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Not Quite That Bad

Reader comment on item: Dubai's Dramatic Drop

Submitted by Ken Wise (United Arab Emirates), Feb 25, 2009 at 23:53


You seem to be a careful, thoughtful writer. As a three-year resident of Dubai let me note that NYTimes' Worth's comments he based on other reporters, not on official statements or firsthand views. No reporter, local or international, has to my knowledge done what I have done--drive through the airport parking garages and police impound lots looking for these thousands of abandoned cars, and through the car shops and dealerships looking for the half price new or used ones. They do not exist. The "flight" and "abandoned cars" theme is myth.

The population of Dubai is growing, not shrinking; work visas granted (which journalists fail to ask about) exceed those cancelled. Yes, the net is lower than last year. Yes, construction planned is postponed, but construction started is being completed--again, stories to the contrary notwithstanding. Traffic jams are every bit as common and sizable as a year ago, except where magnificent new interchanges are open. UAE officials did not refuse visas for Peer or Bedell.

Tournament and Conference sponsors did not request the visas--Peer in part because of demonstrations against her in New Zealand (note Sweden had Israelis play in an empty stadium); Bedell because the conference chair decided the book did not merit launching. Bash Dubai is a current journalistic narrative that apparently helps reduce the feeling of personal disappointment about one's financial fortunes elsewhere in the world. Dubai is not down for the count.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

I appreciate your first-hand report and will signal them in an update after the article in question.

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