07 December, 2012

Comments disabled

It makes me sad to announce this, but I am going to have to deactivate comments entirely on this blog. This means all previous comments are now unveiwable and no new comments are going to be accepted for the foreseeable future. I have disabled non-member comments. So all previous comments will now still be visible.

Even though the blog employs Google's CAPTCHA service I recieve on average 2-3 emails every day from crappy companies based in the UAE trying to cash in using SEO techniques and thereby reduce the quality of content already on this blog. This is on top of the dozens of CVs (thanks but I don't even have a job at the moment and I have no idea where people got the impression that I was employing?) and marketing/SEO offers that I receive too.

The number of legitimate comments is practically 0 and almost no posts/comments get made here anymore.

Again, I'm sorry for having to take this stance; but I don't want to watch what was a pretty successful blog get completely destroyed by greedy companies flooding the comment section with crap solely aimed at making a quick buck.

It wouldn't take much to get the blog active again, just a few legitimate posts a day from someone with a bit of passion. Unfortunately I am not based in the UAE anymore and I do not have the time to post anymore, I believe the majority of people that used to have some interest have all moved onto twitter/facebook.

If anyone is interesting in taking the reigns of this blog I am more than happy to pass it on. You can email me with a proposal to sam@samurai-sam.com

I am not interested in handing on the blog to someone with a commercial interest in it. This blog has been run ad-free for the past 7 years and despite the time needed to moderate the site (which numerous other people have also contributed to) its nice to see something in 2012 that runs without advertisements on every nook and cranny of the website.

I would also like to take this chance to thank the numerous people who dedicated their time to this blog over the past 7 years--the people who posted, the people who commented and the people who sent death threats.
Thank you for being a part of the 4000+ posts, the 28000+ comments and the 1,700,000 visitors.
Also, thank you to secretdubai for starting this blog, and thank you to the many members/contributors. The UAE Community Blog held an important place on the internet in the UAE for at least some freedom of expression and had a profound impact on at least a few contentious issues.

25 November, 2012

Beirut - An Explosive Thriller

You're more than welcome to come along. Bring a friend. It should be fun.

09 October, 2012

Survey for Teachers in UAE

Sorry, it wasn't working at first, but I've fixed it:

I don't know how many African Americans I have that read this blog but anyway, I thought that I'd put this survey just in case. Here it is. Thanks


28 August, 2012

Stories of Faith and Beyond the Book- Talk by Abdul Hasib



Stories of Faith: Reflections from the lives of the best worshippers in understanding the value of worship in Islam
Date: Tonight, 28th August, 2012
Time: After Salat-ul Maghrib, 7:15 PM (Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes, including Q&A)
Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department, Al Mamzar

Beyond the Book: Practical Steps to Harvesting the Fruits of the Qur'an
Date: Tomorrow, 29th August, 2012
Time: After Salat-ul Maghrib, 7:15 PM (Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes, including Q&A)
Kalemah Islamic Center

About the Speaker: Ustad AbdulHasib Noor
Brother Hasib is an American with Afghan origin. He is a student at the Islamic University of Madinah studying in the Faculty of Islamic Law (Shariah). Further, he has previously held positions as a Khatib  and Da'wah Officer in various organizations and masajid in the U.S.

Directions (Islamic Affairs Dept): Take the Shaikh Zayed Road to Sharjah and stay on your right. At al Mullah Plaza signal, take a left towards Hamriya. Then take  a right at the signal before Century Mall and keep going straight (till the end of the road), till you see  a  big building on your right – which says Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department.  The talk will take place at the hall on the second floor in sha'Alla.

Directions (Kalemah): Located near the Baghdad St. & Beirut St. Interchange in Muhaisanah 3 next to Qusais 2 minutes from the Qusais Police Station. Directions from Emirates Road: Sharjah - Dubai direction; take Exit 61 (Mamzar, Qusais) onto Baghdad St. At the 1st traffic signal, turn right onto Beirut St. Take the 1st right after the bus stop into 9A St. KALEMAH is the 4th villa on your right.

This event is organized by Kalemah, under the guidance and support of the Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department

18 August, 2012

Britain: Muslim Polygamists to Get More Welfare Benefits

Britain: Muslim Polygamists to Get More Welfare Benefits

i think i should emigrate to uk...

05 July, 2012

The First Annual Pre-Ramadan Retreat in Dubai

13th July, 2012
Al Boom Tourist Village

More details here

13 June, 2012

Residency Visa Fiasco

The latest residency visa fiasco reminds me of past and other ongoing attempts to regularise the system of managing and monitoring just who is in the country and where they come from. Getting this right seems important given the increasing concerns about events elsewhere in the region and a possible outbreak of hostilities affecting a large eastern neighbour. Anyone like to comment on what is happening with the different rules between and within emirates on how you renew your igama?

12 May, 2012

Gulf News removes gulf bits from Guardian on the Arab World

Links to the Guardian reporter's tweets about how the article was edited:

Gulf News also deleted a line noting that in Arab world only Saudi Arabia, UAE & Qatar lack any kind of parliaments. 
My article talked about cosmetic reforms in Syria, Mubarak-era Egypt and Bahrain. Gulf News has reprinted it without the para on Bahrain!
Today's Gulf News has reprinted a piece that I wrote for last week - but has deleted all the bits about the Gulf!

30 March, 2012

He's Still Standing

Elton John was in good form tonight at the Yas Arena. It was 2 and 1/2 hours of the man and his piano, while he was accompanied on a few numbers by his longtime percussionist. The performance was reminiscent of Elton John's famous and historic 1979 tour of Russia. He had the same percussionist with him and amazingly performed many of the same songs.

It was very much a 1970's affair with most of the songs performed from his 1971 and 1972 albums. Not quite "60 Years On," although he did sing this song, but certainly 40 years on.

Elton John sings with as much passion as ever, although there is a recognizable quiver in his voice which was not discernible when he last performed in Abu Dhabi in 2008. On the other hand he seems to be becoming ever more the piano maestro. I doubt that there is anyone in the world who can work the piano and vocals together as skillfully as he does. Elton John IS the piano man.

20 March, 2012

GeekFest Sharjah

Just in case you have been travelling to remotest Baltistan over the past week and didn't hear about it already, GeekFest is taking place over at the Al Maraya Art Centre, which is at Al Qasba, the funky canal-side recreation area down by Al Tawun.

It's a big space and there's loads of room, but there's also plenty going on, too.

The event will 'start' at 7.30pm and the talks start at 8pm, each lasting for 15 minutes - there's a talk from creative community website TripleW, from manga Geek Qais Sedki, art collaborator Alex Tohme and amateur historian me. There are workshops, too - on photography for post-processing by ace lensman and digital tinkerer Catalin Marin and one on origami from JUKI, the Emirati/Japanese collective. We'll also have a team from Sharjah Museums on hand displaying images and chatting about two important new exhibitions that have opened in Sharjah this week, British Orientalist Owen Jones and Sudanese artist Ibrahim El Salahi, the painter of 'Africa's Guernica'. There'll also be an exhibition of photography from Mohammed Azimuddin and if that's all not enough, there's GameFest, powered by tbreak and megamers and a technology showcase from Nokia.

GeekFest Sharjah takes place at the same time as the Al Qasba Food Festival, so there's an unusually wide selection food and drink and there are a couple of surprises as well.

What's not to love? And please, Dubai types, spare us the moaning about traffic. We do it every day. It's time you lot came up north and explored the boonies!

BTW, Al Qasba's easily reached by turning off the Dubai-Sharjah highway towards Al Taawun and it's really not that congested. Honestly!

More details over on the blog if you fancy more info. No registration, no limitations, no rules - just pitch up when you like and enjoy yourself! Oh, and I've promised not to do any readings from or talking about Olives!:)


15 March, 2012

The fish always stinks from the head...

The new-so-called "Loan Agreement" of €130 billion, imposed to Greece by the IMF (International Mother F*ckers) and their euro-colleagues will be allocated as following:

1. €30 billion will be paid as cash incentive to the pirates holding Greek bonds.
2. €40 billion will be paid for the recapitalization of the Commercial Banks operating in Greece.
3. €60 billion will cover unaudited debt repayments.

09 March, 2012

Wheelchair Accessibility

It's unfortunate that the facilities invested in here go to waste so often because of people acting selfishly. In this case it causes a wheelchair user to take more than 10 minutes to board an RTA bus.

Taken from the video description... "The challenges that people with special needs face sometimes while commuting in Dubai. We appreciate a lot and thank the government of Dubai and RTA for creating a network of transportation facilities that equality treat the able and the disabled so that now people with special needs can travel around Dubai with ease. However some irresponsible and uncivilised people get into the way and cause a lot of inconvenience to to others."

23 February, 2012

Twinge Sharjah - The Sharjah Urban Arts Festival

Twinge Sharjah
The Twitter Fringe
Sharjah's Urban Festival of the Arts

Saturday, 25 February until Friday, 2 March, 2011

Maraya Art Centre (1st Floor) Al Qasba Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Doors open: 6pm Show starts: 8pm

25 February - Literature Night: 
Alexander McNabb – Author of Olives
Abdulla Kassim
 Noura Noman

26 February - Fashion Night:
Laila Akeel

27 February - Film Night:
Beno Saradzic
Shahid Azam
Faisal Hashmi
Ashraf Ghori
Haneen Kanaan
Omar Tanira
Neel Kumar

28 February - Comedy Night
Presented by Dubomedy 
Mai, Jamal (will include Urdu), Esmail, Omar S, Andre hosts and Omar Ismail will be the featured Emirati pro-comic closing the show. 3 Arabs, 1 indian, 1 American and an Iranian who speaks Arabic and Urdu

29 February 
Exclusive Publisher Night: With Jamal Al Shehhi and Kuttab Publishing, a book launch

1 March - Music Night: 
Desert Heat
Tiny Hassan
Heba Rashid
Generation Band
4 Brownies

2 March - Poetry Night: 
Farah Chamma
Muneer Jaihoon
Haneen Assaf
Abdulla Kassim
Shamma Kabital
Afra Atiq

Display Artists: 
Catalin Marin - Photography
Noha Mourad - Painting
Deema Hatahet – Digital Art
Wafaa Amer - Painting
Salam – Jewellery
Sumaya Ibrahim – Photography

Traditional Handicraft from the UAE

14 February, 2012

The Long Road to Recovery

The following article appeared on the Mises Economics Blog:

From what's being predicted, it appears that it'll take another 24 months before we see greener pastures on the horizon.

And that's just a wild guess based on the current outlook.

07 February, 2012


I had originally posted a 1-minute video of the Earth view from the ISS here.

I discovered an even better (5-minute) version at LunaticOutpost, a forum that still hasn't lost its marbles to the likes of senseless & originality-lacking one-liner tweets, the narcissism-laced facebookers and/or any other crappy sites.

Some of you may argue, what does this post have to do with the UAE Community Blog? Well, I'll tell ya', you're right, it's got nothing to do with this Community but I'm just playing my role in keeping it alive (when I can) from a heavy work schedule and family life.

Enjoy the ride and help keep this Community alive.

Until later :)

23 January, 2012

Boring blog!

This has become such a boring blog! It used to be so active before. Where did everybody go?