Posted by: arkachips | April 10, 2009

Dubai: medieval dictatorship

‘Daniel was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment at a trial he couldn’t understand. It was in Arabic, and there was no translation. “Now I’m here illegally, too,” Karen says I’ve got no money, nothing. I have to last nine months until he’s out, somehow.” Looking away, almost paralysed with embarrassment, she asks if I could buy her a meal.

She is not alone. All over the city, there are maxed-out expats sleeping secretly in the sand-dunes or the airport or in their cars.

“The thing you have to understand about Dubai is – nothing is what it seems,” Karen says at last. “Nothing. This isn’t a city, it’s a con-job. They lure you in telling you it’s one thing – a modern kind of place – but beneath the surface it’s a medieval dictatorship.” ‘

Gave me the shivers reading all that. It’s like one of those fairytales, pretty on the outside, truly grim on the inside.

Must admit, I’m never keen to go to Muslim countries, avoid it if I can, but this article just makes me doubly, triply, infinityly, definitively sure that I’m right to be wary.

I’m wary in Communist countries too, and South American, and African…. and you call yourself a globetrotter, you scoff! Yes, I am, a wise and wary globetrotter, thanking ye verrrrry much!

You may complain all you want about our governments, but elsewhere in the world, it is so much worse. Which is why, when you see the signs here, bad things that are common in those less fortunate places, here where it’s supposed to be safe, there should be hue and cry.

Scary to say, but those signs, red flags, are on the increase.


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