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".
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after Wembley Stadium rant
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Taylor Swift banned from Triple J Hottest 100: Fans react to epic #Tay4Hottest100 defeat
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally