Image credit: Taha
So I was watching the spectacular opening ceremony of the building formerly known as Burj Dubai but now renamed to Burj Khalifah. It was something epic. Most people agree - Burj Khalifah is a magnificent building, well designed, pleasing to the eye, while being a marvel of technology as there were significant engineering and physical challenges to overcome while building a structure this big.
Check out this video - someone at the Burj Khalifah is at eye level with a plane!
Yet, while reading the news reports about this building, one can sense a condescending attitude from the Western media. Why is that?
During the initial boom stages, everyone rushed to fawn over Dubai.
"Today it's Mumbai, Shanghai or Dubai, else it's bye bye."
I remember that quote. Every time Dubai proposed some preposterous, the media wrote shining articles in golden letters. And this was the free media of the West! Only a few brave souls raised the issue of the abuse of workers in Dubai.
And then came the financial crunch, and Dubai's real estate crash. Dreams came crashing down, and suddenly, the tone of reporting of Dubai in the west took on a more sinister note.
It was suddenly with glee that Dubai's property bubble being burst was reported. It was with barely concealed laughter that we learned how cranes are now empty in Dubai, or how the Atlantis's washrooms flooded, or how sewage was piling up in Jumeirah beach. With dubious standards of reporting we read how cars are being abandoned at Dubai airport, with the number quoted sometimes more than Dubai airport's parking space would allow.
(Trust me, parking in Dubai is a hassle. You can NOT abandon 3000 cars in the airport, there's simply not enough place to put them all!)
Today should have been Dubai's crowning moment. They are literally at the top of the world. However, if you read through the reports (do a Google news search) you can see the tone of the articles.
Dubai, broke ...
Dubai, taking a $10b loan from Abu Dhabi, are ...
Probably the last party in Dubai for a while ...
Now if you read through the comment section of many newspapers, which are not subject to any editorial standards, the malice is hardly hidden at all. Let's take a look at some samples from the Star.
What a waste of resources, talent, labour and money. This is not a refection of mankind's achievements since going higher is so "been there, done that". Little wonder this tiny, insignificant principality is bankrupt and requires support from the oil-rich emirates to survive.Now these are only a sample, and there are many comments praising Dubai. But this is the Toronto Star of Canada. Care to know what the readers of the Daily Mirror in UK are thinking?
Yep, The Burj Khalifa Is The World's Tallest Skyscraper ....
.... not to mention the world's ugliest.
Good For Them
I hope it's earth quake proof.
What an incredible waste of money for a country in the midst of a financial crisis!
Ghost tower - 160 stories of empty space in a debt ridden city. Nice!!
Ironic - Tallest building goes up across the world from where the tallest buildings were brought down.
A country with false sense of pride..Bigger is not always better.
Wow. Talk about rich people with penis envy.
Why the hate of Dubai? It cannot be their concern of human rights because a) most of the workers are from Pakistan which these people hate even more and b) they deal with China, India, Russia all the time which also commit numerous human rights abuses. So, why?
I think it's because they are jealous. Dubai has reached for the stars, and has fallen. But nevertheless, their efforts are not going to be lost. They will learn from their mistakes and their achievements will remain.
Most of the top 10 of the world's tallest, biggest etc. are now slowly moving to Asia, and these people are jealous. They see the East rising and they cannot stomach it. Even more as their own countries are not doing something as imaginative or dream worthy.
Also a good read by the wonderful Achelois:
Why one should consider living in the GCC countries