Spiegel Online recently published the article “Trüffelpasta mit Wüstenblick” about the alleged highest restaurant of the world and its extravagaces. The article itself does not reveal anyhing new besides the usual superlatives upon which Western press has zeroed itself when it comes to oddities from the desert state.
The respectable amount of comments at the end of the article, however, is noteworthy. 29 comments have been posted so far. At a first glance, that might not be astonishing. But, if you compare this amount to the quantity of comments which comparable articles like „Was Griechenland Urlauber erwartet“, „Easyjet-Piloten wollen zum Ferienbeginn streiken“ or „Roboter ersetzen den Hotelpagen“ received, explicitly zero comments, value is attached to number 29.
Built on sand?
May the amount of comments be remarkable, the the style of comments is definitely horrific. The most ostentatious fact is that those commentators who sing from the same hymn sheet blaming Dubai of being an inhumane country (that is on what the media agreed upon after the „faster-higher-further”-principle did not match the woes of the financial crisis) do not seem to pay respect to their co-authors at all. Or how would you describe such a spelling style (quotation!):“Many people are blockheads. Your posting illustrates that imposingly.“ Everything, of course, nicely made anonymous.
In course of this article I would like to deliver my opinion to this kind of onesided, sometimes nasty, partly naïve and often stereotyped argumentation:
- Dealing with bitchiness: “Otherwise the desert sand will later smother the abandoned hotels and office buildings.“
Is that meant as a prediction or a hope (fort he worst)? Up to now I did not get the people’s reason for especially disliking Dubai’s architecture. Nobody is talking about the ugliness of Las Vegas, is not it? Is the „gambler’s paradise“ equally predicted vanish in the desert one day? Other way round, what distinguishes Dubai and its expansion plans from other metropolises or countries? Is not the building boom rather a reaction to what the West, especially the United States, has been preaching for decades? Be a capitalist and be proud of it? „Money first“ is that not the religion of many people nowadays? Is it possible that Dubai is just holding up the mirror to us, from which Capitalism rears its ugly head.?
- Dealing with solidarity: “How about the newly-rich sons of the desert would do something reasonable for a change with all their money? My suggestion would be: a part of the billions could flow to the Palestinian Territories to allow for building up an economic structure, offering them a real and sustainable future.“
In the spur of the moment I would like to express my confusion as follows: Maybe the sons of the desert act the same way as many others would do and for the same reason why “bonus”-banker do not support jobless people and thus create a perspective for parts of their society? Secondly there is a question on the tip of my tongue I would like to pose. How naïve is the commentator to believe that the Israeli Government would accept massive building projects and reconstruction aid from Arabic Countries in Palestine, for a state that is not even officially accredited? Read these two articles just to commemorate the situation: „struggle for Arafat’s airport“ and „New international airport for Palestine“.
- Dealing with the building boom: “… than to place ever higher hotel palaces into the desert expecting to attract masses of tourists by that …“.
Obviously it is just like that (http://www.dubai-pg.com/). Probably, that holds true for especially those people who always have to be in the forefront: on the highest tower of the world, in the biggest shopping mall of the world and in the most expensive hotel of the world. Funnily enough, plenty of „Westeners“ are cavorting in Dubai as far as I know.
- Dealing with exploitation: „As long as the „buildingmania“ is build on other people’s poverty and as long as this gluttony can only be afforded by a small pile of people I lack the motivation to be impressed. Besides, ressources are being wasted for nothing.“
Well roared, Lion! I wonder, however, how the commentator explains why eatables are comparatively cheap in German super markets to prices in France and Italy. Is it due to lower production costs? And does he wonder who cuts asparagus at low wages for him: „German salaries are too low for Polish aides“. That’s pathetic: The whole so called first-world countries have been living for centuries on the expenses of the poorer countries comfortably but in the case of Dubai suddenly everbody is conscience-stricken? Here are two articles dealing with that subject: „Exploitation of the Third World the basis for living standard“ and „The Ecobank and the Third World“. This is once more my question: Does not Dubai simply hold the mirror up to us?
- Dealing with human rights: „Dubai is a phenomena. Since 1985 I travelled there regularly and it is fascinating and disgusting at the same time. […] In the 80ies one tried to discover the original Arabia, right behind the airport there was a belly dancing show. Today you have to drive a little bit further to admire Russian female dancers and Pakistani Bedouines.“
Funnily enough, the same thought crossed my mind when I was riding my bike alongside the Elbe River when suddeny after crossing the German- Czeck border I saw the first “pubs”. Is it not strange that the cars parked in front of the build all had German license plates? I guess that was just the cleaning stuff. Other Western „virtues“ such as travelling to Thai brothels where minors have to satisfy sexual claims and child porn in the internet should not be overlooked. It is something called „double standards“.
- Back to the initial point of the dispute: „How world-weary one must be to sit down in such an air-conditioned box on the fringe of the desert (and to go their by plane intentionally)?“
Most probably as nutty as those people who buy a fuel absorbing SUV in times when prices per gallon are around 2,00 € and more? Than there is the people who are victimes of a so called classic brand and buy next to an iPod, an iPad and an iPhone at ridiculous prices, even though, the individual functions are almost identical. At the same time they do or do not want to realize that the brand controls the market and manipulates the customers.
Living at the expense of others
Brave new world?
Let us not forget that a lot of people, many from Europe, immigrated to Dubai when the boom just started for only one reason: to become rich. And they did not give a damn on human rights at that time because their mind was totally set on money. Now, that times have changed and the streets are not paved with gold any more, people discover their conscience. I am not saying that everything that glitters is gold in Dubai. Likewise, I cannot imagine any country in the world where all that glitters is gold. Do you?