confusion set in once the Arab media’s ears caught the term used by the American president to describe Hezbollah’s actions.
This resulted in numerous interpretations of President Bush’ colorful language, with many Arab media outlets decide on the word “Qazara” or “Qazoorat” (rubbish) others choose the word “Hoora’a” (non-sense), while others translated it as “Qaraf” (disgust).
However, Dr. Jamal Abdul-Nasser, a professor of English Literature at Cairo University, argues that while the actual translation would be “Bouraz” (feces)… the best way of translating this term, in this particular situation, would have been “Aa’mal Qazerah” (dirty acts) .
He also stresses that it is “extremely important for the media to consider the actual context a statement is made in as well as taking into consideration cultural backgrounds “.
Nevertheless, American media analyst Edward Egwan sees nothing wrong with reporting what was said. “Despite the microphone being turned on, which is a technical mistake, the journalists were in the hall and it was not a closed session, they have the right to report whatever they hear without fear of legal trouble”, he explains.
George Bush had a similar incident during the 2000 election campaign. Just before a speech in Illinois, Mr. Bush said to his Vice Presidential nominee Dick Cheney: “There’s Adam Clymer, major league a#!hole from the New York Times.” Mr. Bush later said he did not realize that live microphones were going to pick up his remark, but he fell short of an actual apology. Clymer later criticized the” (then) governor’s language.”
President Bush is certainly not the first world leader or public figure to caught saying inappropriate comments by a “Live Mic”
Prince Charles’s description of BBC reporter Nicholas Witchell as an “awful” man was overheard during a 2005 Swiss skiing holiday. But perhaps the most legendary incident of this kind took place just prior to the late US president Ronald Reagan’s weekly radio address in August1984. Reagan thinking the microphone was off announced “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”
* Additional reporting by Hind Ibrahim in Washington