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And, yes, I DO take it personally: In Dubai, enroute to Kabul
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

In Dubai, enroute to Kabul

when i first visited dubai, i decided immediately that it was one of the creepiest places i had ever been... now, on my umpteenth pass-through, there's nothing to change that opinion... the service folk - hotel desk clerks, taxi drivers, restaurant help, indeed virtually ALL the menial labor - are drawn from india, bangladesh, pakistan, sri lanka, indonesia and the philippines, among others... they're uniformly delightful people, unfailingly polite and good-humored, but i'm well aware they're living lives of indentured servitude, two year contracts, surrendered passports, poverty wages, 12-14 hour days and regular 7-day weeks... meanwhile, the emiratis - the natives - hold down all the positions of officialdom, customs and immigration, government, etc. and do little more than strut around, playing with their smartphones - and themselves - living lives of utterly pampered luxury...

i predict that, in the annals of history, dubai will be seen as a premier example of the total dedication of our current age to the belief that the only things that matter are money, power and lots of stuff, and that obscene amounts of all three are the only goals worth striving for... our ancestors, if there are any that survive the coming reckoning, will regard dubai and all that it represents with righteous horror that the human race could veer so dramatically off the track...

in just a few hours, i'll be landing in kabul where abject poverty is seemingly limitless and the corruption of the wealthy elites is so over the top as to be incomprehensible... at least dubai has paved streets and the majority of the population has a roof over its head...


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