February 11, 2009

A New Translation of "Rahm Emanuel" by Fidel Castro

It's been awhile since Fidel Castro made any public statement, & people were beginning to wonder if he was still even alive. Many great artists & thinkers have revelations on death's bed, & Monday Fidel penned an editorial - the subject: Sarah Lawrence College's most powerful graduate (not including Yoko Ono). It doesn't discuss anything about Rahm Emanuel's accomplishments, it's merely a perceptive mediation on his name. "What a strange surname!" Castro writes, as translated by Granma International "It appears Spanish, easy to pronounce, but it’s not. Never in my life have I heard or read about any student or compatriot with that name, among tens of thousands." He continues:

Where does it come from? I wondered. Over and over, the name came to mind of the brilliant German thinker, Immanuel Kant, who together with Aristotle and Plato, formed a trio of philosophers that have most influenced human thinking. Doubtless he was not very far, as I discovered later, from the philosophy of the man closest to the current president of the United States, Barack Obama.

Another recent possibility led me to reflect on the strange surname, the book of Germán Sánchez, the Cuban ambassador in Bolivarian Venezuela: The transparence of Enmanuel, this time without the “I” with which the German philosopher’s name begins.

Enmanuel is the name of the child conceived and born in the dense guerrilla jungle, where his extremely honorable mother, Colombian vice presidential candidate Clara Rojas González, was taken prisoner on February 23, 2002, together with Ingrid Betancourt, who was a presidential candidate in that sister country’s elections that year.

He manages to bring this string of logic back to Immanuel Kant (quoting his aphorisms), & ends with a stirring rally against capitalism & as always, a discussion of the 1959 Cuban Revolution. THE SAME YEAR AS RAHM EMANUEL WAS BORN: "Rahm Emanuel was born in Chicago on November 29, 1959, the son of a Russian immigrant."

I don't trust translators named "Granma" for obvious reasons, & I fear something was lost in the translation. In what can only be called a similar cosmic coincidence (1959... 2009...) I was listening to the Handel's Recitative that mentions "Emmanuel" MERE MINUTES before I happened upon the Castro editorial. Matthew 1:23 is the only mention in the bible of the name, & handily translates it for goys & Cubans:

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name EMMANUEL, which being interpreted is, God with us.
I wonder if Castro's makes more sense if we further translate all the names he discusses.
Emmanuel: God with us (
dios con nosotros)

High (alto)
Kant: Brilliant (
Blessed (
Obama: One who is led by God (uno quién es conducido por dios)
Aristotle: The best purpose (
el mejor objetivo)
Fatty (it was his wrestling nickname)
: Sanctified (Santificado)
Clara: Clear (Claro)
Rojas: Red (Rojo)
González: Son of the wolf (hijo de lobo)
Ingrid: Hero's daughter (la hija del héroe)
Betancourt: Bright court (tribunal brillante)

So, just so I don't lose any subtle meaning, I've replaced all the names in Castro's original Spanish (available here) with their Spanish meanings (above) for the first four paragraphs. Then, just to be safe, letting google translate, translated it from Spanish to Dutch, Dutch to German, German to French, & French to Finnish, Finnish to Danish, & Danish to English. The resultant essay peers much further into Castro's last deep thoughts & the meanings of names & life.

"Rahm Emanuel"
by Fidel Castro, 9 February 2009

What a very funny name! Spain seems easy to talk to, and it is not. Never in my life seen or knew the names of classmates or ten thousand, and name.

What is it, I thought. I am thinking of coming and going is the most brilliant German thinkers, God, please let us know that the shiny and fat, the three best philosophers, the greatest impact on human thinking. Certainly not much, as I learned later, the philosophy of the man closest to the current President of the United States, God has blessed.

Another option recently made me consider the strange name of the holy book in Germany, the Cuban ambassador in Venezuela, opening ourselves to God, this time without me, which begins with the name is a German philosopher.

The name of God, to us a child, is planned and born in the jungle, where guerrillas have been held on 23 February, 2002, C IRO dignified mother to son, Red Wolf, candidate for Vice-President of Colombia, in addition to a brilliant daughter hero, Court declared that the Presidency, the sister of one country to the elections in the same year.


Brains said...

Lol, my family's been emailing the op-ed to each other all morning. The translation is alright (although there is disagreement about this between me and a relative). I think the translation's fine. The original is just as bizarre.

I see what he was going for with his train of thoughts. But, my god, why would you allow that to be printed?

Btw, Granma is one of the best newspapers in the world (editorial section excluded).

ß. Andrigon said...

Yes, but does the original translation include this prophecy:

The name of God, to us a child, is planned and born in the jungle, where guerrillas have been held on 23 February, 2002 ...

Olaf Mary said...

the revelations are so juicy and promising. Nothing is lost in translation. We only gain.

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