A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

housing the faithful in Damascus

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on April 22, 2007

The bookshelf in my salon now holds two advertising fold-outs from Damascus, courtesy of G, who spent a few days there for work the week before last.

G, who knows how much I love Damascus, brought them for me as a reminder that whatever strong points the city may have, error-free English-language printing is not one of them.

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Perhaps if this were the city’s name I would love it less – “Damacus Syri” really doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Syrian English is old news to me, though – what caught my eye was something different.

Look at the image above – the English language side of the card.

Now, look at the image on the Arabic side:

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Its the same salon, of course – but the photograph has been taken from a slightly different angle.

Notice the television? The image on its screen is that of pilgrims on Hajj praying around the Kaaba.

Of course, I am tempted to draw the conclusion that the designer chose these two images consciously in an effort to target Muslim travelers with the Arabic side, and “foreigners (Europeans and North Americans) with the other.

This would be a savvy move for a new hotel in a city where European investment and tourism coming from the Muslim world are both gathering speed.

But do you think they really did this on purpose? G asked after hearing my theory.

I’m not sure. If I knew that the card had been created by a professional advertising firm, definitely – this would be a classic case of targeted marketing.

On the other hand (and given the English errors) … it could very well be mere Syrian serendipity.

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