2016: Abu Zubaydah, see section C here, has applied for release from Guantanamo. See http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/24/us/abu-zubaydah-torture-guantanamo-bay.html?_r=0.
2017: See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/us/politics/cia-torture.html
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
How Shall I Call Thee?
May 31, 2012 post updated.
Parse the name, learn of the person. Naming conventions.
"Arabic names won't go into English, exactly, for their consonants are not the same as ours, and their words, like ours, vary from district to district. There are some `scientific systems' of transliteration, helpful to people who know enough Arabic not to need helping, but a wash-out for the world. I spell my names anyhow, to show what rot the systems are."
Lawrence of Arabia, T.E. Lawrence, quoted at http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/names/arabic-naming2.htm
Western culture. We have a more entertainment focus, emotional not necessarily fact-based, but aspirational. Crofters may have named their child Robert, the Bruce. Our names in our culture, not necessarily informative or reflecting an actual status. See, for example, by way of update to a current western personage, Trump Etymology, Sounds, Roots. We may assert historical interest or adulation in our naming, and ancestral. Some of us (me) are told that we are rooted from and so have had a Robert the Bruce in every generation since, so we are told. Who knows? Ask our latest Rob. Then ask -- how does the name shape the person. What legacy is passed on.
Take some Arab-culture names, and parse them out into the significance of each part.
- Update: A particular Arab-culture individual, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, has become more prominent in news lately. See http://projects.nytimes.com/guantanamo/detainees/10024-khalid-shaikh-mohammed, He is an individual imprisoned at Guantamo, who may be tried in federal court for his role in 9/11. And suddenly people who engaged in Summer of 2009 Town Hall Disruptions fear that this person may use their Town Hall tactics to disrupt the proceedings. Good role modeling, THD'ers. If it works, do it, is that the lesson? See http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33927889/ns/world_news-washington_post/
Khalid Sheik Mohammed
Applying what we think we learned about the possible five forms to an Arab culture name,
- the Khalid would be the "ism", or a personal proper masculine name. We think he would be addressed by this name in conversation. Is that so? It is an ancient name, meaning immortal, eternal. The 1990 census, US, showed many western-usage surnames as Khalid, see the frequency and percentages at http://www.census.gov/genealogy/names/dist.all.last/; and fewer Khalids as western-usage first names, see ://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/Khalid/.
- the Sheik would be a "nasab", or pedigree, or title of nobility, similar in rank to Baron, see the sca.org site, scroll down to the titles section.
- the Mohammed would be a form of the "laqab" or the name of an aspirational figure, one to be emulated.
Do we have it right?
These forms are laid out at numerous sites. We start with //heraldry.sca.org/laurel/names/arabic-naming2.htm/ (here sca.org) So, if no other designation is given for the source here, the information framework is from sca.org/.
The ism is a personal proper name, perhaps given perhaps three days or perhaps seven days after birth, and not used after that in usual discourse. An adult would feel slighted at being addressed by that name, says the sca.org site.
The name may be, among others, Muhammed, Ibrahim, Ahmed.
This is a name of honor, a surname as the mother or father of someone. For example,
- abu means father of, and
- um or umm means mother of, then follows _________, usually the first son. Married women are often known by the kunya. It is a name of respect. Fathers also may be known by their kunya name.
- Bint. Daughter of.
- Um. Mother of.
- Thought: Abu means father of.
- Then, Abu Ghraib, as in the prison, is named for the father of Ghraib?
- Who was Ghraib? Tried googling just "Ghraib" and find nothing. Have to go back. In Hussein's time, this was already a prison, see http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/05/10/040510fa_fact/ Had it once been a residence of Ghraib?
The nasab comes after the ism when you speak it. It may extend two or three generations, usually not more, sometimes to four. Sometimes the person is known by the nasab.
- ibn means son of. See Ibn Sa'ad , and Sa'ad ibn Wabiq Waqas at Studying War, sources for historical representations. Here is a complication: when the parent named in a nasab is identified by that parent's kunya name, then the ibn here becomes ibi. At this site, "bin" is used instead of ibn. Is that the difference between "period naming" and current? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_name. Osama bin Laden - Osama son of Laden?
- And bint means daughter of. See Nessiba bint Ka'ab, and Hind bint Rabi'a, at Studying War, Women in War;
The laqab can take several forms:
a) a combination of qualities or names like an epithet;
This comes after the ism. Examples from sca.org : al-Rashid, or the Rightly Guided; al-Fadi, the Prominent. My brother used to go around calling himself Don the Great. Now we know where that comes from.
b) a person worthy of aspiration.
c) a relationship to deity or religious figure
- abd, or "servant of" for a man, and
- amat for "servant of" for a woman -
The nisbah is a byname, giving occupation, tribal lineage, then geographic where a person lives, or where the person was born, or other description.
- Al- Some people are primarily known by the nisbah. For example, this man wrote down sayings (hadith) of the Prophet, and his full name is Muhammad ibn Isma'il al-Bukari. He is from Bukari and is known as al-Bukari or Bukari.
The nisbah follows the ism. Or, if there is a nasab, it follows the nasab.
Examples from sca.org include al-Hallaj, for dresser of cotton; or al-Ayyubi for the tribe of Ayub; al-Dimashqi, from Damascus;
we are trying to translate.
A. Persons from http://www.brusselstribunal.org/pdf/Torture_in_Iraqi_Prisons.pdf /.*
Place noted -
- Salah al-Din (Province) - Rectitude of the Faith. This was a name of title that a caliph would bestow on political or military leaders, and were highly regarded. See http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/names/arabic-naming2.htm/. The al, or the, is hyphenated to the cognomen following it. The Faith.
- The Khalid is masculine, and for the feminine (not using the Um) the namer would have added a or ah for Khalida or Khalidah. See ://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/names/arabic-naming2.htm/
- The um is the honorific kunya, or surname, as mother of someone - here, mother of Khalid.
- Osama: a form of Usama, meaning "description of a lion," see http://www.ummah.net/family/masc.html#U/.
- Ahmed is a form of Mohammed, meaning most highly adored or praised, see http://www.ummah.net/family/masc.html/
- Abu is father of -- here we get confused. Abu is father of, but the al meanas "the" --- literally father of the Aith. Aith is not listed at ummah.net.
3. 'Abu Hudayfa' Tahseen Al Azzawi -
- Father of Hudayfa, and the a probably means the feminine name form, so does he have a daughter.
- Huda means "right guidance," see http://www.ummah.net/family/fem.html#H/ Tahseen the something, or from something? Azzawi and Tahseen are not listed at ummah.net.
B. Person from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/13/AR2009011303372.html; and ://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/15/guantanamo-bush-administration-torture-qahtani
Mohammed al-Qahtani - Muhammed once meant praiseworthy, now may have been bestowed as a name because it is the name of the Prophet, see http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/names/arabic-naming2.htm/ We do not see al-Qahtani listed in the masculine cognomens listed as isms at the sca.org site, and Babelfish does not do Arabic. It would be a) a respectful or aspirational, or n) the alternative - giving the occupation, lineage or geographical location of residence or birth "the ___(something)________________", we think. Quhtani is not listed at ummah.net/
C. Person from ://www.cjr.org/politics/the_forgotten_story_of_abu_zub.php
Abu Zubaydah - (kunya) - the father of Zubaydah. This is a feminine ending, so does he have a daughter named Zubaydah, like Tahseen? Yes, must be. And the name of his little girl, or is she adult now, Zubaidah, means excellent. See http://www.ummah.net/family/fem.html#Z
Look up all these names. So many choices for shaping your child's sense of self.
D. Person Khalid Sheik Mohammed - now moved to the top here.
A. Seeing persons as persons, not labels. A person whose name befuddles us, is less of a person. We do not know what to call him. It is easier to demean.
- Torture Bob? No.
- Torture Ahmed abu Z_____________ibn________al___________________________? Sure. And be sure to show him either bedraggled and sweaty, or bearded and photoshopped. The person and the acts are one thing. The propaganda to persuade before the facts are out, is another. Taint the jury pool.
Khalid Sheik Mohammed in particular forces us to look at the issue of forced confessions on a horrendous scale. Whether in his case the particular confession was true or not, what other geniis are let out of that bottle.
To be feared:
a) torture as first recourse, if ever;
b) torture to force out a desired story line; even if they lie;
c) torture to serve a need of the torturer; can power be contained
See torture, and the alternatives we may have had, and why anyone chooses torture instead (depends on the agenda, what you want - truth or what you demand), at Sassafras and History, Truth Serum or Torture, and Why.
The Name as the Human Connector.
We like to think we are individuals. How to communicate respect for that specific complex of physical and mental difference? Address the person. Speak the name aloud. 1) Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul. 2) Said Ali al-Shihri. 3) Ala al-Din. That last one would be Aladdin, to most of us. Hello. But what does the name mean? Is there a familiar "first name" so that we use "Abdullah" when we are conversing. Or "Said" because that name comes first, our usual place for the familiar first name.
Naming someone is important. And to name the person correctly. We don't like to be mispronounced, to hear a wrong nickname used by someone, especially someone not entitled by long association to use any nickname. The car salesman calling you Harry when you are Harold. Or honey. To greet someone, to apologize, to address issues, the name itself is a vital link to civilized talk. How to understand the names of those you are addressing. What if their cultures include a variety of information in the name: and do not limit naming to first-middle-last, with a prefix for status or occupation, and a suffix for linear descendants, males line only need apply. How to learn it in advance.
*This particular site offers testimony of treatment of prisoners by Iraqi police, or other names of those interested, with this included -- "Can you believe that now the Americans have stopped torturing like the way they used to in Abu Ghraib now they let the Iraqis do their job for them." Testimony at page 11. We do not try to sort out who did what to whom. The names here designated from that site represent those in custody of Iraqis, we believe. Others, other. See also http://www.sweetness-light.com/archive/ny-times-claims-iraqis-torture-captives-for-us