Dubai, By Jim Krane
Sunday 04 April 2010
Until the 19th century, Dubai was a small, mud-walled village of around a dozen streets, situated on a creek. Then, in 1833, the Al Maktoum sheikhs took over. They have ruled in an unbroken dynasty ever since, and turned Dubai into a city-state of world importance.
Unlike its neighbours, Dubai is not oil-rich; oil accounted for only three per cent of its revenues in 2006. Dubai's wealth comes from trade, transport and tourism. Thanks to a series of canny decisions by its rulers – enlarging the harbour, muscling in on the diamond trade, starting an airline, building soaring hotels – the tiny emirate's economy has mushroomed faster than any in history. It's not true about the undersea restaurant, but there is an indoor ski slope.
Krane admires Dubai's success, but also explores the downside of growth, with chapters on exploitation of migrant workers, and racial and cultural tensions. An afterword acknowledges how hard the recession has hit – Dubai's population is predicted to drop by 17 per cent. But Krane is hopeful it will recover; anyone who wants to see stability in the region, he writes, "cannot help but root for this gutsy city".
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Doctors remove 80 teeth from boy's jaw
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
- 5 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
Exodus: Gods and Kings banned in the UAE for 'religious mistakes'
Game of Thrones is most-pirated TV show of 2014
Doctor Who and the BBC 'promoting a gay agenda', viewers complain
Idris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk