31 August, 2006

Cool Places To Visit In Al Ain

Hey everybody! I'm going to Al Ain on the weekend. Any nice places you can suggest that I can visit? (or you can give your suggestions on my blog)


The 100% Opinion Poll

Either Emirates Evening Post is redefining the concept of an opinion poll or the only respondents they could find were their staff members.

It doesn't take much imagination at all

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(In response to Woke's and Keefieboy's posts).

Another day another Villa

Long gone are the days when a few local houses and Mushrif National Park where the only signs of human settlement on the hills of Mirdiff.
I ask myself what’s going to happen when Dubai Academic City starts picking up momentum and Zayed University students move in. Will Mirdiff become the Middle East's new college party town?!
Read more and please tell us what you think will happen in the not-so-quiet-anymore community...

30 August, 2006

The Power of Language

What is the role of language in questions of security, identity, and civil rights?

Today's BBC World news reports that a passenger was harassed and forced to change clothes on a Jet Blue flight from NYC to LA for wearing a T shirt with an Arabic slogan on it (actually an anti-war slogan). Passengers have also been reported to be restrained for speaking Arabic on planes and there was an incident with a UAE couple speaking Arabic on the London Eye as well.

In the UAE, there's an opposite issue going on right now with expat residents claiming that emergency services should not just be limited to Arabic as it is a multi-national society despite the strong restrictions on naturalization.


Pay your dues!

Companies with websites should ensure their hosting companies are paid promptly... unless ofcourse they want a site that looks like this.

What's that? Bad publicity is better than no publicity, you say? :-)

(Web screenshot taken at 1330hrs on 30/Aug/06)

How Will I Be Treated When I Go Back Home?

I am an American, I have been living in Dubai, UAE for almost a year...does that make me a threat to Homeland Security?

29 August, 2006

Interesting Article about some Islamic christian issue!

I found this very interesting article about Judas in the WashingtonTimes. Please come over to my blog and let me know what you think.

Attacking Etisalat

What seems to be ever growing trend recently, 7days has published an article on the telecom company attacking the higher talking charges. All of us (expats especially) have our differences with various governmental and corporate organizations operating in UAE, however, nothing seems to fire up our dismay as much as Etisalat. The company is now known for its proxy and monopolistic practices, however, I remember the days when it was known for its innovative services such as the longest continues running corridor of reception service, at least in the middle east. (Of course Proxy was there too, but people cared less!)

Utimately, it is in the hands of the local government as well as the citizens of UAE ( Nationals) who decide the future of the telecom companies and their practices. My question to the locals is this: What do YOU think about the telecom role and responsibilities should be? And How would you like to see your Telecom industry to change?

America's Muslims Aren't as Assimilated as You Think :: Washington Post

A new generation of American Muslims -- living in the shadow of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- is becoming more religious. They are more likely to take comfort in their own communities, and less likely to embrace the nation's fabled melting pot of shared values and common culture.

Part of this is linked to the resurgence of Islam over the past several decades, a growth as visible in Western Europe and the United States as it is in Egypt and Morocco. But the Sept. 11 attacks also had the dual effect of making American Muslims feel isolated in their adopted country, while pushing them to rediscover their faith.
. . .
Although the unemployment rate for Muslims in Britain is far higher than for most other groups, the average annual income of a Muslim household surpasses that of average American households. Yet, outside the workplace, Muslims retreat into the comfort zone of their mosques and Islamic schools.
UPDATE: Echoing the first commenter to this point, there are others who are pointing on that American Muslims are assimilated in many ways. Instapundit has a post on the counterargument. Here's what you get from a Technorati search of bloggers that link to the Washington Post article - some alarmist, but many saying the article draws its conclusions from a superficial view of assimilation.

A useful template tweak

Finally, after some considerable fiddling around, I have managed to tweak the template so there is a link to your personal blog when you post.

HOWEVER: this will only display your personal/"main" blog if you have listed it in your Profile as your Homepage. Otherwise, it seems to display UAE Community blog as a default.

So to make your link work, click on Edit Profile and paste your main blog in the Homepage URL field.

(If you have several blogs and you really can't choose, then you could paste your blogger profile link instead).

NB: As far as I can work out, this should also benefit members whose blogs aren't on Blogspot (eg those using LiveJournal, TypePad, etc) as there is no restriction on what URL you can paste in. It doesn't even have to be your blog, so if for some reason you want to put a totally different site there, feel free.

A case of height and handedness

Have you ever wondered what could be the 2 most unlikely factors contributing to Mr Amitabh Bachchan's success?

I was quite amazed to find that it could be a case of height and handedness!

You can find more about it here.

The 90/10 Principle

This little piece is by Stephen Covey. Actually someone forwarded it to me at work. Perhaps he was giving me a hint or something!! The 90/10 Principle... here's a little excerpt:

Discover the 90/10 Principle. It will change your life (at least the way you react to situations). What is this principle? 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react.

What does this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us. We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic. We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different.

You determine the other 90%. How? By your reaction. You cannot control a red-light., but you can control your reaction. Don't let people fool you; YOU can control how you react.

If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you! React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

You can read the rest of this article here

Labour Camp Relief project - Thank You

We'd like to thank the UAECommunity moderators who very kindly allowed us to post our appeal for donated clothes for workers,and the UAECommunity members who supported our Labour Camp Relief project. The project has been successfully completed.

A detailed report with more pictures is available here:

UAE Media coverage of the project can be read here:

If you'd like to make a difference to the world around you, using your skills and expertise, join the Creative Majlis messageboard and mailing list on Ryze at http://creativemajlis-network.ryze.com.

To get in touch with us, Farrukh Naeem and Mayura Sandeep, founders and moderators of Creative Majlis, mail us on creativemajlis@yahoo.com

For more information on Creative Majlis, visit our website at http://www.creativemajlis.com

back from leave

Hope you all had a great summer vacation! This summer I spent in Kerala for a wonderful and totally relaxing Ayurveda holiday. I have to admit that it is a perfect contrast to living in Dubai and I enjoyed the monsoon rain soo much.Watch my holiday video if you like.

Will Dubai go Wi fi?

Cities like Philadelphia, Taipei, Pune and Bangalore have realised the potential of establishing a wireless network for residents/tourists which will make internet as accessible as basic amenities like water and electricity.
It would have perfect sense, economy-wise and marketing wise for Dubai, if it followed the same route especially when some companies are implementing it free of cost.
But then, the disfigured mint-with-a-hole always stands between us and technology.

28 August, 2006

Israeli blogger's question

An Israeli blogger, Lirun, has posted the following question to bloggers in the UAE:

never having been to dubai - was wondering what your impression is of israelis.. do you hate us.. are you indifferent?

would love an insite..

curious peace seeker from telaviv


Bearing in mind that Lirun is a peace seeker, and that he puts this question to us politely and in good faith, please express any answers you may have for him honestly but not abusively.

early morning humour

Funny Videos
Funny Videos

Funny Videos
Funny Videos

September Rendezvous - Art Exhibition

Our Group's September meetup...posting it a bit late though. Home-based artists/professionals are welcome to display their works at the private exhibition (details below):

Guys and gals! We are having the Sept Rendezvous with a difference! We are coupling this one with an art exhibition (private) so go ahead and give your ayes on the link below:


If anyone wants to add their creative work in this exhibition get in touch with me prior to the 28th of August (last date) regarding collection of items! We are rushing behind the scenes to get this event organized! We have the following people exhibiting their labour of love:

1. Rasul - An award winning artist with such a wide range in his work! You got to see his work to believe...
2. Muniba - A passionate stain glass painter and we can be sure they will be good!
3. Arsha - A student who takes up project artwork for people!

Call Sabiha - 050 6582900 to confirm.


New - Dubai Joggers Yahoogroup

Found this posted on the DubaiExpats yahoogroup. Have been wanting to start jogging for a long time now....this group should hopefully be a spur.

From the Group Introduction:
For people who enjoy walking, jogging outdoors in Dubai no matter what the weather may be. may it be for weight loss, health or just to feel good , put your socks n sneakers, carry your mp3 players and feel the city.



I have something negative to say here about my country. :)

It’s one of those sky scrapers, it is not yet completed, and stringy bits of metal are sticking out of its ends.

She sighs, thinking she’s seen too many cranes, bricks, construction cones, pipes, and dug up sand to last her a lifetime. She feels as if she’s growing up on a construction site. She feels scammed at this thought also, angry that the stupid people who were in charge of all this didn’t plan this later, so she could enjoy the compleated wonders of dubai while she was growing up.

This is why us kids are so messed up. ^_^

27 August, 2006

Dubai: Mid – Western Culture

Lets consider this, a boy/girl (Middle Eastern) from a family background where dating is a concept unknown. Where marriages are mostly arranged. Where having friends of the opposite gender seems like a big deal. Where society plays a really important role in controlling your behavior, life and actions. .... more...

26 August, 2006

Letter to Photobucket

Dear Photobucket,

I note that you have removed most of the images in my album:

I don't know who or what prompted you to do this. These images were a parody of the logos and slogans of a telecommunications company. As such, they are protected under the US First Amendment. I refer to you to the judgement of the Hon. Denny Chin in Fox News vs. Al Franken (2003):

"Parody is a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment. The keystone to parody is imitation. Here, whether you agree with him or not, whether you like what he says or not, in using the mark, Mr. Franken clearly is mocking Fox. In setting himself up in what is apparently a news room, he is mocking Fox and O'Reilly. Mr. O'Reilly is bringing to mind in fact the cover of one of Mr. O'Reilly's books. Even though this may result in tarnishment or dilution in the general sense, it is fair criticism."

I have read and understand Photobucket's terms and policy. However I beg you to consider whether you really consider it more important to respect the laws of some foreign country with a lengthy record of human rights abuses concerning freedom of speech, rather than the laws and constitution of the United States of America, under whose jurisdiction you presumably primarily operate.

I personally have no intention of pursuing this further, as there are myriad other locations I can host the images. I just wonder how your many US customers would feel about their legal rights being infringed by a foreign government.

yours sincerely

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Hollywood Warfare

There's pretty much no two line explanation for this one. If you go HERE, you might be able to ascertain why Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and R Kelly are "Trapped in the Closet."

human rights

"United Arab Emirates: Harassment of human rights activists must stop
Amnesty International is alarmed at the recent measures of intimidation and harassment of human rights activists in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Over the last months the organization has received information about the arrest of a prominent lawyer and a court action against another in order to put an end to their human rights activism and the freedom to practice their work.
On 17 June 2006 an arrest warrant was issued against Mohamed al-Mansoori, a lawyer, human rights activist and President of the independent Jurists’ Association after he was accused of “insulting the Public Prosecutor”. Amnesty International believes that the authorities’ real motive was to silence Mohamed al-Mansoori after he gave several interviews to Arab satellite television channels in which he spoke critically of the human rights situation in the country.
Amnesty International is also concerned at reports that the authorities had been seeking to close the Villa no. 18, City of Hope Women’s shelter in Jumeirah in the Emirate of Dubai. In early August 2006, the founder of the shelter, Sharla Musabih, was said to have been facing politically motivated criminal charges. The shelter houses and supports women and children survivors of violence, including women domestic workers who have suffered abuse by their employers."
-- more here

Worth reading in full.

Tonight's Live Blog

All are invited to check out our live blog which starts at 8PM tonight (Sat August 26) http://miragestudiosrak.blogspot.com/

Brad Thornton is an entertainment lawyer and indie film producer in Los Angeles and we really appreciate his being involved. He has been a friend/associate for a few years now and is really one of the good guys! Copyright questions about content, writing, producing, what's going on at the moment in LA, are all welcomed.


25 August, 2006

Al Ain Dairy Launches The First Camel Milk Ice Cream

Al Ain Dairy Camel Milk Ice Cream

I talked before about Al Ain Dairy planning to launch Al Ain Dairy Camel Milk Chocolate. Looks like Al Ain Dairy took the camel milk a step further ...

Al Ain Dairy said it had launched the first camel milk ice cream in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), positioning the product as a healthy alternative to other ice cream products.

Al Ain, which has set up a camel farm and processing facility, said its new ice cream would be available in supermarkets and petrol stations in chocolate, caramel and strawberry flavours.

The group has targetted weight watchers by highlighting that camel milk ice cream contains only 2.5 per cent fat, compared to between six and nine per cent for standard ice creams.

Read Also:
Al Ain Dairy Launches the First Camel Milk Ice Cream (newswiretoday.com)
One hump or two? Camel milk ice cream is here (Dairyreporter.com)
Al Ain Dairy unveils first camel milk ice cream (Strategiy.com)

Letter to the Economist, 19-25 August 2006

SIR - In analysing why it is that Americans support Israel you omitted to mention intimidation. Many of us who feel that such unconditional support is not in America's national interest discuss it only among ourselves, fearful of being tarred with the label of "anti-Semite" that is invariably thrown at Israel's critics. Such a tactic is calculated, methodical, invidious - and remarkably effective.
Raleigh, North Carolina

Hostage Story in Iraq

You can find more information here

24 August, 2006

12 passengers arrested after diverted Northwest flight lands :: Hot Air

Hot Air:

Update: Evidently it was U.S. air marshals onboard who were suspicious. Fox has a tip that the passengers’ behavior involved cell phones.

Update: Who knows?
A U.S. passenger named Alpa, who did not wish to use her last name, told AP television reporters she had seen police handcuff and remove around 11 men of south Asian appearance from the plane before other passengers. She said she didn’t see what happened but heard from other passengers the men had aroused suspicion by getting out their mobile phones.
. . .
Update: Walid Phares says all 12 who were arrested were using their cell phones after the plane took off. Not sure what his source is for that.

Update: The AP says they weren’t just using the cell phones, they were passing them around to each other.


1. Gulf News: UAE student falls victim to racial profiling at Los Angeles airport

2. NY1: A group of Muslim-Americans say they were detained for hours at Kennedy Airport when they came back to the U.S. last week after trips abroad, and they say it was only because of their looks, their backgrounds, or their faith.

The new word is profiling

Would the world consider the same issue anti Semitic if it was a Jew in this case?

UAE student falls victim to profiling

By Bassma Al Jandaly And Abbas Al Lawati, Staff Reporters

Dubai: A UAE student was detained for 26 hours with his wife and three children at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday on the basis of yet to be revealed "suspicions," and got his US visa cancelled in the latest incident of singling out Arabs and Muslims in western airports for racial profiling.

Saif Khalifa Al Sha'ali, 26, a nephew of Mohammad Hussain Al Sha'ali, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, told Gulf News that he was kept in detention by officials from the US Department of Homeland Security upon landing at the airport.

Al Sha'ali is a doctoral candidate in information technology at Claremont University in Los Angeles and a long-time resident of the United States. He was returning to Los Angeles via London from a vacation in Dubai.

After the detention and rigorous interrogation, Al Sha'ali managed to call a UAE Embassy employee and left a message.

He was eventually released at 5am UAE time on Wednesday upon intervention from the embassy but his American residence visa was cancelled.

The family was put on a plane back to London.

"I was treated like a criminal," Al Sha'ali said. His children spent the night on the floor in a room in which they were locked with their mother.

The wife was questioned for hours separately. Al Sha'ali is still puzzled by the incident but stressed he would never go back to the United States but rather pursue his studies elsewhere.

Relatives described the incident as part of the paranoia that has gripped many Western countries following the uncovering of an alleged plot in the UK to blow up US-bound planes two weeks ago.

It also comes in the wake of several incidents in the West where Arabs were believed to have been racially profiled.

This week, two Muslim students were forced off a British flight in Spain because other passengers feared they were terrorists after hearing them speaking in what was claimed to be Arabic.

Earlier, a UAE national couple was stopped twice by a security guard before being allowed to ride on the London Eye. The couple claimed they were profiled for being Arabic speakers.



So when is this du thing happening, anyway?

What type of terrible image could this have been -- the one that so egregiously violates the photobucket terms of service?

Something so deviant, something so sexual, something that so violates the cultural values of the nation?

Oh, yeah -- it's really bad this time, somebody ought to do something before society collapses --

Kind of reinforces the point, no?

Comments are HERE

Mafiwasta.com unblocked

From Emirates Today (link to article):

A website that discusses social and labour issues that was previously blocked by Etisalat has now been made available.

The www.mafiwasta.com website contains reports about incidents involving labourers and their rights. When contacted by Emirates Today, one of its site’s founders, who requested not to be named, expressed surprise about the decision to block the website.

In a statement sent to Emirates Today, Mohammed Najuib, the acting manager of corporate communications at Etisalat, said: “The website was blocked due to several complaints from members of the public about offensive content posted on it.

Etisalat usually blocks sites that are considered damaging to the country’s traditions and values. It also acts upon complaints from the public and investigates them before a decision is made to block a website, according to sources in the telecommunications industry.

Guess who?

Can anyone guess who this little boy is?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(If you've already seen the pic, don't give it away. Let's see if people can guess - I think the resemblance is quite strong!)

23 August, 2006

A Campaign of Love!

The so called “Fav #1 paper” yesterday kicked off a month long campaign - I love Dubai. What joy? What agony? I honestly, don't know what to feel reading it.

Came across a blog by Marwan, who has minced no words in expressing his love. Read his outbursts of love in his post "Happy Days are Here Again".

As for me - I think it is time to drop KT for an affair with GN for a month. And if it is good. I might consider a long term relationship. Or who knows, maybe I'll take up celibacy and not read any newspapers in the gulf! But one thing for sure, this campaign has turned me off!

p.s - Another option would be to use your newspapers to clean glass - try it out! Crumple a few pages, dip in water and wipe your windows for a shine! For best results, use your newspaper within few minutes of delivery.

moral values

Perhaps like me you view Etisalat’s defence of moral values from quite a cynical stand point…
I decided to do some investigating and I came across Etisalat’s Al Bahhar website (which proudly displays the following line at the bottom of each of its pages: “Copyright © 2002, Emirates Internet & Multimedia. All rights reserved”, it also, according to WHOIS records belongs to the head office of Etisalat); in particular the jokes section.

I was disheartened to read jokes like this:
“What is the difference between a blonde chick and a 747? A: Not everyone has been on a 747” (direct link here)
I think this joke is playing around with the severe moral issue of pre-marital sex. It also trivializes the role of women (in particular blonde women) in modern society and degrades them to mere ‘objects of pleasure’. I am deeply disheartened Etisalat would try to promote this message among the people of the UAE. Also by mentioning the Boeing 747 (a plane dated from the early 70’s) it is insinuating the UAE to be technologically outdated, not so, they have VoIP… no actually they don’t.

Another joke I found quite offending was this:
“In a large supermarket, a man approached a very beautiful woman and said, "I've lost track of my wife in here. Could you talk to me for a couple of minutes?" "Why?" she asked. "Because every time I talk to a beautiful woman, my wife appears out of nowhere."” (direct link here)
I think Etisalat trivialising the sacred relationship between husband and wife means they treat marriage as a joke; how can they trivialize the upbringing of children like this? I am offended (and I hope you are too)

The following joke is the last I am able to reproduce on the UAE community blog…
“Q;what is hard and erect when it goes in&soft and sticky when it comes out??? a::chewing gum” (direct link here)

You can read more of my thoughts on this over here.

22 August, 2006


Unskilled workers are killing themselves at an alarming rate. Story HERE.

Organs of the State II: Body of Evidence

The Gulf News recently reported on the plight of Huma Hussan and her husband, Kamran:

Kamran Hassan, 30, from Pakistan, moved to Dubai with his wife, Huma, 28, five months ago where she has been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. It is a disease where gradually the air sacs of the lungs are replaced by fibrotic tissue causing an irreversible loss of the tissue's ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. "My wife needs a lung transplant but there are no live donors for lungs, you need a sudden death case and hope for matching lungs," said Hassan.

Like any devoted husband would, Kamran is doing everything within his power to aid his wife. Still, obstacles abound: He wants to take his wife

to China for a lung transplant operation (but) is unable to book flights because airlines are restricting the amount of oxygen he can bring on board that are vital for his wife's survival.

There is also is also the matter of money:

"A hospital near Shanghai, the Wuxi Chest Hospital is ready to admit her. They said they could do the transplant in two months but we have no money for the operation and no airline will take us," said Hassan.

I have tremendous sympathy for Kamran. When I was his age I, too, was the primary caregiver for a terminally ill spouse. My heart goes out to him...and yet a part of me hopes that the two never make it to China and get that transplant. My mind says it can't be justified because of the growing body of evidence indicating that something is horribly awry in the way Chinese transplant doctors go about their work.

Read the rest at "The Business of America is Business"

21 August, 2006

UAE Creatives blog

Thanks to the moderators for listing us here.

UAE Creatives will attempt a study and appreciation of copy, art and marketing techniques used in all kinds of advertising in the Emirates.
Do share your views on the advertising scene in the UAE and on the ads that you find appealing or appaling on our blog.

Prices & Earnings

Those interested in price and earings comparisons that compare like for like migth want to check out UBS' Wealth Management section which contains a report (pdf). The data looks comprehensive, with understanding Dubai cost of living in the current climate an important issue. The data is good for comparing like for like and you will see some interesting comparisons both on the price and earnings side. However, you must put the data into context, and look at the "like for like" across the various components.

I'm not a cherry-plucker...

To the two vile blokes I saw in MoE last night:

1. Taking half a dozen cherries or more from Carrefour and eating them when you have no intention of purchasing any is theft.

2. Tossing your spat out cherry stones back onto the trays of fruit - right in front of me buying them - is so fking indescribably disgusting I wish I had bought a couple of those cheap souvenir daggers from Al Jabar Gallery and stabbed you both into a sodden red heap on the ground, dripping blood and cherry juice.

Next time...

20 August, 2006

Passengers refuse to fly until Asians are removed

The Daily Mail:
The trouble in Malaga flared last Wednesday as two British citizens in their 20s waited in the departure lounge to board the pre-dawn flight and were heard talking what passengers took to be Arabic. Worries spread after a female passenger said she had heard something that alarmed her.

Passengers noticed that, despite the heat, the pair were wearing leather jackets and thick jumpers and were regularly checking their watches.

Initially, six passengers refused to board the flight. On board the aircraft, word reached one family. To the astonishment of cabin crew, they stood up and walked off, followed quickly by others.

To Kill a Talking Bird

When an Armenian community website publishes an article ridiculing the sex trade happening in Dubai, complete with photos and testimonials, you expect some form of action to be taken against the culprits.
Action was indeed taken. Wonder who is next?

An Open letter to Bush from an Arab Girl

19 August, 2006

Most commented upon post of August 2005

UAE community blog: Obscene driving behaviour

A problem that is still with us. Still, it was a simpler time, wasn't it?

Feeling Hot Hot Hot

Okay, for all of you out there who are melting under our glorious summer sunshine, here are some tips for you. Feel free to add your own, I'm always looking for more! Makes me wish I had a permanent igloo at Ski Dubai.

Now there's some prime property!

Pesti Cola, anyone?

"This is a setback for the Indian economy". US Undersecretary for International Trade Franklin Lavin on the cola controversy in India. The bans were prompted by a report from the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) which said pesticide residues had been found in 57 samples of the two firms' products. Need I add that the "study found that 57 bottles from 12 states contained residues anywhere between 10-50 times above the final standard."

That, folks, is an extract from a local newspaper, from an article that sounds a bit like 'India makes a mistake'. The fact that this newspaper, who enjoyed bashing up the US on the Lebanon war, should take a stand like 'India should continue to feed its children pesticides so that Big Bro can make big money off her and then shove a few dollar bills into her skirt' boggles the mind.

This extract from the Times of India says "Pepsi's top boss in India on Friday virtually admitted that the flagship fizzy cola of his company could be harmful for children, saying Pepsico India will "discourage primary schools" from allowing the drink. Rajeev Bakshi, chairman of Pepsico India Holdings Private Ltd, said as a company he always wanted Pepsico to keep its "fun drinks" like Pepsi and Mirinda away from school children. "Our advertisement and marketing exercises never target primary school children," he said."

Oh, those kids in an early Pepsi ad weren't PRIMARY school children. The ads for the 'family size' bottles of Pepsi and Coke also did not have PRIMARY school children. And we will "discourage PRIMARY schools" from allowing the drink. Smart pesticides these, they may kill everything else but not 'primary school children'. Israel might want to tinker with these smart pesticides, so their bombs don't kill any more babies, just adults.

I remember reading something on some blog that said 'we banned Danish products for the cartoon controversy, can't we ban American products for its anti-Middle East stand?' Wake up and smell the [Starbucks] coffee, people. Despite the US's anti-'everybody who we don't like' policy, sorry folks, we just ain't got the guts to reject their products.

One Large McFries and Coke please, and supersize it.

Happy birthday UAE Community blog!

(Slightly belated) but UAE Community blog was started just over a year ago, with the following aims:

1. A place for UAE bloggers to meet and discuss general blogging issues

2. A place for new people to publicise their blogs

3. A place for less frequent UAE bloggers to cross-post, so people are reminded that they exist!

4. A place to blog stuff that doesn't fit in with your personal blog content

5. A place for UAE bloggers to come up with something not covered in 1-4

1,210+ posts later, it has fulfilled all those aims, and continues to evolve. And it's totally due to the imagination and participation of bloggers in the UAE, and many of their readers.

Thanks to everyone for making this such an interesting, useful, funny, shocking and above all varied place, and here is to the next twelve months!

18 August, 2006

Where are the Arab Peace Keepers?

Now that there is peace in Lebanon, the pointing game begins. Which country will send troops to be part of the Peace keeping Operations? Western countries are not too keen to send any of their troops to be part of the Multi National Peace Keeping Force under UN Command.

All throughout the last month we saw the media and several governments from the Middle East call for peace and an immediate stop to the massacre in Lebanon. Generous amounts of cash and aid have been sent to Lebanon – Kudos for that! But in the end money does not solve problems.

Why is there no Arab nation willing to send in Arab troops as part of the UN peace keeping force? The European countries definitely don’t want their soldiers in the middle of a tense No Man’s Land! And why should they? Do we decry them for their hypocrisy? Stone them? But I ask, where are the armies of the Middle East? The last time we saw them in action was the First Gulf War, on a joyride into Kuwait after the US bombers had the Iraqis running for cover back to their homes. According to rough estimates there were 250 000 troops in the first Gulf War from Arab countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and so on.

Truth is, the only UN peace keepers in the Lebanese – Israeli border are from India and Ghana. India has the fourth battalion of the Sikh Regiment serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFL) along with a battalion of the Ghana Army.

According to the latest figures from the UN, the only countries from the Middle East contributing any personnel to the Peace Keeping Operations world over are as follows: Egypt- 931, Algeria– 15, Iran -3, and Jordan– 2798. So where are the others in the Middle East?

A Countriy as small as Nepal has 3510 troops. Even so called developing countries have troops in the peace keeping operations of the UN. Pakistan-9797, Bangladesh-10126, Sri Lanka-1011 and India–9290. Surprise, surprise! Uruguay has 2598 personnel in UN operations. (UN Monthly Report of Peace Keeping and Civilian Forces)

It is about time that some of these armies went and did a tour of duty. After all it is only a peace keeping force and some of the armies can actually see what a war zone looks like. They can use some of their heavy machinery in new terrain and help the Leanese people in rebuilding Lebanon. If this region wants to play an important role in world equations – it not too late! It can start by handling its own backyard problems and that too a peace keeping role.

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.”

- Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama

Normal Life

Media Faces Perceptions of Bias :: PBS

Lee Ross:
We actually have a research finding that's kind of interesting here, and it's that the more people know about the particular situation, the more they see the media as biased, not the less.

. . . They see it as biased because of what's left out more than what's there. And what partisans feel is that what's left out generally in coverage of the Middle East is the context: why things are happening, what the history was.

And, of course, pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian viewers have a very different view of what that context, what that history is, and therefore what's been left out.

NPR - The Science of Bias:
CONAN: And in your column you wrote about a telling experiment in which researchers showed 144 observers six television news segments about Israel's 1982 war with Lebanon. And what did they find?

Mr. VENDANTAM: Well, it was quite striking. When pro-Israelis watched the news segments, they found an astonishing number of anti-Israel references and very few pro-Israel references. And when pro-Arabs watched the very same news clips, they saw an astonishing number of anti-Arab news references and almost no pro-Arab references.
. . .
CONAN: And that was fascinating, the studies that show what happens inside the brains of partisans.

Mr. VEDANTAM: Right. So the psychologists who studied the Israeli-Lebanese conflict in 1982 were not so much interested in foreign affairs as much as the working of the partisan mind. And that, you know, their results can be applied more broadly than just in the realm of foreign affairs. Certainly they can be applied to domestic affairs and to politics and to why Republicans and Democrats, for example, love to hate each other.

And the latest version of the study is to try and do brain imaging scans of partisans, Republicans and Democrats. And what the studies find is that, you know, most people believe that they carefully weigh the information and then come to certain conclusions. What the brain imaging seems to find is that it's actually the reverse that's happening.

People come to conclusions pretty early and then essentially spend the rest of the time, say in a political campaign, essentially defending their opinions against attacks. In other words, they are resistant to taking in any information that could threaten those preexisting beliefs.
. . .
CONAN: But the partisans are sometimes very well informed. They may be partisan, but they're well informed. Does information serve as a buffer here?

Mr. VEDANTAM: Yes, unfortunately that was found not to be the case in the experiments that were conducted at Stanford University after the Israeli war in Lebanon in 1982. They found that people who were the best informed among the pro-Israeli and pro-Arab partisans were actually the most likely to see bias in the media.

And Stanford University psychologist Lee Ross thinks this is because people who are very knowledgeable understand a great degree of, you know, historical context, and of course it's the context from their side. But when they see a particular news clip, especially about a news event that took place the previous day, what they often feel is that there's a large amount of context that's missing. The more knowledgeable people are, the more context they find missing and the more therefore they feel that a particular news bulletin is extremely biased.

Invitation to live blog

If you are a writer, or just have an interest, we are having a live blog from Los Angeles dealing with intellectual rights/copyright laws. It's on August 26, info at:

Where has the originality gone?

Another mute tower on SZR is making its way. This time, it's the Big Ben (or "Dubai's Big Ben") that is going to stand tall next to the Union Tower building.

I don't have a direct link, thanks to Emirates Today's paranoid style. So now, you don't only watch the Big Ben, but you can live in it too! Here are excerpts:

Developers behind the plan to build a replica of London’s Big Ben in Dubai have had to review their plans at the advice of Dubai Municipality officials, who asked that the new building be amended to match its Sheikh Zayed Road neighbours.

The 72-storey Yaqoub Tower is currently being built along the city’s major artery and is scheduled for construction in November 2008.

“Not sure, but we know that the issue of the clock and its mechanism are not yet settled."

The lowest six floors of the building will house offices with the upper storeys consisting of 289 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom flats and duplexes.The building will have two swimming pools on the mid level and on the rooftop. A 13-storey parking area for 597 cars has also been planned.

Creative Writing at GULF NEWS?

"GULF NEWS is terrific! I read it every day!"

You may not be getting the whole story from GULF NEWS.
Find out more HERE.

17 August, 2006

Comments can be turned off

The default setting is yes to comments. As I,Bobo's recent post shows, you can opt out and elect no comments.

Among other things that drives traffic to your link and moves the commenting there.

Hezbollah chooses its candidate...

"Hello, I'm Bibi. Thanks for your help in the coming election..."

Translation Links blocked?

I am not sure about it, but has etisalat blocked the worldlingo links on the sidebar?

16 August, 2006

Looking for Bollywood Movies that Reference Dubai

...or other parts of the Gulf. I have posted here before about how I am doing my PhD research on connections between South Asia and the Gulf, esp. Dubai. I am particularly interested in the way Dubai is imagined in Indian popular media. So I welcome any and all suggestions. Thanks!

Strategy Page versus Strategic Forecasting

Strategy Page:
The success of the ceasefire in Lebanon hinges on a condition that Lebanon and Hizbollah both insist will not happen. Hizbollah is supposed to disarm, but says bluntly that it will not do so. The Lebanese government says it will not force Hizbollah to disarm. So what's going to happen? It appears that Israel is going to hold the UN responsible for carrying out its peace deal, and disarm Hizbollah. To that end, Israel will withdraw its troops from Lebanon, and leave it to UN peacekeepers to do what they are obliged to do. But here's the catch, not enough nations are stepping forward to supply the initial 3,500 UN forces, much less the eventual 15,000 UN force. However, it is likely that, eventually, enough nations will supply troops. But many of those contingents may not be willing to fight Hizbollah. Israel says it will not completely withdraw from Lebanon until the UN force is in place.

The Israeli strategy appears to be to allow the UN deal to self-destruct. If the UN peacekeepers can disarm Hizbollah, fine. If not, Israeli ground troops will come back in and clear everyone out of southern Lebanon. At that point, it will be obvious that no one else is willing, or able, to deal with the outlaw "state-within-a-state" that Hizbollah represents. Hizbollah will still exist after being thrown out of southern Lebanon, and it will be up to the majority of Lebanese, and the rest of the Arab world, to deal with Hizbollah and radical Shias.

Hizbollah suffered a defeat. Their rocket attacks on Israel, while appearing spectacular (nearly 4,000 rockets launched), were unimpressive (39 Israelis killed, half of them Arabs). On the ground, Hizbollah lost nearly 600 of its own personnel, and billions of dollars worth of assets and weapons. Israeli losses were far less. (continue reading)

In this conflict, what Hezbollah has achieved is not so much a defeat of Israel as a demonstration that destruction in detail is not an inevitable outcome of challenging Israel. Hezbollah has showed that it is possible to fight to a point that Israel prefers a cease-fire and political settlement to a military victory followed by political accommodation. Israel might not have lost any particular battle, and a careful analysis of the outcome could prove its course to be reasonable. But the loss of the sense -- and historical reality -- of the inevitability of Israeli military victory is a far more profound defeat for Israel, as this clears the way for other regional powers to recalculate risks.

Hezbollah meticulously prepared for the war by analyzing Israeli strengths and weaknesses. Israel is casualty-averse by dint of demographics. It therefore resorts to force multipliers such as air power and armor, combined with excellent reconnaissance and tactical intelligence. Israel uses mobility to cut lines of supply and air power to shatter centralized command-and-control, leaving enemy forces disorganized, unbalanced and unsupplied.

Hezbollah sought to deny Israel its major advantages. The group created a network of fortifications in southern Lebanon that did not require its fighters to maneuver and expose themselves to Israeli air power. Hezbollah stocked those bunkers so fighters could conduct extended combat without the need for resupply. It devolved command to the unit level, making it impossible for a decapitation strike by Israel to affect the battlefield. It worked in such a way that, while the general idea of the defense architecture was understood by Israeli military intelligence, the kind of detailed intelligence used -- for example, in 1967 -- was denied the Israelis. Hezbollah acquired anti-tank weapons from Syria and Iran that prevented Israeli armor from operating without prior infantry clearing of anti-tank teams. And by doing that, the group forced the Israelis to accept casualties in excess of what could, apparently, be tolerated. In short, it forced the Israelis to fight Hezbollah's type of war, rather than the other way around.

Hezbollah then initiated war at the time and place of its choosing. There has been speculation that Israel planned for such a war. That might be the case, but it is self-evident that, if the Israelis wanted this war, they were not expecting it when it happened. The opening of the war was not marked by the capture of two Israeli soldiers. Rather, it was the persistent and intense bombardment of Israel with missiles -- including attacks against Israel's third-largest city, Haifa -- that compelled the Israelis to fight at a moment when they obviously were unprepared for war, and could not clearly decide either their war aims or strategy. In short, Hezbollah applied a model that was supposed to be Israel's forte: The group prepared meticulously for a war and launched it when the enemy was unprepared for it.
Go to https://www.stratfor.com/subscriptions/free-weekly-intelligence-reports.php to register. It's free.

Big Yellow -- I mean Pink -- Taxi...

GULF NEWS is reporting that Dubai will soon have a small fleet of "pink taxis" catering especially to women:

"The taxis will have pink roofs, pink seats and interiors, and other features to give the vehicles a feminine touch. We will roll out pink taxis with at least 50 cars in a few months," said Ammar Bin Tamim, Director of the Dubai Taxi Department at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
And here I was thinking pink cars only had their place amongst Pimps and Elvis impersonators...

15 August, 2006

Arabic Mac OS X being developed

Our Apple User Group had an opportunity to take a look at a pre-release developer version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger in Arabic. It's certainly an early version and the conversion work is far from complete but we have a quick preview with screenshots.

Mac OS X has since 10.2 Jaguar had "Arabic support" but now a complete Arabic version is being developed.

Userfreindly and Reuters

Microsoft allows anyone to create XBox

A new game development platform from Microsoft allows anyone to create games for its Xbox 360 console, the company said on Monday.
Typically, console games are designed by large studios that must pay high prices to buy development kits in order to write games for consoles. Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio Express is a new development kit, to be released in beta form in August, that will be available for free to anyone using a Windows XP PC. The kit is designed for game developer novices as well as studios, Microsoft said.

The Article


Bush 'helped Israeli attack on Lebanon'

I chose the most important parts of the article to see the full article click here

Dan Glaister in Los AngelesMonday August 14, 2006The Guardian

"The US government was closely involved in planning the Israeli campaign in Lebanon, even before Hizbullah seized two Israeli soldiers in a cross border raids in July. American and Israeli officials met in the spring, discussing plans on how to tackle Hizbullah, according to a report published yesterday."

"A successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign ... could ease Israel's security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American pre-emptive attack to destroy Iran's nuclear installations," sources told Hersh."

Hersh has a track record in breaking major stories. He was the first to write about the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and has written extensively about the build-up to the war in Iraq.

"An unnamed Pentagon consultant told Hersh: "It was our intention to have Hizbullah diminished and now we have someone else doing it.""

I'm just amazed the the worl knew this only by today! I thought I knew it from before... anyhow I can smell a civil war coming on in Lebanon and I really wish that lebanese ppl will be much smarter than that.

When will the wars stop?

The wars won't stop till we have a 'we-they' mentality. The hate won't stop as long as we are pointing fingers at each other.

It's a good day today - India's Independence Day - to remember the Indian non-violent struggle for independence. I admire Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence as a means to put one's point across.

A beautiful story that I want to share is shown in the movie 'Gandhi', from what I remember of it.

A man whose small child was killed in riots came to Gandhiji and said they killed my son, now I am going to kill them. Gandhiji said - I'd suggest that you find from them a child like yours whose parents have been killed in the riots. Bring him up like you would have, your child.

Now, that, I feel is the way we should be thinking today.

It all about choices all of us are making every day.

Some of us are going to be feeding our kids by selling wars, arms and ammunition, may God give such people better sense.

And then, some of us are going to earn our daily bread by going to the front lines - not to fight but to rescue the wounded and provide relief to the refugees. May God bless these efforts and protect them. My prayers are for the relief workers and the volunteers.

Some of us are going to go a step further, stand up and say - I don't just want to help the war-affected, I want to STOP the war, any war that is unjust, that murders innocent people. I wish there are lots of us who want to do that. But then, I am a dreamer like John Lennon was. And the answer my friend in blowin' in the wind as Bob Dylan sang, ages ago.

Coming back to where I started, wars will not stop till we stop pointing fingers at each other.

We need to reach across to people like us around the world, to establish personal relations, to have cultural exchanges, student exchanges, tours and visits - let the soldiers on either side see where their bombs have fallen and how many children have been blown to bits just thanks to a few triggers they clicked from their comfortable cockpit. It all looks like a video game from up there. On the ground, it's different - it's what the cables news never shows.

We need to put an end to this insanity now. We need to stop seeing each other as East, West, Muslim, Christian - we need to see each other as human beings, as sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, or if one is a Darwinist, then as products of a common gene pool.
Then, things will start to change.

To make this happen, we have our thoughts, we have our words, we have the internet. That's enough material to begin with.

Let's build bridges - of understanding, of sympathy, of forgiveness - with our words, with our interaction with people across the world.

God bless us all humans, and give us the wisdom to come through all of this together - as one race and nation. Amen.

copywriter, journalist, peacelover

[URGENT CREATIVE REQUIREMENTS - 17Aug06] 1) Photographers 2) Faces for Ad Campaign

Thought I would post this here, as this is UAE related and we do have photographers and professionals from the creative field field in this forum:

1) Wanted: Photographers

Gulf Photo Plus is often approached to recommend photographers for various assignments around the region.
GPP Professional doesn't have enough photographers registered to meet the demand.
If you are serious about doing photography work part-time or full-time register with Gulf Photo Plus Professional and you will be recommended to potential clients and have your portfolio professionally displayed.
GPP needs 30 people to register and pay for Gulf Photo Plus Professional by 17th of August to be able to advertise in "The Wedding Magazine" and be distributed with Ahlan, Masala, Viva, Emirates Home, Grazia &L'Officiel.

In September GPP Pro will be listed in Aquarius magazine and have a banner advert on Gulf Marketing Review website plus many more.....

Visit www.gulfphotoplus.com

2) Wanna be famous? Just say cheese!

We are looking for unusual & interesting faces between the age group of 15-30 years for a reputed telecom company ad campaign, launching a new web & mobile portal in the UAE. This service enables people to have access to varied rich content such as sports, news, music, movies, blogs, ring tones and much more.

If you have friends, colleagues, brothers, sisters, children, spouses (for all we care) who you think have the face to do the talking, then go ahead and send us their pictures before 17 Aug 06 along with their names & contact details.

Those short-listed would be called in for a photo shoot (as early as next week) and be given the chance to be famous. What’s more, there are attractive rewards up for grabs!

Hurry! Send out this mail to everybody or send pictures of people you know to ubweyak@gmail.com, today!

– The photo/picture can be of any quality & resolution.

Joke of the Day

Bush declares Israel's victory and Hezbollah's defeat.

More here.

blogger beta

blogger beta:

With the beta you can:

Categorize your posts with labels
Control who can read your blog
Change the appearance and content of your blog with your mouse instead of HTML

read more here

DIC blocking websites?

This posted on Expatwoman this morning . . . .

I posted a thread the other day about mywebcalls.com over DIC. I spent a day backwards and forwards with their support team and they finally confirmed that it had been blocked by DIC and they had received a number of complaints from other UAE customers the same day. They (DIC) say they don't block sites, but they still do............................ MSN voice is the other one we have talked about on this site before as well that also doesn't work anymore. SIGH ! Whatever will they block next?!!

A serious development if true. Can anyone on DIC confirm?

Do I fear dakrness?

No. But I do fear those who don't proof read their posts. Who IS our mysterious new pollster? :P

Dubai Ghetto?

I hadn't gotten any response on this post on my blog site, I am very curious to find out what anyone else knows about this housing...thought I'd try my luck in the community.


Blogging on Gulf News

Found this at Gulf News, a little publicity for the community...

14 August, 2006


"If our fighters deep in Lebanese territory are left without food our water, I believe they can break into local Lebanese stores to solve that problem," Brigadier General Avi Mizrahi, the head of the Israel Defense Forces logistics branch, said Monday.

link here (courtesy of mr.f)

(it has also been pointed out there is a "send feedback" feature on the site, 200 comments there already, why not add a few more?)

Whose War Was It Really?

Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, issue of 2006-08-21, posted 2006-08-14:

The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.

Some interesting revelations in a new article by Hersh, Watching Lebanon: Washington’s Interest in Israel’s War.

Which Travelers Have 'Hostile Intent'? Biometric Device May Have the Answer

"At airport security checkpoints in Knoxville, Tenn. this summer, scores of departing passengers were chosen to step behind a curtain, sit in a metallic oval booth and don headphones."

"The trial of the Israeli-developed system represents an effort by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to determine whether technology can spot passengers who have "hostile intent." In effect, the screening system attempts to mechanize Israel's vaunted airport-security process by using algorithms, artificial-intelligence software and polygraph principles"
for the full thing click here

Israel is paranoid! who'd hate them and have hostile intesntion toward them???
They are just such a nice ppl :)

One month later…

More than a month has passed since the hostilities in Lebanon began. Over 1000 civilian casualties, and more than 3000 injured and a million left homeless. Civilian convoys fleeing the action have been bombed. Shelters that housed children, women and men where turned into furnaces. Cluster bombs have been used, and its other ugly brother the napalm shower was also invited to the slaughter party.

A supposed cease fire of sorts is looming.. The thousands of pictures and videos taken in Lebanon by various news agencies from around the Globe, only rubles and bodies were found, not a single rocket launcher was found nor a weapon of any size or kind . If they were found we would have seen the preview clip, the clip itself and an interview with the heroes that executed the crusade repeated endlessly on Sky TV, FOX, and CNN.

After a month of bombing, Hizoballah is still holding ground effectively. Rockets are launched deep inside the occupied territory has persisted and even increased since the bombing. So what have they been targeting the past four weeks?

No need to get academic or ultra-analytical here, the answer is self evident in the pictures and videos we have al seen. They have been killing civilians in desperation and frustration at their inability to make any noticeable progress in completing their own set goals. They have resorted to the same tactics that hey have always employed in their desperate times. Kill and maim civilians, and have their ever ready flock of idiot parrots justify these killing by using their ever shrinking memory span, and their McChicken flavored logic.
These ignorant feathered imbeciles have the audacity to actually claim that we [Arabs and Muslims] have no love for our children, women and families. They subtly accuse us of being cowards that use our flesh and blood as shields. They claim that we can’t be possibly be fighting for freedom because we are barbarians and savages that could not grasp the concept of being free let alone freedom..

How dare they?

For we love our children and our families more than they will ever know. We love our freedom, for we have been free since time has been called time. Slaughter our children and families in Gaza, Qana and the West Bank and you will not find – to your surprise -flowers and roses and a panel of objective calm social sciences professors waiting to debate you and your racist kind.

Cowards will always cower behind walls of steel and lies when the tide turns and their cluster bombs and napalm showers are effective no more.


Related Links:

The Coming of Prometheus

Prometheus is happy to join the UAE Community Blog. He is a fairly new entrant to this amazing land, and like all new entrants, eager to connect to the zeitgeist. He refrains from posting to this community yet, save for this introductory. He may not have found his feet yet.

In the interim, he solicits your visits and comments to his blog, "The Moving (Middle) Finger Writes". May this herald the beginning of a good friendship.

13 August, 2006

Slappy goes Digital...

Never in a million years would I have guessed the identity of the man who has just entered the blogosphere. Click HERE to check him out. There's an english language button on the upper right toolbar.

"No Jews, Crusaders, or uncovered women, please..."

ADDENDUM: for whatever reason, the link doesn't appear to be working. Try plugging in http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/

Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land:

Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land:

"Media & the Israel-Palestine Conflict"

Don't know how many of you will have seen this; but it is worth viewing.

Peace Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Click here to be taken direct to the video.

Underground Dubai

New Feature - FYI

If anyone is interested, at Bss & Brn in Al Ain, I have started a new series of posts about the roundabouts of Al Ain. About once a day I am posting pictures of a different roundabout, specifically the art and landscaping at the center. I have gotten several positive responses about the posts, so I thought that I would make this announcement.

If you are not interested, sorry to interupt, please continue on with your day.

PS: This is your only warning - I'm not going to post one of these announcements everyday. ;)

How would you interpret this?

Perhaps this is bad form to post from my own blog to the community, but I'm asking a general question on discrimination large and small in Dubai and am interested in folks' takes on such things. So at the risk of offending e-sensibilities...

"So went to a swank Japanese place last nite. Packed with lots of the brown early in the evening, then many of the white start to show. The karaoke is going full tilt and all the brown are chiming in to the words of "Hotel California" (gross). I say to my friend, "why are your brown so white?" [It was mostly his friends and others.] He says to me, "why don't the white mix with the brown?" Fair enough question. [Though rude; never answer a question with a question.] I say to him, "let's find out." There was a group of white dancing right next to us, so I tapped this white girl on her shoulder and she pulled back and gave me this horrified and disgusted look. My friend said to me don’t do that, there's going to be a fight. I didn't push it... "(the rest of the story is here.)

Your vote

Oi! Which neanderthal thought the new online poll was a good idea? :P

The Jet Lag Blues...

I go back and forth between North America about twice a year and the jet lag is just incredible. Does anyone out there have a suggestion about overcoming jet lag as efficiently as possible?


Home remedies?

Cocktail Recipes?

12 August, 2006

Quit Spamming Me!

I´m sure I am not the only UAE blogger that is being comprehensively spammed by Anonymous with plugs for his or her fairly average site about Dubai.

Dear Anonymous, it is extremely bad etiquette to spam blogs with plugs for your site. I object to being used as your mouthpiece. If you had the guts to name yourself things might be different. Please desist immediately.


Olmert orders expansion of ground offensive

The Other Side of the Coin - Sky News

Don't know how many of you had a chance to see this.

Cease Fire?

tomscud at Aqoul has a post up that details the UN draft resolution that could end the current conflict. Apparently the two governments seem willing to agree to this. I certainly am praying that this will end the bloodshed.

Not news worthy

I guess the deaths of Iraqis and Palestinians should not be news worthy anymore, now that that a terror plot at the airports have been uncovered. It seems their lifes have no value anymore.

11 August, 2006

A Logical Quote

Heres something thats more relevant than the 'photoshopped crime':

Israel has failed to understand that it cannot expel a people and call itself the victim; that it cannot conquer its neighbours and treat any and all resistance to that conquest as terrorism; that it cannot arm itself as a regional superpower and annihilate the institutional fabric of two peoples without incurring the fury of their children in the years that follow.
Karma Nablusi, The Guardian. Read it here.

US Mideast Policy and the Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in the London Reviw of Books, Vol. 28, No. 6, 23 March 2006:

“The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread ‘democracy’ throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides.
Instead, the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’”

There has been much debate on this forum recently about US Middle East foreign policy and the extent to which it's influenced by Jewish and pro-Israel lobby groups. A study by professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (quoted above), released earlier this year, is one of the most informative and interesting on the subject A short version of the paper was published in the LRB in March; you can also read the full version if you wish, though I should say even the short one is quite long!

Predictably the study generated its share of controversy and discussion and the reactions to the authors ranged from demonizing them as anti-Semitic to applauding them as independent-minded researchers. The following links include a variety of such reactions:

Alan Dershowitz

The Huffington Post

Out of the Crooked Timber

David Aaronovitch (in Timesonline)

Stephen J. Sniegoski (in thornwalker)

10 August, 2006

UK Terror Plot, Tighter Security Measures

Just a heads up for anyone traveling over the next few days - Flights to and from the US and Britain will not allow any liquids in carry on luggage. This includes shampoo, lotions, toothpaste, and all beverages. Exceptions are made for baby formula and juice for young children. In the UK, many flights are cancelled/delayed and will not allow any carry on luggage. This also affects security at domestic airports outside the UK and the US, so check before you fly!

There are headlines and details at most major newspapers. Nothing at Gulf News yet.

Monkey sees..Monkey does

Silly Bahraini Girl blog compares Bahrain and the UAE.

Read here.

Proper Reaction?

Over the last month I have seen a lot of criticism of Israel's attack on Lebanon as an "overreaction" or "disproportionate". But I haven't seen anyone except Emirati blog about what a proper response to the kidnapping of their soldiers would have been. I was wondering if anyone else here had offered such an opinion and I missed it.

Please note that I am not criticizing by asking this. Everyone certainly has the right to blog about whatever they want.

Editorial: Disappearing Egyptians - Examiner.com

Disappearing Egyptians

If you are finding it hard to get a visa to the US, do you blame these 11 Egyptians "students" or do you blame George Bush?

If you are finding it hard to fly through Heathrow, do you blame these "mainly young, British-born Asian men" or do you blame Tony Blair?

Real Dubai

Got this link forwarded to me...seems like an interesting website:

'The Real Dubai" - the most complete and passionate picture guide of Dubai ever created by Jessica Franz & Stefan Zwanzger


etisalat: to "brighten up your day"

I found this amusing album of etisalat logos in a comment on a 7days.ae article posted by someone called 'wry dubai'... Could that be one of our Ws ? :P

Stop the Bloodshed: Ceasefire Now!

Got the following note from my friend in Denmark.

Dear friends, Right now a tragedy is unfolding in the Middle East. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed or wounded in the bombings in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel and the death toll is rising every day. If the US, Syria or Iran get involved, there is a chance of a catastrophic larger war. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called for an immediate ceasefire and the deployment of international troops to the Israel-Lebanon border, and been strongly supported by almost every world leader. This is the best proposal yet to stop the violence, but the US, the UK, and Israel have refused to accept it. I have just signed a petition calling on US President Bush, UK Prime Minister Blair, and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert to support Kofi Annan's proposal. If millions of people join this call, and we advertise our views in newspapers in the US, UK, and Israel, we can help pressure these leaders to stop the fighting. Go to the link below and sign up now!


If you support a ceasefire, go sign up and spread the word.

The site says that "the campaign is a project of Res Publica, a global civic advocacy group and a registered tax-exempt charitable organization based in New York City".

Googling (news) "ceasefirecampaign.org" gives the following results:

Totally YouTubular

“This is with regard to letters from readers which talk about the blocking of the www.youtube.com website. The website was blocked by Etisalat on instruction from the authorities because of the presence of adult content on the website, which is clearly against the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the UAE. The site is prone to content abuse and there are no clear boundaries that define adult content from regular content.

Etisalat, in its role as the implementer of the proxy filtering process on behalf of the authorities, does not indiscriminately block websites. There are numerous websites in terms of entertainment content which are not blocked by the proxy filter because they are properly categorised and therefore can control abuse.

Abu Dhabi” – from here

You can read my take on this over here.

True? False? Irrelevant?

"Once again, in the Arab world, the past buries the future."
-- Thomas Friedman in yesterday's NEW YORK TIMES.

(working link added 8:28 AM)

09 August, 2006

Blogging Community effects the war coverage

BBC's website has an article on the effect of bloggers relating to the images and views presented by the media about the ongoing conflict in the Lebanon. Both as a news source as well as opinionated reporters, the bloggers of both sides of the conflict have vested interest in promoting their side of the story. Links to the blogs themselves can be found in the article or here.

UrbaNite Bike: Nite 1 'Curfew in Dubai?'

We got an awesome work out, took some good pictures and had a great time up until the point where we got pulled over. Yes I said "pulled over", while riding a bike in our neighborhood. Why we got pulled over is still a bit of a blur to me since the cops gave us about ten different reasons...the most amusing to me being that "there is a curfew in Dubai"... Read the whole story here.

UAE girls' Mentality

Even though I have many marvelous girl friends, I do have a probelm with the typical mentality of the girls in this country... what is the problem?They are real shallow with no real intrests... like once I was talking to couple of them about the clear impact of globalization in Dubai more than AD etc... after I was done like after 15 mins of talking one of them asked"mmmm, right I'm with you but what is globalization?" the other said:"yeah true what is globalization", and even though I felt like stabbing myself I said: "well globalization is the main reason we have famous brand names available.." one of them interrupted :"Like Dior" the other started talking about her Dior collection... actually this friend is branded she has a brand sticker on her forehead with D on it (lolz), whatever I hate this types of conversations so I was about to scream in here face, shut up you stupid... but luckly she was smart enough to read in my face the phrase "none inter'ssant"I don't put all the blame on those gals but on the community in general, for its consuming culural habbits ... no much awarness with the value of other stuff... ppl are branding each other and classifying each other in respect of each others cars, mbs and clothes! so everybody's main interest is heading there, yet gals do it in a more crazy way..i know glas who have this as there main interest in life in addition to romance and gossiping... these are their intrests, chat subjects and thier life stories... My friends think Im super Smart not coz Iam, its coz i read the newspaper!! they believe anything I say and embrace it as simple as it is... This is why I dont like hanging out much with most of them.

More on US and Mideast

The discussion re: US foreign policy and public opinion on Mideast violence has been quite active in the community. I thought this might be of interest: reps from Qatar and UAE were in NY to protest the UN declaration on behalf of Lebanon.

08 August, 2006

Important request

Can I please make a small request: could people stop leaving comments on here detailing methods to access otherwise "unavailable" sites?

If UAE community gets a reputation for publishing information that authorities deem to be unlawful, they will block this site.

We are all very sad that YouTube is blocked and we know that some people are still able to access it. For now the rest of us will have to make do with Google video and Yahoo video (until such a time as those are also blocked, which sadly seems inevitable).

Thank you.

Give me more money

So here's the latest crazyness of the Dubai Landlord scene. Some of my friends have recently moved within the same building. Not a big deal one would think.
Well....they all had to pay the real estate company a commission of 5% AGAIN, although they had already paid that when they moved in the building the first time.
Of course, taking advantage of the occasion, they also raised the rent more than the 15%. But here's the nice little deal of the real estate agent: "I'll lower the rent for you a few thousand Dirhams but you have to pay me the difference". (I save you 5000 AED so you owe me half of that). Nice little pocket money.
Do that a couple of hundred times in a year and bedome a Millionaire by ripping of people.

Khaleej Times - Newspaper of Record

Khaleej Times is included in the list of newspapers in wikipedia considered as newspapers of record, and currently is the sole newspaper listed under UAE. Checking the history of the article, it was added on the list last 27th of April this year [09:20, 27 April 2006 Sohailstyle (Talk contribs) (Alphabetized the English newspapers by country, Added Egypt, Israel, Pakistan & UAE and an Urdu section)].

According to wikipedia, a newspaper of record is:

A colloquial term that generally refers to a newspaper that meets one (or both) of two criteria:
1. high standards of
journalism, the articles of which establish a definitive record of current events, for use by future scholars, and/or
2. compliance with the legal requirements necessary to be recognized by the government as permitted to carry public or legal notices and have the notices be recognized as being made public by publication in that newspaper. Newspapers qualifying under this provision are sometimes also referred to as a newspaper of public record.

In its more common meaning, a newspaper of record is generally any public newspaper that has a large circulation and whose editorial and news-gathering functions are considered professional and typically unbiased.