Here’s an interesting video-slash-mini-documentary about street culture in Amman:

CityLanguage (Amman Street Culture) from Bashar Alaeddin on Vimeo.

Unfortunately, Amman’s street culture mostly revolves around lewd catcalling, narrow-minded commentary, and the most inartistic and unimaginative public displays of “art”. It stunts the mental growth of the inhabitants of Amman and embeds fear of being different, innovative, or interesting thanks to aggressive verbal rejection.

On the other hand, the “7ara culture”, i.e. the more minuscule neighborhood culture, has always been brilliant in the city. The latter reflects smaller circles of people from similar socio-economic backgrounds, often mingling under the reign of sports. The kids grow up together, moving from tricycles to soccer games, from talking about the other sex to working out together at the gym. They help each other face new things, like highschool, university, and then the bigger world of work and new families. The 7ara culture is the perfect embodiment of how time spent on the curbs and turfs of Amman can help people cope with emotional and physical growth.

The major differences between the horrendous public street culture and the emotionally rewarding semi-public 7ara cultures are a testament to how our society functions on a deeper level. I always think about this; a person can be an rude asshole on the streets while driving, walking, or simply loitering. The same asshole will be absolutely amazing with people who know him or his family on a first name basis. That reflects on everyone.

We just do not feel the same way towards the anonymous passer by, when compared to the Ahmad’s and Sarah’s of our life, whether we like them or not.

The question is how can we take the intimate 7ara culture and apply it to the much wider street culture? We probably need a few more decades and a major mind shift before we can accomplish that, but Culture Street’s skateboarding culture is a step in the right direction.