Cultural Preservation the Bright Side of Dubai's Tough Times

Native of the bustling United Arab Emirates are cheering the global economic slowdown, crediting it for curbing development in its cities that had been blamed for destroying much of their local heritage.

"Emiratis have fretted for years over the loss of their culture, as social norms became more a product of the newcomers than of the nationals. Now, some are pinning their desires for a cultural salvation on the global economic downturn, which they hope will reduce the number of foreigners pouring into their country and give them a chance to reassert their customs and way of life."

"'This is a blessing; we needed it,' Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, a political science professor at United Arab Emirates University, said of the fiscal crisis. 'The city needs to slow down and relax. It's good for the identity of our country.'"

"The sudden cold snap in the economy, more than in societies in the West and the Far East, has forced a collective rethinking of the country's direction. Perhaps the most difficult question is being asked by Emiratis themselves, who want to know where they fit into their own country. In an odd case of role reversal, the minority of nationals fear they are becoming like colonial lords in their own country."

Full Story: Emirates See Fiscal Crisis as Chance to Save Culture

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