Author Archives: Norbert Schiller

The Dubai delusion

The Dubai delusion

Reading Time: 3 minutes Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and vice president of the United Arab Emirates, likes nothing better than foreign media reports depicting his emirate as the “economic miracle of the desert.” However, since this economic crisis hit, the foreign media has had a field day reporting everything that has gone wrong with

Big swing with a small ball

Reading Time: 4 minutes It is amazing how the oil-rich countries of the Persian Gulf have this ability to zoom in on the most insignificant detail about their country and transform it into something of historical significance. Take Qatar for example. In the mid-1990s I was invited by the government to attend the first tourism festival in the country.

…before oil meant terrorism

Reading Time: 4 minutes I recently made contact with a very old friend of mine living in Switzerland. We had not seen one another for almost 18 years. In fact, the last time I saw him was just before the 1991 US-led invasion of Iraq when, after having covered the build-up to the conflict, I was replaced to go

World economics on the Sinai

Reading Time: 4 minutes The theme of this year’s World Economic Forum – Middle East, which just ended in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, was “Learning from the Future.” Prominent business leaders, media representatives, educators, and politicians, including 12 world leaders, descended on the tip of the Sinai to engage in three days of meetings, lectures,

Letter from the GULF – Labor of love for the UAE

Reading Time: 3 minutes It was recently announced that beginning next year on May1, workers in the United Arab Emirates will be honored liketheir colleagues elsewhere in the world. For until now, theUAE has not recognized Labor Day and it is ironic that acountry so dependent on labor, particularly migrant labor,has never taken the time to thank those whose

Formerly a haven of small-town trust, UAE sees rise in crime

Reading Time: 3 minutes I recently stepped out of my apartment in Sharjah andabsentmindedly forgot to lock the door behind me. I havealways lived in places where doors lock automatically. Iwasn’t gone for very long, but long enough for someone toenter and rifle through all the drawers and take any moneythat was lying loose. Fortunately, the burglar only got

From death trap to gridlock

Reading Time: 3 minutes In the mid 1980s, the 10-kilometer stretch linking Sharjah with Dubai was billed as one of the most dangerous sections of tarmac in the world. Then—like now—there was new money aplenty with which young Emiratis bought fast cars and tested them on the brand new network of open roads fanning out into the desert. There