October 05, 2003
What's In A Name?

Yesterday's Rantburg has a story about the IDF killing Sirhan Sirhan, the man or half-man who shot a mother and her two little boys in their bedrooms last fall. What I want to know is how he got his name. It could be a coincidence: as I recall, when Robert Kennedy was shot by Sirhan B. Sirhan, a respectable L.A. businessman named Sirhan M. Sirhan (I may have the initial wrong) found himself in a world of trouble until his friends and acquaintances found out that he was not the same Sirhan. So, was the late Mr. Sirhan using a pseudonym in honor of Kennedy's killer? Or was he born to a long line of Sirhans and given only his first name in honor of the killer? Or is it just a coincidence? The fact that there were two Sirhan Sirhans in L.A. thirty-five years ago suggests that the last is possible, but it seems unlikely. Just as any parents unfortunate enough to be named Hitler or Mussolini would not name their son Adolph or Benito today unless they were (a) neofascists or (b) very stupid or (c) incredibly tasteless, surely a bona fide Sirhan would follow the same policy?

Posted by Dr. Weevil at October 05, 2003 11:50 PM

Little Green Footballs just reported that an Egyptian official is named Hitler Tantawi. See http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=8419_Whats_in_a_Name

Posted by: Anonymous on October 6, 2003 03:55 AM

Well, I doubt that people in the middle east care much about the names of assassins of American politicians (short of Presidents, at least) of 30-plus years ago.

Probably just traditional/coincidental.

Posted by: Sigivald on October 6, 2003 01:34 PM

Except that Sirhan Sirhan I was a Palestinian who, as I recall, killed Kennedy for being excessively pro-Israel. It would be deeply shameful for contemporary Palestinians to consider him a hero, but are you sure they don't?

Posted by: Dr. Weevil on October 6, 2003 01:46 PM

Well, heck. Since RFK was killed before I was born, I confess ignorance as to the motives of his assassin.

It's quite possible that such a motive would exist... though the existence of another, unrelated "Sirhan Sirhan" at the same time in LA still indicates to me that it's "traditional".

Quite possibly any Sirhan Sirhan around today could be the result of either the parents following tradition or the parents deciding to honor the Kennedy-Killer.

Posted by: Sigivald on October 7, 2003 02:13 PM