Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Hari article, an opportunity lost

To its credit The Independent has given space to Sultan Al Qassimi for a right-of-reply to Johann Hari's now infamous earlier piece on Dubai.

Sadly, Sultan has chosen to take the worst possible route.

He had the opportunity to point out that Johann's article represented only a tiny part of Dubai, that he interviewed the worst-behaved expats he could find and presented their behaviour as the norm, that the article contained more than a few inaccuracies and some questionable claims.

He had the opportunity to present a more balanced picture of Dubai while accepting that there are indeed problems to be resolved.

Instead, Sultan decided to run a similar attack to Hari's, concentrating solely on the worst elements of British society, past and present.

What a lost opportunity.


You can read Sultan's article here.

18 comments:

D said...

It seems childish; an eye for an eye et al.

He keeps saying he "could have written but didn't"... I mean, writing an article on those issues means nothing when one point on each makes an effect, albeit negative, as well.

Agree with you; wish he had spoken on Dubai and U.A.E. rather than UK-bashing. Every country has problems...what's the point in throwing theirs back at them when you have the opportunity to defend your own?

Kyle said...

What a lost opportunity.

Seabee:

Indeed.

the real nick said...

All in all Sultan makes the point very clear - that Dubai cannot handle criticism well.

It's a childishly sulking retort that above all fails to address the issues. So Sultan is supposed to be a journalist? Clearly in the same league as Johann Hari, then.

i*maginate said...

Lost for words lol!

Seabee every time I leave a comm. on your blog the word verification is really weird.

This time it's FISTSHIN

You would have to see it to believe it, I guess.

Shu said...

Journalists generate excitement among readers by revealing new or interesting perspectives. That's why the Dubai's-dark-side piece was so popular, oh yes, it was - it revealed a lot about Dubai that most people don't see/hear so well; as for London's-dark-side, well, where is the beef?!? If anything, it's confirmed once more how Dubai handles criticism. Nothing new here, people!

Great follow-ups! Thanks!

Dubai Guy said...

Sick & tired of this whole holier than thou business. If sleaze gets printed with so called exaggerated "facts", most of you join the bandwagon. And now if Sultan tried to reply using the same language, why is he vilified & why are you people disappointed. I smell double standards here!

The Wizard of D said...

Yeah what a wasted opportunity!!

He seems to have stooped down as low.

Mohammed said...

Dubai Guy and others,

There is a huge difference between criticism of conditions in the UK/Europe and the UAE/Saudi Arabia.....

In the former, when s*** happens, there is generally a public/media outcry, the govt doesnt always deny the facts, and nor do you hear things like "those chinese cocklers were better off than back home, so what if they died'. You also dont hear that criticism of UK's abysmal conditions for many children is a "conspiracy by people jealous of UK's success"......

On the other hand, when such things are reported on Dubai (even if they may be exagerrated), you hear a chorus of "they are better off than back home" or "The Europeans are racist and hate Dubai's success"....That is if the problems are admitted at all, in many cases, (before the Internet), the solution to every problem was to deny it existed....

Seabee said...

Dubai Guy what a very strange perspective you have. Where is the 'vilification' of Sultan? What's the bandwagon we've jumped on? Where are the double standards?

The disappointment I expressed was because Sultan used his right of reply in the worst possible way to respond to the original article, as I clearly pointed out. As I said, he had the opportunity to point out that the people featured in the article are a small minority and to highlight the inaccuracies and questionable claims. He failed to do that.

His response in Arabian Business was much more appropriate.

SmokeyMirror said...

Hari responds here

This could get fun ;)

Seabee said...

As I said Smokey, Sultan took the worst possible route for his response. Hari has now been able to claim: 'he couldn't refute it so what I said must be true'.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Seabee said...

I rarely remove comments but Anon@4.03 I removed yours because it was racist and a personal attack making unfounded accusations about an individual.

Anonymous said...

the strongest word used there was brownies, there was nothing worse than that. let's just say that you probably wouldnt want that post to stay on your blogsite, in the free media world of dubai eh. i dont particularly blame you, in the end who wants to end up in the jails of dubai for a silly blogsite, when australia beckons.

Seabee said...

Anon@6.59 if that was the case I wouldn't have removed it.

You seem to not even know what you wrote. In fact you started by saying what the sultan really means is - as though you know that he meant something else and you are somehow privy to what he really meant - and then launched into a series of racist comments and with attacks on an individual.

The reason I didn't let it stay is nothing to do with any perceived danger of jail your fevered imagination has conjoured up. I have removed, from memory, three comments since I started the blog. Each was for the same thing - racism and/or personal attacks on individuals.

ZeTallGerman said...

I agree with the Real Nick: Dubai has never taken critisism well. Besides, I think most of us have gone beyond the point of believing the typical "denial of criticism against the UAE, but never any proper clarifications & statements". I think it's just as childish of the big boys in the UAE to always react in such a manner: 1) foreign media points finger & critisizes. 2) UAE crosses arms infront of chest and huffs "that's not true!". 3) foreign media says "OK, so what is then? 4) Silence...
*
And as it was indeed a very one-sided view, let's not forget that for the past 5 years all reporting about Dubai has been extremely one-sided, but only the positive. Regardless, it seems that at least half of us don't think it was exaggerated or untrue:
http://www.arabianbusiness.com/552223-poll-shows-50-believe-international-media-accurate-about-uae

Anonymous said...

seabee, i will let you and you blog be, before i leave for good, this one does not need to be posted. u somehow seem to thrive on the notion( not the first time) that you seem to have a superior knowledge of Dubai and matters of the world, generally more so than any one else. Must be because of your age, or maybe because of the job you do, u shd know this does not necessarily apply at an intellectual level, especially for someone living off the middle east. Personally questioning my imagination, fevered or not, should not give you any sense of superiority which you seem to thrive on. Mine was a semi humorous, albeit violent take on reading between the lines of what Sultan said, and what he did not say. Wasted on you.

Seabee said...

Anon@4.35, you may have intended the comment to be 'semi-humorous' but as written words they were offensive. That's the reason I removed the comment.