30 June, 2007

On the eve of SALIK - a historic moment for the UAE

Many respected bloggers have written posts on Salik, and many have on the Community blog too.

We all have our opinions on it, and the advantages/disadvantages are known.

On this historic evening, the day before it starts, please share your view as in YES or NO in the comments (and any additional comments if you will).

From tomorrow, looking back in history, we'll able to see whether the future will have changed our opinions or not.

Vote away! (Please do so, this will be an interesting exercise)

Nice Snap


29 June, 2007

Sobering Thought

I am housesitting for a friend in Sharjah. Yesterday, I was leaving Saharah Mall in a taxi,
there was a huge commotion on the main road next to the mall. A man made the terrible choice of trying to cross the road and was killed. The ambulance was parked in the fast lane, his body was laying there on the road, covered with a crumpled blue blanket. Only his feet were showing.

The man who killed him, an Emirati, had such a look of anguish on his face, it was heartbreaking. The dead man had made a choice which set off a chain of events, ending in his demise. The lives of the man who killed him and maybe others who saw this happen or are left behind have been forever changed.

This man died tragically, alone and away from home. It would be comforting to think that somewhere in India or Pakistan, there is a family who cares about this man, but maybe that is wishful thinking. Perhaps he was someone's father, for certain at some point in time, he was someone's son. Most likely he was here to try and earn money to help his family have a better life.

So today when you bitch about the weather, the traffic, your job, Salik, why things should be different (I know I do!) consider this. If you are reading this post, today you are alive.

Today you have choices. Choose wisely.

At the end, we all become nothing more than a body beneath a crumpled blanket. The difference is the choices we make.

Water flood

Does anyone have an idea on what's happening on the piece of land between Ibn Battuta mall and the Emarat gas station?

Apparently he past two days it was flooded with water and I've seen cars almost half under water.

I'm assuming they've either dug so deep that they punctured a water pipe or they've dug groundwater. To my knowledge, there's still no news of what really happened.

Anyways, this is my first post here. Glad to be part of this :-)

28 June, 2007

Salik. And so the endgame begins...

I feel really sorry for the people in the Salik call centre. Given a job to do, and not the information or resources to do it. Took me 15 minutes listening to sanctimonious claptrap before a real live person picked up the call.

Haven't been able to find a Salik tag yet, so I called them to ask. "Selected Emarat and Epco stations". Yes, but which ones? All that I have visited so far have been cleaned out. And I imagine tomorrow is going to be worse. "Go to Emirates Bank or Dubai Islamic Bank instead"

So, Emirates Bank then? Tomorrow is Friday... ..will the RTA arrange for them to open specially? Yeah, right.

So, what happens if I can't get a tag before Sunday? "You won't be fined for two days, but you must get a tag"

OK, but where? "Selected Emarat or Eppco stations" - been there, done that, all gone.

So can you tell me which stations still have tags? "No, I don't have any information about that"

And if I can't find one? "You will be fined"

How can I appeal? "I don't have any information about that"

And if I have to drive on Shk Zayed road "you must have a tag"

So please tell me where there will be tags available tomorrow "I don't have any information about that"

I really do feel sorry for N*****a, she was only doing her job. But I still don't have a tag. I wonder how many others there are in the same boat?

Guess we'll find out on Sunday...


Please take sometime and read this because I wrote it out of care and deep sense of responsibility to share those ideas.

Death is the fact of all the facts and the end of all endings but we keep forgetting about it. Forgetting about death is good IF that kind of ignorance is making our lives livable and meaningful, walaken (but) it’s just not the case.

Our ignorance of death and the fact that our time is limited is making our lives DEAD, because we keep postponing everything including living. How many people should die before you decide to improve your relationships with others and yourself? Do you need to be diagnosed with a malicious incurable disease to reassess your life or to make a list of things you always wanted to do and people you wanted to say sorry/I love you to!

Alright I’m giving you that disease today; I’m sorry to tell you that all of you have an incurable disease that will take your lives away, that disease is DEATH! And I can’t predict when or how it is going to happen it, I just want to tell you:

Don’t be already dead when death knocks the doors of your heart. I’m begging you to exist before you exist no more. Smile more, unload your mind and heart of negative thoughts/emotions more often, help others more, say thank you/sorry more, be fun to be around, pray/mediate more, go out more, express yourself more, do some more charity, do more of the stuff you enjoy, get to know your neighbors better, visit people you don’t know in hospitals/orphans/elderly care centers and get closer to your family and beloved ones, you never know when you are leaving or when one of them leaves. Imagine when one of them depart this life for good and you wishing if time goes back so you can make it up to them, spend more time with them, expressing your love to them… Time waits for no one…

I know this post is going to be interpreted as naïve/kiddish/immature post, but for those who argued with me on other posts you know that I don’t care what others think and that I will express myself whenever I want, I’m just proud of my way of thinking and I don’t get embarrassed when I screw up, do you know why? Because like you I’m going to die and I’m not dieing holding in my thoughts, I will express myself and do what I think is right and if I failed at some point I will regret it and laugh about it later. People, live!

Just another trivial bost about berfume...

Anyone know about the discontinued perfume "FLORE"?

It was one of Carolina Herrera's signatures, and one of my all-time faves of faves.

Where has it gone? Can I find it again? If so, how can I buy it?

Anyone know anything about it?

Would very much appreciate any responses as to its whereabouts...

27 June, 2007

Conservative Dress Could Cause Vitamin Deficiency in Women

So says a study by UAE University faculty.
In certain Middle Eastern and other countries where conservative dress curtails exposure to sunlight, high levels of vitamin D supplementation may be needed to raise serum levels sufficiently in women, investigators report.

"When sunlight exposure -- the main source for vitamin D in humans -- is limited," Dr. Hussein F. Saadi told Reuters Health, "much higher dietary intake of vitamin D is needed than currently recommended," especially for women who are breast-feeding.
Out of 178 women studied, only two did not have vitamin D deficiency. Only 30 percent were able to get their vitamin D levels to proper level after three months of high-levels of supplements.

Bebsi at the Wimby. (yes, trivial post).

One thing that is loved by all is the confusion here in the Arab world over the letters P and B.
You know you are home when you hear someone asking for a beebsi.

Now the Gulf News have decided to keep the faith. Read more here.

My love for Salik

OK.. Almost every single blogger in the UAE has given their words of wisdom on why they hate Salik.. After a lot of thought, and after reading what others have said I have come up with something slightly different. However, even photographic evidence from just 2005 shows how lovely and empty our roads were back then.

This post is all about what I love about Salik, and the things I would do to make it better.(etc.)

...To continue the post please click here...

26 June, 2007

My new blog

Since the commenting on my "!" post was disabled I recommend that those who want to carry on that dicscussion come to this page ...
samuraisam there is something special for u there ;)

25 June, 2007

A Small Refresher...

Just a small refresher for the blog...
Something for the summer to keep our minds off Salik.

For more of my photography please visit my Blog...


The Palestinian scene is startlingly bloody; we are 100% a familiar scene in news, to the extent people aren’t moved by those scenes no more! But that’s apparently NO NEWS.

I started to believe that the situation in IRAQ is way worse than it is in Palestine, you know because of the civil war and everything. WALAKEN (but) Palestinians fall in the trap of the “International community” when that community decided to play democracy or no democracy with Hamas, why do you think they did so? Uh yeah you are getting my point, it was already planned, no conspiracy theory, the kiddo can get it. Then : “FUCK the International Community” said Hamas and because they were the public choice they got over Gaza and the right thing happened BUT in the wrong way which was the only way, thanks to the Honored Palestinian president who proved to me that “7ameeha 7arameeha” = “the protector the robber ” especially that he is resting in the West Bank Receiving the aids of the “International Community”, while the real honored men of that country are trapped in Gaza and sieged by the so good Israel that helps “controlling” the situation in Gaza! Impressive if I was a Zionist I was going to be very proud and happy watching my enemy’s suicide. I didn’t create the civil war in Palestine, I don’t like it, but since it’s there I’m on the side of Hamas.

1 more thing to say:

Hmmmm I wonder why the “International Community” isn’t that gritty with Iran? This Question is only for the smart people, the answer is obvious but I won’t throw it in here, because I know many people aren’t going to agree with what I already said about the Palestine issue!

24 June, 2007

Storms in Karachi kill 200 people

BBC Sunday, 24 June 2007:
"Torrential rains and gale-force winds have led to the deaths of more than 200 people in the coastal city of Karachi in southern Pakistan.Some 43 people were killed by the storms on Saturday afternoon, while the other bodies were recovered on Sunday. Dozens more were injured as heavy winds uprooted trees and brought down power lines, electrocuting people. Karachi residents were already suffering from power cuts which have led to riots in the city."

Let's help our brothers and sisters in there.

imbeSalik - from bad to farce...

Like a good citizen, yesterday I went to buy a Salik tag.

And failed.

Unbelievably, the petrol station had run out of forms. No-one knew if or when replacements would arrive. Called the hotline, got told to try a different garage, or an Emirates bank (Not many of them open on a Friday...) Anyone else had similar difficulties?

I did eventually get one of the last three forms in another petrol station, about mid-day. So now what? Clearly, the system can't cope - people who've filled in the paperwork have yet to receive their confirmation SMS. Others can't register at all. And still the juggernaut rumbles inexorably towards July 1st.

That is going to be fun day.


SALIK is stupid.

And not because of the cost or the imaginary congestion that some of its nay-sayers claim it will create.

It's stupid because the people who designed it would get an F in just about any urban planning or public administration class on the planet. In my eyes, its most glaring deficiencies are:
1) There is no mechanism for people without a SALIK sticker to pay the toll. This is contrary to just about every toll system ever devised. Sure, it makes sense to charge a higher toll to people without a sticker who slow things down by driving through an actual physical gate, but it's completely unacceptable for the government to make it mandatory to purchase a sticker. What if I only drive through once every six weeks? Why should I pay for some stupid sticker for Dubai tolls if I live in Sharjah? And what happens if Abu Dhabi or Sharjah decide to have toll roads? Will my SALIK sticker work for the whole country or will I be covering my windshield with extraneous stickers for toll roads I rarely use?

2) Isn't it ill advised to have a toll system that charges two ways? I've spent some time on the island of Manhattan, which has an absolutely HUGE amount of high density daily commuter traffic. Why is it that the government there charges people to get into New York City, but not to leave it? It's a simple answer really -- they don't want traffic congestion to build up inside the city.

3) Finally, it's a question of accountability. There's been a lot of talk about the 600 million AED that will be raised annually by this toll and how it will help the community. How exactly is that going to occur? Who determines what gets spent on what? What checks and balances are in place to insure that this money will be spent responsibly?

In a representative democracy the government would be accountable to the people with regard to the monies it raises from taxes and tariffs. If enough people felt the government has failed them in this respect, then the government is voted out of office. What happens if this money (which comes out of our pockets) is spent recklessly? What redress under the law can people who live in an absolute monarchy seek?
I don't have a problem with toll roads. I think it's a smart idea for the city to generate revenue with which to maintain its roads. I think it would be an even better idea to ELECT a civilian commission that would have OVERSIGHT on how that money was spent.

23 June, 2007

Jebel Ali Fire

Somewhere between ca. 12.30 and 1.15pm today, there was a fire in the Jebel Ali area (behind Jebel Ali Village) that lasted no more than about 10 minutes, the smoke quite heavy.

Anybody have any news/details on this?

Hooters coming to Dubai!

"US restaurant chain Hooters, renowned for its scantily clad waitresses, could open its first of three outlets in Dubai by the end of the year, the company’s local partner said on Tuesday."

What's next? Strip bars?

Read it here

someone in Dubai has good taste

Barney's is now owned by the Dubai government.

New Troll on the Block

I don't know who this gentlemen is, but he left a comment on my blog and I thought I should share it with you:

SEYED ALI SEYED MAHMOUD has left a new comment on your post "Salik":
i hereby write to reiterate my support for the RTA and its glorious leadership.
we need tolls to weed out unproductive white trash scum from our streets.
go back to london and tread on your dog shit.
there's a third salik coming up by the trade centre.
leave you suckers and GET SOME!

Nice eh?

21 June, 2007

Chillout: First Middle East Ice Cafe Opens In Dubai Today

Dubai Ice Cafe

Chillout ice cafe opens today in Dubai's Times Square Mall. It's the first ice restaurant in the Middle East. Almost everything at the restaurant is sculpted out of ice. Diners will sit on ice benches or chairs, eat at ice tables, out of ice plates, drink from ice glasses served from a bar made of ice.

A Dh9 million (US $2.45 million) investment, the restaurant is Dubai-based Sharaf Group’s enterprise while technical inputs came from Canada-based Iceculture Inc, who are credited with building ice lounges around the world, informed a spokesperson for Sharaf Group.

Read More ...

Salik, but at what cost?

Just been doing some back-of-envelope calculations based on my own journey to work.

Via Shk Zayed Road, through Interchange 4 and over Garhoud Bridge - Salik x2, additional 8 dirhmas each way

Via Al Khail Road and Business Bay Bridge - 9kms further each way, x1 litre of petrol, add 6.25 Dhs each way

My journey time is almost exactly the same, but the extra wear and tear, service costs and depreciation on my car will certainly be more than the 1.75 Dhs difference. And that takes no account of the extra pollution produced.

Reality - it's probably cheaper for me to use the Toll road. Though doing so sticks in my craw, and is sadly another entry on the distaff side of my love/hate relationship with this city. Why, oh why, do these idiots get given public office?

Congratulations, RTA. You're Dhs 600 million better off. Your customers, the driving public, are frustrated, inconvenienced and out of pocket, pollution and congestion both increase, countless man-hours are lost in pointless and unnecessary travel, and the reputation of Dubai is irreperably damaged in the eyes of the world.

imbeSalik, indeed.

Recovering Iraqi Orphans Face Bleak Future

"(CBS) It was a welcome Capt. Ben Morales could not resist. He walked into the room and a little boy reached out his arms to him, CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan reports. Morales was back to check on the 24 boys he and his soldiers rescued just more than a week ago. "

The ironic part is:

" As CBS News was filming new scenes on Wednesday, the minister was telling the nation these boys are perfectly healthy — and that Logan's report was a lie. "

click here for the full article and video.

I just can't understand how a human is able to do this to another human, espcially kids! The world is going NUTS! I'm so sad and angry.

20 June, 2007

Salik Petition

Here's another Salik thing


Which RSS Reader do you use ?

How many of you actually use an RSS reader ? Myself, I use Google Reader.

Create polls and vote for free. dPolls.com

19 June, 2007


This is from my car display this afternoon...I wonder if the laborers on the gazillion construction sites were working in this heat!!

Isn’t there some sort of law stating that outdoor workers get the day off if the temperature hits above fifty degrees or something like that???

There's gotta be SOME law? It's impossible to work like that! And with the humidity too...!!!

Comment enabling

For some reason, nearly every new post here has comments disabled. We think this is a Blogger bug. Can people please double check their posts are commentable after posting, and if not, Edit Post, go to Post Options in the bottom left, and click the arrow and select "Allow"?

I just noticed that even for this post, the comments were off by default (though I have fixed it manually).

Post Removals

Hi. This is a question for the moderators, and I hope to get some clarification on what counts as a worthy post for this forum, and I think that this would be useful for others to know as well, so I hope you will post it. For the past few months I have been reading the UAE community blog through Google Reader, which means that for the first time, I can see posts that have gone up for a short time and then been removed. Usually, I understand why. It is an obvious spam post, or directly offensive to a group of people, etc. But sometimes there are legitimate interesting posts and I click on the header and they no longer exist. I am assuming that this is because they were removed. This morning, I saw a post that looked perfectly relevant and interesting. Someone had posted a link to several articles on the UAE by South Asians on a South Asian website. But, this post is no longer in existence. I'm wondering why. Can you tell me, please?

Salik as mud...

Recent changes have meant that I will probably have to cross Garhoud Bridge and through Interchange 4 at least twice each day, so I have to take Salik seriously. So I went to the website to download the registration form...

What a joke. Only download is an irrelevant set of pictures showing how to fix the tag to your windscreen.

No forms.

No maps of alternative routes.

No way to find out whether I will pay Dhs 1x4, Dhs 2x4 or Dhs 4x4 for my journey.

And worse, in today's Gulf News, the RTA spokesman repeating the assertion that Salik "will encourage car pooling", which last I heard Dubai Police still say is illegal...

Then they go on to lecture us road users like petulant children, saying we know nothing about traffic management. Maybe true. But we sure do know a great deal about the RTA's corresponding ineptitude, with world class examples of total traffic mismanagement a daily expeience on Dubai's otherwise excellent roads.

C'mon RTA, find a way to save face, and postpone the implementation of this idiotic scheme. And prove that it is genuinely intended to alter traffic flow by charging only during peak hours. Otherwise, we can only regard it as a clumsy and greedy exercise in highway robbery.

July 1st, huh? Roll on chaos...

Not so Salik

This Salik thing is getting highly irritating. The RTA guys keep changing their words. Now they say that Salik is on a trial basis and Al Tayer said currently there are no plans to increase the number of toll gates.

I also find this unfair:

Al Tayer said that tourists who visit Dubai even for one day and plan to use the road with the Salik toll gates will have pay Dh100 for the tag.

He said if a car breaks down and is moved by a tow truck through the gates, fees will be charged for both vehicles.

I got my Salik card today. Just a note for those who are still to buy theirs. If the car is under your name, you just need a copy of the Car Registration Card (both sides). If the car is under a company name, you also need a copy of the Trade License alongwith the Car Registration Card. You fill out a form with basic details (Name, Date of Birth, Mobile numbers etc). One Salik account can be used for ten cars, so you don't need many individual account numbers if the car owner is the same.

I also got it clarified that Salik sticker cannot be stuck on car tints. So what happens to those super-tinted cars?

PS: For some reason, I can't use the hyperlink option, so I'm just going to paste the direct link. Here is the source: http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Traffic_and_Transport/10133426.html

18 June, 2007

QE2 sold to Dubai

News media is reporting that the liner the QE2 has been bought 'by Dubai' for £50 million and will be a luxury floating hotel. The buyer is Istithma and the liner will be moored off Palm Jumeirah, arriving in 2009.

We had one on the Creek back in the late seventies, so nothing much changes...

CNN report.

I have a photo of the original floating hotel here.

17 June, 2007

Defence Roundabout in 2001

Long-time residents of Dubai often post fascinating photos of a couple of decades ago, and we all express amazement about how much the city has just sprung out of the sand in a few years.

Now, amazingly, it's my turn:

I found this photo while going through some old back up CDs. The date on it is 2002, but I believe - due to "HP" in the title - that it may date from summer 2001, as that is the only time I had an HP camera. I am not even 100% certain I took this photo, I don't remember taking it, but it was in a folder with some others of former colleagues that I definitely did take. You can click the photo to see a much bigger version.

I am not sure exactly where I took this from, but it looks like the Dusit. If I get a chance, I plan to take a comparison shot some time. Or if anyone else lives in the area and can take one, please do.

Smoking in Dubai

Can any of you clever chaps enlighted me as to the current position with smoking indoors in Dubai. I seem to recall that some sort of ban was supposed to be coming into effect?

Thanks, HMHB

15 June, 2007

Fire in the Marina

Around 7:00 PM today, I saw big clouds of smoke bellowing out of the general area of Dubai Marina.

Has there been another fire?! Does anybody have any information on it? There was nothing on the City 7 Dubai News, nothing on Google News as of now. Did anybody else see it?

Hope all is well..

Gonu Relief Blog

Dear all,

Please pay a visit to this new blog for information on how to donate, and participate in relief work, etc with regards to the recent Gonu storms.


Get my banner code or create your own banner

13 June, 2007

White Sun of the Desert among top 50 business blogs

That's UAE community member Tim Newman. According to The Times. Congratulations, Tim.

Here's what The Times has to say:
#25. White Sun of the Desert
By Tim Newman, “a British expat living on Sakhalin Island, married to a Russian, and doing what I’m told”. Sample post: “Yesterday I sat from 8am until 4pm in a decrepit old Soviet classroom attending what was described as a training course in industrial safety. In actual fact, this training course was no more than a Russian bloke reading out Russian Federation Law No 116 line by line, in Russian, and then pausing whilst it was badly translated into English. The training course cost $375 per person.” Read the blog

Burj Dubai Sweepstake

Just for fun, I am running a little competition to guess the height of the Burj Dubai.

Go here if you would like to take part. The winner - which I guess we won't know for another year or so - gets a US$100 Amazon voucher. It's free to enter so it's not gambling or anything.

Good luck! Remember it's first come first served - you can't pick the same number that anyone else already has.

Africa Day in Abu Dhabi

On June 18, starting at 7:30pm, the African Embassies in the UAE come together for Africa Day, celebrating all things Africa. More information at www.crdsom.org.

11 June, 2007

A Gonu Blog

Came across this blog on Gonu, http://sadaboutgonu.blogspot.com/

The blogger has put in a great deal of effort - a lot of pictures and youtube videos.
Some of the pics are posted in Flickr, which are obviously blocked...

Abu Dhabi royals and Tanzanian tribe

SamuraiSam recently posted on this here at UAE community blog. Sunday's Washington Post also covered the story on page A01:
50,000 Years of Resilience May Not Save Tribe
Tanzania Safari Deal Lets Arab Royalty Use Lands

YAEDA VALLEY, Tanzania -- One of the last remaining tribes of hunter-gatherers on the planet is on the verge of vanishing into the modern world.

The transition has been long underway, but members of the dwindling Hadzabe tribe, who now number fewer than 1,500, say it is being unduly hastened by a United Arab Emirates royal family, which plans to use the tribal hunting land as a personal safari playground.

The deal between the Tanzanian government and Tanzania UAE Safaris Ltd. leases nearly 2,500 square miles of this sprawling, yellow-green valley near the storied Serengeti Plain to members of the royal family, who chose it after a helicopter tour.

A Tanzanian official said that a nearby hunting area the family shared with relatives had become "too crowded" and that a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family "indicated that it was inconvenient" and requested his own parcel.

The official, Philip Marmo, called the Hadzabe "backwards" and said they would benefit from the school, roads and other projects the UAE company has offered as compensation.

But dozens of Hadzabe interviewed deep in the scruffy hills surrounding this valley said that while they are ready to modernize, slowly, they were not consulted on the deal, which is a direct threat to their way of life because it involves hunting.
Although the Hadzabe characteristically avoid confrontation by fleeing into the bush, a group of men recently greeted a passing convoy of Land Cruisers with bows drawn. "I don't even know what an Arab looks like," said Kaunda, who was among them. "Maybe he's black. Maybe he's another color. I don't know. But we are ready to die."
Even if the tribe came up with a solution, it remains unclear whether the Tanzanian government or the UAE company would be willing to compromise. Marmo said the Hadzabe -- who until recently had no use for money, organized religion or standard time -- are "the one backwards group in the country."
Messages left with the UAE Embassy in Washington and a company representative were not returned.

Slow Down! My Speed is Monitored

I found this interesting on the streets of Abu Dhabi last Tuesday, any clue how?

10 June, 2007

Storm aftermath: coral reefs are severely damaged

Yesterday we took a trip along the east coast: Dibba, Khorfakkan, Fujairah. They've been hit by a storm pretty badly. Not as bad as our neighbours, but still, very seriously. It is not about people or buildings, it is a small thing that very few people notice these days: corals.

90% of coral reefs in most popular dive sites are gone. Torn off, thrashed and washed ashore by the storm. A bottom at Martini Rock, Snoopy island, Dibba Rock, small reef between Dibba and Zighi beach all bare rocks now. Most of the beaches covered by thick layer of broken coral.

Dive instructor Margaret at Maku dive centre says there are very few corals left. Lobsters, Moray eels and other fish who usually used to fined a refuge in coral branches are swimming frantically across the waters in search of vacant holes. Even sharks seem sort of disoriented by a total change in a bottom profile.

I do not like to use big words in such circumstances, but this is a serious ecologic catastrophe for the area.

09 June, 2007

Myspace and Youtube...blocked again?

Has anyone else been having problems accessing Myspace and Youtube over the weekend? No page of doom but continuous 'time outs'. Last week there were no images on Myspace and today there's nothing at all!

08 June, 2007

Not without my sheikh

A 51 year old Swiss lady has published her memoirs about her longterm love affair with a Dubai Sheikh. The title of her book translates to: "the forbidden wife"
She claims to have met the sheikh in England in 1979 when she was 23 and he was 17 (!?!).
In the book she calles the sheikh "Khalid" - although that is not his real name. Reportedly the sheikh is aware of the book and has congratulated her on the effort.
Well, I don't really buy that! However, if you read German you can find more details on my Blog as well as a link to order the book and an article about the book launch (with images of her) in pdf format. Enjoy!!!

Emirates royals threaten Tanzanian indigenous people

"afrol News, 7 June - The Hadzabe indigenous people of northern Tanzania are facing "a direct and serious threat to the survival" as their hunting and gathering grounds are falling prey to powerful safari organisers. Royals from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and their UAE Safari Ltd count on Tanzanian government support to drive out the Hadzabe, also called "Bushmen".

Last year, the Lower Yaida area in Mbulu District- around 200 kilometres west of Arusha - was ceded to an Abu Dhabi-based hunting company known as Tanzania UAE Safari Ltd. A second application was submitted to attain the remaining part of the Lake Eyasi basin in Karatu District. In end-May this year, the Karatu District Council rejected the deal, citing concerns over the well-being of the Hadzabe people. However, a new round of negotiating appears to have stronger government support.

The application by UAE Safari for a hunting concession encompasses an area of 3,975 square kilometres, including Lake Eyasi. UAE Safari is allegedly acting on behalf of UAE Prince Hamdan bin Zayed and Mohamed bin Zayed, who is chief of staff of UAE Air force. Both Prince Hamdan and Mr bin Zayed have visited the Yaida Valley.


On 21 May, Tanzanian police arrested Richard Baalow, a Hadzabe spokesperson and activist who has been trying to help the community express their opposition to the sale and dialogue with local government. Tanzanian human rights organisations see this as a form of intimidation to ensure compliance with the decision to contract with the UAE safari company.

While the Hadzabe still fight for their lands in Karatu District, in neighbouring Mbulu, the battle is already lost. In acrimonious circumstances, the Mbulu District Council last year agreed to sell 4000 square hectares to the UAE company. UAE Safari has already set up a camp on the concession, from which it soon is to start a commercial hunting and sports enterprise. The Hadzabe are asked to vacate the area.


According to the Hadzabe, they are seeking a way to negotiate a sustainable solution between themselves, the District Council and the UAE safari company, which will conserve nature, provide incomes from the sustainable use of natural resources, and nurture their unique cultural and knowledge systems in their aboriginal territory. The Hadzabe are not necessarily disputing the deal with the UAE, but are arguing that the deal should not put the Hadzabe at serious risk of displacement and cultural disintegration.

But the Hadzabe activists and the organisations supporting them increasingly feel they are met with intimidation. Mr Baalow remains in police detention. The Tanzanian press reports that Mbulu district authorities have already issued several ultimatums for the Hadzabe to vacate the area where UAE Safari has set up its camp. "

--more here

This problem is also explained in this PDF and on this page from the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC), and it is also reported here: http://www.ippmedia.com/ipp/guardian/2006/08/22/72886.html

And a good general summary of the problem here [PDF] (with my added emphasis):
The Karatu Dstrict Council in has turned down a request from the United Arab Emirates based tourist hunting company known as Tanzania U.A.E Safari Ltd, which wanted to exploit a wide variety of wildlife in the Lake Eyasi basin for hunting. The councilors wanted to be first see the contract itself, the hunting company profiles, its objectives as well as thorough explanations on how the company will guarantee the sustainable utilization of wildlife prior to granting the Abu Dhabhi-based hunting company green light. Lake Eyasi basin historically reserved as the most important corridor for immigrants wildlife, for animals moving between Lake Manyara National park and the Ngorongoro Crater basin. A salt lake situated between the Rift Valley's Eyasi escarpment and the Kidero Mountains, the area around Lake Eyasi is home to the Hadzabe Bushmen, some of the last remaining hunter-gatherers on the continent. The Hadzabe have inhabited the Acacia forests and scrub land around the Lake Eyasi area for reportedly over 10,000 years. African Indaba reported in a previous issue about the Abu Dhabi hunting concession

05 June, 2007

Green Jihad

On the occasion of the World Environmental day the Jumeirah Islamic Learning Centre is pleased to announce a lecture under the title " Green Jihad, our role in protecting the environment "

Our Guest Speaker will be Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuami. known as the Green Sheikh.

Al Nuami, has been at the forefront of the green movement in the UAE. He is a member of the Ajman ruling family, and is also a tireless social worker and heads the Al Ihsan Charity Foundation. He is also the chairman of the Emirates Holistic Health Association and founder of the Greenbase Environmental Services

Date: Thu 07/06/07
Venue : Jumeira Islamic Learning Centre.
Time : 8.30 p.m.

Tel & Fax : 04 394 94 61
SMS: 050 6326937

Cyclone Gonu

Without sounding panicky, does anyone have any updates regarding the Category 5 cyclone that is on course for the Straits of Hormuz? Apparently there is a small chance of it entering the Gulf ............YIKES!!!!!!!!!

UPDATE: more here.

Very Scarey Pics here.

04 June, 2007

QSTP TECHtalks an Eye Opener.

Qatar Science and Tech Park held its QSTP TECHtalks conference. bizzwhizzdubai.com was invited and it turned out to be a very encouraging event. The steps QSTP is taking are phenomenal, all poised to making the region a flat ground for young entrepreneurs to walk on. It will be interesting to see how thess effect the region and if stronger economies like UAE would follow or lead. Just a bright idea and an enthusiasm to make it happen would get you in. Of course the business would need to relocate in Qatar but that is it.

What really inspired me were the changing IP Laws and the open doors policy with no constraints of origin. Details here...

bizzwhizzdubai comments are mentioned in the press release as coming from a dubai entrepreneur.

Sheikh Mo in Tony Blair's Speech

An interesting speech by Tony Blair today at the "Islam and Muslims in the world today" conference, hosted by the University of Cambridge.

Important topics of education, (education, education - is there an echo in here, Tony), Islam and integration were touched on.

But the role of education goes much wider than simply religious education. At the recent Middle East World Economic Forum, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the creation of a groundbreaking $10 billion foundation to promote education in Arab countries.

The foundation will focus on human development, supporting and empowering young minds and focusing on research, education and investment in the infrastructure of knowledge. It will provide scholarships for study at world-reputed institutions. In neighbouring Qatar, the Government has invited top international universities to develop an "Education City" with the aim of becoming the beacon of educational excellence in the Arab world.

Many of these initiatives are designed to tap into the ages-old tradition of Islam where - in line with the Koran - knowledge is revered and Muslims urged to pursue it.

The transcript is here.

Paying Du Bills

Ok, so here it goes, for the past 2 months I have had a wonderful adventure, it's called Du. I really really really tried to be supportive to this new network, I really really really tried to appreciate their teething problems that arise due its new existence, I really really do appreciate that those poor guys and gals in the customer care centre are working with NOTHING! They will try and help you but they have no rights to the following:
  • to reactiviate your account
  • reset your password
  • reset your username
  • tell you what your code is

As for Du, well I read the welcome package I was sold the number and was provided with thousands of locations to pay for this number of mine, but alas when the time came to make a payment in person, there existed only four in payment points in Dubai.

  • Al Ghurair Centre (do people still go there?)
  • Jumeira Plaza (was under construction)
  • Al Khaleej Center (supposedly in deira)
  • I think Ibn Battuta

So I thought ok let me try the only method since I am not passing by any of those places any time soon. I go to register online and receive a code (which I'll call the code) which one assumes it is a one time registration code that you don't need to remember 'cause you'll register your own password and user name.

right?.... read on here

03 June, 2007

Sheikha Lubna Launches Her Own Fragrance

Sheikha Lubna Fragrance

Economy Minister Sheikha Lubna Al-Qassemi, the first woman minister in the United Arab Emirates, has launched her own perfume with part of the proceeds going to charity, the Khaleej Times newspaper reported today.

Sheikha Lubna unveiled the fragrance - "Mukhalat Sheikha Lubna" - at the Dubai branch of the luxury Saks Fifth Avenue store.

The event was held recently with several VIP guests present, including Shaikha Lubna and her associates, Saks Clients and members of the media. 20 per cent of sales made on Mukhalat Shaikha Lubna will be donated to the Friends of Cancer Patients, a charitable organisation based in Sharjah.

“Fragrance is known to stir positive emotions in a woman’s heart — the new mukhalat will stir even more emotion as 20 per cent of the sales will be donated to the Friends of Cancer Patients," said Shaikha Lubna.

Shaikha Lubna’s patronage comes as a form of support to young national women entrepreneurs. 'Mukhalat Shaikha Lubna' is the creation of Al Tanhat Company that is specialized in producing and mixing Arabian perfumes.

Read Also:
The scent of a strong woman (Khaleej Times Online)
UAE minister launches her own perfume (France 24)

Class-Action Firms Extend Reach to Global Rights Cases

"I'd like to thank the nice man who bought me from my parents for being so concerned about me as to provide me with a safety helmet..."

From today's NEW YORK TIMES:
The plaintiffs are thousands of boys from South Asia and Africa who say they were abducted, enslaved and forced to ride racing camels to entertain the rich in the Middle East. The defendants live in the United Arab Emirates.

But the case is pending in Miami, and the jockeys are represented not by human rights groups but by Motley Rice, a leading contingency-fee class-action firm based in South Carolina known for its work in tobacco, asbestos and other domestic injury cases.

The class-action bar is going global. Until recently, international human rights cases in American courts were brought mainly by public interest lawyers more interested in calling attention to abuses and in establishing universal legal standards than in a potential payday.
I'm not a big fan of frivolous lawsuits, but this is actually a pretty cool idea -- make countries that want to be part of a larger world economy financially responsible for the abuse of human rights within their borders.

A very sad comment from someone...

I made this comments, from this comment of "[fake name removed]" because I think it was irrelevant to the topic and it is important for me to answer it, a comment like this is not acceptable for I am a Filipino.

This comment by [fake name removed] from my post in this blog regarding a boy asking for a little help for his operation. Drive to save boy from leukaemia an article also posted in Gulfnews by Nina Muslim.

comment says:

Posted by [fake name removed] on 30 May, 2007 09:47
filipinas /filipinos are filthy people!indians are the best!

All comments read here

I'm there during the events and I witness that not only Filipinos came there to help but also other nationalities was there including Indians who have heart of giving and heart to share.

In what basis he/she made a comment like this, we are only asking for help for those people who wants to give help. If you are having a problem in one or two Filipinos you work with here in Dubai make a comments to them not to include all Filipinos. We already know that the Politics in my homeland Philippines are dirty but not the people "ordinary Filipinos who lived there" they are only victim of the situations.

I have one question for you to answered if you will read this again...

What will you do if the same trials "same situations" came to your family?

Now I will make a suggestion with you why not visit the Philippines then make a comments regarding your experienced when you return.

Read More

EDIT by SD: I have removed the name of the alleged commenter, because I am satisfied they did not post that comment. (1) it is not their style, (2) it did not link to their Blogger account, (3) that person has a history of being spoofed/framed by fakers. I fully agree that the comment was vile and ignorant, but we need to be careful blaming innocent people for stuff that is not their fault.

02 June, 2007

Irresponsible headlines

It pays to read the whole story: Marriage between close relatives 'does not pose health risk'

Take it to the next level

American Enterprise Institute:
Newsstands carry the slick English-language magazine Arabian Woman, modeled after American glamor magazines. (There is also Arabian Man.) Much less flesh is displayed, and the whole is far less steamy than its American equivalents, but the subject matter is the same. Although published in Dubai, a more liberal place, the magazine is sold and advertised freely in Saudi Arabia. One issue, featuring a "regional report" on the decline of pre-marital virginity, contained this passage:

As teenagers enter into high school, many of them find it difficult to preserve their chastity. Remaining a virgin until marriage is neither an easy nor common choice in schools or colleges in this region. Deena, a 16-year-old Yemeni student in Sharjah, UAE (United Arab Emirates), shared her first sexual experience . . . "One night, when I met Ali at our regular building terrace, he began joking about taking our physical relationship to the next level. At first I was nervous and embarrassed. I mean, although I had discussed oral sex with my friends before, I didn't really know that much about it. But almost everyone in school was having a physical relationship with their partners. So it didn't seem wrong. . . . Immediately I regretted doing it, but when I got to school most kids were pretty supportive and said that everyone did it. At least I hadn't lost my virginity."

No doubt this portrait, assuming it is accurate or representative, depicts life in one or more of Saudi Arabia's more permissive neighboring countries. Still, Saudis who read it were not learning about the infidel West but about their Muslim Arab cousins. The impact is not difficult to imagine.

As for homosexuality, although same-sex acts can be punished by death, a recent article in the Atlantic claims that homosexual behavior is in fact widespread in Saudi Arabia, but that it does not necessarily signify gay identity. Because contact with the opposite sex--especially in private--is so difficult, people are more likely to have same-sex experiences.
Read the whole thing.