Friday, April 19, 2013

Names and a Complicated World

[Updated for second thoughts].  There's a bleak element of comedy in the fact that the name--Tamerlan--of the deceased suspect in the Boston rice-cooker bombing echoes the name of one of history's great bullyboys who exploded out of Central Asia in the 14th Century to loot and pillage and--well, actually, not much of anything.  Timur the lame was famous for troublemaking but unlike other great trouble makers--say, Genghis Khan--Timur built almost nothing permanent and really had no program for his conquered victims except to come back and pillage again.

But I'm actually more  intrigued by the name Tamerlan's younger brother, still on the loose, given to us as "Dzhokhar."  My first thought was "Dzhokhar" = "Zohar," as in the founding text of Kabbalah.  

But probably not.  An online etymology dictionary gives "zohar" as Hebrew זֹהַר  meaning "light, brilliance." A reader contribution to the same source gives "dzhokhar" as "Chechen masculine name that is most likely of Nakh origin."  "Nakh" is a Caucasian language group, apparently a long way from Hebrew.

Meanwhile  a cursory Google search suggests that "Dzhokhar" was also the first name of a hero, perhaps the hero, of the Chechen resistance to the Russians.   Still, a complicated world.

1 comment:

MaysonicWrites said...

An interesting old book, by an interesting author (published simultaneously in English and Spanish, foreword to the Spanish by Unamuno: a Brazilian Portugese edition this century with an intro by Unamuno's great(?)-nephew).