09 October, 2006

The Other Side of the Story

This post is in defence of Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the Dubai Police Chief. I decided to write this after listening to his live interview on 93.9 FM Noor Dubai last Saturday night. Two fellow bloggers wrote against him after this news article in the Gulf News. You can read the two blog posts here & here.

I think both Emirati & Secret Dubai were too harsh on Bu Fares. Their main arguement was his below mentioned statement:

I am not looking to be just a member of the FNC … My ambition is to be the speaker of the FNC. I am planning to establish a new system in the FNC. I am convinced that the FNC at the moment is in need of people who have a new way of thinking. I believe I am the only suitable person who can bring changes and development to the FNC. We need new blood to change old ways.

But according to him, the reason he decided to stand for election was because he believed the previous Speakers & members of the Federal National Council have not fully fulfilled their responsibilities. Most of them never even visited the people they represented, to understand their problems & concerns. The main concern of the FNC memebers was attending various Lunch & Dinner Banquets. The new vision of the Country's leadership is to make FNC more active & change its perception as a mere decoration piece.

He also said that the FNC members gave the excuse that maybe only 5% of their recommendations were accepted by the government. He promised that if he gets elected, he will make sure that the majority of the recommendations put forward are approved by the government. But in case that did not happen, he will not hesitate to resign from his post.

The man sounded sincere & almost all the callers who called live on air were full of praise for him. The country definitely needs people like him to continue this march of progress.

Good Luck in your election campaign Bu Fares :-)


Woke said...

Maybe he just needs a PR consultant - who incidentally will have a tough job rephrasing quotes like "I believe I am the only suitable person who can bring changes and development to the FNC" to something like "I will be fully committed towards changes and development.."

ahmed said...

Woke: Or maybe Gulf News needs a better reporter. You cant take a single statement and judge this guy.

I agree with DG. If there was an open election, Dhahi Khalfan would have been one very popular candidate. He is conservative, yet forward looking. One just cant overlook the modernization he has brought to the DP, if you do then you are foolish.

Looking at the election results in other Gulf states, candidates whose visions match this mans are extremely popular. Just because some expats hate him for his campaign to ban obscene material from the TV channels doesn't mean the UAE public will dump him.

Woke said...

I have to agree that I am not the best person to validate his credentials. Maybe he will make a difference in the right direction afterall.

anonymous lurker said...

but he is the head of police in dxb and i think it's a fair statement to say that the police in dxb are a fairly slapdash bunch. so based on his past job experience alone, i wouldn't vote for him.

Anonymous said...

If he WAS banning obscenity I don't think anyone would have a problem with him, but his definition of obscene is a bit different to mine. What I call obscene is the thousands of girls forced to work as prostitutes, the way dangerous deadly drivers are allowed to get away with murder, the way employers are allowed to get away with stealing people's time and forgetting to pay them, the way young boys in this country are brought up to believe all western girls are prostitutes and its ok to rape them, the way local women believe the only way they can get respect from a man is to cover herself from head to toe in black. If he was tackling that kind of obscenity he'd have my support.

marwan said...

You guys are missing the point, looking at his crappy achievements in policing - such as being utterly unable/unwilling to do anything about prostitutes while targeting the phantom Nancy Ajram Youtube threat.

He's been fair to the locals, *making sure* none of them ever get into any trouble. That gratitude matters, because they are the people he'll be governing on the FNC.

Not us.

ahmed said...

He has nothing to do with youtube. What he is trying to do is rein in the TV stations in the media free zone, so that they dont show obscene videos. Youtube is TRA stuff.

anon 16:07:
He isn't the all powerful leader of Dubai. He is just the head of the police answering to someone.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Ahmed, I like this man, he is one a few decent men in the UAE that I know of. Knowing someone is trying to preserve the cultural standards here and avoid shallowness of else where to hit our country makes just makes me hopeful.
Nobody is perfect, butI know he has good intentions and I know he is a smart man. And lets forget, being in a certain position in this country doesn't mean having 100% say in what happens.

zlatko gorsevic(south africa) said...

i hear he is of yemeni origin& has gotten citizzenship?or is that an urban legend?

anonymous lurker said...


i agree that mr khalfan isn't out to impress the expat population with his keen, even handed and morally acceptable policing standards. but i know there are quite a few emiratis who are equally (if not more) than disgusted with the current level of anarchy amongest the tax free, sunny streets of dxb.

Arabized said...

>>zlatko gorsevic(south africa) said...
i hear he is of yemeni origin& has gotten citizzenship?or is that an urban legend? <<

why does that even matter? who cares?


a curious observer said...

HL&H: to imply, as you do, that all shallowness here is in some way a foreign import is a little bit arrogant. Can you tell me, is pride as much of a sin in Islam as it is in other religions?

Changing the topic: the real question here has to do with the power and reach of the FNC. We all know that the country is ruled by the Sheikhs, and the FNC is basically a rubber-stamp organization. I sincerely do not believe this will change when the FNC becomes quasi-elected. The sheiks are not going to voluntarily give up power to the FNC.

The second point is that the "F" in FNC stands for "Federal". That is, it refers to the whole UAE. As a federation of separate emirates, there is a division of powers: on some matters (e.g., defence, foreign affairs), the federal government rules, and on others, the governments of the separate emirates rule. In this country, the federal government is responsible for very little, and the emirate governments are responsible for very much. Once again, having the FNC become a quasi-elected body will not change the balance of power between the feds and the local governments, and Chief Tamim may discover that the FNC simply does not have the statutory power to pass laws that will rule over all the emirates - there are too many areas where the emirates will want to maintain their right to make their own laws, and not give those rights over to a central government.

Note that the struggle between federal and regional governments is a defining part of any country that is a confederation (US, Canada, India, etc.)

This could be interesting. Also, I think moving that moralistic big brother from a position of power (Dubai police chief) to a position of basically no power (FNC member) would be a good move in general. So I hope he wins his election. I wonder if he would try to lead religion-based rebellion against the rulers?

Anonymous said...

A curious observer:
Well so far I havn't seen alot of the "good" stuff else where hit this country. While I don't totally blame the "else where" in that regards (our kids should know to choose what to take from else where and what not) I do think its our duty to prevent such "shallowness" and bad habbits just like we deal with other distructive things like drugs etc etc.. get i
I hope he wins too, AND makes a change. Interesting you mention pride in your arguement.

DG said...

Woke: It is not the question of him hiring a PR consultant. The english media is not giving fair coverage to the issues facing the UAE society & citizens. I sometimes feel that maybe they are operating from some other country. The english media hardly gives 10% news coverage of UAE when you compare it with the arabic newspapers.

Marwan: No comments :-)

A curious observer: In that particular interview, he made it clear that his election campaign does not mean that he will be standing against the rulers of the country. No one in his right mind would do that. Whatever progress the country has achieved today, it is because of the policies of its wise leadership. He also mentioned in his interview that UAE is the only country in the region where the people did not come to the streets to demand political rights.

If the rulers of the country have decided to involved the citizens in the decision making process, should this citizens start criticizing the government just for the sake of criticizm?

Arabized: Thanks for your comment :-)

Anonymous Lurker: The emiratis should not feel disgusted, instead they should be thankful to the rulers of this country who helped them transform their lives, from living in the tents in the desert to air conditioned palace like homes.

Ahmed: You are right. He mentioned in his interview that his campaign was againt a particular music channel operating from the Dubai Media City. He had almost filed a case against that channel in the court except for the last minute intervention by Ahmed Bin Byat who promised that action will be taken against that channel. But Bu Fares said that so far he has not seen any progress.

Hot Lemon & Honey: Thanks for your clarification & also for defending my post :-)

a curious observer said...

Well so far I havn't seen alot of the "good" stuff else where hit this country.

Motor vehicles, electricity, air conditioning, water desalinization, milk pasteurization.

You don't think that's "good" stuff? It's all imported.

As to whether cultural imports are good or bad, well, that's a matter of personal opinion. Many locals like to watch western TV shows, many like to watch western movies and listen to western music. Some even like to read western books and magazines. Many locals like to shop with credit cards, eat western food, drink western drinks (alcoholic and otherwise) and wear western clothes.

That so many locals make a free and informed choice to do these things means that those locals view such cultural activities as "good", at least in their own opinions.

I believe you, Hot Lemon, suffer from a similar bias as many other people in many other parts of the world: you think your country is "better" than others for the simple reason that you are from that country, and you believe that your country's native culture is somehow superior to foreign cultures, once again, for the simple reason that you are from that country.

You thinking is not unique, either within this country or within this world. But I certainly do not agree with it. I do not think the country of my birth is superior to all others, and I do not think my native culture is automatically better than any other. It has been my experience that traditionalists (and I think that you are one) tend to have a backwards-looking worldview, wishing to retreat to some long-gone golden age that never really existed.

Fortunately, there is evidence that people like you are in the minority: the majority of Emiratis voluntarily choose to consume foreign culture, and I don't think they want you or Bu Fares to take away their freedom to choose. Also, a colleague of mine (a local) did a degree in cultural studies on the UAE. She interviewed hundreds of elder locals, and asked them if they would prefer to go back to the time "before the oil". Barely a single one said that they would.

Thus, I remain optimistic that the advocates of regression and insularity will not triumph in the UAE. I believe that the people of this country will vote to maintain the outward-looking and forward-looking attitudes that make the UAE such a shining beacon for the rest of the region.

marwan said...

Curious Observer:
While I wholeheartedly agree with your comments, this one's a bit obvious, innit?

"She...asked them if they would...go back to the time "before the oil". Barely a single one said that they would."

That's a hard choice, between being a nomadic tribesman, constantly feuding over scraps of sand, and being unimaginably stinking wealthy, being able to import all the forbidden comforts you can imagine.

When it's western influenced culture versus using the wilderness as a loo, it's not hard to guess the victor.

anonymous lurker said...

when are the good noble folks of the uae going to wake up and praise the folks who brought them their so called enviable lifestyle???

the english bureaucrats who set up the framework of the country. the american oil engineers who went and found the cash cow. the glorified endentured slaves who built these monstrosities of glass and steel. the english solictors who told the 'noble' rulers how to craft their laws to protect them and screw everyone else. the indian, iranian and pakistani traders who developed the trade here.

can we get some praise for the 'if you don't like it - leave it' expats that made this possible???

DG said...

A Curious Observer: My friend you have missed my point. I said the locals should be grateful to the rulers for helping them transform their lives. Wise leadership, stability & peace is a blessing from God. Look at Nigeria, it is one of the leading producers of oil & also one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

By the way, you really deserve a Nobel prize for branding me & hot lemon as biased. You are really a genius. I salute you. You are right my friend, UAE is one of the worst countries in the world. And I admire your courage for deciding to live in such a hostile country.

Marwan: I will again say, "No Comments" :-)

Anonymous Lurker: I fully agree with you. No one can deny the fact that foreigners have made a great contribution in the progress of this country. But then they did not come here because of charity. Rather, this country offered them better economic opportunities than their home countries. And most of the foreigners were not brought here by the government, rather it was businesses which imported them because they needed both skilled & unskilled labour force to help their businesses grow.

Anonymous said...

So dg...

Back on a vague topic. ie - judging candidates on their track record. Do you class prostitution as obscene or immoral?

What has Khalfan done to combat prostitution? Or the appalling road accident death rate?

Being as one would assume that these are two of the biggest issues facing him in his day to day job, and that he has spectacularly failed to make even the slightest dent on either, it would be fair to assume that he is failing, no?

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