Image source: BBC News

2-year olds are cute, full of energy, stubborn, inquisitive, and in Dubai they also police the expat community.  Their word is final, and what they see is the absolute true representation of what goes on around them.  Even when they’re sleepy … at 2am.  But I shouldn’t judge a 2 year old, maybe it doesn’t sleep at 2am, because 2am evenings are good for going out – party time, toddler style.

This case has me a bit confused.  A sentence based solely on a “statement” from a 2 year old, to her mother, mother who keeps on changing her mind on what happened, depending on who she’s talking to.

As I wouldn’t know first hand about the communication abilities of a 2 year old, I did some searching, and it appears that your average 2 year old has a vocabulary of about 50 words.  Apparently kissing on the lips and touching – in an inappropriate way, are part of THIS toddler’s vocabulary.  Amazing!

Another very interesting point about this case is that the mother who reported all of this to the police is unavailable to testify, and her contact number has been disconnected (according to BBC World News). No witnesses were interviewed to prove the “couple”‘s innocence, and most definitely the brilliant 2 year old was not available for comment.

I agree, that “when in Rome, do like the Romans,” and I do think that I should respect the people, the culture and the values of the society I live in, but when 2 year olds are allowed to make decisions that alter people’s lives – I get thinking.  Is it about the fact that Ayman Najafi is Muslim and he “should know better”?  Because the couple was also fined for alcohol consumption – so he definitely should know better.  But where did they consume this alcohol? Was it possibly in the restaurant that legally serves alcohol? I don’t know the answer to that.

If I ever thought that the Dubai judicial system had any credibility, it just lost all respect in my eyes.  It’s not about the fact that the two are British, and that they should get preferential treatment.  It’s about justice – and second guessing a 2 year old’s statement – made at 2am …  in a restaurant.  Why isn’t anyone investigating the mother’s parenting techniques?  What is she doing out with her 2 year old child in the middle of the night?

Read the story in:
1. The Gulf News
2. Al Jazeera
3. The National
4. BBC News

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Image Source: Gulf News

The country mourns once again, this time it’s the death of the 41 year old Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed al Nahayan – brother of the ruler of the country – Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahayan.  He died in a crash, which took place on March 26th in Morocco.  3 days of mourning have been announced, starting Wednesday.  Here’s the news reported in Gulf News, The National and Bloomberg.

On a brighter note, Sharjah Heritage Days are back!!! If you’ve never been, you absolutely HAVE to give this event a try.  Taking place from April 4 – April 18th, Sharjah Heritage Days are exactly that … a celebration of the UAE national heritage.  Taking placing at the Sharjah Heritage Village, around Souk al Asra (the Old Souk).  If you read Arabic, you will find more info about the event here.

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Image source: Dubai Vision

I heard a re-run of  a previously taped program last night, in which Wael al Sayegh, an Emirati national was discussing the Oprah ‘fiasco’.

He mentioned a few interesting things, some of which that I didn’t even pick up on.

1. Oprah, in her introduction of Dubai, mentioned that the UAE is positioned around the Persian Gulf, which is known as the Arabian Gulf to the millions of Arabs worldwide.

2. Dr. Lamees was indeed incorrect when stating that electricity is free in the emirate of Dubai or in the UAE in general.  Apparently ALL Emiratis pay their electricity bills, BUT water is free. –> if someone has more info on this … feel free …

3. Sheilah vs hijab.  The issue that has caused A LOT of comments from Emirati ladies.  Dr. Lamees mentioned that the sheilah and the abbayah are cultural – and she is 100% correct in stating that.  It is thought that many are misunderstanding what she said, for “hijab” is a form of cultural expression – which is not what she said.

Again, a very interesting program, which you can listen to, in 4 parts, from the Dubai Eye podcast site.

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Sorry Dubai

Posted: November 18, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Image source: Ahlan!

Oprah issued an apology to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, for printing incorrect information on her website, following an interview with Dr. Lamees – an Emirati woman living in Dubai.

Read the story in Ahlan.
Read the story on 7Days.

I wonder whether Oprah will now come to the UAE, and investigate herself.  Time will tell.

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Image Credit: Gulf News

It seems that Dr. Lamees from Dubai has landed herself in a lot of hot water with her fellow Emiratis.  Some are supporting her, but many are attacking her beliefs, as they obviously differ from their own.  The issues are many, two of them being: the Islamic vs. cultural role of the abbaya and the sheilah (veil) and whether or not Emiratis pay for electricity.

This is being reported in the news here in the UAE.

Nov.16th – an update.

I found this article written in the National, and you can read one of Oprah’s forums to see what some of the UAE residents think of the interview.  More here and here (Dubai on the Oprah Show) and here.

Very interesting!

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Oprah talks about Dubai

Posted: November 10, 2009 in Uncategorized
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This Oprah show stirred things up in the UAE. I was listening to a show on Dubai Eye 103.8FM this morning, and the presenters made a reference to it, saying that many were quite unhappy about what was being said. Interestingly, the interview was conducted through Skype, and it presented (from what I observed) a very limited view of the life of women in the UAE. Some generalizations were made, but I really need to read more about this, in order to find out what the commotion is all about.Anybody out there know?

more about "Oprah talks about Dubai", posted with vodpod

Image Credit: Gulf News

I got forwarded this Gulf News article about marital counseling today. And as I read it, I thought: “Yes, way to go, good for you for making marriage a serious matter, good for you for bringing up the fact that it’s not right to divorce your mate over trivial matters.”  Divorce is a serious concern here in the UAE (read more here and here), so much so that authorities have decided to target young couples where they can find them … in malls.  Many views on why divorce rates are sky rocketing have been presented, and everybody has their own opinion, so I won’t go into that.

Getting back to the Gulf News article – I agreed and applauded the first bit – the info about trivialities playing a major role in divorce cases.  And then came the ‘interesting’ part – the counseling part – counseling Sharia style.

According to the article, which refers to Sharia law, as a husband, you have the right to gently reprimand your wife for not doing whatever it is she’s not doing quite the way you’d like her to.  Failing improvement on her part, you should remove yourself from the bedroom – and sleep elsewhere, to allow her to cry herself to sleep and become a better partner, and if ALL THAT doesn’t work, you should whip her … gently … “in a manner that makes her understand the situation” better.

WHAT IN THE WORLD!?!? This man was giving his presentation on making marriage work, as part of the “Sons of Divorce, Where To?” conference at the Al Ittihad Women Association in Sharjah.

I know that he was trying to raise a good point, and if you read the article, the beginning most certainly stresses his concerns for the nation, however the end bit, the bit about gentle whipping … I’m not sure about.  Perhaps it’s just how things get reported here, perhaps it’s the wording, but man oh man … this did not sit well with me … AT ALL.

So ladies, if your husband doesn’t make your coffee strong and sweet enough, first reprimand him, then take away his “bedroom rights” and then whip him … gently.  But then again … he might get the wrong idea.

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