Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why Rainbow street REALLY is Rainbow street

Today I had an informal meeting with the executive director of JARA (Jabal Amman Residency Association). Over a tiny cup of Turkish coffee he told me, among other things, this anecdote from last year: The JARA had proposed a meeting at a nearby restaurant for all shopkeepers on Rainbow street, which was by then congested with loading trucks and various debris from the ongoing reconstruction/modernization. The shopkeepers were worried that they were losing customers since the street was virtually inaccessible to anyone without a yellow helmet and jack-hammer. The JARA played one of their finest card and invited them to a get-together with the mayor of Amman. All seated, the mayor asked if they were happy with the current and official name of the street (Abu Bakr as-Saddiq street) or if they wanted him to tap some pencil pusher on his shoulder down in the Greater Amman Municipality’s (GAM) office to magically rename the street to the colloquial name: Rainbow street.
Everyone stood up and shouted. Rainbow street! Except one. Still sitting down, partly due to old age, but mostly due to a more conservative outlook on life, an older gentleman who owns a small book/newspaper shop on the middle of the street raised his voice: Abu Bakr as-Sadiq was the prophet’s friend and hence it’s the proper name for this street!
Showing who’s in possession of the magic wand, the mayor silenced and satisfied the man by promising to name a new street in the ever-sprawling city Abu Bakr as-Sadiq street. Maybe even two.

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