I have never been to Dubai. I would like to visit it but I don’t think I would like it. I imagine that I would find it artificial and the weather too hot to be healthy. One of our sister students Dee is British and grew up in Dubai. She doesn’t particularly like the UK and considers herself to be from Dubai. Our sister and fellow students from Bremen have to do an internship in their second semester somewhere in the Arab world and some of them are going or planning to go to Dubai.
Dubai is obviously part of the Arab world geographically but in what sense is it culturally a part of it? What I recently realized is that the emirate of Dubai is completely run by foreigners. The government, the police, the army and the judiciary are- quite obviously- native ‘emiraties’ (what do you call people form the Emirates?) but anyone else from the taxi driver who drives you to a restaurant where the waiter is foreign and the manager of the hotel you’re staying at to the shop assistant in the mall and your housekeeper, if you got one and your co-worker, all will be foreign. Now, I understand that if you have sh*t loads of money why would you do stuff yourself if you can more than afford to have someone else do it for you . But to allow all the (wo)manpower in your economy to be foreign is that a wise thing to do? What about your pride and sense of nation? Nations adapt to influences from abroad all the time, but has Dubai really adapted to the holiday bikini-on the beach-party hardy-shop -till-you drop- long-live-hedonism image Dubai is actively beaming into the world to draw those wealthy tourists in to replace oil revenue from other emirates – Dubai is pretty dry-that is going to dry up some day in the not so far future.
Locals and foreigners in Dubai don’t interact. Local women wear the niqaab and will therefore not be seen sunbathing at the beach if the weather allows it. If foreigners determine the image of your country while you or not adapting to that image will that be sustainable on the long term? Is that not asking for the next Ibn Laden to rise and commit some atrocities in that part of the world? And besides all that; who wants to live in a permanent air-conditioned environment? That’s asking for health problems!