December 8, 2007

Amman is not appreciated

A new book "Amman is not appreciated" by Myriam Ababsa, talks about Amman launched earlier this week written in French, and since Je parle francais un peu, I will be waiting for the Arabic or Englich book copy in 2008.

By Maria Font de Matas

AMMAN - “Amman est malaimée” (in English: Amman is not appreciated), according to a new book on the capital launched earlier this week, because it does not respond either to the traditional model of an Arab city, such as millenary Damascus or Jerusalem, or to the high-tech pattern of Dubai.

The book, however, goes on to pay tribute to the capital, describing Amman as “a city of migrants, city-refuge, haven of peace as attractive and complex as the Middle East”.

Myriam Ababsa, a French-Algerian researcher based in Jordan, authored the book, entitled “Amman de pierre et de paix” (“Amman of stone and peace”).

“Amman is a real symbol of the region,” said Ababsa.

Through the testimonies of 27 individuals from all sectors of society who were interviewed by the author, the book reveals the inside of a burgeoning city often disregarded by the tourism industry.

“Tour operators in Jordan usually plan a one-day stay in Amman, just enough time to visit the Citadel and the souq in downtown,” the author said.

A group of prominent Jordanians residing in the capital relate their personal stories and diverse professional careers that all share a common element: The city of Amman.

They include former director of the University of Jordan’s Centre for Strategic Studies Mustafa Hamarneh, architect Jaafar Touqan, cartoonist Emad Hajjaj, women’s activist Emily Naffaa, oud player and co-founder of the Nawazen group Elia Khoury, Agence France-Presse Director for Jordan Randa Habib and many other key driving forces in Jordan.

Commenting on her encounters with the interviewees, Ababsa said she was “particularly touched by their passion and sense of community”.

“Amman of stone and peace” is the 26th volume of “Cities in Motion”, a collection of worldwide city-portraits launched by the Paris-based publishing house Autrement.

After Algiers and Casablanca, Amman is the third Arab city to be featured. French photographer Fabien Calcavechia of the Cartier Foundation matched photos to the text.

French Ambassador in Amman Denys Gauer and Amman Mayor Omar Maani acted as patrons at the book launch on Monday.

Written and published in French, and to be translated into Arabic in 2008, the book will be soon be available at the Librairie de Paris in Jabal Luweibdeh, and at Books@Cafe in Jabal Amman.

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