Old buddy Felix Salmon reports hearing this from Thomas Friedman at OligarchCon 2015 (i.e. the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland):
The Arab Spring is failing not for lack of bandwidth, but for lack of human understanding that can only be forged when someone is late for breakfast, and you say, Thank you for being late.
I’ve been trying to reach Felix and others over in Switzerland for some kind of explanation, because the more I stare at this passage, the less I understand it. What was the context? Was he sending some kind of signal to his alien commander?
I pulled up Google translate and ran the passage through a series of languages: from English into Slovenian, then into Afrikaans, and on into Basque and Lithuanian and Croatian and a few others before routing it back into English. This is what came out:
Arab Spring nijenedostatak width, but because of the lack of human understanding , which wrought such ad Gera is only when someone is late for breakfast, and hands , thank you for the delay.
I think it’s something like this: If the Arab Spring is 15 minutes late for breakfast, mankind should have enough understanding to say thank you. But it doesn’t, and not just because of the Arabs’ lack of bandwidth.
Or something. Free “I Heart Confusing!” T-shirt to the reader with the best translation?