THE ‘Arab Spring’ is a mistranslation, it has emerged.
As soldiers cleared Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Arabic translators in Europe and America admitted they may have created the wrong impression.
Experts have now confirmed that the term ‘ar-Rabi al-‘Arabi’ means both ‘Arab Spring’ and ‘the firing of tear gas at Arabs’.
Stephen Malley, a grade five UN translator, said: “When I saw the weekend footage from Egypt I checked my notes. Sure enough, the Arabic word for ‘democracy’ does look very similar to their word for ‘indiscriminate gunfire’.
“Everyone was talking very quickly and one of my squiggly bits wound up in the wrong place.”
Egyptian president Omar Suleiman, who changed his first name to ‘General’ the moment he took over from the deposed Hosni Mubarak, said: “I’m as confused as anyone.
“For months I have been under the impression that the great Egyptian people wanted me to turn the riot police on them. I have duly obliged but now they tell me it actually has something to do with apple blossom and young lambs.
“Perhaps I’m supposed to set fire to the apple trees and tear gas the lambs.”
Malley added: “By the way, the Arabic word for ‘free and fair elections’ sounds really like both ‘iron fist’ and ‘cattle prod’.
“It’s like ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’.”