I am certain, this topic has been discussed to death – however I wish to vent a bit and get a few things off my chest.
In a multi-cultural country like the UAE – we seem to have more segregation & less integration. Segregation of souls, based on nationalities & cultures - be it on a "job description", crime reported in the media – raffle coupons, filling up an auto insurance form, room mates – etc all – segregation rules supreme.
What irks me most, is the fact when souls who do not care (or in some instances are aware) of such segregation, and genuinely wish to integrate as "peoples" frst, are stared at and commented. For instance – my brother, who is a Christian, born/raised in the UAE and his fiancé – a Muslim – born/raised in the UAE are subject to sets of stares, glares and comments from strangers i.e. it almost seems a "revelation" to these people that people of different origin & religion can be compatible. It’s almost incomprehensible to the general public - that these souls can share a walk in the park -walk the malls, visit the restaurants & movies as a couple?
I think my brother and his fiancé may have it easy – compared to my best friend an Indian –UAE born/raised - good man and his Palestinian – UAE citizen born/raised fiancé – despite the fact, they are both Muslims?
For instance, whilst having lunch with my friend & his fiancé at a well known seafood restaurant by the Sharjah Corniche last weekend - we were greeted with the usual stares as we walked into the restaurant - more stares as we walk past tables to be seated. Comments (often repeated one being - "haram") was loud enough that guests at adjoining tables could hear?
I felt terrible for these souls – there they were trying to have a meal – instead had pretty normal looking guys stare at them – whilst eating, drinking, chatting or just sitting plain still (and uncomfortable) – the whole bloody time. I've never seen such blunt display of polarization by different races in a "multi-cultural" environment? It was horrible – the comforting fact - my friend and his fiancé are strong individuals who seemed determined to block away the stares & ignorant comments.
After experiencing true multiculturalisms in cities like New York and Toronto, where borders/boundaries, skin colour, ignorance seem torn down (well for the most part) – I can’t help wonder (and feel frustrated) – why are we so polarized in this nation? Each community – be it the various Arab communities, western souls, Emaraties, Indians – Pakistanis or the Filipinos – all keep to themselves for the most part. There is little sense of integration - little sense that we are all people first – born into different homes, parents, cultures and borders – but created by the same heavenly creator - and if by choice, two souls from complete backgrounds are to integrate, they are in for an unpleasant ride?