Saturday, April 14, 2007

I must be halucinating!

I can't believe this! After all these years of every tom, dick & harry ( in our case: Jasim, Abood, Abdulla) tell me that my views are too extreme, irrational and immpractical:-

"The demographic figures ( of UAE) alone are frightening and raise serious issues regarding national identity, citizenship, residency, multiculturalism, sustainability and, ultimately...."

"Coexistence strategy could well be a new social contract whereby the local Emirati minority willingly accept to share power with the overwhelming foreign majority.

The first step is to grant residency which will eventually lead to a permanent citizenship...........with brand new national identity that is neither Arab nor local but rather multicultural and global in essence."

Dr Jamal Al Suwaidi Director of the government-run Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR)

AMAZING... seems like i needed a PHD for people to take me seriously


B.D. said...

Those are some interesting ideas raised by the professor. My belief is that there will be a change eventually in the status quo regarding residency, citizenship and the like. It has happened here in the past, hasn't it, with new groups being granted citizenship? As the professor points out, just look at the demographics. I have read projections that say at some point the local (Emirati) population in Dubai will dwindle to 2%. I'm sure the thought would cause many Emiratis to shutter. But the fact is demographics and the politics surrounding it are very fluid things. There is no reason why, say, anyone living a long time--10, 20, 30 years--in a place, should not at some point be granted permanent residency or citizenship. The "if you don't like it you can leave attitude" among some in this country is no longer relevant once people who are non-resident/non-citizen are allowed and even encouraged to establishe their domiciles here. It becomes no more reasonable to expect them to pick up and leave than the person born or raised here.

rosh said...
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rosh said...
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rosh said...
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rosh said...

It’s quite encouraging to read the professor’s comments. However - to me, the issue is not entirely on residence or citizenship. Primarily yes I'd LOVE to have some sort of a stable recognition in my "home" - the town of my birth and life & memories thereafter.

However - I feel residency or citizenship does not guarantee "naturalization" - in its true sense.

Primarily I felt, being naturalized would make me a citizen in it’s true sense. Then I got thinking & debating with several 2nd/3rd generation expat souls like you & I and with a few fellow Emi friends and acquaintances - and have come to realize - naturalization perhaps is more of "window dressing" - given that ((for the most part) lack of integration in this country is a serious issue if you begin to look at the picture/debate from a larger perspective.

This is an Emi nation - and those to be naturalized should expect to embed (for the large part) with the Emi's, their ways of living – sensitivities etc all – i.e. sort of like say, my cousins in the states – who are 2nd/3rd generation immigrant kids – who are very American and in it’s true sense.

I see 2nd/3rd generation cousins in the states and feel lost - am neither like them - nor like souls from my parent’s home nations – or someone who managed to embed with the Emi community partly or entirely – and I think this is the case for the large majority of 2nd/3rd generation expat offspring’s.

Although this can partly be attributed to the fact that except for a few, most Emi’s who wish to preserve their culture/identity may not wish to amalgamate with expat souls – it’s still no excuse. The integration issue is not in any way directed solely towards Emi’s but to all communities who live in this nation – be it the Arab exapts, the Sub-cons, western souls and other Asians. I’ve shared my sentiments on by blog (link below) – on the lack of integration.

Point being – those expecting to be naturalized would – "want" to be home with the natives – would "want" to call this place home above any other – and "should" be involved with the process of acceptance & integration of souls from varied communities/backgrounds – else we’d all be UAE citizens, but with varied ideologies and allegiances –and I don’t think any true citizen would want that?

Anyhow my two cents worth. I'd love to live or visit the UAE and not be visa'd for once in my life -hell I am disoriented with visas -don't use VISA credit cards either : )

btw - would you have the link to the entire interview with this professor?

B.D. said...

Don't know what comments you deleted Localexpat--didn't see them--but I'm glad you did. No doubt, they were immature and vitriolic. People who don't know how to be civil don't have a right to be heard.

To get back to the topic at hand, I would raise the point Rosh that there are so many countries, in the West for example, that have had a relatively open immigration/naturalization process that has resulted in their mixed populations. No doubt the infusion of different cultures and attitudes have affected and shaped these countries, but so be it. There is nothing intrinsicly wrong with change in any society, especially now as the world has become so globalized.

Naturalization or not, the UAE is evolving dramatically. Introducing some form of permanent residency or naturalization would be less a question of forcing change or the values of others within the society--this is already the defacto reality. What it does is create a more realistic social, political framework. No one is suggesting that the 80% expat population in this country be granted residency or citizenship. I think what some would argue for is a process by which those long-term residents who do demonstrate a commitment to the nation have available to them a process to make their residency permanent. At present there is no such process, as far as I know.

Let me offer Japan as a case in point. There is such a process by which people can become naturalized. And let me add that the Japanese are very sensitive about the issue of their own culture being diluted. Even with such a process available to those who are so inclined there are very few who in reality do this. The truth is, most people would have no desire to exchange thier own nationality for that of another country unless they did in fact feel a greater sense of comittment to the new country. In that sense I beleive very few people, very few of the hundreds of thousands of expats in the UAE would ever want to apply for citizenship--so I don't see any threat to Emirati identity coming from that.

The "threat" if you want to call it that already exists in the defacto situation in the country--irrespective of the residency/naturalization question.

localexpat said...

the highlighted section is the link to the entire interview.

b.d i didn't remove the comments. done by author

would love to comment further but in a rush...

rosh said...

"I believe very few people, very few of the hundreds of thousands of expats in the UAE would ever want to apply for citizenship"

Yes - I agree, especially, given the fact UAE would not allow dual citizenships. I for one am more than willing to give up the couple I have.

My comments sort of reflect my sincere sentiments - i.e. would I become a true (or close to) Emi - should I (or several 2nd/3rd gen expat kids) be naturalized?

Like I said - I see my cousins in the US & the UK - they are Americans and Brits in it's true sense. I wonder how many of us "expats" can be that? Growing up everything was temporary – we never had someone or something concrete telling "us" you are all one, under one nation – or something along those lines. Plus the Emi culture is conservative – not many embedded with an Emi or vice versa the past decades – but thankfully things are changing these days – however I’ve also heard comments from fellow Emi’s re: their need/want to preserve their culture – and one way to do so is be amongst themselves.

It's confusing and frustrating to be honest i.e. if we can't embed in a place we feel home - then what is the point of being naturalized? It should be an Emi place with a strong Emi essence. I say this whilst fully acknowledging I, myself have such little Emi essence. Because the alternative - (and I say this with all due respect) could be a nation which merely is an extension of sub-con nations or Persia or Europe - and don't think anyone wanting to be a true blue UAEian would want that?

Partly am just venting away - cause it's not easy living with this stigma of being temporary or an expat in your "home" - more so when there is such little chance for an integrated society - sigh.

However, I concur with most of what you've said.

bklyn_in_dubai said...

local --

where did you see this interview -- in a paper recently? can you give the link?

rosh said...

BID - the link's in the main post, towards the end of the post - I missed it too : )

Anonymous said...

All professors (in every one of the 7 colleges and universities I have studied at... I get bored fast) have excellent ideas.

However, it is politicians, not scholars who make policy. and in this case you have a minority with all the power and who's new generation (me) dont only want to exclude non citizens, but are actively seeking to deport/hurt/kill (I'm serious, in some extreme cases) non citizens.

So sure,scholars always have great ideas. Socrates had great ideas. we all know what happened to him.

The fact is this. WE (as UAE citizens) DO NOT WANT TO SHARE WHAT WE HAVE WITH OTHERS. simple. i dont speak for all Emaraties... but I share the view of a huge majority. easily 70%. and those who dont have this view are those with no influence.

Your whole blog seems to be centered around something that (as far as the past, present, and immediate generations) are concerned will never happen. It's sad.

rosh said...
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rosh said...

Anon @12:59 - feel "bad" for yourself, sincerely you seem pretty lost & insecure – here’s why:

Naturalization - I know several non Emi's naturalized the past 2 years (including a family of 12, who are my immediate neighbours in the UAE). Most have lived here shorter than I, some are not Arabs or Muslims.

Oh and get this - a few received UAE citizenships in return for personal "favours" - and have no real intention to be true citizens. These perhaps shall be the first souls to fly out, should, say Iran walk into the UAE.

My brother's fiancé was naturalized a UAE citizen in 2006. My brothers or I can file and most likely be naturalized - but we chose not to, given the valid sentiments I've expressed in my earlier comments.

Re: sharing - the less I talk about it - the better.

Take a happy pill – sincerely, most amongst us would not want you to feel "sad" for us – really.

Mubarak said...

L Exp:

I am frequent reader of ur blog. And I find it interesting to read. But this time you disappointed me.

you hinted in ur blog that those were the words of Dr. Abdulkhaliq Abdullah, while he actually was referring critically to Dr. Jamal Al suwaidi lecture.

Dr. Abdullkhaliq was merely qouting. You should have made that clear in ur blog.

ur crediblity is at stake here.

I dont debate the issue here but rather I am concerned about your way reporting it!!

localexpat said...


Thanks for pointing out the mistake. Sorry didn't realise it. Human error :-)

Mubarak said...

No harm done; apology accepted.

I guess u can remove my comments now; it is irrelevant no more. :-)......

Anonymous said...

People get naturalized all the time. at a very slow pace, sure, and yes, some arent even arab or muslim. connections do wonders.

Now, i am not against ALL people being naturalized. my father's construction companies are managed by a lebanese man who has bee building (literally) this nation for 30 years. he makes enough to where he doent need a UAE passport for any favors.

But he deserves one. you know?

I'm all for a case by case basis for people who have poured their hearts and souls into this land.

a note, there is a HUGE difference between making someone a citizen by handing them a passport and vs. handing them a passport AND a family book.

Most people who are naturalized are NOT given a family book, and thus basically deemed 2nd level citizens.

Case by case people, case by case. generalizations are... eh.

moviemania said...

I feel that the Emiratis in this country should start opening up and getting used to the fact that right now, they are sharing their lands with other people.

Many people have been here for so long, are contributing to this economy and have/are making it what it is.

The only problem is that many Emiratis feel like they haven't agreed or asked all the expats to come here. But the fact is, this is the situation. This country could never have been what it is now without the expatriate population.

So why not allow them to integrate?

It will be a long and gradual process, but I feel it will happen sometime in the future.

However, the problem is many people wouldn't want to adopt local culture and don't even know much about it.

Maybe if the Emarati population mixed with the expatriates there would be more understanding and appreciation for the local culture.

In any case, this step seems to be inevitable. It will probably occur someday..

nativeinformant said...

wow. very interesting, and surprising indeed. goes against every definition of national identity usually put forward by citizens, expats, and the state. btw, are you a reader of there have been a few posts there about this issue and the possibility of permanent residency for expats and what that would mean for national identity.