Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Will the uproar in the Middle East get to the UAE?

When I decided to create this blog, I vowed to stay away from religious and political themes. After all, as mentioned in my welcome text to the left, I am no expert on such issues.
However, due to the current uproar in several parts of the Middle East and the concern several people demonstrated for my safety, I feel the need to write a few words on the subject just so you know how things look like in the UAE.
Before I get into that, let’s recap… As you know, 2011 begun with a wave of region-wide protests by pro-democracy opposition groups. Demonstrators in Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Syria and Libya took the streets to demand political reforms and constitutional changes.
In Tunisia and Egypt, protestors were able to oust presidents who had ruled heavy-handedly for many years. In Syria, recent news show that, in a rare moment of responsiveness to public pressure, President Bashar Al Assad accepted the resignation of his cabinet. In other countries, the turmoil is still going strong, especially in Libya, where strikes against Colonel Qaddafi and his government include an international military intervention of large scale.  
Now, to the question everyone has been asking me: how is the scenario in the UAE? Well, so far so good. And, in my humble opinion, it will probably remain that way.
Although the country is fully engaged in humanitarian operations and has committed six F-16 and six Mirage aircraft to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, the situation in the United Arab Emirates is of pure normality.
The way I see it, the UAE is kind of like Switzerland: neutral. You must remember that it is home to many international organizations and has extensive diplomatic relations with other countries, playing a significant role in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the United Nations (UN).
On top of that, 80% of its population is made up of expats – and over half of them are non-Arabs, coming from India, Philippines, Sri Lanka and several developed countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania.
Most expats, like me, are here because the UAE offers them a good quality of life and a better economic prospect than the one they are presented with in their home countries. I can’t really picture them going out to the streets to demand anything…
As for the locals, I can’t really talk on their behalf. However, it seems to me that they are quite happy with the way they are cared for by the government, showing real adoration for the royal family and showing support for their actions. I also can’t anticipate them eager for a demonstration anytime soon…
So, I guess you can all stop worrying now. I am perfectly safe and sound and everything is a-okay in the UAE. Will let you know if anything changes!

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