Gulf Arabs in Egypt

November 27, 2008

We were just sitting chatting with Mohammed the barber when I remembered that I saw him sitting with a Yemeni man the other day is new to the neighborhood. Mohammed told me that the man was here on vacation and was renting an apartment for a few weeks because it is cheaper than a room in a hotel.

Gulf Arabs come to vacation in Egypt quite often, and I have yet to hear an explanation of this phenomenon other than the one I am about to share. Mohammed told me that Gulf Arabs, especially the more convervative Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen, come to Egypt to “go out with women.” This means everything from just speaking to women to sleeping with them. In these countries, Mohammed explained, the women are all covered, most often wearing niqab. I wanted to question this stereoptype as I hear it often and I think it’s generally useful to do so, so I asked Mohammed if he was sure that this was really the reason people from the Gulf come to Egypt. He said, “well yesterday when I was speaking with him he asked me the best place to fine women in Cairo, so yes, I am sure.”

He added that to Gulf Arabs, Egypt is known as “أمريكا العرب.” “The America of the Arabs.”


$$$ + "Western Cultural Imperialism?" = Al-Khaleej

November 17, 2008

For all you IR, business, finance, art lovers out there, here’s an article on the United Arab Emirates’ booming economic, and apparently now cultural, influence.

A few choice quotes from the article:

“The whole intention is to make Abu Dhabi the hub of culture in the Middle East, and a cultural destination for the world. It’s going brilliantly,” she says.

Is he worried that the new Arab investors will be calling the shots?

Years of western culture and tradition are being transplanted to the desert, where the Emiratis are greedily slaking their thirst for these new experiences.

There’s so much money around, so much appetite to bring new things to the Middle East that it can’t be long before Abu Dhabi rivals Paris, Venice or Los Angeles – certainly that is the ambition.

This brought a couple of things to mind, I’ll share after I finish listening to Ala Nasiya, insha Allah.