I Loathe Dubai

by Eman

Before traversing the barren, disdainful deserts of the Peninsula to get to Dubai I held within me a measure of alacrity, an eagerness for what was to come. You see, I haven’t been to Dubai in many years, and what I had to remember it by was fuzzy at best. My mind did not hesitate to color my memories with the anecdotes of people I knew entwined with the general legacy of the city’s splendor. Basically, I was looking forward to it.

How quickly that bubble popped. Even upon entering the confines of the city I realized something was amiss. This was not the Qarth of Westeros as my mind’s eye saw it, even at the onset I felt as if something was being forced down my throat. Still, I ventured on and allowed my eyes to cloud over the blatant excesses and turned my nose away from the pungent scent of raw desire that clung to everyone, until it became too much not to absorb and analyze.

It is difficult to describe without seeming hypocritical, but I feel like I must do it to placate the disgust that welled up in the pits of my stomach and grew so large in the few days I spent there.

The city is not the oasis that your travel agent will assert, it is a slapping, slobbering behemoth that feeds on man’s primal desire for power and success. You can see that personified in the people you meet. People who see you as nothing more than a faceless dollar sign. Strolling in one of the many garishly large malls, I felt like a ewe in a herd that was constantly in motion directed by a vile material thirst that could not be pacified by any shoe or handbag. In a twist of irony, Dubai compelled me to think about what we have become as a people. For the city is only so deprived of goodness because we made it so. It represents everything our consumer culture has built, and everything we have let waste away. Of course there are beautiful structures, marvels of architecture. Bridges and motorways, beautiful gardens living in the heat of the summer. But they seem nothing more than toys propped up to hide the woefully gaping lack of real progress, of real humanness. Everything was so… empty. And it left me feeling empty to be there, empty and violated. As if I had only just realized that I’ve been living with a cavernous void inside me that I had foolishly filled with toys and names that mean nothing. So I shall try to reject it all, the emptiness, the mindless consumption, and the placation, in search of a more meaningful stopper.