Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I have a dream. Then realised that was all it was. Just a dream

"I have a dream that one day my four little children will growp up in a nation where they will not be judged by their colour of their skin but by their content and character."

How interesting to see that almost 50 years ago one of the greatest human beings to walk on the face on this earth mentioned this in an American context, only to see it equally applicable to Dubai. Just think about it for a second and you will see what I mean.

Oh and who was this person who said this? Martin Luther King

Welcome ;-)

My first entry… The world of cyberspace be warned! I wonder, can you handle my thoughts, views and emotions? Will this environment of anonymity enable me to vent out what has built up inside of me without having to suffer the repercussions? I wonder…..

Well where do I start? I guess with who I am and what I intend to write in this blog. For reasons that will become obvious, I need to maintain a sense of anonymity for my safety and the safety of others. I am a young, Middle-Eastern individual who has lived his entire life in Dubai( a whole quarter of a century). I have pursued my tertiary education in a western country and have recently returned to my home, Dubai, only to realise that a lot has changed and I wasn’t prepared for it.

My blog will be a place where I will talk about and discuss everything and anything that is considered taboo Dubai. I guess with the safety blanked of anonymity that cyberspace provides you that is what most bloggers do.

So what is my first topic?

Well here I go. I will be explicit as possible.

You live your whole life in a country and it is the only place that you know of that is home and, more importantly, feels like home. It is the only place where when you put your head on your pillow to sleep you have an inner sense of calm and security. Just like a young child when it is rocked to sleep by its mother. It is the only place where you have a sense of belonging and acceptance. It is the only place where you would like to welcome your newborn child, your own blood, into. This is what I consider home.

But Dubai’s very different. I have lived here my whole life and the entire part of it I was systematically considered and continuously reminded of my origins. In fact the whole society works like that. There is an officially set line that separates us from them. Furthermore, society does not let you down in brainwashing you into understanding, believing and accepting that you are not from this country and you never will be. So I grew up, just like every other ‘expatriate’, identifying myself with the country mentioned on my passport.

It was only when I went to study abroad that my entire identity was shattered into pieces. Why you ask? Simple let me give you an example:-

Me: Hi my name is XXX

Friend: Hi I am Sam. Are you new at this Uni?

Me: Yes. I just arrived from Dubai

Friend: Oh so you from Dubai.. that’s in the UAE right?

Me: Well no. I am from XXX but I have lived my whole life in Dubai

Friend: So have you ever lived in XXX

Me: no

Friend: so you have lived your whole life in Dubai and yet you consider yourself from XXX, even though you never lived there. That is strange? I don’t get it. I mean …..

Me: well let me explain dubai to you and how the system of expatriates and locals work…

Now this situation would repeat itself every time I would meet a new individual. Eventually it got me thinking.

I don’t feel comfortable in XXX, my so called homeland, in fact I feel like a tourist there. And even in this country I was studying I was welcomed but it just did not feel right. That feeling deep inside, that emotion inside was not aroused. Then it hit me. No it smashed into me. It smashed into me like a truck roaring ahead at breakneck speed. And it shattered my perceptions and identity. This happened on my first night back during a summer holiday in Dubai. That first night when I rested my head on my pillow to go to sleep, I felt this strange sensation.

A feeling.

An emotion that filled up a void.

An emptiness.

Created from the time I left Dubai.

I felt like a young child being rocked to sleep in its mother’s arms.

To all the people who still don’t get what I mean…let me put it this way: How can I be considered a foreigner when I have lived and contributed as much as the ‘locals’?

One more thing. I hate that word : Local. It is a title self imposed by a minority in this country that implies supremacy and authority over the minnows. In fact I would compare it to the middle ages where nobles were born into their status and wealth although they form a minority, they ruled over the rest of the peasants. It also denotes a form of segregation. NAY, apartheid! ( now I think I have pissed off enough people reading this article). The fact that one group of people are superior to another purely based on their ethnicity, allowed to own land and businesses and countless other privileges that if I start mentioning all of them it would take up a whole page.

Being a ‘local’ is not a title that is should be granted through hereditary lines. It shouldn’t even be a title in the first place. It shouldn’t be a symbolic way in which one could achieve a false sense of superiority. It should be a sign of patriotism, belonging and most of all contributing to society. I have contributed as much to the development of this country as much as a ‘local’(I hate using that term!).