A reader writes:
I'm a resident of Abu Dhabi and -- I will assure you -- no defender of Dubai or even the Emirates. But tossing around that vile word Dhimmitude -- which belongs to the Charles Johnsons of the world -- is rather a preposterous notion in this context, as is theocracy. I would suspect that in your run-of-the-mill Islamic theocracy I would have a hard time driving to the store and bringing home a few cases of beer, or going to a restaurant to eat a plate of pork and wash it down with a bottle of wine. The ruler of Dubai is an autocrat, to be sure, but he is no Khamenei.
There is a serious conversation to be had about the woes of Dubai, the preposterous hype, the incompetent governance, the exploitation of workers, the financial corruption, and so on and so forth. But "Dhimmitude" and "theocracy" miss the mark badly in attempting to understand what's happening here. The nervous locals, who are petrified of losing a country they have already lost, at least culturally, do themselves no favors with such preposterous edicts -- and their haphazard attempts to prevent the "erosion" of a young, weak, and poorly articulated "national culture" are unlikely to arrest the Westernization brought by waves upon waves of immigrant laborers, white and blue-collar alike, without whom this whole place would fall to pieces. Rather than making an accommodation to reality, and attempting to manage this process, they have decided they can throw up their hands and demand it cease. This may be folly, but it is not theocracy.
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