Monday, October 23, 2006

No speekee the eeengleesh....

It's not very often that I pick up the South Wales Evening Post, mostly as it is not known for it's journalistic accuracy or, indeed, any kind of accuracy when reporting on events local to our home town.

But, for a news-story that was obviously interesting enough for me to buy the rag a week or so ago, pick it up I did. (The news-story has long since been forgotten by the way.) I was, though, intrigued to read about a young man, currently in police custody, and who was unable to communicate in any coherent form. He seemed to speak a language that the local constabulary had singularly failed to identify, even after getting in several translators who spoke various dialects of arabic/north african languages. They had no idea as to his identity, nationality or how he came to be living rough in Ammanford (of all places)!

He was being held at Her Majesty's Pleasure because the poor bloke had been arrested for breaking and entering - he'd twice broken into the same house to shower and cook a meal, unfortunately terrifying the 65 year-old tenant in the bargain, consequently landed himself in a police cell, and appeared thoroughly bemused by the whole carry-on. But, because he was unable to be identified, and the magistrates were unable to make themselves understood, a prosecution couldn't be brought.

Today, I happen to have bought my 2nd copy of the SWEP in about as many years again distracted by a vaguely interesting headline and in a bizarre piece of synchronicity, one of the main stories inside was about our unidentified immigrant.

He has been identified as Hassan Ibrahimi and is from one of the many Berber tribes who occupy the slopes of the Atlas Mountain region of North Africa. Unfortunately, we cannot yet find out what on earth he was doing in Ammanford, or how he got there, as his case is now sub judice. The news story came to the attention of a translator, who on reading the original news-story, and who could just happen to speak a few dialects of Berber, offered his services and it appeared was successfully able to communicate with him.

There are a mind-boggling number of classifications and subclassifications of the Berber languages - thanks to Wiki for enlightening me on this subject. It goes someway to explaining why it was so difficult to find someone who could understand the bloke!

More about our friend Hassan can be found here. I shall be following his case with interest though.

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