It seems that Americans criticize every country...but their own. I, on the other hand, am an equal opportunity critic. I point out everything and anything that catches my attention, which I do not like or with which I do not agree.
What brought on this rant? I read Vanity Fair each month, and usually every article. I like the eclectic mix of topics and tend to agree with their slant on things. This month their appeared a particularly biased and ethnocentric article about Dubai by a certain A. A. Gill. He must have picked the wrong time of year and let the heat affect his judgment.
I like Dubai. I take it for what it is. It is a good place for a vacation. It offers something for everyone, from families with children to the vacationing dictator, mafia boss, or petty crook. The top hotels are some of the best in the world. The service is unparalleled. It is a shoppers’ paradise, with malls that make the best in the US look like a 7/11.
The Vanity Fair article reported only the negative, but the author revealed himself as a hypocrite. Right from the start, he criticized the airport, one of the most modern, efficient, and clean in the world. He must be fond of those temples of misery one must endure when traveling by airplane in his country.
Las Vegas seems to be for him the gold standard of cities having sprung from the desert. The rulers are criticized for using mineral wealth to turn the desert into something more modern and not knowing what will happen once the oil runs out. At least Dubai will have water. Unlike Las Vegas, which is running out and is surrounded by sand, the Emirates are producing all they need through desalinization.
Of course the subject of labor comes up in any country outside the US, which has managed to import all the impoverished workers they need from Latin America. Unfortunately, workers are exploited in all countries in one way or another. Dubai might appear more blatant, because of the amount of construction and lack of indigenous labor. I saw similar scenes in Hong Kong and southern China. On the other, thousands of jobs are provided to people from poverty stricken countries. They might be worse off at home, but no one mentions that. Perhaps, the author should do an article on workers in the US, such as those of Walmart, who slave to make the Waltons one of the wealthiest families on earth. Unlike the sheiks, they have put nothing back into the country (I doubt they even pay taxes).
People may not like the strict laws, but Dubai is one of the safest countries in the world. If you play by the rules, it is a good place to live, work, and vacation. I have a friend that has run a business and raised a family there. He complains only about the summer heat.
And, one should look at the crime rate in Las Vegas or view the blatant peddling of prostitutes on the main street each night in front of the top hotels (even though it is illegal in Henderson County).
A few sentences before the author mentions arrogant treatment of foreign waiters by some local men, he states that he “tossed the key” of his car to the valet. I learned that one is polite to workers and does not to throw things. How is his action any less arrogant?
Ethnocentricity is easy...for stupid, lazy people. Hypocrisy is
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.