27 June, 2006

Dubai's Islamic Disneyworld

Link at Common Dreams News Center - Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community: Dubai's Islamic Disneyworld.

The article is dated March 3, 2006 but it is new to me. Perhaps it is also new to you. A tidbit:
Super-sized Dubai-style poor taste may, in fact, be the biggest threat to U.S. ports. Would Dubai Ports World go beyond dinosaurs and develop a theme park in which tourists fend off lifelike terrorists?

Honesty compels me to admit that from a national security perspective, Dubai Ports World's motto — "The force that's breaking the industry mold" — is not particularly reassuring.

But leave that aside. Here's the real question: Is Dubai Ports World truly up to the challenge of turning ramshackle American ports into luxury theme parks?

My initial investigation was discouraging. The company's international website tends toward the pedantic, offering tedious detail concerning quay lengths, intermodal container traffic and gross crane moves per hour, but few hints of luxurious excess.

The company's United Arab Emirates website (www.dpworld.ae) offers more hope, however. The home page features "Captain Hamad," a winking cartoon lad in a sailor suit who beckons visitors to the "Kids Zone" for "an unusual tour" and "fun in the game zone." Need I say that winking sailor boys — with the words "unusual" and "fun" in close proximity — are all promising signs of Neverland-style theme parks to come?
If all this reads like the author's day job isn't breezy journalism, you are right. She's an academic.

It's also safe to infer that the Progressive Community in the U.S. isn't not a friend to Dubai. Rather, Dubya is Dubai's real friend in Washington.

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