March 23, 2009
Sullivan & Overheated Blithering on about Dubai (Dhimmitude to ban nakedness.... really)
Dhimmitude In Dubai
The joys of theocracy, even in an international city-state whose population is 80 percent foreign:
Reading Andrew Sullivan's blog in between tracking financial sector meltdown and scheming to keep my little empire going, I ran across this absurdly overheated characterisation of the new rules for Dubai's vast commercial waste lands.
As I wrote in an email to him, this is absurd bollocks as an over-reaction.
From the underlying article: Dubai bans nudity, dancing and holding hands
Unlike most of its neighbours in the conservative Gulf region, the emirate tolerates a relatively relaxed dress code and hosts dozens of hotels that have bars and clubs, where alcohol is legally served.
Whatever the fate of the proposed instructions, it's highly unlikely any crackdown could spill over to Dubai's many resorts and nightclubs, where booze flows freely and the attire is the same as any tropical vacation spot.
For now, the rules appear aimed at one of Dubai's main tourist draws: the mega-malls that serve as full-service entertainment hubs and where already, signs encourage shoppers to respect local customs and keep hem lines sensible and T-shirts from getting too skimpy.
The signs were mostly ignored without any serious fallout. The new rules could reflect authorities finally pushing back.
As I wrote in my email to Sullivan, given the dress in the shopping malls, but more so the clear presence of Leb Sluts and Russian 'Dancers' trolling for companions of a commercial quality, with the down turn I rather suspect the authorities see an occasion to reign in the more egregious and obvious behaviour, to head off reaction on the part of the more conservative in the community. More "blue haired old granny" than "theocracy" (how Dubai in any way qualifies for "theocracy" in the ordinary meaning of the term in the English language escapes me. If it does, then 19th century New England qualified as a theocracy, with its blue laws and the like). Even more idiotic than his fuming at a non-existent theocracy (again that is just plain idiotic - a real Islamic theocracy, run by say ... well actual theocrats - say a Faqih - rather than secular royals of suspect morals would ban consumption of alcohol rather than merely advise residents to try not to get falling down drunk except in designated falling down drunk areas. Bloody hell if that's theocracy, London with its Pub crackdown is a bloody theocracy) ... where was I?
Ah yes, more idiotic than his fuming about non-existent theocracies is labelling this Dhimmitude.
Where the bloody fuck that came from escapes me as there is no sign of anything related to the Dhimma - no Xians or Hindu rules, and precious little gesture at differentiating even the Muslims from the others - nothing in there about Muslims having to wear a certain kind of dress as such.
A bit of news for Sullivan: a rather large portion of the 80% expat community is not fellow Anglo Saxons (although they do represent an overly ruddy verging on lobsterish elite for the time being - how long remains to be seen with the exodus of expatriates (FT arty), but rather Hindu and Muslim Indian Subcons - large number of Pakibastards in there. And non-Gulf Arab expats, Lebs, Jordanian-Palestians, etc. It may have escaped Sullivan, but for example the Hindus from India are hardly coming from a culture that thinks Brit Pub crawling is a great thing.... Well let me just share this Dubai pic as an antidote for the overdone, ill informed whanking.
My god, I have been driven to defend Dubai. Twice this evening. I feel unclean.
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"It may have escaped Sullivan, but for example the Hindus from India are hardly coming from a culture that thinks Brit Pub crawling is a great thing..."
I know this is just an aside but I'll comment on it anyway. Hinduism has nothing like the prohibition on alcohol that Islam has. While there are many strains, in general, Hinduism really hasn't that much to say about alcohol, per se, though I suppose there is a kind of general attitude that it's in bad taste to get falling-down drunk.
Many Hindus, especially from certain social classes, address this issue by acquiring astounding capacities for alcohol. I have been, for example, on pub crawls with many at least nominal Hindus and these folks did not pick up their ability to knock it back while visiting London on holiday. Their drinking skills were clearly honed over many years of diligent practice.
Hinduism does share with Islam, albeit not to Islam's often fanatical extent, a certain priggishness regarding nudity and public displays of affection. I've always thought this odd from a culture that gave the world the Kama Sutra and some of the most eye-popping temple art in human history, but there you are.
Posted by: Anonymous at March 29, 2009 05:18 PM
Anon: I suspect you've missed Lounsbury's point here. He isn't especially interested in Hindu scriptures, and well, neither are most Hindus. It's just that most Hindus in Dubai - and indeed Indian expatriates in general - hail from places where public drunkenness is very much frowned upon. Indeed, any amount of alcohol consumption may be viewed negatively, especially outside the biggest cities. This is because Indian society has for decades prized conservative values. Religion really isn't a major part of the discourse in India when various states discuss (or try to enforce) prohibition. Similarly, Dubai's latest press release on this subject has more to do with Khaleeji social norms than Quranic injunctions.
Posted by: dubaiwalla at March 30, 2009 04:40 AM
Thanks Anon Mate, you've pointed out the bloody goddamned obvious and entirely missed the bloody point of my observation.
However, traditional Hindus from India don't much approve of public besottedness a la Londres, and even women going out to drink.
Well, in any case Dubaiwalla at least proved he has above average reading skills, thanks.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at March 30, 2009 06:39 AM
Although Dubaiwalla DOES indeed have above-average reading skills, they weren't even required here.
Our first commenter rather illustrates how people constantly read into discussions of Middle East mores and social customs/regulations imputations about robotic applications of creeping Sharia, as Sullivan himself did, and was clearly not the case in the above entry.
Posted by: matthew hogan at March 30, 2009 09:19 AM
Just stumbled across this blog, and have been enjoying the many articles posted here, until I came across the word "Pakibastards" in this entry. I'm Pakistani and I'd really like to know why you use this term to describe Pakistanis who live in Dubai.
Posted by: Bina at March 30, 2009 02:13 PM
I might add that I have visited Dubai six or seven times in my life, and have many relatives and friends who live there.
Posted by: Bina at March 30, 2009 02:16 PM
Purely for the self-entertainment value and rendering a boring observation more colourful and fun (for me).
Rest assured, I have nothing against Pakibastids, nor Anglobastids, nor any particular bastids. The phrasing simply entertains me.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at March 31, 2009 08:40 AM
Ha ha! Fair enough. I can now rest, assured.
Posted by: Bina at March 31, 2009 08:42 AM