Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The confusing and complicated Khadafy

Wait. Is it Gaddafi, Al-Gathafi, El Gaddafi or Qadhafi? How many spellings has Libya's stylish ruler got for his name?
Known for his ruthless handling of the bloody revolt that has earned the ire of many world leaders, the shades-wearing autocrat is making heads roll when people search, read and write for the correct Anglicized version of his name.
His psyche is as unstable as the multiplicity of orthographic styles you can imagine. Like whether he will step down or not, leading English newspapers have no single formula how to write his name.
The Christian Science Monitor says that part of the confusion why there is no consensus how to spell his name is that there is no internationally accepted body for converting Arabic names to Roman letters, not to mention that the longest-reigning dictator has a first name, a surname and a prefix in his family name that adds to the confusion.
To complicate things further, here are some variations of his surname according to prominent Western media: Gadaffi (World Press Review); Gaddafi (Time); Kaddafi (Newsweek); Khadafy (Maclean’s); Qadaffi (Business Week); Qaddafi (New Republic); Qaddhafi (New York Review of Books); and Qadhafi (U.S. News & World Report).
If you add his first name, things become even more confusing: Moammar Gadhafi (The Associated Press, CNN, and MSNBC); Muammar el-Qaddafi (The New York Times); Moammar Kadafi (Los Angeles Times); Muammar Gaddafi (the BBC, the Guardian, and Reuters); Muammar Gadafy (The Irish Times); and, Moammar Gaddafi (ABC News).
Do you want to go further adding the prefix al- or el- to his family name? And there is a question whether to capitalize it or not. How about the tiny hyphen? Breathe.
In a blog by The Straight Dope, the Libyan despot spelled his name as "Moammar El-Gadhafi," the first known indication of his own feelings on this issue. Shall we go for it?
So, I won't confuse and complicate things, suffice for us to know that to this day, there are 112 spellings of his name. Click here if you want to see. Good luck!

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