Corrie Street Nov. 2/14

Community Work

“Not only is she a bossy-boots, she has a flair for the dramatic.” Norris summed up Yasmeen Nazir and her ‘community development’ perfectly.Jamila House Community Centre

I admire Yasmeen, while also being frightened of her. She will tackle anything and anyone and, when she sees a need, she fills it. The community needs a library. She has the skills to make that happen. She also has the foresight to see that a volunteer-based library can be more than that. It will meet more needs and therefore work better if it is a community resource centre. It ought to be an integral part of local life, developing and nurturing interests and skills and connecting people.

So why does she decide to name it Jamila House? It’s a lovely tribute to her late daughter-in-law, but that’s the key to why it is a mistake. Her family are the only people who know who Jamila is.

Zeedan-and-NorrisZeedan was justifiably offended when Norris asked if a Jamila was a hairy fruit or giant rat. Those were the best guesses from those waiting for the grand opening. Why should they have to guess when it’s supposed to be their centre? It is said about comedy that if you have to explain the joke, it ain’t funny. I hope Zeedan thinks about this, rather than just having a pout. Perhaps he can explain to his grandmother the difference between ‘top-down’ and ‘grassroots’ organization.

Something else Yasmeen might think about is the lack of involvement in this project by Roy, her initial comrade in arms in the fight for a library. If he’s not all over this, there’s a problem with it.

YasmeenThus far, the most accurate name would be The I-did-it-my-way Yasmeen Centre. Or maybe Just Yasmeen’s (as in NIck’s in-a-snit renaming of the bistro).  But local history even that recent is known to her only second-hand. She hasn’t been around long. If residents had been consulted, I bet one suggestion would be Elliott House, honouring the building and its long-time proprietors and community members, Fred Elliott and his son Ashley Peacock.

The archetypal ‘bossy-boots’ service professional?  Conan the Librarian.

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