Iraqi Kurds drive 'Obamas' and 'Monicas'
Ever since foreign cars flooded Iraq’s Kurdish north, the Kurds have struggled to pronounce the names of some cars that rolled in due into the region.
Some people in the region cannot pronounce the name of some vehicles in the cities. A salesman told the Wall Street Journal in place of the real names of a particular automobile; they come up with, “beautiful names.”
For instance, the Chrysler 300 is nicknamed, "Obama.”
The origin of the name is disputed between the first car the president was seen driving in to the first car that arrived in the region, reports the journal.
People do not call the car a Chrysler instead the vernacular is, “meet me in the Obama.”
The Toyota Corolla is called the “Sabaw.” It is named after a Kurdish actress who is said to have sleek facial features, while the popular four-door pickup is named the “Marzia,” after a Kurdish singer who was “full-figured.”
Even before the “Obama,” Kurds have given cars nicknames.
Car salesman Birwa Kimal told the Wall Street Journal there have been a lot of cars in the region from Turkey and the gulf, which had nicknames as well.
The Toyota Land Cruiser is named in the region as the “Wanawsha.” But before, it donned that name, the Kurds gave it the name, “Monica,” made famous by Monica Lewinsky and her relationship with President Bill Clinton.
Nicknaming cars usually starts at the lots, the journal reported. The car salesmen stroll up and down lots picking out names for cars that could resonate with Kurds.
“Sometimes, if it’s beautiful, we name it after something beautiful,” said Ahmed Sartrip told the journal. “If it’s ugly, we name it with something ugly.”
Older motorcycles are renamed after a Kurdish singer who allegedly had a “droopy face.”
Cell phones also received the nick-name treatment, but once smart phones became prevalent, the nicknames quickly dropped.