Christina/ June 7, 2011/ Culture

Dubai seems like still air for the time being. No spectacular new buildings and the end time catastrophe predicted by many publications in 2009/2010 stayed away.

Recently, the German online magazine „Spiegel Online“ tried to revive the old times by launching a lukewarm extraction. „Oasis on a drip“ that is the infamous name. The whole thing sounds like a mixture of old articles in a new concept. Elsewhere, things like that are trying to be sold as compendiums. I would not consider that fascinating and differentiated news coverage.

I would like to stress some of the issues mentioned in the article which I consider unbalanced:

  1. “The gulf states are neo-partrimonial, authoritarian bureaucratic monarchies“ is one of the statements. Well, if I got that right, did anybody from the Western World care so far about it as long as the oil was flowing? And how about statesman like Italians Berlusconi who likes to change laws and regulations on short notice in his favour or Russian’s Putin who showed off with well-toned chest in his holidays and is apart from that known for merciless action against opposition and who is nevertheless said to be a close friend of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder?
  2. “That cannot be serious about the fact that 90 percent of the population are no „real“ citizens but largely working nomads without any rights, who can be expelled any minute for no reason“, the author claims. Well, in this case I recommend reading the article „Held off at the border“. Any questions, Shaft? As good as a play the article continues with: „A society that believes it can make it without basic rights is not going to last in the future.“ Is that why the United States have their back up against the wall? Moreover I wonder how immigrants to the US, like they are being described in the article „Kampf um Ruf und Ehre“ feel about high-ranking politicians like Strauss-Kahn coming from so called democratic states harassing everything they can grab.
  3. The sentence: “Dubai is the attempt to create identity via architecture. However identity is mixed up with a brand“ is the next issue which I’d like to point out. Actually, the city state gives the notion that the own culture is left behind in the face of glittery facades and the superiority of American fast food chaines. But then, why is it that in East Africa and Central Asia – according to the same article – people are talking of „Dubaization“ when they discuss successful concepts of urban development to be copied which are subject of many books on the so called “future-oriented” East. By the way, the Spiegel magazine delivers at the same time the contradiction to it. One page later the author derogatorily writes: „The most important cultural event in Abu Dhabi (which also belongs to the UAE) is still the „Date festival“. Looks like there is still hope for identification with the own traditions.
  4. There is one delicacy left: „Next to the pacific island Nauru the UAE suffers from the highest diabetes-rate in the world, every third kid is overweight.“ Is this a reason to celebrate the catching up with the West, even though it is just for the adiposis? Let’s take a look at the worldwide adiposis statistic of men and women. Only a few people might be surprised that the United States take first seat unchallenged followed by Great Britain and Australia. These are all countries that do not belong to the Arabic World, as long as I know.

To all of you who still feels like wanting a change of perspective I recommend two articles. One the one hand thought-provoking and partly frustrated essay of the Palestinian writer Sahar Khalifeh „Who is hidden beneath the Burqa? An appeal to the West” about the Islamistic spirits called by the West. On the other hand the survey “Who speaks for Islam? What a billion Muslims really think” by the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.

I’d like to end my article citing Karin Gothe: „Fear of the sinister unknown means Europe continues to keep its borders closed. Fear of the sinister unknown, of an unfettered Muslim people, has led to pacts with military rulers and dictators. It is a fear that extends to a total rejection of Islam, which we often equate with Islamism and terrorism – something we are passionately afraid of.“

Further Readings:

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