Some day last week while I was getting in my daily dose of Facebook stalking, I stumbled upon this gem
*insert excessive eye-rolling and heavy sarcasm here* of an article on a friend’s wall: Who in their right mind would want to visit Dubai?, written by Alex Proud.
As the title already indicates, throughout his piece, Mr. Proud’s big, overarching question concerns why people from all over the world still decide to visit Dubai, “this ghastly place”? According to him, “[i]t’s a hideous, brutal, oil-rich theocracy that exports terrorism.”
I don’t even know where to start. There is so much wrong with this article in my humble point of view. Mr. Proud criticizes lots of things about the city – the climate (“horrendously hot and humid”), the culture (“close to zero real culture”), its appearance (“some of the worst upscale architecture”).
First, what the hell is “real” culture, Mr. Proud? “Real” according to whom? You? Same for the climate or the appearance – maybe for Mr. Proud Dubai doesn’t really exhibit the ideal conditions concerning these two aspects. Does that give him the right to go and write a hateful article? Don’t think so.
And you know what’s funny? Mr. Proud has never even really been to Dubai.
(Okay, neither have I, but I don’t go and publish some article about it where I rant about the place, the people living there and the people visiting it.)
Here is where I make a confession. I have only been to Dubai once – and that was when I had a three-hour layover on my way to a far more pleasant destination. I never left the airport. But, actually, I don’t think this matters at all. It’s not necessary to spend a week in Dubai to know that it represents the very worst of East and West.
Just to get this straight: first, he writes a mini-essay about how horrible and disgusting and what not Dubai and its people are … and then he admits that he’s never actually been there. He’s only spent a couple of hours at the airport – which can’t even be considered part of Dubai, let’s be real, because, what the hell are airports? There’s people from all over the world there, a bunch of generic, globalized chain restaurants – you can’t even consider it a real place, it’s more like a non-place
(Marc Augé, Cultural Studies, blabla – International Studies corrupted me, okayyyy).
Oh, but that doesn’t matter, because Mr. Proud thinks that it’s okay not to go to Dubai before saying that Dubai is shit because it’s so obvious or whatever. And because his friend says that “[i]f you’ve seen Dubai Airport, then you’ve seen Dubai.” What credible statements, really.
Okay, so I guess, what I want to say here is: go to a place first before having such a strong opinion about it, and publishing said opinion. Or don’t publish this kind of stuff at all because it sounds super condescending and Western-centric and one-sided and and and. Give poor Dubai and the people who live there or want to live there or are interested in it a chance.
Anyways. Not sure how much sense all of this made, but I had to get my anger out. Sorry for all the ranting! But: if you disagree with anything I said, feel free to let me know in the comments. Hope you have a wonderful day!