Sunday, March 11, 2007

Worlds apart

Excuse the hiatus, peeps. The little people get to do overtime at work ;) First of all, let me just say to some of the people who left comments on my last two post and the ones who emailed me in large part, I appreciate it. And that also goes for those who took the moral high ground with me. Do understand, however, that I am merely stating my opinion to which I'm sure as you'll agree, I'm entitled; same as you. I don't intend to compromise my principles by resortting to cheap shots in return so you can quit with the innuendoes and the name-calling. Lots of replies are still pending and I plan to get to that shortly just as soon as I find the time insha-allah so please be patient, dear friends and not-so-dear foes ;)

The reason I decided to call this post what I did was to highlight the forever increasing distance and the unsurmoutable bridge that lies between us and them. Not hinting at the PF song there, honestly. It just comes natural :) Last week, I took a walk down the corniche in Abu Dhabi when totally by happenstance I ran into two very old friends of mine from back in the day - oh, now I make it sound like I'm too old :)

Now I have known Saleh and Mubarak from my first three years of schooling in an Abu Dhabi government school. The last time I saw them was on my easter break from uni back in '99 and I must admit nothing had prepared me for the tremendous amount of change they have both collectively gone through over the years. And after a bit of chit chat, it made me feel exactly like that - worlds apart. I may not be the same person to them either and perhaps they say the same about me but they're entitled.

Their brand new direction, however, upsets me more than it amazes. Before meeting them I thought we were rowing the same boat even if we were a party of three out of over six billion. Still, it stood for something.

Racism would be a very subtle way to label what they felt toward anyone who didn't share their heritage and more importantly their nationality. On account of the latter pretty much all non-locals were out and the former left some soft spot for all arabs, whatever that means. So being the curious cat that I am, I asked them what it meant to be an arab and what about an arab made one superior. Needless to say, they went around in circles trying to break it down to me. Which reminds me of a certain blogger who I've been exchanging emails with back and forth for a while. Himself a non-arab, he claims the arabs can indeed claim to be the superior race on account of their history. I found it to be a rather funny argument to begin with and therefore did not think it wise to dignify it with a comment. So to all the arab and non-arab readers alike, please help me understand what makes the arab a superior human being because apparently I don't seem to get what it. I have yet to hear an argument that would win me over.

And then I have white friends. Previliged at best, all blame to our crooked as scoliosis society, I don't think their colonizing history makes them any better than mere animals. Or scratch that. Beasts would be the word of choice here. Animals only do as God intended them to. This race may not be colonizing by putting up their flags but they sure seem to be doing it politically, economically, socially, mentally and on and on. Since when is slavery back in fashion?

Oh and I got browns too. This particular brand of people play victim all too well but then the tyrans aren't exactly eagles either. Word of advice: get your bloody act together and stand up straight. For starters, you can break out of your cultural bonds that govern your lives and have you by the neck. My Pakistani friend is married to an African and never hears the end of it. Enough with your bigotry and hatred.

The orients. Well, I'll leave them be. And my African bros. It's for another day because that's a whole other post entirely.

I guess the point I'm trying to make by all of this is that though we may all collectively as a race be torn apart by oceans and deserts and politics and language and creed and color. But in essence we are one and it doesn't say much about us if we can't discipline ourselves like supposedly-inferior beings of the animal kingdom. A little kindness and tolerance can go a long way if we only tried. If each one of us after having left this seat went out with the intention to spread goodness, who says we can't bring the haters to their knees and shame them into crawling back inside the holes they've come out of.

Signing off now,
E - N&D

Not getting PC here but just for the record I'm not against any form of culture as long as it isn't interfering with my religion. Oh, and at no time during the above post did I mean to generalize. Thought I'd save up some comment space and get it out of the way while I'm at it :)

In an earlier post I mentioned I'd be talking about the situation of prejudice between those of different ancestry but my research is still on-going and I'll publish it soon. And if you think I sounded bitter and cynical in this post, you should see me when I'm ill :) Nah, just disappointed. But then again...

... why all the fuss? It's only two humans being.

Monday, February 26, 2007


One of my first shows in Dubai was the Roger Waters concert in Dubai Media City on February 21, 2006. I made it just in time for Roger to take the stage. And though I was a few stone throws away from the stage, I had a pretty good view of the huge screen behind the band. I didn't care much for the music or the vocals once the screen began playing because Roger made sure his theatrics got done what his voice couldn't say.

As my fellow blogger Ash put it the show was indeed much like an 'epic'. And like her, I have never fell short of words to use from my vocabulary (if I do say so myself) until now. But I gather the English language has no words to match the proportions of his message. I wish people had stopped drinking and dancing for a bit to listen to what he had to say. Quite an eye-opener. Reminded me of the things I believed in but had forgotten over time. Thank you, Roger!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nationalism - reversed discrimination?

Almost immediately after I published the post titled "The good, the bad and the misguided", my inbox began overflowing with emails, some of support but most of shallow critisism; one of which even went so far as to call me a liar. In reading through the bunch of "fan mail" I receieved, I began to get a clearer image of what the average Emarati's thought process is like. It is scary to hear such deluded interpretations of 'patriotism' from young Emarati people. My dear brothers and sisters, don't confuse patriotism with nationalism, the latter is rife with racism and double standards and I don't advocate this sort of jingoism in the name of the former (overt and blind patriotism). Don't allow anyone to paint you into a corner by using an emotive term like patriotism to belittle your ideas or values. Yes, my dear brethren, it is possible to show you love your country in other ways instead of blind fury against country X. That being said, let's take a brief look at the two, shall we?

From Merriam-Webster's
Patriotism: noun: love for or devotion to one's country
Nationalism: noun: loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups

Nationalism more often than not translates into racism and in turn a sense of superiority. You see, the fundamental things about the UAE that inspire patriotism are its dedication to excellence and promotion of freedom. While nationalism is a violation of these very prinicples, patriotism embodies and upholds them. Ignorance of the essential difference between these two attributes has apparently allowed many to slip across the divide unaware of their own narrow-mindedness. While I don't advocate blatant racism in the name of nationalism, I certainly don't oppose patriotism. People need to distinguish between pride, the love of one's country, and patriotism, the blind and stupid obedience thereof. I think it is possible to love a country without having to resort to historical fictions or cross-border hatred. I love my country but I don't have to love it blindly or in defence against another country to be able to appreciate it. I'm going to sound redundant and repetitive by saying this, but that's okay. There's nothing wrong with loving your country, people, culture, or food of course - within limits. But I've always been suspicious of rampant nationalism or patriotism - they too often lead people to do nasty things to each other. It's not that I have to ignore negative political or cultural aspects in order to love it. Those are part of her realities; those are the scars and sores that I acknowledge and yet still I embrace her.

Lately though, my Emarati identity seems to have been subsumed by my American identity. Underneath the weight of these behemoths, emaratiness seems to have been whittled down to the color of my skin, an occasional break-out in Arabic lyrics, and a love for biryani. Still, to those who addressed my American heritage as being more dominant, I'll say this. Politics aside, nothing makes the land of my mother superior to that of my father. I love bits of both in equal measure but I don't look down on those who don't belong to either. I also don't think it appropriate to use a certain people to better whichever country I hail from overlooking their rights in the process. In practical terms, it meant not taking up the post I was asked to because I knew it, the administration knew it, as did my boss - I am neither fit nor ready for that kind of a responsibility. Not to mention, of the two of us who was better suited for it. This is in response to those who said I didn't have the "betterment of the country" at heart and was being "unnationalistic". Sure, I was.

I point out the wrongs and applaud the rights. That is patriotism, in my book. Let's also not forget the greatest racial extermination in history... that of the Native Americans in the United States. So it all boils down to the good, the bad and the misguided - the three categories may be found everywhere, not just the UAE. And it's the patriot in me talking when I say I wish to abolish the hatred caused in the wake of these groups.

“Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.” - Charles de Gaulle

My two cents - no need to be afraid of my opinion.

E - N&D

My next post will be touching on the situation of prejudice between those of different ancestry which may not be as intense or as drastic as it is in other nations, but that certainly does not mean that it isn’t a problem.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The good, the bad and the misguided

I am not exactly a bastion of any moral sentiment, I have my flaws; sometimes more so than the next person. Yet you swoon over me hoping your enthusiasm would rub off me like cheap perfume on a hooker. Well, it doesn't. I'm not too fond (at least not overly) of myself and I certainly don't think I was sent from up above in a patent packaging marked "special". So then what is your fascination with my skin? Or my ethnicity? What is it about me that makes you wanna make me the boss of my own teacher?

Point in question being, my teacher from back when I interned at the organization I'm currently working in. More to the point; during my final year of university, I decided to come down here and intern for a while with the same people I'm working with now. At the time, I didn't know much about putting to practise what I'd been taught over the years, as is common in my profession. My boss at the time taught me a lot of what I know today. (Can you guess where I'm going with this?) So little Mr. Lost went back to the US of A, graduated, spent a little over a year cruising around God's wonderful earth. For fun, yes. But more to get a perspective. And perspective I got. So now I'm back, admittedly less lost than I was back then! And the administration decided I'm more qualified (not on paper, but by heritage. On second thought, it must be my papers - travel documents aka the passport) to be the boss of the man who once taught me the ABC's of how to do what it is that I do. Mind you, that man is far more qualified than me, both on paper and by experience. Also, has excellent work ethic, not to mention has the proper leadership qualities the job requires. Bear in mind, I've been a little out of touch with everything because a year long break is almost as good as not having been to school. And I HAVE forgotten quite a bit although I've been studying to get back in touch. Still, that only proves the point in my title.

So you see, dear friends, there are the good people and then there are the baddies. Downright racist and bigotted. And then there are those who're misguided, not so much because they think like the baddies but their heads move in constant agreement out of fright. A certain brown population that this country is full of falling into the last category. And those higher ups from my work place falling into the second. Sadly they are my people (or at least belong to a full fifty percent of me). I'm not sure if the first category has been so badly sandwitched between the two that you can't make them out but I'm inclined to believe they sure do exist.

Well, I'm not going to take you up on any of that. So quit playing God!

E - N&D

I admire people who can use terms like "avoirdupois" in a sentence while conversing. Too funny!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Let's see, shall we?

Well, where do I begin? I'm a 29 year old multi-racial mutt (that is to say part Emarati and part American). Only just returned from back home (#2) after an unnervingly long stay. This time I think I'll stick. And while I believe my travels did me some good, there certainly were the downsides. I'm not sure if that's entirely true but it's open for discussion. Anyway, my Dad's family comes from Abu Dhabi but we're settled in Dubai ('cept for me Mum who's moved back, she's got allergies and the weather don't help). I'm just starting out in a market that's pretty saturated. Still, I think it should be a good experience. I like a good challenge. Excuse me but for reasons of anonymity I shall refrain from stating what industry it is that I work in because I've already been on the news once and it shouldn't be too hard for the stalkers to put 2 and 2 together.

Anyway, here's a blog that's all mine. Yay! It shall encompass all things pertaining to my beloved Emirates and will also, from time to time, cater to the cultural divide that lies between us and those that hail from where my Mom does. Must bridge the gap, otherwise it's only wise to toss me off board into the Pacific or the Arabian, whichever grabs your fancy.

Anyhoo, I hope you enjoy your stay! And speak your mind whenever you feel the urge to. It's always best.

E - N&D

My blog's still fairly new and with it's little tattering feet, I hope it goes a long way. I'm not seeking popularity, just a medium to initiate talk.