Saturday, April 11, 2009

In awe of human madness...

A thousand things I have to do today. Still I spent an hour reading this article Al sent me and thinking about it:

The Dark Side of Dubai

Dubai has been a fascination of mine for years, from its simulated histories to its booming excesses, but this article flat-out destroys me. The portrait the writer produces of the city-state is nothing short of terrifying in the prospects it reflects for humanity. Read this article. Tell me what you think. I'm in awe... impressed and afraid.

Some amazing pictures to augment the article here:

Editorial and subjective though he may be, Johann Hari is one hell of a journalist. This story seems like a life's work to me, I'd love to be able to process the enormity of any place as well as he does, even with a monster like this. I love how he ties the Dubai back to how we run our globalized economy as a whole, just hyper-condensed into one place.


Esther said...

I should have been in bed hours ago... but once I started reading that article I couldn't stop.

I'd read a little about Dubai in National Geographic, but it was all about the amazing buildings and hotels, and just how rich you had to be to afford a room in one of them. Nothing about slavery.

Reading articles about conditions in Africa, China and India are always difficult, but these people's stories were even harder to bare. The fact that they traveled to Dubai with hope... just to end up in worse conditions than they started, apart from their homes and families... made it that much worse.

And the expats... the journalist's frustration was my frustration. The problem is that he made a really disturbing point at the end that made me wonder if I'm much different from them.

Thank you for posting this Davey, it really opened my eyes and made me analyze my own consumerism. I'm going to do more research now.

Davey D said...

I'm really glad you took some time with it Esther. I think the relationship to our own consumerism is interesting, because we are in the same have/have-not system, it's just not so readily apparent. In Dubai, India, and Egypt, for example, people of privilege have to come to terms with their excesses in the face of those they exploit, hence the self-defensive comments from one of the Emiratis he interviewed. We aren't as readily confronted with the flip-side of our privledge, but the things we do still fit into a larger social context, as depressing as that is.

My solution is to try to minimize my impact, and have an emphasis on leveling or giving back to the lowest common denominator in the work I do. So I do have the privilege and resources to have nice bicycles, but I also apply the resources I have towards helping other people roll at the bike collective.

Not a solution, but helps me sleep at night...

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