This is a remarkably “can do” kind of place. In forty years Dubai has managed to house an international populace embracing over 200 nationalities, the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest golf course, and me. Yes, I’m Dubai’s latest attraction, having just spent the last year in Thailand.
In Thailand, I was amazed to see want ads that read “Attractive, slim 25-year-old female sought for office manager position.” Routinely, university teaching positions were only open to people under the age of fifty-five. But Dubai has taken racism, sexism and ageism to new heights. Here you can’t even rent an apartment if you’re the wrong race, gender or religion.
Emirati’s, the Arabs who are actually from Dubai, run the place. Filipinos, Pakistanis and Indians do most of the service work for them. There is a tight-knit fraternity of Indian multi-millionaires who are important to the UAE economy, but the real power in this country is held by Emirati’s.
Recently, the government admitted that twenty percent of the young Emirati’s applying for marriage licenses were planning to marry their first cousins! As Sly and the Family Stone sang, “It’s a family affair.”
News articles omit actually naming the individuals concerned, but instead report their ethnicity. Last week I read “Two Tunisian men were sentenced to three years in prison each for taunting an Emirati policeman who was taking a shower on the beach. They accused him of being gay and cursed God.”