Looking at the "Bright Side" of Dubai

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi hits back at Johann Hari's scathing article on Dubai in 'The Independent'.
Looking at the
By Sultan Al Qassemi
Thu 09 Apr 2009 11:54 AM

Earlier this week The Independent published a lengthy article by Johann Hari headlined “The Dark Side of Dubai.” One of the prominent emiratis featured, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, hits back at the report.

Mr. Hari’s 9,000 word report on Dubai was just one in a series of critical Anglo Saxon reports published about the city. The schadenfreude emanating form the likes of Mr Hari is reflective of some personal issues they must have faced growing up in a socialist environment where globalisation and capitalism were frowned upon.

 I have previously described such reporters as “tournalists” since they visit the city as tourists under the guise of journalism and enjoy a few days on the beach at the expense of their publication. These reports mysteriously always appear when the weather in Dubai is at its best. Surprisingly, in his extensive write up he was miraculously able to meet only silly sounding expats, which is statistically impossible since ten out of ten residents he interviews can’t all be depressed and full of spite.

Reading the article it evident that Mr. Hari was bent on highlighting the negative from the get go while completely ignoring all the positive developments that have taken place in Dubai. Last year for example Dubai introduced a new mandatory green building initiative signalling the emirate’s commitment to address environmental issues .

The visiting journalist then went to interview expat after expat, all of whom seem to be miraculously opening up to him and telling him of their deepest and darkest secrets, a highly improbable supposition for him to make.

I didn’t say that Emiratis are the most tolerant people in the world without grounds; I can’t imagine Britain having 55 million expats and only five million Brits.  

Although I cannot speak for the others that he allegedly interviewed I am very sceptical about believing his stories merely because my own words were taken out of context and butchered. I said that we are a young country and we are “getting there” in terms of laws and regulations but we can’t do everything at once.

He made it seem as though I care as much for products as I care for human beings which is not the case, especially since I am heavily involved in an NGO and volunteer my time to teach youngsters in college.

Nor do I know how he made up the Ralph Lauren shirt comment that I was allegedly wearing since I have never bought one in my life. Concerning the strikes comments I said that I am against the violent strikes that had taken place in Dubai recently where police cars and public property were damaged and I stand by that statement.

Mr Hari conveniently omitted the word violent in my statements only because it makes his article more attractive albeit less believable.

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