voyd on Fri, 8 Nov 2019 14:13:27 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Facebook

"if you have not spent significant time here, you would not realize..."

Sure, I will.
Consider that the amount of money being invested here in future policy, infrastructure, education (nearly 3 billion in higher ed for a country of 12 million) is staggering. The local attire is worn as a symbol of identity and class, and it is not mandatory, like in my wife's country, Iran. Despite any laws, creative _expression_ is generally open and artistic forums like the Sharjah Art Foundation, Dubai Culture are pushing some unbelievably avant-garde work. I won't give my resident country a full pass, but the fact that it is illegal to demean, insult, or deride anyone's religion is illegal means that the UAE is generally more civil than the USA. We have some net filters, sure. But 70 -90 nationalities, overall civility, and almost no crime. It's interesting.

But I was at the Daiso store looking at the National Day paraphenalia, and I noticed costumes that were VERY "Western" in nature, and Arabic figures for a nativity... another thing is that a 3D CGI animation of Sheikh Zayed that was loved here was totally at odds with Islamic Aniconism, but it was surprisingly OK. There is a huge shopping mall under the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and a Buudhist temple is being erected in Abu Dhabi. 

The syncretic nature of the place is unbelievable, and it constantly gets mistaken for Saudi. It definitely isn't but even Saudi has about the same underground secularism as Iran.  With the moral decentering of America, as an American, I don't feel like I have any moral superiority here, or if so, only in specific areas.

Geoffrey, what I am saying is that the UAE is far more heterogenous than one would imagine. It's surprising.
I'll leave it at that.
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