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uae journalist replies to johann hari

uae journalist replies to johann hari

Old Apr 11th 2009, 1:20 pm
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Default uae journalist replies to johann hari

Agent.ae recently sent an article titled “The Dark-side of Dubai.” In response to this article, which was written by a UK bases journalist who paid a visit to Dubai, a local Emirati journalist felt compelled to reply. Agent.ae in fairness to impartiality and without bias would like to share the response in the same manner as our first email.]


Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi:
If you think Dubai is bad, just look at your own country
Say that I’d written that in first world Britain there are 380,00 homeless
Friday, 10 April 2009
I recently figured that if British journalists such as Johann Hari (Tuesday, 7 April) who come to Dubai don't send back something sensationalist it won't get printed and they won't get paid. After all, sleaze sells.
I called a British journalist friend of mine and said: "I'm going to write an article about London, the same way your compatriots write about Dubai." By the time I was back at home I had come to my senses, it's not fair to London, a city so dear to my heart, or Londoners to be judged by the actions of a few. It's easy to generalise about a country when figures are manipulated to sensationalise and sell papers.
Say for example that I had written an article that states that, in wealthy first world Britain there are 380,000 homeless people, many of them mentally ill, starving and abandoned in sub-zero temperatures to live on the streets.
Say then that I wrote an article that states that Britain, the so called "jail capital of Western Europe" sentenced in 2006 alone a staggering additional 12,000 women to prison and that up to seven babies a month are born in jail where they spend their crucial first months.
I could have written an article that stated Britain, victor in the Second World War, had given refuge to 400 Nazi war criminals, with all but one of them getting away with it. Or one stating that the number of Indians who died while serving the British Empire, to build your Tube and grow your tea, is so large it is simply unquantifiable by any historian.
Or say I write an article about the 2.5 million-strong Indian volunteer army who served Britain during the Second World War, where 87,000 of them died for their occupiers' freedom and yet until recently those who survived continued to be discriminated against in pay and pension.
I could have written an article that stated that, in civilised Britain, one in every 23 teenage girls had an abortion and in 2006 more than 17,000 of the 194,000 abortions carried out in England and Wales involved girls below the age of 18.
I could have written an article stating that Britain, the human rights champion, not wanting to get its hands dirty, had resorted to secretly outsourcing torture to Third World states under the guise of rendition by allowing up to 170 so called CIA torture flights to use its bases. Or that Britain's MI5 unlawfully shared with the CIA secret material to interrogate suspects and "facilitate interviews" including cases where the suspects were later proven to be innocent.
I could have written an article that stated that the Britain of family values is the only country in the EU that recruits child soldiers as young as 16 into its Army and ships them off battlegrounds in Iraq and Afghanistan, putting it in the same league as African dictatorships and Burma.
I could have written an article that states that Britain either recently did or has yet to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict or the UN's International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families .
I could have highlighted the fact that liberal Britain is responsible for the physical and racial abuse of hundreds of failed asylum-seekers at the hands of private security guards during their forced removal from the country .
I could have written about the countless cases of slave-like working conditions of immigrant labours such as the 23 Chinese workers who lost their lives in 2004 as they harvested cockles in the dangerous rising tides in Morecambe Bay.
I could have written about how mortality rates from liver diseases due to alcohol abuse have declined in Europe in recent decades but in Britain the rate trebled in the same period reflecting deep societal failures.
I could have written about how in "Big Brother" Britain maltreatment of minors is so serious that one in 10, or an estimated one million children a year, suffer physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.
Or that according to Oxfam 13.2 million people in the UK live in poverty – a staggering 20 per cent of the population in the sixth richest nation in the world.
I could have written all that, but out of respect for Britain, I decided not to. Because when you stitch together a collection of unconnected facts taken out of context, you end up with a distorted and inaccurate picture: something that Britain's Dubai-bashers would do well to learn.
The writer is a journalist based in Dubai



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Last edited by Autonomy; Apr 11th 2009 at 4:31 pm.
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Old Apr 11th 2009, 5:23 pm
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

Not so much reply as returning fire. I would like to see the response of a local journalist that actually addresses the issues instead of the predictable "what about you". Western countries allow reporting on abuses and problems in their respective countries, thats how an emirati journalist knows these things. Report problems, bring them to light and force a solution. That is the way forward.

That said, I thought the Hari article was a touch over the top. Not that everything couldn't have been true; but some I things were skewed without a doubt

Please don't spare my country out of respect, if you are a reporter, report.
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Old Apr 11th 2009, 6:09 pm
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

Exactly. Are we supposed to cover for each other?

Is that how journalism works? Robert Fisk is probably tearing his hair out about this....

A fair, decent human being condemns the fact that there are x homeless people living in London. Whatever the circumstances. Mentioning this fact, or ignoring it is not dependent upon anything.

In fact Johann Hari is probably pestering the UK about many of those same things and would agree with you that every single one of them is shameful.
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Old Apr 11th 2009, 6:14 pm
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

Johann Hari is just a gobshite and few takes him seriously, he just makes a living out of writing down things.

His days are numbered, that kind of journalism is sort of feeding on itself.
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Old Apr 11th 2009, 6:23 pm
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

It is nothing but the " usual "..if something uncomfortable surfaces in the media, true or not, the reply usually consists of....But in the West this and that bad..blah, blah blah.....the usual....
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Old Apr 11th 2009, 7:14 pm
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

Originally Posted by Alexa View Post
It is nothing but the " usual "..if something uncomfortable surfaces in the media, true or not, the reply usually consists of....But in the West this and that bad..blah, blah blah.....the usual....
The concept of having a kings jester* was never common outside Europe..


*The kings jester was allowed to heckle the high and mighty without punishment, today we got the media filling that role..but for long that is the question.
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Old Apr 11th 2009, 7:40 pm
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

I wish he'd given some sources for some of those statistical claims.

One in 23 girls had an abortion?

A) I dispute that totally
B) Even if true, that's less than 5%

17,000 out of 194,000 abortions were by girls under 18? So that's just under 9% then, again assuming the stats are correct.

But as others have said - it's just a 'you think we're bad? what about you?' retort - I'd like to have seen a point-specific rebuttal of some of the stories in the Independent.
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Old Apr 11th 2009, 7:51 pm
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

Ah I love controversy!

I also love the way Emirati's can never address the issues in their own country directly, frankly and with humbleness (or without including something about Allah).
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Old Apr 11th 2009, 8:02 pm
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

Originally Posted by The Dean View Post
I wish he'd given some sources for some of those statistical claims.

One in 23 girls had an abortion?

A) I dispute that totally
B) Even if true, that's less than 5%

17,000 out of 194,000 abortions were by girls under 18? So that's just under 9% then, again assuming the stats are correct.

But as others have said - it's just a 'you think we're bad? what about you?' retort - I'd like to have seen a point-specific rebuttal of some of the stories in the Independent.
dean...what is the difference? If it is not abortion it will be something else they bite their teeth in if in any way criticized ...I wish they would address their own problems with half that fervor...the ME would most probably a better place if they did.

Wishful thinking...I know...
In the end, I do not really care. Their place, their rules.
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Old Apr 11th 2009, 10:01 pm
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

Originally Posted by Alexa View Post
dean...what is the difference? If it is not abortion it will be something else they bite their teeth in if in any way criticized ...I wish they would address their own problems with half that fervor...the ME would most probably a better place if they did.

Wishful thinking...I know...
In the end, I do not really care. Their place, their rules.

Ah, but as they got no problems with the issues here in UAE they got no problems.
When my mentor in Abu Dhabi arrived in the 60´s slaves walked the street doing their masters errands.

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Old Apr 12th 2009, 3:37 am
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

Originally Posted by Alexa View Post
dean...what is the difference? If it is not abortion it will be something else they bite their teeth in if in any way criticized ...I wish they would address their own problems with half that fervor...the ME would most probably a better place if they did.

Wishful thinking...I know...
In the end, I do not really care. Their place, their rules.
I agree - my point was that there was NO rebuttal because the Indy story has more than a grain of truth.............

Mind you - doesn't anyone know that woman living in her car? She sounds like she is/was quite a high profile person.
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Old Apr 12th 2009, 4:26 am
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

I quite agree this article does not cut as deeply as some responses received with regard to Hari's article. In fact, the 'i would...' starters to almost every paragraph, seems a tad childish if not lacking in creativity.

I am just as curious as The Dean and would like to know the identity of the woman living in her Range Rover in the car park. A woman in her circumstance would no doubt attract a lot of attention if she was not a fictitious character. But then again, it might be an old model but Hari's article, has caused us to assume things which might or might not be true.

Will the friend of the RR woman please stand up?
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Old Apr 12th 2009, 5:46 am
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

Originally Posted by rainbowtrout View Post
I quite agree this article does not cut as deeply as some responses received with regard to Hari's article. In fact, the 'i would...' starters to almost every paragraph, seems a tad childish if not lacking in creativity.

I am just as curious as The Dean and would like to know the identity of the woman living in her Range Rover in the car park. A woman in her circumstance would no doubt attract a lot of attention if she was not a fictitious character. But then again, it might be an old model but Hari's article, has caused us to assume things which might or might not be true.

Will the friend of the RR woman please stand up?

there are many people living in cars
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Old Apr 12th 2009, 5:53 am
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

Originally Posted by Blue Cat View Post
there are many people living in cars
Really? This is new info.................

More details please.
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Old Apr 12th 2009, 5:55 am
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Default Re: uae journalist replies to johann hari

Originally Posted by The Dean View Post
Really? This is new info.................

More details please.
and homeless men living near the creek
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