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Stumbling on criticism

Stumbling on criticism

The sex-on-the-beach soap is over. But the saga continues for Dubai and its ailing image

October 16, 2008 12:23 by



Michelle Palmer, 36, and Vince Acors, 34, have been found guilty of having sex on the beach in Dubai. The saga, then, is finally over. Criticism of Dubai (and in some instances, the UAE) that the case has instigated, however, isn’t likely to stop.

The case has exposed the cultural and social contradictions in the UAE. On the one hand, conservative Emiratis and Gulf Arabs seem isolated from the greater expatriate community, and many expatriates appear oblivious to the local culture and its customs. The UAE press has already exposed the chasm between foreigners and locals; indeed, for those living in the emirate, Dubai’s inconsistencies are a matter of fact.

What the Palmer and Acors case has done is expose those contradictions to the world; some articles (such as The Sun’s Boozy Brits go Wild in Dubai) have showcased Dubai as a hypocritical emirate that sells potential expatriates one dream, only to present them with an entirely different reality.

The exposure, however, reveals more than just the cultural discrepancies in the emirate. The BBC published an article about Dubai’s sewage problem; The Sunday Herald ran with a story about Dubai’s “dirty secrets”; and most notably, The Observer printed a lengthy commentary about British expat life in Dubai (which was reprinted by the Taipei Times).



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4 Comments

  1. ColnelDecker on October 16, 2008 12:38 pm

    Look at this self-congratulatory sentence written in september:

    “But turning it into a wider statement about the UAE’s Arab or Islamic values? Kipp makes no such pretence. We just enjoy writing about it.”

    How does that reconcile with the hard-hitting analysis in graph two of the article above?

    “The case has exposed the cultural and social contradictions in the UAE. On the one hand, conservative Emiratis and gulf Arabs seem isolated from the greater expatriate community, and many expatriates appear oblivious to the local culture and its customs. The UAE press has already exposed the chasm between foreigners and locals; indeed, for those living in the nation, Dubai’s contradictions are a matter of life in the emirate.”

    I suppose you were just enjoying yourself.

     
  2. Scott on October 19, 2008 10:23 am

    I don’t see much of a contradiction there, although yes, I did enjoy writing that first piece. (I didn’t write the second, but enjoyed reading it.)

    The “wider statement” Kipp was referring to — and has been keen to avoid — was the silly idea that these people got into trouble because they were caught doing the deed in the UAE — a place of supposedly strict Arab-Islamic values — as opposed to anywhere else. As this article points out, anybody doing the same in Britain would likely face the same punishment or worse.

     
  3. Paul Taylor on October 19, 2008 10:59 am

    Where’s the contradiction? Have sex on a public beach anywhere in the world, get caught and you get done! End of story.

     
  4. Walid Fawal on October 19, 2008 2:43 pm

    I just want know something, is there any place in the world that legalize sex in the public beaches. I can understand what all this noise about.
    how about if this coupl were Asian or Arab, what would be the british media reaction? they wont bother to comment enven

     

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