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.