Monday, September 03, 2007

I am the Good Shepherd - of Amman

Running around today and finally finishing early by Arab business standards – about 8pm. Back to back meetings and dashing about town. Actually that gives the wrong impression – at about mid afternoon the city gridlocked and we crawled. Locals blamed the visit by the Italian Prime Minister for streets being closed, hastily assuring me the town was not normally like this. I made soothing sounds.

But at one point we had a clear run from the Embassy into town and as we crested a hill and barrelled down the other side a young boy and his sheep wandered into the traffic. Everyone slowed and moved around him. No horns or signs of irritation. The boy ignored the traffic and marched along with his flock of sheep following him. His nonchalance and clear assumption of his right of way was laugh out loud stuff. But also a nice reminder that despite all the focus on oil and industry in the Middle East this part of the world is still about agrarian things. Even the front page of the paper today carried a story of a wrangle over sheep taxes, just in case we needed reminding! And even though this city has remarkable Biblical history roots they are impossible to see now. So this little flock represented those roots for me in a symbolic way instead.

2 September 2007

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