08 March, 2008

Panic in the Sandpit

Excerpt:
...The wasteland seems to begin almost immediately on leaving the boundaries of the modern metropolis of Abu Dhabi, its skyscrapers and luxury hotels giving way to a pancake-flat drabness of oil refineries, highways and five-winged power transformers marching across the landscape to bring life to a once lifeless land.

Just 40 years ago Abu Dhabi was nothing more than sand and Bedouin tents, until the visionary Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan began transforming his arid fishing village into a thriving Middle Eastern hub. He even tried to turn the land green by ordering the planting of 150 million trees.

Abu Dhabi is taking a more considered, arguably more cultured approach to the future than neighbouring Dubai. With impending civic projects from the likes of Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel, this will be a city to watch in the next decade...

Whole article here

Looks like it's Abu Dhabi's turn for lyrical waxing, while Dubai, and the UAE as a whole, continue to get this kind of attention - at least in news sources out of the country.

I'm noticing more and more articles like this appearing - is it my imagination or are others seeing this too? I mean, they always used to be there, but there was a type of "balance" when articles like the Abu Dhabi one above would also appear about Dubai. Nowadays the Dubai articles seem to be a lot more serious and darker in subject matter.

Maybe it's an evolution process - a maturing city now needs to address the more ethical and social aspects of becoming an attractive entity - it can no longer hide behind the façade of world-record buildings and fantastic property developments.

What do you think?

Are more of these negative articles appearing because:
~ the UAE needs to grow up and really start to address these issues?
~ other countries are jealous of what's happening?
~ travel writers are no longer receiving free junkets to Dubai?
~ some other reason?

2 comments:

DUBAI JAZZ said...

I think it is a little of all that NZM, Abu Dhabi is yet to claim any world records; hence they don't stir the jealous journo as Dubai does.

Seabee said...

Yes, probably a bit of all those, plus others.

Journos still get the junkets and the fawning travel reports still appear as a result. But because Brand Dubai has created such a high profile around the world, a very positive profile I might add, it's opened itself up to the more investigative kind of reporting.

We also have the internet, blogging in particular, to talk about stuff that in the past simply hasn't made the mainstream media. The French boy rape case and various drug cases are examples of the internet breaking and pushing the stories, which are then picked up by the mainstream media.

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