08 April, 2009

Dark Side

Dear international media,
You need to write more articles that reference the 'dark side of Dubai', there are clearly not enough.

BBC Panorama magazine: Dark side of the Dubai dream
ABC News: Dark Side of Dubai's Boomtown
The Independent: The dark side of Dubai
The Times: Dark side of Dubai’s economic boom exacts harsh human toll
Ya Libnan: A rape case exposes Dubai's dark side and injustice
Middle East times: Dubai's dark side - misery for Asians
Qatar Living: The Dark Side of Dubai
Time: The Dark Side Of the Dream
Arab News: The Dark Side of Splendor
NPR: "But foreign diplomats and others say there's a dark side to the economic boom"
Bloomberg: "Fei Fei's story symbolizes the dark side of Dubai"
Guardian: "Carole Cadwalladr explores the dark side of Dubai"


One World Travels said...

While this is a morbidly funny compendium of articles on Dubai, I must say it is getting to be a shocking trend.

I'm simply not going to ask 'why us, why now'. Let's just sit back and watch them (International media) stumble through their words & opinions instead!

- Casey Andrews

amazingsusan said...

I've posted an open letter to Mr Hari's Independent article. The link is here: http://www.amazingwomenrock.com/myblog/an-open-letter-to-johann-hari-of-the-independent.html

Mai Abaza said...

12? That's all! Oh there's definitely room for more. Let's try some headlines here:

"Fibbers: The Dark Side of Dubai nightlife"

"Dark clouds over Dubai desert dream"

"Dubai destiny darkened"

"A Darker Shade of Dubai"

"HH Sheikh Mohammed: Dubai's Dark Knight"

Anonymous said...

sad but true....

Anonymous said...

That's what happens when a group of Pink Floyd fans get together and collectively decide to write many a reportage on Dubai.

Anonymous said...

I know! I told Dubai ages ago to stop letting dark skinned people in, but it didnt listen. NOW SEE WHATS GOING ON!

Whats funny is the "dark side" of Dubai is nowhere near as bad as the dark side of many many other cities. You want perfect, go to Disney Land.

Anonymous said...

I see this more as a tribute to the creativity seen in Dubai with the naming of areas and buildings.

2020hindsight said...

These are clearly over the top. Many have the basis of truth in them, some have lots of truth, others are simply unresearched tosh that should be thrown in the bin where it belongs.

But .... what about the UAE press where with very few exceptions, everything's smelling of roses ?

The UAE can't have everything its own way. A free press means that some crap gets written - but most of what is written is good. A government controlled press generally results in much crap getting written with the occasional good article. In the UAE that tends to be made worse by some appallingly inexperienced "reporters" who's only ability is to be able to quote verbatim what the Big Cheese says.

Kyle said...

My point, exactly! I don't know why the hell all these people come here?

I mean, it's not like the (UAE) Government here or the people that hire them are obligated in any way to them. I mean, stay in your friggin countries, jobless, starving, living in slums, etc. But please don't come here, okay? And if you do insist on coming here, you have to adapt to the lifestyle that's in place for the likes of your dudes. And no questions asked in light of the 'You have no rights here' rule in place. Well, at least not under the current watch, per se!

So, seriously dudes, & dudettes too, pass on this message to all those eagerly waiting in the departure lounge to get on a plane. Let them know what they're in for and that there's loads more elsewhere to take their place (should they choose to backtrack) and no one can do jack about it for that's the Law of the Land. And the law of the land is a simple 'do you wanna dance or DO YOU WANNA DANCE?'!

And one more thing, all those friggin journalists that report especially on an as-is basis ought to rounded up and sent to the Gulag for some time-out.

Now, that's better!

By the way, as this Christian holy week progresses, if any one wants to donate any stuff to the condenmed & unworthy, do post the how, what & where modes here and count me in for some loose change.

samuraisam said...

Keep in mind these articles are dated over the period 2006-2009, some are recent and related to the recession while I would say that the majority deal with stuff like labor rights, court cases and the like from the past.

I did not mention in my original post about the content of any of these articles--simply because that's not what I was writing about.

There always have been and there are always going to be negative articles about Dubai; I would say that some of these articles had a clear positive effect in that they persuaded Dubai to start clearing up some aspects, while I would also agree that some of them don't have a penchant for accuracy

I was writing about the over usage of the term 'dark side' so don't go jumping to conclusions that this is a list of 300 articles about the recession when it is not. Comparing all the negative articles from a span of 3 years when they all each dealing with very different things doesn't make much sense at all.

BuJ said...


Anonymous said...

Focus on why the lame UAE press doesn't provide true FREE SPEECH yet claims to do so! Then feel free to criticize the rest of the world.

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

I know this should not be included, but for Dubai to have taken so much space in the Harare Tribune is indicative of the massive impact Dubai has had on the world.


Hats off to Dubai for having created such a profile. (This is not posted cynically or ironically!)

Dubai Jazz said...

Ya Libnan is international media?

Anonymous said...

it doesnt belong here, but i didn't find any email address on this blog of the administrator.
question is; is there any reason you have removed all blog links to the foreign language blogs about dubai?

Anonymous said...

But if this negative coverage makes even the smallest difference to conditions for labourers, I'm all for it.

Hopefully it might: http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090409/NATIONAL/564396669/1133

samuraisam said...

dubai jazz: Actually if you read that article carefully it is attributed to ABC news.

samuraisam said...

anonymous @ 10:07: if you give me a day or two I'll have them back up; forgot to add them during the transition to the new design.

Sand Mama said...

It seems to me that Dubai has been pretty naieve in trusting the international media bitch godess to continue with the 'city of dreams' coverage indefinitely.
Reportage on Dubai was so glowing, so gushing that it was guaranteed to turn ugly, particularly with the economic downturn.
I particularly liked the Jumeira Jane living in her Land Rover in the carpark waiting for her husband to get out of debtors prison. Fantastic bit of bulls---.

Anonymous said...

I have visited labor camps in Dubai on several occasions. I figured out that this would the most appropriate way to separate the facts from the fiction in the stories I have been reading. In short, the living conditions in the camps were adequate. All of them were equipped to allow a decent stay for laborers and they all were in a far better condition than the ones I visited in other countries. The main issue was the lack of space where for example a room for 6 had 10 workers or even more. This however was a temporary condition due to lack of availability and it was always a matter of weeks before you could see these laborers moving to new bigger camps. The issue of availability was common for all expats: When I first moved to Dubai, apartments were thin so I had to share a villa with others and wait 6 months till new apartments were ready for rent. That's the situation from my perspective. If you, however ask the workers about how they feel, their answer would be different: they consider their living conditions to be quite good as most of them come from the poorest parts in Asia where as you know, the most basic living requirements are not available due to extreme poverty. In these camps, you will find proper sanitation and the laborers do get 3 meals a day and are paid 10 times higher than what they get back home. You need to keep in mind however that unlike Sheikh Mohammed have been portrayed lately in the media, the man is not an emperor who owns Dubai. He is the ruler of Dubai and Dubai is a liberal city where many local and international companies operate, recruit and manage their own labor force. This means that there may be possible cases where the workers are abused by one of these companies without the government of the UAE being aware of it. In 2006, Sheikh Mohamed issued directives to penalize any company that exploits or abuses workers, yet, this will not exclude the possibility of such incidents taking place especially in camps owned by smaller companies. Earlier this year, Sheikh Mohamed issued new directives to accelerate the improvement of these camps and I have been hearing that the situation has in fact improved dramatically as strict regulations have been set.

On a separate note, I decided last year to volunteer with Dubai Cares, a very young organization conceived and launched by Sheikh Mohamed aiming at providing primary education to underprivileged children around the world and providing them with a sustainable and improved quality of life. Dubai Cares is the “baby” of Sheikh Mohammed and is managed very closely by him. This organization therefore is a true reflection of how this man thinks and acts. I first took part of 3 successive events to renovate a school for orphans in the Emirates. Since the first event I attended, I realized how uncommonly serious this organization was in delivering results and inflicting change. For perspective, I have worked previously with some of the foremost philanthropic organizations around the world. Dubai Cares was different. Like the rest of institutions in the UAE, it reflected how this country operates: first set a bold vision then work relentlessly and assiduously to achieve it by assigning the work to the best and the brightest. The achievements of Dubai cares have been phenomenal: launched in late 2007, Dubai Cares “has reached more than 4 million children in 20 countries. It is currently building and renovating 2,072 schools, training 22,370 teachers, helping establish 3,157 Parent Teacher Associations, creating 489 libraries and distributing 1.3 million books written in the local languages of the countries in which they are distributed”!! Just a couple of months ago Sheikh Mohamed asked Dubai Cares to react to the massacres in Gazaa. In less than a week, an event was organized during which 200,000 hygiene and school kits were assembled by 8,000 volunteers and sent to the children of Gazaa.

Dubai Cares is just one example of Sheikh Mohamed local and international honorable contributions to humanity such as the 10Bn $ endowment he created for promoting higher education in the Arab world, his resolution on a green energy city, his support to Arab and non-Arab small-business entrepreneurs, his unconditional support to organizations for autistic children and for the disabled, his work on improving the labor laws and cancelling the “ban” system and his truly exceptional role his in promoting the role of women in the Arab world. You will be amazed to see the very senior roles that women occupy in the UAE. Just recently, Reem Al Hashmi, a 29 year-old Harvard grad with an exceptional career track, was appointed as a minister of state in the UAE cabinet. Reem does not come from the royal family. She's a self-made woman who proved to be an exceptional talent and was then appointed a minister.

I can write many more pages about Sheikh Mohammed’s accomplishments. I only wrote about him because he’s the man being bashed lately by the British media. I can also write tens of pages about the virtues and the profound characters of Sheikh Zayed or Sheikh Mohamed ben Zayed or Sheikh Khalifa ben Zayed. And these leaders are no exception because as you live in the UAE you realize that these character traits belong to most Emirati men and women you meet: courageous, tolerant, good-hearted, generous and visionary. This is the heritage of the people of this nation.

When you visit Emirates Towers in Dubai, you will often see Sheikh Mohammed passing by, walking alone with no bodyguards around him. You can approach him, talk to him and entertain with him a casual discussion. You can also see him driving his own car in Dubai, alone, unattended. How much trust a man has to have in his people and in the people residing in his country not fear anyone for his life? Is it how a dictator or a righteous man would behave?

Finally, all of you reading the sleaze in the articles that were lately published please take some time to examine with a critical eye what’s been said. If my words are not enough, please buy the latest book published by Sheikh Mohamed, “Poems from the Desert” as it reveals the very essence of this man. The following is an excerpt of the foreword written by Paulo Coelho in the book. Paulo Coelho is one of the most accomplished thinkers and writers in modern literature, a man, I believe, is far more credible than fame-seekers and sleaze-sellers like J. Harry. Therefore, if you don’t find credibility in my words, please read his:

“Ortega and Gasset once wrote: “I am myself and my circumstances”. I knew the moment I laid my hands on the collection of poems by His Highness that I was in front of a testimony from a political, public figure but also in front of a human being – with all his passions and yearnings. [...]

What an act of courage – I said to myself while turning the pages of this book – to present his soul bare to the world. Poetry is a mirror that reveals, without concessions, the very essence of a human being. And here I am reading the words of a man that has to play in the political arena, of a man that – by the necessities of his position – has always to be temperate and to reconcile. […]

Writing is an act of courage. But it’s worth taking the risk, and His Highness’s poems help us to understand better the soul of a man and the heritage of the nation.”

Anonymous said...

'I can write many more pages about Sheikh Mohammed’s accomplishments.'

Anonymous at 06 May, 2009 19:49

Dude, since you claim you can write more pages, why don't you start your own blog and post a link for us to visit, read & post comments?

Besides, yours is not meant to be a comment but more of a blog post.

Damn, I'm starting to hate these PR mouthpieces ever more than before and especially those that spam.

Anonymous said...

PR mouthpiece? you think i am being paid for writing? I am an employee working for the private sector. I have no links to Dubai or its government and I am not Emirati. I wrote this post because i was enraged by the amount of unfairness in what's been said and written. I understand your attitude because your only source of information is articles written by the likes of J. Harry. Mine is different. I have been in Dubai for more than 2 years and know the reality of what's happening because of the nature of my work. Have you asked yourself, what if all what's been said and written is a PR campaign to destroy the image of the city? Have you asked yourself, why now, why after all these years?
So…for you I am a “PR mouthpiece”, because I wrote the reality of what I’ve seen in Dubai? But J Harry is not? A journalist who came to Dubai for few days with a pre-conceived opinion about the city and then looked for the expats with the most tragic, heart-breaking stories to make his article emotional? Cheap!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 07 May, 2009 1751

You are the same who posted here: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=11534962&postID=9144432003919797441&page=1

"HARI" is the correct spelling!

So how many times as an "employee in private sector" do you find yourself walking around Emirates Towers, waiting for a chance meeting?

Anonymous said...

anon @6th may 17:38
so you think the labourers make 10 times more in dubai than back home? so back home you mean to say they make about 40 dhs..? 10 dollars a month? many of them can make that much a day working as labourers in their own country. atleast in kerala, from where atleast a good 40% of these labourers must be coming from. so it just goes to show how much you actually know, or you are lying. both are stupid. and you did not address anything about the legal injustices meted out to these labourers, not the lack og protection they get, and how they are slaves who cannot even leave and go back without their passports. yeah we know, you address 3 points amoing 100, and hope you have confused everyone so they forget the other 97. tough luck buddy.

as for the sheikh starting a dubai scares charity, or write a book, big shit man. nobody said he didnt do these two. he can do more and much more than write books, make movies whatever. we are rather more concerned about the basic rights of workers. and if no one is in control over dubai, i wonder why everyone writes only good things about him.



"Gotham Lingaiah, a farmer with a fifth-grade education, says the recruiting agent who came to his Indian village two years ago promised riches in Dubai. His extended family borrowed from friends and neighbors to scrape together the 14,000 dirhams ($3,800) for secure passage, a visa, and work in Dubai. Mr. Lingaiah calculated he could repay the debt in two years and then start sending his earnings home.

When he arrived last year, however, he was sorely disappointed. Instead of earning 1,500 dirhams ($408) a month as promised, he was making 330 dirhams working long hours. But living sparingly, he sent a little money home every month. "

do you have anything to say about the above, PR King?
I am from the place you claim to know how labourers live. I know how much they can make there. so dont even think of starting a debate on that. As for your 2 years of excellent work in dubai, for your info, I know my friends, i know people who work in the construction site in my neighbourhood here in dubai who make 550, minus food. You dont know their language, and you have no friggin clue what they are saying behind your back, I do.

Now just go away pls, we like debate here, not lies. If liars like you ( or idiots , dont know where you belong)just go away, this place would probably make an effort to improve. the reason it is still in shit is becos people like you are here to lie.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Dubai for a few years and moved out last year. I must I appreciate the long post by anonymous that shows a different viewpoint. Sucess breeds enemies and its only natural to see the negative opinions about Dubai on this blog or in the media. I don't want to interfere in the discussion but i only have a quick question to the replies to him. You spoke about the "recruting agent" who visited the Indian Village and lied. Are you blaming the king of Dubai for the lies of the indian recruiting agent who was recruiting another fellow Indian? Are you serious? So now if a Nigerian emigration expert lies about emigrating to the UK shall we blame Queen Elizabeth?

Anonymous said...

rupertbumfrey said... "So how many times as an "employee in private sector" do you find yourself walking around Emirates Towers, waiting for a chance meeting?"

I don't walk around it. It's not the Black Stone of Mecca. I walk inside Emirates Towers and i do that almost everyday. Emirates Towers is not Sheikh Mohamed's private residence. It's 2 towers where hundreds of local and international companies operate. Sheikh Mohammed has his office there and he goes down during his lunch break to one of the restaurants. That's when you get to see him.

Anonymous said..."Gotham Lingaiah, a farmer with a fifth-grade education, says the recruiting agent who came to his Indian village two years ago promised riches in Dubai...do you have anything to say about the above, PR King?"
Mr. Lingaiah, an indian, was screwed by another Indian in Kerala in India and then you take the story and link it to Sheikh Mohamed and blame him for it. Your post is so silly that I don't even need to answer it. I mean you can't possibly have a more ridiculous story/argument. And please stop with the name-calling and emotional statements like "go away pls". You're making yourself look even more ridiculous.

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