Help with translation
Posted by aogTuesday, 21 August 2007 at 09:38 TrackBack Ping URL

Instapundit cites this article by Theodore Dalrymple which reads in part

In an effort to ensure that no Muslim doctors ever again try to bomb Glasgow Airport, bureaucrats at Glasgow’s public hospitals have decreed that henceforth no staff may eat lunch at their desks or in their offices during the holy month of Ramadan, so that fasting Muslims shall not be offended by the sight or smell of their food. Vending machines will also disappear from the premises during that period.

Instapundit then provides an update that this paragraph was based on incorrect media reports, the disclaimer writing

THERE is no question - despite reports in the national and local media - that staff in NHS Lothian have been ordered not to eat at their desks for fear of offending Muslim colleagues. Nor is there any question that NHS Lothian will be moving vending machines.

I, however, read that as confirming Dalrymple’s claim. Can any of the Brits in the gang point out my translation error? Thanks!

Comments — Formatting by Textile
erp Tuesday, 21 August 2007 at 11:48

Good manners, not a company directive, would suggest that one not eat in front others who are fasting, not smoke in front of others who are trying to quit, etc. Accommodation can and should be made, i.e., certain times set aside for eating so Moslems who might be offended could be warned away during that period, but removing vending machines is silly. As would be removing newspapers or magazines or even television sets lest pictures of food be visible.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 21 August 2007 at 12:31


Well, I was really looking for an explanation of how the second thing refuted the first, but to actually respond, I would say that unless it’s completely open seating, if I am at my desk, then it’s not “in front of others”. But I suppose it’s possible (or likely even) that at an NHS facility there’s not enough budget even for cubicle walls.

Michael Herdegen Tuesday, 21 August 2007 at 12:33

Good manners would suggest that people who want to fast at lunchtime should go somewhere else, if they’re offended by people eating around them, just as people who are trying to quit smoking shouldn’t hang out in the smokers’ lounge.

Peter Burnet Tuesday, 21 August 2007 at 13:07

Can I play honourary Brit? Aw c’mon, I have the spelling. “There is no question…” introduces a denial in Britain and an affirmation in North America.

It’s a bit like if you are on a poor phone line and the Brit on the other end says: “Are you through?” If you say yes, he will start chatting because he means “Are you connected?” If a North American asks that and you say yes he will hang up because he means: “Are you finished?”.

Tom C., Stamford,Ct Tuesday, 21 August 2007 at 15:42

Office worker # 1: “Hey, Amad, I’m going out to get some lunch, what can I pick up for you?”

office worker 2: “I’m fasting because it is the holy month of Ramadan and the holy book of complete religion says I must fast”.

worker 1: “Good for you! Happy Ramadan?”

worker 2: “No. It is Ramadan and you are a polytheist. You must fast as well. If you don’t you must leave this place or don’t eat in my presence. Your eating is like the tempation of the evil jin. You are tormenting me”

worker 1: “Get bent!”

Hate crime.

erp Tuesday, 21 August 2007 at 22:28

I’ve been a little busy today and I apologize for omitting the s/on — s/off designations.

erp Tuesday, 21 August 2007 at 22:30

Sorry again. Now I’m up way past my bedtime and I apologize to AOG for assuming he was also being sarcastic.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 22 August 2007 at 08:24

Come back erp, all is forgiven!

erp Wednesday, 22 August 2007 at 09:48

Thanks, but I can’t promise coherence and this isn’t sarcasm.

Following the line of thinking proposed in the link above, wouldn’t it be humane, not to mention fair, that the working place, nay all public places, be denuded of all things yummy so diabetics and the morbidly obese aren’t reminded of what they must eschew for the rest of their lives, not just for a month. No candy machines, no doughnuts, no intoxicating aroma of cinnamon buns wafting through supermarkets, you get the picture. Then there are the alcoholics, chocoholics, those with deadly allergies to peanuts, to bee bites . . . Making the world safe for democracy is taking on a whole different meaning.

Get bent indeed!

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 22 August 2007 at 20:27

The root is a lack of recipricocity. It is, in fact, rude to eat in front of a fasting Muslim. What is ignored is that it also rude to expect others, not of your religious faith, to change their normal habits and activities to accomodate you. I favor the idea that if an activity is habitual / customary, then the burden is on those who would change it to show why it is less rude to the changed than to those the change accomodates. I don’t consider Muslims any less deserving of societal consideration, but neither do I consider them more.

That said, what I have observed is that in the UK, it is far more frequently guilty secular liberals who get up in arms about such “insults” to Muslims, and rarely the actual Muslims involved.

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