Is Dubai a modern day Babel?
Few places exemplify the surreal juxtapositions of the modern age like the boom-town of Dubai.
Dubai is a city built on bubbles and sand, a free market playground for the global elite.
Yet Dubai is also a labor camp for countless economic migrants, a dictatorship where an obscenely wealthy prince was recently caught torturing an Afghan merchant, then driving over him in a Mercedes SUV.
Here at Matador, we wonder if Dubai might be a modern day Babel, a place where ambition outstrips empathy.
The tower of Babel fell because the men who built it were unable to communicate with each other. Does the same communication gap divide the bankers and bricklayers of Dubai?
After all, the official website of the Burj Dubai Tower, the highest in the world, has this for a slogan:
Burj Dubai will be known by many names. But only a privileged group of people will call it home.
We Want Your Voice
If you are an ex-pat living in Dubai, we want to hear from you. We want your dispatches from the front-lines of the global economy.
You will be our Dubabel correspondent, so we expect a somewhat critical take on things. Your writing should target the gap between the height of excess and the reality of mortal limits.
“The New Mecca” by George Saunders is, in our opinion, the pinnacle of Dubabel journalism. Too bad it’s not available online, but you can listen to a long excerpt here and read an interview with Saunders over at Worldhum.
Finally, it’s OK if you like Dubai, and it’s even better if you love it.
After all, if you didn’t care about the place, you couldn’t write about it well.
Please leave a comment below with a link to something you’ve written about Dubai, and we’ll get back to you.
For details about what writing for Matador entails, please visit our guidelines.
Here are some Dubai blogs we enjoy:
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Tim Patterson is a long-time contributor and former contributing editor at Matador Network.
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