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The dark side of Dubai


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The dark side of Dubai
Topic: Society 1:48 pm EDT, Apr 11, 2009

Johann Hari:

All over the city, there are maxed-out expats sleeping secretly in the sand-dunes or the airport or in their cars.

"The thing you have to understand about Dubai is – nothing is what it seems," Karen says at last. "Nothing. This isn't a city, it's a con-job."

The sheikh did not build this city. It was built by slaves. They are building it now.

I believe this is what you'd call an indictment.

Jeff Jarvis:

Dubai is either an act of fiction or of the future. I arrived thinking the former; I leave wondering whether it could be the latter.

From the archive, a selection:

Dubai threatens to become an instant ruin, an emblematic hybrid of the worst of both the West and the Middle-East and a dangerous totem for those who would mistakenly interpret this as the de-facto product of a secular driven culture.

... it's clear that the emirate will soon be overflowing with attractions ...

Dubai, with its Disneyesque Arab souks in which you can purchase Arab handicrafts or a Cinnabon ...

The company behind some of Dubai's best-known landmarks is considering a stock market listing to raise as much as $15bn to reinforce its finances.


Read this now.
Back to Johann Hari:

The most famous hotel in Dubai – the proud icon of the city – is the Burj al Arab hotel, sitting on the shore, shaped like a giant glass sailing boat.

The dark side of Dubai

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