What’s in a name ?

It was William Shakespeare who wondered What’s in a name ? I don’t think i ever gave much importance to which name people called me with. Be it my real name or a catchy nick; if you called upon me, i would respond and be quick. But it was an early September, as far as i remember, that i left my home country some five years back. I came here to learn, in a small community college my path began. I was young and with no skill, but i still had to pay the bill. I worked at McDonald’s, BK, gas stations, and as a tech consultant too.

There I saw Arabs with many a background, whom to their names were no longer bound: Mohammed became Moe, Hosam became Sam, and he was called Al instead of A’laa’. My name was too Arab i was told. My tags were always printed with a shortened americanized version of my name. “We don’t want to scare people off, or else our goods will never be sold”

Then it started to annoy me, when will i be called by my name. My real name. Two years later, i learned, grew older, and to a big diverse university i set my path. People were more than happy to pronounce my name. Two semesters later, i had my first internship at a big reputable company. Across my desk, there stood a tag, it had my full name with the Abu’s and the Al-s. That was the end, and i never looked back. My name was my name, and i had it back.

So what’s in a name ? I’ll let you answer that.

P.S.: Ok, i have to confess .. i watched V for Vendetta (clip here) last night, and some parts were rhyming in my head. Obviously that turned out to be horrible 🙂 .. sorry about that.

  1. I am glad you stuck to your name. I know many that followed the examples you listed. It does not make them any more/less civilized or any more/less “scary”. They are still the same Arabs that insist on squeezing out every bit of the letter R and believe the letter P is a Jewish conspiracy!

  2. I believe its not whats in a name but what your personality brings upon the name.
    I know people that have changed my mind about their names and some that made me hate every letter in their name.

    As for the “Americanified Arabic names” I hate the idea…. I sit and stress on my name when its mispronounced ” BATOUL” minus my French class bcuz my name wasn’t French applicable lol so they used “belle” on me :\ I suddenly became a jaras.

  3. Akh man, I hear ya! Not that I had trouble with my name, but lots of my friends do…

    You know what? We should Arabize their names when they work here! Sameul should now be called same7! LOL!

  4. Garfan: haha .. thanks … “squeezing out every bit of the R” .. i never noticed that .. but i like that description 🙂

    Batoul: I agree with you Belle 🙂 … hey at least they didn’t call you Billy 🙂

    KJ: What ?! you guys have that problem in Dubai and the gulf ?!!!! ouch that sucks… .. i agree with you … now Mark becomes Mahmood 🙂

  5. You know Za3tar, I’ve been called “Sam” even before I ventured to the countries of the west. It was just a natural thing for me to continue to use it here. Although, I found people able to pronounce Qwaider much better than “Samer”, so I use those interchangeble (Sam, Qwaider)

    Anyaway, I don’t look that much into it! 🙂

  6. Qwaider: Wallahi i was trying to be very careful to not seem as if i am targeting any specific person, specially you. I was just commenting on how i was forced to use an shortened americanized name when i first came here, and how i am glad that things have changed for me now.

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