June 23rd, 2012
There’s nothing to do here on a Saturday (the Islamic Sunday) in the summertime but see a movie or sleep with a prostitute. Now, I only do one of those things, but I'm just as bored after the first 15 minutes. I’ve already seen the sights—the...
June 17th, 2012
As the UN Conference on Sustainable Development kicks off in Rio, I look out across the concrete desert of Abu Dhabi 2012 and I wonder what significance the summit may have for the most economically and environmentally unsustainable region on the...
Development and the Desert
The United Arab Emirates—a country of contradictions, of castes, of capital. Here you have a clash of countless cultures, a mix of morals and a variety show of values so incongruent as to seem impossible. The contrasts are as stark as the black of the abaya and the white of the kandura: the prostitutes and the puritans; the Rolls Royce rich and the migrant poor; the oppressive heat and the compassionate cool of the AC. For some people, this place is a paradise; for others, it’s a prison.
The summers are seriously savage—so why have I come back? Was it the allure of Arabia, its beauties and bedouins? Was it the magnetism of money, or the ideology of opportunity that has tempted millions from the First, Second and Third Worlds? No, I’d say above all it’s really because being the only Jew around just makes me feel unique, and keeps me on my toes.
These are my thoughts from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE and a center of early 21st century globalization (whatever that means). If you agree with what I say, feel free to comment on my posts. If you disagree, fuck off.