The Dangers of Not Knowing Arabic
Gregory Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Johnsen has written for a variety of publications on Yemen including, among others, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, The Independent, The Boston Globe, and The National. He is the co-founder of Waq al-Waq: Islam and Insurgency in Yemen Blog. In 2009, he was a member of the USAID's conflict assessment team for Yemen.
Earlier this morning I wrote that the Washington Post had gotten 'Abdullah al-Midhar's name wrong for what I called "reasons passing understanding."
Those reasons have now become clear to me, particularly after I read this CNN report, which repeated the same mistake.
So - for reasons passing understanding - I spent the next 15 minutes looking through the English language mirror sites of official Yemeni media until I found the article that misidentified al-Midhar. It was an article from 26th of September, the English version.
Now, I have no idea whether or not Sudarsan Raghavan knows Arabic or not, but there is a danger in only relying on English language reports out of Yemen - many things, and not just small details on someone's name can be missed.
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