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Driven to anger: Columnist at The National sparks Twitter fury

The National columnist sparks fury

Twitter users' outrage over Emirati columnist Ayesha Al Khoori's reckless 'I drive fast because I love it' column...

March 24, 2013 12:11 by

The writer has now published a new column titled ‘The road to contrition’.

You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet. And, more importantly, you shouldn’t be influenced by it. And nothing could prove this more than the following:

This weekend, Ayesha Al Khoori, an Emirati columnist working for The National newspaper, penned a column discussing the possible lowering of the driving age  here in the UAE – and the repercussions that a change like that could potentially bring. Let’s just say that the usual things, such as warning people to wear seatbelts,  the horror of reckless driving and ‘braking when there’s a dead cat on the road’ were given limited attention.

Rather, the majority of her column was used to share how the drama of speeding is what she needs to ‘keep her going’.

To be fair, she starts her column fairly reasonably, discussing how lowering the driving age in the country may have a positive effect on some, but reinforce the bad behaviour of others. Suddenly, the column takes a drastic turn and she begins to do what I – and others would agree on Twitter – can only describe as condoning speeding and reckless driving.

Apparently, once her niece and nephew ask her to speed up, she simply can’t resist. What was a national newspaper thinking? How any sub-editor and/or editor allowed this to be published is anyone’s guess.

Here’s just some choice bits from her column:

“I began driving long before I got my licence, as did many young people I know. If I could go back in time and drive legally as a teenager, I would go crazy and speed my way across every road and through every junction until my tank ran dry. Of course, others might react differently.

I still make mistakes, the proof of which is that I get more than five tickets a month (last year I accumulated Dh10,000, this year Dh3,000 and yes, I know that’s a lot), but I’m experienced in handling a car at speed.

When I got my first car, an old BMW, I would never exceed 80kph or 100kph and I would never drive after dark. Now, when I’m on the roads of Abu Dhabi, you could say I fly at all times! I try to not go over 160kph, but 180kph isn’t unheard of.

I drive fast because I love it. I feel liberated and excited; in a boring life the thrill of fast driving provides the drama I need to keep me going. My nieces and nephews think I’m a great driver, and ask me to go as fast as I can. I am always in control though. I would never want to hurt them, so I must be careful and responsible even when I’m speeding.”

Kipp took to the streets of the almighty Twitter to make sure we weren’t the only ones:

Clearly this article was not proof-read by a grown up before publication. These views reflect poorly on both the author and publication.” – Andy Turner, Dubai

I’m honestly disgusted. Not so much at her attitude, as this is all too common on the roads, BUT that it has been allowed to be published. She’s clearly breaking laws, endangering lives and then a newspaper purporting to care about safety thinks it’s ok to allow it through.” – Lesley Cully, Founder of Buckle Up in The Back, UAE.

This blog post from The National is an odd one. Not sure they should be glorifying speeding.” – Daniel, Dubai.

I am sorry Ayesha, how is speeding being responsible or in control? Its a machine and anything can happen.” – Mita Ray, Dubai.

That article is all kinds of stupid. The arrogance of the writer is beyond unbelievable.” – Muhammed Ali, Dubai.

I am confused, is this writer for speeding or against reducing the legal driving age?” – Badmaash Daaku.

We can only hope that Al Khoori plans to ‘make a U-turn’ (a safe one, respecting the laws of the road, that is) and return next week with a more responsible outlook.



  1. Cheetah on March 24, 2013 6:19 pm

    Ok, ok everyone calm down. Yes, I would agree that promoting jumping or speeding through junctions is not exactly the best thing to do……however, she said if she had been driving as a teenager warning that others may do it in regard of lowering the age for licenses. She’s just saying what is the truth teenagers feel less danger……what is there to get upset about?

    Secondly, if anyone considers 160 and even 180 (take the legalities aside) as speeding on a major multi-lane highway such as the Dubai-Abu Dhabi one…….grow up!! In other countries in the world that is considered normal. If she’s really aware of the traffic around her and doesn’t do it when there is no space to do it, such as during rush hour I don’t see the big issue either!

    Speeding does not mean driving fast but driving at a speed which is unapproriate and dangerous risking to lose control on whatever road.

    Besides are we grown up, can think for ourselves that we get upset at someone saying as it is. You want to drive slower drive slower as long as you drive responsibly and aware and don’t think that driving slow automatically makes you a safe driver……….

  2. chaz on March 25, 2013 5:46 am

    and silly the rest of us for thinking that driving within the speed limit was activing responsibly.
    Oh well I had better learn that when in Dubai, you drive as you want, not as per the law.

  3. M. Aldalou on March 25, 2013 11:23 am

    Cheetah, thanks for your comment and for reading. To address some of the points you’ve made, we have to begin by saying that the anger isn’t felt particularly towards her but also at the paper for allowing such an article to pass through and be published.

    I hardly doubt that 160 kph in other countries is normal, it’s only in the UAE that it may be considered ‘normal’ and we know everyone does it but it’s different when a journalist at a major national newspaper declares it.

  4. M. Aldalou on March 25, 2013 11:24 am

    Thanks Chaz, always enjoy your comments as usual. Hey, no matter what, driving within the limit is responsible and no well-behaved drivers should be faltered by any of this. Stick to the rules. It isn’t ‘cool’ to break them.

  5. Nahda Crystalina on March 25, 2013 11:25 am

    For the first comment, we have to say that it’s wrong… first not about grown up. This is human safety and speeding is ALWAYS dangerous.


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