“Do not put me in front of the cannon” – Arabic Saying


He heard this in Jordan when he was a teenager. He said that “this comes [up] when there is a crucial discussion, and someone wants to know who is responsible for something. The person volunteered by the group would say ‘Ma t-hotni bi bouz el madfah’ because they are going to see the person’s first reaction.”


Original Script: ما تحطني ببوز المدفع

Transliteration: Ma t-hotni bi bouz el madfah

Literal Translation: Do not put me in face of cannon

Smooth Translation: Do not put me in front of the cannon


I found this saying really funny, since it compares a person’s potentially unpleasant reaction to a loaded cannon. Although today was the first time I heard this, I remember experiencing the same feeling when there was bad news that had to be told to someone. People generally don’t like to be the bearer of bad news because of how the person might react. I find this saying to be similar to the English saying “Don’t shoot the messenger,” which is what the person would tell the recipient of the bad news. “Ma t-hotni bi bouz el madfah” captures the cross-cultural dislike of witnessing the first reaction of someone who was told bad news, since they might direct their anger or frustration towards the messenger. This may put a strain on the relationship between the messenger and person, and most people would not want to put unnecessary strain on their relationships.