Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Kishtainy response

Khalid Kishtainy was presented The International Media Award at a ceremony organised by the International Council for Press and Broadcasting on 11 May 2009 for his life long contribution to Arab journalism and work for peace. The following is Mr. Kishtainy’s response:

This is quite a surprise for me. But as it is, I want to give a warning to the organisers.
A few months ago a foreign businessman asked me on his first visit to London. He said to me “Khalid, what is this MAT . GBT, DDT? What is this? I said, I don’t know. What is it? How did you come across that? What was the occasion?
He said that he was spending a night with a woman for an agreed price of £500. In the morning, he gave her her breakfast and counted the money for her. She put the money in her handbag and then turned to him and asked him for a further sum of seventy six pounds and fifty pence. “ What is this for?” My friend asked her. She replied this is for MAT, GBT, DDT ... Something like that.
I said “ Oh she meant VAT. She was charging you VAT.”
‘ And what is this?’ My friend asked.
‘ This is a tax in England for Value Added.’
The man went pensive for a few moments, wondering what was the value added she gave him, or he gave her. I did not know him well to ask him what went on between him and the lady in question during that night to assess the matter properly. But it was certainly the first time I heard of a VAT registered prostitute.
Now , you may ask, why am I relating this story to you? Certainly not just to entertain you. No. Not to give you an idea either about the scale of charges of a London prostitute. Some of the lady journalists here in this hall may really consider changing their jobs.
I related this story because we, Arab journalists are often described by our people as no more than semi-prostitutes. As such I want to give a warning to Mr.William Morris. Don’t be surprised if you receive from me tomorrow an invoice with the VAT charge on this award. I am a law abiding citizen. So should you be. Start by calling this award ‘ The International Media Award plus VAT.’


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