20 October, 2006

New York Times on Dubai

Quote:
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 18 — South Asians call it “the best run Indian city,” Arabs celebrate it as a model of Arab accomplishment, and Westerners embrace it for its endless sunshine and luxury lifestyle.

With more than 150 nationalities and almost as many expressions of culture, Dubai is one of the most diverse cities in the Middle East.

But after decades of selling dreams to foreigners, this Persian Gulf emirate has begun debating the limits of multiculturalism.

Tensions burst into the open in early October when an English-language newspaper published an article protesting the growing disrespect for Muslim customs here during Ramadan, setting off a rare public debate about Dubai’s cultural identity.

“Too much flesh on show is wrong in a Muslim country at any time — but offense is being felt especially during Ramadan,” said the front-page editorial in 7Days, a free daily tabloid.

Continue reading the NYT article.

11 comments:

shansenta said...
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shansenta said...

It's a very interesting and thought provoking article, which raises the oft-asked questions:

1) How much permissive Dubai should be? - I guess in it's strategic efforts to draw attention and business, it has stopped considering that it's a Muslim state governed by Sharia laws.
2) Does Dubai really have any deep-rooted culture that can be sustained? - As a city-state, it has all signs of a flourishing metro culture, but sadly, no "Arabic culture", that Sharjah / Abu Dhabi enjoy.
3) Does Dubai at all wants to be recognised as an epitome of Arab culture and values? - I guess not! Showcase to some extent, yes, but not a live example of GCC Arab culture which can be practiced / assimilated. Much of its showcased culture is often meant for sale to Western world - not for adoption.
4) How much Dubai closer to UAE? - Yes, it enjoys the position of a commercial capital of UAE, a conduit for Western entry to UAE; But it is more recognised as a wealthy priveledged brother of UAE.

Therefore no matter how the professors / intelligentsia / social thinkers would like to talk or debate about it, Dubai has come too far to sustain the deep Arabian flavour in it's identity.

Any move to enforce the strict rules of Sharia law, a-la-Saudia, runs the risk of violent opposition, severely affecting its marketability to the Western World, plus negatively affecting the overall economy of the region.

(also cross-posted here)

Anonymous said...

best run indian city.... hmmmmm thats new . it is a suburb of Mumbai ... but that certainly does not make it the best run city.
he he

blogrosh said...

"Any move to enforce the strict rules of Sharia law, a-la-Saudia, runs the risk of violent opposition, severely affecting its marketability to the Western World, plus negatively affecting the overall economy of the region."


Very true Shansenta - Dubai sadly may stand the risk of losing it all.

What makes this place so wonderful & unique is it's western liberal atmosphere, with the proper dose of checks & balances as per Islamic and Arab traditions - something very unique.

Having said that, I sincerely hope, some of the newer foreigners do tone down on their clothing a bit - I mean what's the harm in throwing around a sarong or not wearing a skirt that doesn't end right after the belt buckle?

UAE maybe all glamour & grandeur, however it is still taking it's baby steps towards progress and the west

blogrosh said...

Yeah what's the deal with Dubai being the "best run Indian city"? This is a first?

I am half Indian(alright, I admit, I've never lived in India, sort of oblivious to Indian customs etc all) - however, besides having a lot of Indians/Pakistanis in the UAE - howz the above statement true?

shansenta said...

I sincerely hope, some of the newer foreigners do tone down on their clothing a bit - I mean what's the harm in throwing around a sarong or not wearing a skirt that doesn't end right after the belt buckle?

Well noted blogrosh.
Recently I've been reading a lot of foul language on SD's post here which seems to reflect the strong anti-western undercurrent in this region.

I feel the blame for this goes both to the permissive image Dubai has projected for itself over the years, as well as to a select bunch of Western Expats who wish to pretend that they are still in their own countries!

The authorities are to blame because by allowing such behaviour in the public places they have flouted their own civic code of conduct for the country they are running; few Western Expat communities are to blame because they seem to push the country's goodwill to the negative extremes!

It's a sad confusion of what a modern Arab would like to have in this country: "An UAE where you can experience the World" OR "A world of experience within an UAE" - the latter is more appropriate to retain one's identity.

Emirati said...

Dubai is the Best Arab-Run, Indian order taking city in the world.

blogrosh said...

"Dubai is the Best Arab-Run, Indian order taking city in the world."

What is - "Indian Order taking" ? you mean Indians take just oders and do as told?

Hmmmmmm if so, perhaps true I suppose.

Emirati said...

No, I do not mean that. I mean had it not been for the Arabs running it and the Indians carrying out the tasks, it would have not gotten anywhere.

marwan said...

Indians dumb as posts, eh?
Nudge, Nudge, wink, wink!
Only take a shit if they're told to, eh!
Say no more, know what I mean?

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