Wednesday, 18 June 2008


It's been an interesting week in the old and new media: the UK FCO terror warning for the UAE has really shown the contrast between Internet and Heidelberg speeds. Yesterday, of course, the newspapers all missed the news: the news sites and radio were the only place you'd find information and the blogs the only place you could go for analysis, opinion and discussion. In fact, the blogs were up and running with the news and reactions to it from Monday night.

Incidentally, it's worth taking a minute to take a look at the whole advisory from the horse's mouth. Overall, it's probably the best, most realistic and balanced advisory you could want and certainly worth sharing with visitors before they travel.

Anyway, getting back to it, Gulf News today leads twice on terror: the irritating wraparound ad that now seems to be a regular feature of the soaraway GN gives the subs a chance to write an extra front page headline, so we have 'Case of crying wolf on terror' as the wraparound headline and then 'UK's terror warning a 'routine advice' as the real front cover headline.

I now owe Gulf News something like $25 if we take AP's new anti-blogging measures into account. Sorry, chaps: I ain't paying.

We can start to guess what angle GN's taking on the UK terror warning. It's on its own, too: KT has decided that it is above such petty things as terror warnings. So GN has, quite properly in my opinion, set out to pour cold water on any unnecessary panic or alarm. I do, however, find the reaction a little, well, overly positive. Terrorism is, after all, terrible for trade.

And so we have Dubai Police Chief, the charismatic and poetic Dahi Khalfan Tamim professing himself, according to GN, to be clueless: "We have no clue about what the British Embassy is talking about," the paper quotes him as saying on a local radio station. GN also quotes a well-dodgy sounding 'security expert', who apparently has information that the Brits couldn't substantiate a terror threat and so issued the warning to put pressure on UAE security forces to step up their own efforts. Hmmm.

There's a nice story inside with lots of Brits saying they think it's all tosh. There's nobody saying they're worried or concerned, which does rather puzzle me. Perhaps I'm just being silly in looking for some form of balance in what is clearly an effort to react responsibly to the situation.

GN's page 10 editorial says it all, really. I found the tone of the piece fascinating.

Personally, I'm not about to start introducing route diversity into my life. But I'd perhaps have liked to have seen a more reasoned, balanced reaction. It does carry so much more weight than this rather crude, relentless positivity.


the real nick said...

I'm not worried. I'm not British, you see.

AUHgal said...

My theory is that there have been some upsets in the last week around the region. Who knows who was in that prison in Agfhanistan that might now be running loose? Common thieves? Card-carrying members of al Qaeda? I haven't heard the specifics of that just yet.

I have long wondered how the UAE maintained such relative peace over the years. Considering the excess, liberal attitude towards things that are haram, lots of western interest, greed, etc.

Going back 10 years I recall homemade bombs being found in the Um Sequim Spinneys. Carrefour, when it was still "Continent," received some threats. We joked about the cashiers wearing red and white boat shirts, black berets, waving French flags, and proclaiming, "But we're French, you see!!" Allegedly, Pakistani expats in the UAE were behind those. Still, lots of changes in the region might have upset the normal balance. A healthy sense of awareness goes a long way. I'm not suggesting anyone pack up and go home, but I would be more aware of my surroundings that normal.

Rose in Dubai said...

>>Dubai Police Chief, the charismatic and poetic Dahi Khalfan Tamim<< saying he hasn't a clue!

ROFL. Says it all really!

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