Saturday, November 12, 2011

A couple months in

I have been horribly absent - I know. A sign, I suppose, that Dubai really isn't that bad.

It's clean. It's functional. It's ... fine. It's not a place I'll ever fall in love with, but it's manageable. In fact, people always complain that it's easy to lose time here. The days go by quickly and you don't ever know quite how you spent them.

I complain a lot that the place has no soul, but it would be unfair to say it isn't interesting... Where else in the world can you find a woman in a niqab next to a woman in a bikini? Anything goes here, and everyone accepts everyone else as they are. And it is very cosmopolitan. You can find people and food from around the world - though the different cultures are not engrained and appreciated the way they are in, say, Toronto. It's also unique in how quickly it has grown. Many of the places we hang out in were desert just thirty - or in some cases five! - years ago.

We spend long hours here debating Egyptian politics, Syria's uprising, Qaddafi's death. I fear the elections in Egypt will be a disaster, given how complicated the election rules are and how little anyone knows about the different party platforms - including the parties themselves! In Syria, I spend a lot of time arguing with friends that things are not as black and white as they seem on TV... that there are weapons and interests at play within the opposition and that a significant proportion of the population still supports Bashar. Qaddafi's death? Even my friend's 65-year-old mother couldn't stop herself from watching the gruesome videos...

All this to say, it's been interesting.

I'm off to Libya in the coming days, to get a sense of how things are progressing on the ground in what is likely to be the hardest part of the revolution; and then to Egypt for the elections.

I promise I'll blog more consistently when I get back.

*** The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the opinions or positions of the United Nations or IRIN ***

1 comment:

Pemma said...

I love this line: "Where else in the world can you find a woman in a niqab next to a woman in a bikini?"