Honor and Name Culture

From the Department of Unfortunate Names (hat tip: Richard Landes)

Despite having served for years as a distinguished Pakistani diplomat, Akbar Zeb reportedly cannot receive accreditation as Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The reason, apparently, has nothing to do with his credentials, and everything to do with his name — which, in Arabic, translates to “biggest dick”:

In Saudi Arabia, size does count.

A high level Pakistani diplomat has been rejected as Ambassador of Saudi Arabia because his name, Akbar Zib, equates to “Biggest Dick” in Arabic. Saudi officials, apparently overwhelmed by the idea of the name, put their foot down and gave the idea of his being posted there, the kibosh.

According to this Arabic-language article in the Arab Times, Pakistan had previously floated Zeb’s name as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, only to have him rejected for the same reason. One can only assume that submitting Zeb’s name to a number of Arabic-speaking countries is some unique form of punishment designed by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry — or the result of a particularly egregious cockup.

No pun intended.

Update: Sorry, I can’t resist.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media