Middle Eastern Collection

Woodrow W. Denham

 

Document Sets Articles and Notes (* In preparation )

Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
Oman
Bangladesh

 

Dubai at the Hub

 

 

  • Cyprus *
  • Thailand *
  • Indonesia *
  • South India *

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia   

Nancy and I lived and worked in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from October 1989 until June 1990.    A few days before we left the Kingdom, we were asked to sign statements saying that we would never publish anything harmful or embarrassing to Saudi Arabia or the school where we worked.   In typical Saudi style, the definitions of "harmful" and "embarrassing" were not stated, nor was the nature of the punishment that might result from our failing to abide by the agreement. I sincerely hope the items presented here do not harm or embarrass anybody, for such is not my intention. I shall be forever grateful to Sheikh Hisham Alireza for inviting us to live and learn in his country. Despite serious strains that have developed recently in relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States, I respect Saudi culture and want to share my understanding of it with others.  


United Arab Emirates

Nancy and I lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates from 1993 until 2003, with a couple of absences of greater or lesser durations.   

 

Oman   

Buraimi Oasis contains the Emirati city of Al-Ain and the Omani city of Buraimi. Life in Al-Ain is intimately connected with life in Buraimi and smaller oases at the base of Oman’s Hajar Mountains just east of Buraimi. For these and other reasons we spent a good bit of time in Oman when we lived in Al-Ain. Oman and the UAE are distinctly different from each other in a great many ways, but it is difficult to disentangle my writing about the two because of the free and easy movement back and forth across the border.   Documents in the UAE collection contain references to brief visits to Oman.

 

Bangladesh

In 1996-97 I lived in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where I served as Director of Information Services at North-South University, a new private university that was expanding rapidly.   Nancy remained in Al-Ain on the faculty at UAE University. We communicated using email and saw each other frequently by more-or-less commuting between Dhaka and Dubai.   

 

Dubai at the Hub    

Position your globe (physical or Encarta) so that Dubai is exactly at the center of the side facing you, and stand back a couple of feet. From that point you can see all of Africa, Europe and Asia, and the western fringe of Australia. Your view encompasses the entire “Old World”, plus the Indian Ocean. If you had spent the last 2 million years in a satellite parked in a geostationary orbit directly above Dubai, you would have been able to watch almost all of human history unfold before your eyes. In other words, Dubai is just about as close as you can get to the geographical center of human history, and very near the geographical center of the Moslem World stretching from Morocco to Indonesia. Every major city in the Old World is within comfortable range of a nonstop commercial airline flight from Dubai. If human history and cultural diversity fascinate you, living near Dubai International Airport is remarkably convenient. This fact has not been lost upon Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Ahmed as they build Emirates Airlines into one of the world’s finest transportation systems. We visited all of the places described here, plus others that I have omitted.

*   In Preparation


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