Kuwaiti Baby Girl Named Kuwait

In early 1991, a Malaysian newspaper ran a photo of an exiled Kuwaiti woman in Bahrain holding a baby girl. According to the caption, the baby was named “Kuwait.”

kuwaiti baby named kuwait, 1991

The photo was taken at a rally for Kuwait National Day (Feb. 25) — days before Iraqi forces (under Saddam Hussein) were driven out of Kuwait.

Source: “Call for army of occupation.” New Straits Times [Malaysia] 27 Feb. 1991: 10.
Image: © New Straits Times

Haitian Baby Named for Coast Guard Boat

Speaking of Dallas… In October of 1994, a pregnant Haitian woman named Betsy Veret gave birth aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas.

She and about 500 other Haitian refugees were being returned to their homeland from Guantanamo Bay.

What did she name the baby boy? Dallas Joseph.

(And here’s another baby named for a Coast Guard boat.)

Source: “Haitian Gives Birth to Son on Trip Home.” Eugene Register-Guard 26 Oct., 1994: 12A.

Baby Name Backlash – The Tale of Baby Yitzhak Rabin

baby yitzhak rabin
Yitzhak Rabin and Miriam in March, 1996.
© Reuters
On January 28, 1996, a Muslim baby was born in Jordan.

The controversial baby name he was given? Yitzhak Rabin.

His parents chose the name “in honor of the historic Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty signed in 1994 by [Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin and Jordan’s King Hussein.”

The name was initially rejected by Jordan’s state registrar on the grounds that Jewish names were illegal. But Yitzhak’s parents, Rajai and Miriam, fought to keep the name and won.

The couple was relentlessly harassed about Yitzhak’s name — by strangers, neighbors, even relatives. Rajai lost his job. Miriam and the baby “were forced to move from place to place like fugitives, even spending nights in bus depots and a safehouse with an uncle in Amman.”

No longer safe in Jordan, the family relocated to Israel in 1998 with the help of Leah Rabin (Yitzhak’s widow).

They had a hard time adjusting, but “the most tragic situation befell Miriam’s brother back in Jordan, who, according to Miriam, was murdered by a group of thugs as revenge for his nephew’s name.”

Miriam took Yitzhak to Jordan with the intention of attending her brother’s funeral, but, in her telling, a melee ensued at the border crossing, where a small group of protesters awaited them. She put Yitzhak, still a toddler, back on the bus to Israel, bruised and bleeding. It was the last time he would set foot on the soil of his native country.

Ever since, the family has lived in exile. The Israeli government has promised to make the family permanent residents, but that hasn’t happened yet, so there’s a chance they could one day be sent back to Jordan.

Yitzhak, now 18, considers himself an Israeli. He speaks only Hebrew, plans to convert to Judaism, and hopes to enlist in the Israeli army one day.

Despite everything, Miriam strongly defends her son’s name:

“Why should I have regrets?” Miriam fired back without hesitation. “Yitzhak [Isaac] was a prophet for both Jews and Muslims. And Rabin? [Most] Jordanians want peace. So why should I regret it?”

Try to imagine being in Miriam’s shoes back in the late 1990s. Would you have changed your young son’s name, to protect your family? Or would you have kept the name, despite the dangers?


Country Singer Asks Fans to Name Baby

In mid-1991, country music singer Paulette Carlson asked fans to help her name her baby:

She has invited fans to stop by her booth at the annual Fan Fair music festival in Nashville, Tenn., from June 10 to June 14, and submit names. The winning entrant will receive a picnic basket with treats.

Was the winning suggestion really used as the baby’s name?

According to country music site RolandNote.com, on July 10, 1991, “Paulette Carlson and husband Randy Smith have a daughter, Cali Gabriel Smith, in Anchorage, Alaska. The baby was named during a contest at Fan Fair.”

Paulette’s website confirms that the baby was a girl, and named Cali. It doesn’t mention the Fan Fair, though.

Source: “Paulette Carlson.” Star-News [Wilmington, NC] 30 May 1991: 2A.

Ugandan Baby Named for Bill Clinton

The baby named for George Bush reminded me of this:

In early 1998, president Bill Clinton traveled to Africa on an 11-day goodwill tour.

While in Wanyange, Uganda, he met shopkeeper Betty Namugosa and her 2-day-old son, Bill Clinton.

“Look at all this hair!” the president said. “I was completely bald until I was 2.”

Just a few days ago, Clinton met his 14-year-old namesake for the second time.

Source: Bennet, James. “Clinton expresses U.S. regret on slavery.” Eugene Register-Guard 25 Mar. 1998: 1+.

Baby Named “Atheist Evolution”

On July 20, 1994, George and Tina Rollason of York, Pennsylvania, welcomed a baby girl.

They named her Atheist Evolution Rollason.

George said “Atheist Evolution” was their answer to biblical baby names:

There’s so many people named Christian, or Christine. This is just one person named Atheist. What the heck’s the difference?

Tina added, “It’s kind of cute once you say it a couple of times.”

Atheist Rollason would be about 18 now, but I can find no trace of her online (beyond reports/commentary about her name). This makes me think she goes by something other than Atheist nowadays.

P.S. Atheist’s two older brothers aren’t Skeptic and Freethinker. Nope, just plain old Harvey and Kipp.

Source: “Parents name baby Atheist Evolution.” Milwaukee Journal 12 Sep. 1994: A6.

Baby Named After Rugby Game

In 1994, the Welsh rugby team traveled to the South Pacific, competed against Manu Samoa, and lost. According to the BBC, “[T]he men in red simply could not deal with the power and pace of the islanders, nor the stifling heat, as they slipped from 14-9 down at the break to a crushing 34-9 defeat.”

Soon after, the rugby game got a namesake. A baby boy born during the game was named “Wales Manu Samoa 9-34 Moamoa” — from the names of the teams, the final score, and the game’s location. The baby’s grandmother, Sia Gale, recently explained:

While we were cheering the Manu v Wales at Moamoa field, my [late] daughter-in-law (Talaleu Papalii) gave birth to a boy.

My son (Kirk Faatupuloto Gale) called us and relayed the good news after the game, so I automatically told him to name my first grandson after the Manu Samoa v Wales game.

So my grandson’s name is Wales Manu Samoa 9-34 Moamoa Gale.

Sia also explained why she put the Welsh team first: “Manusamoa is a title from a village in Upolu, so I put Wales first and then Manu Samoa.”

According to the Samoa Rugby Union website, “[t]he origin of the name Manu Samoa is surrounded by a veil of myth and legend,” but many believe it was “the name of a famous Samoan chief some 10 generations ago.”

(Also, the word manu happens to mean “bird” in Samoan.)

Sources: About a Samoan boy… named Wales, The bone-rattlers: Samoan rugby