Onwani, which means in Arabic ” my address” is a new kind of project that aims to give Arabic names to about 18,000 streets across Abu Dhabi City, Al Ain and the Western Region, as the manager of the Department of Municipal clarifies. However, the street names that are being adopted by Onwani, are generally names of people, places and islands in the UAE such as Sulatan bin Zayed St., Nawgab St., Al falah St. and Malqatah St.
For non-Arabs, some of these new street names may not be easy to pronounce , but Badriyah Al Shehhi says that these names are of great cultural significance, and that people and foreigners would get used to them.
“These names belong to our local culture. We need other nationalities to get familiar with our culture, understand its meaning and its roots”, Al Shehhi say. And furthermore she clarifies: “When you go to any country you’ll find names that you don’t really understand, but it’s their culture, and they are familiar with those names”.
In affirmation of her opinion, one of the residents of Emirate, Saeed Janahi, said that “French do that in their country, and when someone goes there, he’s not familiar with most of their street names”. But Janahi justifies that by saying: “These names represents their language, identity and culture, and we should respect it”.
Another Emirati resident, Abdullah Al Shakeeli, said: ” it’s our own language, I love the Arabic names and the language is actually easy to pronounce. And for non-Arabs, it’s a good opportunity for them to try to learn our language and culture”