At the FIFA Worldcup last night Germany’s Nationalmannschaft (NB: sharply click your heels when saying this) demolished a pathetic looking Australian team 4-0. What does that have to do with the UAE and its community blog I hear you say? Apart from putting gobby Ozzies in their rightful place at the bottom, which is welcome always and everywhere, it is relevant to the UAE in one particular aspect.
The entire German Worldcup squad features no less than 11 players who were either born outside Germany or to are first or second generation Germans, i.e. they were born to parents who came to Germany as “guestworkers” / immigrants from Turkey or Poland, Ghana, Brazil or Vietnam who became German citizens. In the UAE we like to call these people expats - which sounds more glamorous than guestworker but really is the same thing.
I do not suggest that native Germans have less talent than foreign born or naturalized citizens and are therefore destined to be sidelined (cheap pun intended). But what seems important to me is that despite featuring several ‘new’ Germans the team yesterday still played that typically German brand of football of a physically dominating team effort with a no nonsense finish with deadly efficiency. It shows that the (oxymoronic) soul of German football can be maintained and even perfected by incorporating and assimilating foreign elements, by giving clear directions and coaching. If Germany with their abominable history of doing the exact opposite can do that, anyone can. (Heck, it’s fun to vent one’s bigoted chauvinism every four years!)
Dubai’s 'idol' Singapore grants citizenship to residents willing to vest their interest and commit, as do most countries civilized and brave enough to realize the potential advantages of injecting fresh blood in an aging and dwindling national population and harness the ambition that most immigrants tend to have.
The UAE don’t’, and are worse for it.