View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nationals Try to Fit into the Emirates

Here is the introduction to a new article on Emirati identity:

“It's Friday night in Dubai. Well away from the hotel beach parties, bars and restaurants, young Emirati girls peruse Dubai's mega-malls dressed in embroidered abayas, clutching unapologetically glamorous bags. They don't mingle with the hundreds of foreigners that surround them. Like a junior school dance, the girls huddle at one end of the wall with an "us against them" attitude. They aren't hostile, but they are unapproachable.”

“This is a nation wracked by divisions between communities: from the Indian to the Lebanese, the British to the Filipino. But the biggest chasm divides Emiratis from the rest of their nation's population. Although they are nationals, they are quickly becoming the "national other," marginalized by a lack Western education, conservative cultural values and weak vocational skills. Finally, as the smallest ethnic group in the country they are marginalized by demographics.”

Check out more on how Emiratis are trying to fit into their own country:

The Tricky Business of Integrating UAE Nationals, KippReport, 16 June 2008.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: “But the biggest chasm divides Emiratis from the rest of their nation's population.”