On naming streets
The satirical show ‘Selfie’ continues to hold a mirror to society
The satirical show “Selfie” continues to hold a mirror to society. It exposes our secret worlds and complex behaviors. We suffer from worrisome contradictions, and are quick to judge and categorize others.
One of the show’s recent episodes was about a controversy over naming a street. The story was not about naming a street after a creative person, philosopher, thinker or poet, but about what lies behind this behavior.
Most of the neighborhood’s residents refused to name the street after Avicenna, Ghazi al-Gosaibi or Mohammad al-Thubaiti, and suggested naming it after Abi Saasaa, the poet from the era of Jahiliyyah. What an irony!
When touring the world, you can see statues immortalizing important people. In Britain there are statues for major war leaders, and in Germany and France there are statues of philosophers, scientists and musicians.
Names of streets are a symbol of remembrance, and a way of saying thank youTurki Aldakhil
They have inscriptions describing their legacy and history. However, when artists die, all we talk about are the snakes in their graves!
These great people made a difference, and enlightened generations with science, art, leadership and literature. They are worthy of appreciation. Fortunately, streets so far continue to be fair to these people, just like they were fair to Arab authors in the past. An example is Taha Hussein Street in Riyadh.
Names of streets are a symbol of remembrance, and a way of saying thank you. Palestinian poet Samih al-Qasim (1939-2014) once said: “We will give the streets the names of those who did not walk on them for long.”
This article was first published in Okaz on Jun. 16, 2016.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.