After watching this on youtube, I felt it necessary to write up something. Let me make one thing perfectly clear – “One cannot place judgement on an entire sect of people based on the actions of a few misguided individuals.” That said, its getting increasingly hard. Haha…
When people think of the Middle East, they usually think of places like Iraq, Syria, Iran, Israel and Palestine. And of its people..? Narrow-minded Jihadists. Sadly nothing can be further from the real truth.
Of course, thinking about this part of the world, you’ll only remember these places and their conflicts. But there are other places, totally unaffected and completely isolated from all the crap you read in the newspapers. Places like Oman for instance. Oman is a place where life seems simple. When you think the Middle East is nothing but desert, Oman will make you think otherwise. The beauty and greenery of the place will make you forget all the preconceptions that you’ve ever had. Iran is another place. Visiting that country’s cold areas and you’d think that you’re on a ski holiday in Switzerland.
The people in the Middle East are a mixed bunch. In places like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (Dubai), you’ll notice the locals living the high life while expats do most of the manual labor. If you cross the border into Oman, you’ll find its locals driving taxi cabs and working along side the expats, earning the same salaries, etc.
Their lifestyles also sometimes translates into the way they behave. While some in Dubai will act like pre-madonnas and treat expats like lesser mortals, others will carry themselves with dignity, respect and actually treat you like a proper human being.
I know I have mentioned quite a few sad things about this place in my previous articles, but I will keep things balanced. If you really want to see actual discrimination, just visit a government department in Dubai. You’ll find different treatment based on your nationality, sex and looks. Sorry, truth is the truth.
Of course in general, the locals of the United Arab Emirates are actually rather friendly people. The well educated one, you can expect to treat you the way that you deserve to be treated. But that does not deny the fact that its not what you’ll see most of the time. Most of the local kids these days are growing up with wealth that they did not earn and they think that they so untouchable that nothing can go wrong for them. This also translates into the way that they treat people. You’ll find the kids going around, running keys on cars, misbehaving in public, etc. The worst part is that while other countries have such things as juvenile detention, over here, there is nothing like that. You can complain all you want, but nothing will be done to correct them. You can expect cover-ups, etc. There I go – sounding negative again.
In the video above, Gabriel describes his visits to Saudi Arabia and Dubai. He isn’t wrong. All what he saw and spoke about this place is true. Its amazing, the people are friendly, but just like everywhere else in the world, there are the issues that you won’t see in a hurry until you experience them 1st hand.
All that said, places like Dubai and its people are changing. I’ve been here since I was 5 years old. I know its ins and outs. As the media prods deeper into the place that won the 2020 World Expo, you can be sure that things will change. From what I’ve seen, sometimes its for the better, other times.. No.
Make no mistake, I want this place and its people to prosper; its been my home for the past 20 something years. I’ve met some real good gems amongst the locals. MY view is treat everyone with respect and the way that you want to be treated. Over here, such probably wont be reciprocated the same way, but that should never stop you from doing the right thing.