04 September, 2008

book banned

"A UK academic's analysis of Dubai's rise to prominence in the Gulf has been banned from being sold in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Christopher Davidson, author of Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success, said the ban was an own goal by a country that is at pains to present itself as an open society with aspirations for its higher education sector.

Dr Davidson, a lecturer at Durham University's School of Government and International Affairs, has previously worked in the UAE at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. He has also acted as a consultant to the Dubai Government.

...

Dr Davidson said: "This is an academic book published by Columbia University Press, so it went through a rigorous peer-review process.

"Crucially, it is independent research, written by someone whose salary is not paid in the UAE, so there's none of the self-censorship that often prevents people who live there discussing anything beyond the bland and banal about the ruling families."

The result, he said, is that the National Media Council - which rules on censorship - had no leverage over the book's content and had made a "kneejerk" reaction.

"It's rare that a peer-reviewed academic book from an esteemed press is banned - it just makes them look as though they've got something to hide, and of course in the internet age with online booksellers it is also rather pointless."


more here

54 comments:

nzm said...

July review on the book in the L.A. Times.

It sounds like an interesting book and the review is also a good read down to the last paragraph. Little wonder that it's banned in the UAE!

Proud Emirati said...

This comes from a country that claim to to support the freedom of the media ...

I wonder what made them ban it, it seems like a lovely book !

Kyle said...

Quoted from the link;

It also analyses Dubai's awkward relationship with its federal partners in the UAE and its attractiveness as a free port to international criminal gangs and terrorists.

You don't say?

Ouch!

At times truth does hurt!

Brn said...

FYI: Dr. Davidson is also the author of book "The United Arab Emirates : a study in survival", which is still available

BuJassem said...

won't be the first or the last... look at the last blog to be blocked (then unblocked).. and the fame than followed.

surely this guy has big vitamin W and as thus is ensuring the success of his new book. remember academics get paid really humble salaries, so the guy has to look after himself.

AussieGuy said...

I know someone who knows him, and they think he is a millionaire a good few times over so i don't think money comes into it. From what I heard it is also a really good history of the UAE too, but i haven't got a copy yet.

nativeinformant said...

I find this surprising because Dr. Davidson's work is well-researched and well-balanced. I hope it doesn't impede on his further research. His response to the banning is also very eloquent and rings quite true - if the GCC states want to position themselves as knowledge economies and education hubs, academic freedom has to be part of that.

Anonymous said...

I will be writing a book and am counting on it being banned. Can I speed this process up by making a pre-publishing application?

dxbianGirl said...

We've ordered/purchased it online and we've received it.

It has politics, and history about unknown disputes in some Emirates.

Anonymous said...

I've ordered it online and read it as well. It is a crime that this book is for sale everywhere else in the world except the UAE. including other parts of the Gulf, as the link tells us. It must be one of the best politics/history books on any part of the world.

AS you read through the pages you can't help but think this is the real thing and whatever home truths it might contain here and there, the book should be cherished here in the UAE.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...
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Proud Emirati said...

^^ :laugh:

Sugar-Free Sweetie said...

ok....the guy was my professor at ZU...and yes, he was a complete wierdo....never interacted with the students or the faculty much...always seemed like a loner...that said, I think the people who wanna "FREE" us and bring in their great "VALUES" to this country need to seriously shut-up.....I mean stop trying to be the George Washingtons and Nelson Mandelas of UAE, coz you guys aren't.....we know what need to know about our country well enough, and we surely don't need some British guy to come and tell us our biography coz I'm sure he wouldn't listen to a word of our version of the British history or any one else's for that matter.

BuJassem said...

wow.. bravo sugar-free sweetie.. very well said.. mind u from what i hear, a lot of the guys teaching at ZU are weirdos.

a blessing .. bravo hehehe..

at the end of the day, people just love something to complain about :)

toolonginabudhabi said...

This author was my favorite ex colleague at ZU. Thoughtful and studious and very popular with all, most of all the students. I began readint the book last week. As for the above I don't see what being a Brit has to do with anything.

Brn said...

toolong,

You obviously don't realize that all Brits, no all Westerners, are in complete lock step agreement about everything and do not need to be judged as individuals. That is why no one needs to read this man's book before they judge what is in it. </sarcasm mode>

Anonymous said...

morons

UAE Students said...

Academic freedom, and free speech is a big issue that has not really been dealt with yet.BUJ and Sugar free it's funny you should mention weirdos teaching at ZU.
I've just published a short survey of Universities. It's a small attempt, that will grow, to provide some communication about the Arab University experience.
Which University has less Weirdos than ZU? Maybe that should have been a question in the survey!

Lirun said...

its a shame.. when u ban books yo ualso delegitimise their criticism..

suddenly they acquire an air of unfettered truth.. we tend to believe those that are banned.. i think.. no?

its better to have open discussion.. that way both opinions can be heard...

Nature Strikes Back said...

It does seem rather counter productive to ban it. In some cases critiques by international academics have been used by nationals in the absence of a platform for their own internal debate. This has certainly happened in KSA.

It's not the case here but there is a genuine debate among locals about some of these issues so I don't think it's fair to see it as just another UAE bashing by an outsider!

Proud Emirati said...

good one sugar-free sweetie

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

nature strikes back said...
It does seem rather counter productive to ban it. In some cases critiques by international academics have been used by nationals in the absence of a platform for their own internal debate. This has certainly happened in KSA.

It's not the case here but there is a genuine debate among locals about some of these issues so I don't think it's fair to see it as just another UAE bashing by an outsider!

>>> How about this, instead of trying to figure out why some dumbass is talking about shit he doesnt get, why not ask Virgin Mega Store why they dont carry a SINGLE copy of The Crow on DVD. Its not banned, it was on MBC a while back.

Thats what Im wondering.

ABIT again.

Educated emirati said...

If there was no Washington and no Mandela then America and Africa would have not stopped slavery and racism. Our KFC and mobile phone egneration are not going to be making any changes to their world anytime soon.

Andy said...

Definitely going to try to get the book; it sounds like an interesting read.

Slightly off topic, what are people's views on dress code and the like in UAE? seems like a double standard, they condemn women for wearing skimpy clothes, yet they sell the skimpy clothes in shops. confusing.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

I am against banning any book of any kind. Even if it was a critique of my own intellect and conduct.

I understand banning porno sites since your little child is prone to getting prematurely spoilt if he got hold of the site. However, a little child will not walk in a book store and get immediately ill by flipping through a book.

If you don't like the book; challenge it with a review or with a counter argument, don't ban it.

Anonymous said...

I know the writer. A very charming educated young gentleman with a brilliant mind. He is more gulfi in his thinking than some gulf citizens I know. if you read the book you will see he is not forcing outside opinions but is keen to put current debates down on paper otherwise their history will be lost. Did anyone hear the news this week that dubai hotel occupancy rates are at their lowest for 10 years? You wont see that in the newspapers here

Anonymous said...

I think there are other books that have been banned before?, so this is nothing really new.

Nature Strikes Back said...

Anonabit ..

There is no way way MBC would have shown The complete unexpirgated Crow.. it must have been seriously edited.

.... maybe Virgin doesn't have it here because 1994 is considered too far in the past to be commercially viable ... :)

Lirun said...

dubai jazz and me agreeing?

is it possible?!?

Proud Emirati said...

Andy, again u are one of those who don't know what ur talking about. Emirati females wear those clothes under the Abaya !

Anonymous said...
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Sheikha M. said...

I TOTALLY agree with Dubai Jazz. The locals in the UAE are for the most part, extremely well educated.
To ban a book, is a shortsighted move.

They are more than capable of reading something, even if it is a view that the Govt. may not like; and then make up their own minds.

With the exception of porn, which I can understand as it is to easy for kids to look at, adults SHOULD be able to regulate themselves. If you do/don't want to watch something/read something/wear something, hopefully you are intelligent enough to figure it out yourself.

Although you do have to wonder about 50 year olds in tank tops....

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

"Making up their own minds" got George Bush elected TWICE. After that I kind of started wishing for the kind of world that Orwel of Huxley painted. with the telescreens and all.

She was AT LEAST 50! saggy ass boobs, really nasty saggy arms... God your gonna make me vomit shaikha m!

Anonymous said...
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Proud Emirati said...

anonymous @ 07 September, 2008 17:46, this is extreme, even for me :P Most of Emirati females wear those western clothes in private, do u agree with me on that?

sheikha m., I am wondering if his book contain some of the British crap of accusing Al Qawasim of being pirates because they were against the British existence in the gulf in the 19th century .

Proud Emirati said...

anonymous @ 07 September, 2008 21:44, u'd never find Emirati females wearing tank tops for a reason ;)

A Blessing in Tragedy said...
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Anonymous said...
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Proud Emirati said...

^^ u'd get a heart attach if u know how many actually support what he say :P

Sheikha M. said...

I don't know PE, as I am in the US at the moment, I am now going to go and buy the book, as it seems like it might be interesting.

Yeah I have heard that one about the Al Qawasim more than a few times. I know this will not be PC and I have a couple Brit friends in AD who are amazing...but it seems the Brits you meet in the UAE still have the idea that it's the time of the British Raj. OK, flamesuit is on...The ones in the UK seem more "normal," if that makes any sense.

And ABIT, here's another HORRIFIC visual...women of a certain age wearing stretch pants...and same goes for men who wear tank tops and sandals with white socks...
both spend every secong out in the sun and look like beef jerky. We need a law against this! YUCK! Gotta love the UAE.

As far as Bush is concerned...I did'nt vote for him, and I agree that he railroaded the elections, but I still like being able to have an opportunity to pick someone.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Lirun said...
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tenali said...

"wow.. bravo .. very well said.. .from what i hear, a lot of the guys teaching at ZU are weirdos.."

...and people study. there?

tenali said...
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Anonymous said...
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samuraisam said...

Please stick to the topic at hand. If you want to talk about the relationship between tribes and tank-tops go somewhere else.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...
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Anonymous said...
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samuraisam said...

keep to the topic at hand or I will disable commenting on this post

Balushi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
samuraisam said...

Ok, fine then, comment moderation has been enabled.

Anonymous said...

I know the author too and he is a weirdo and loner. I fully agree with that sugar-free sweetie. I do not agree that he is a 'gulfi' thinking man because that would just be overly stereotypical of 'gulfi' thinking. Right? All that said, he is also hardworking and smart. Let's be real here - sales must have shot through the roof. All publicity is good publicity. Clever but desperate for success, not money, just pure narcissistic success. He could have simply wrote a book with fewer significant errors and the critical reaction could have been avoided.

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