Friday, August 10, 2007

Cry Racism !

When faced with a difficult situation in life or work, consider your options. If you are hardworking and efficient, work harder or smarter. If you are faced with a problem work around it.

When you are one of these emotional spoiled Emirati pampered princesses (a significant minority of Emirati girls), cry racism or slap the person responsible in the face (only if you are in your own country though).

And if youve heard of the Asma Al Yamahi case, you will know what I am talking about. She got sent a letter by her professor telling her that an attempt to exploit her fathers death to further her pursuit of laziness would not be tolerated.

A full text of this email can be found here.

I am sorry but I cannot find one single example in this letter of how this professor racially singled her out in a way that was deterimental to her perfomance.

This is simply an example of how a lazy bitch of a student is given a new lease of life due to the overtly politically correct western establishment of guilt and her exploiting a system which is meant to serve those who are truly hampered by racism.

What an absolute shame.


Anonymous said...

It's amazing how one-sided the reporting is on this issue. I don't know who was wrong or right here, but the assumption is clearly the student was wronged here and that the professor was a jerk. I'm not sure that's the case.

nzm said...

More about it here, including earlier email excerpts where the professor tried to help her.

The mistake the professor made was to vent his frustration out on her. That was unprofessional. But it must really be bad for these teachers who have to teach students who just aren't up to it.

Unfortunately, that will always be the case where foreign students can buy their way into universities. NZ, Australia and a lot of other countries are guilty of this.

SevenSummits said...

I totally concur with you. Basically all Western nations are guilty of this practice in one way or another. In Germany it has less to do with finances, but more with an installed “White man’s burden” quota system and professors are almost forced in an act of political correctness to “get unsuitable candidates from developing countries through”. (Totally unfair to those extremely gifted students from some of the LDCs) Extreme frustration is always the result and sometimes they will just give them a Ph.D. degree, on some plagiarized work that would normally not even pass a high school term paper. In fact ghost writing and similar practices are so common in regards to the oil monarchies that any professor would eventually end up loosing his/her temper while confronted with such unethical scholarly behavior. Moreover the damage in regards to sustainable development that is being done with these practices is evident when looking at the knowledge gap in the GCC. The abundance of professors in this particular region, that are not even capable of constructing an abstract (unimaginable an entire paper) is so significant, that one wonders how any of them ever managed to write a Ph.D. thesis on their own in English.

Besides everyone working even remotely in the field of development, has heard so many of these made up excuses, that even if inappropriate in official correspondence, I can see how someone can start being insensitive to such apologies.

Surprising is the fact that Emirati says that we are talking about a minority of pampered Emirati women???, because to me the vast majority is socialized in this fashion and will never add to the human capital of society. This constitutes a step backward in respect to the role that gender can play in developing this part of the world.

rosh said...
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Kiwi Boy said...

Why is she smiling so wide in all her photos if her father has just passed away and she's worried about the other (upset) graduate students?

SevenSummits said...

a not too serious response!)

Help! What are you planning to do to me? Do I really deserve “death by boredom” as a capital punishment? Just joking and figuring that this was the stereotype answer that you expected to hear, but I assume that there would be a fair probability that I would not be patient enough for that experience.

On a serious note, your perception of my generalization about UAE females from one experience is to some extent unfounded. Obviously, in respect to local culture, I do not get to interact a lot with women in the UAE and most of my critical comments are a result of a comprehensive study of the meager available scientific literature (of course produced by other nationalities) and continuous observations. The reason for this, is not personal interest (I just do not like to be dishonest and pretend that I care), but that my colleagues continuously ignore that I couldn’t care less about gender issues and torture me with long discussions about women in the Arab world. (now they just tend to generalize and dump the entire Arab world culturally into one big group) You can hopefully imagine all those endless discussions about women’s oppression, Islam, the ignored workforce and so on … To fight Western misconceptions I do not have a choice, but to study everything that has to do with women and their rights in Islam and their roles in GCC societies. My numerous questions to avoid any wrong interpretations of the literature I speed-read, usually get answered by Arab / Islamic friends or colleagues.
Of course I have interacted with GCC women, especially abroad, but unfortunately very few left an overall positive impression. [My favorites are from Kuwait, Saudi, Oman and Bahrain – in that order and Qatar / UAE are far behind] But if I compare on a global perspective, than there is little “comparative advantage” here. For instance, just a few miles away in Iran or India, you can find truly impressive ladies, so my general dislike may be interpreted into a question of definition. Of course, no human being is totally free from prejudice and maybe subconsciously, I also judge according to my Western perception of physical attraction – I don’t hope so, but just maybe it plays a role in my judgment?

Anyhow, in regards to your advice, how would I be able to even connect to any of these women and what would I have a conversation about? Would there be any topic that I would have in common with them? Usually I try to break the ice with strangers by talking about soccer (works magic from Columbia, Japan, Iran to any country in Africa). If soccer does not work – cars and their respective engines certainly do – mhhh and maybe weapons (depending on nationality), latest IT developments, outdoor equipment, DIY and sports in general of course. Which one of these should I try in my next interaction with an Emi woman? Still thinking …. Some of my clothes are over 20 years old (in other words, I hardly ever go shopping), I detest gossip, I cannot stand seeing people being treated rudely or with disrespect, I dislike make-up on women and share your opinion about jewelry (the little black dress episode :- )), I cannot stand mobile phones being switched on during a serious conversation (labeled as rude behavior) ….. hobbies – those usually even shock every male in the GCC - oh yeah TV …… my favorites The Unit, West Wing, Prison Break, CSI (all of them), Navy CIS, Law & Order NY, Boston Legal – now I got it, I actually watched a few episodes of SITC – that could be sufficient for a conversation. ;-) Finally - I am a Trekkie – any chance there? :- (

I did follow your suggestion and discovered that you are a true romantic – poems????? love????? [impressive web design IYM :- ) - please accept that I just cannot relate to the content] Nope – not for me – no chance, not it this lifetime. And I hoping full of anticipation that you would present the next female Emirati specialist on quantum physics to me or just the latest fighter pilot.

Live long and prosper :- ))))

i*maginate said...

"The Sheikh Of Controversy"

moryarti said...

If you look at the email as an individual incident, yes. It is shocking.

However, the email should not be seen as an isolated event but within context of a series of events, conversations and incidents that took place between this student and her professor.

Frankly, the only way i can discribe the email was it being brutally honest. I've had worse conversations with some of my professors back in uni and i never used the "I am a foreign student" card.

But again, like everyone is saying here - can't judge this cause I, like many, do not know what really went down there..

nzm said...

Sevensummits: Oh yeah - the quota systems really rile me: underachievers playing the race/ethnicity card to gain places in universities where, if it depended on their grades, they would never be accepted! But that's the fault of the universities too - and often they are incentivised to do it by their countries' governments who allocate extra funding to the universities who "play the game".

There's more about the Asma issue in the NZ Herald today.

The professor was a controversial figure as most political science people are - they are either pro or anti, seldom sitting on the fence!

Read the whole article - especially down to the end where Asma tells the press what the professor said to her class at the beginning of the year about extensions!

Instead of dealing with this issue along official lines, Asma took the email to the student newspaper and it's now blown out of proportion for all the wrong reasons.

Fact: the professor was wrong to vent in the email to Asma.

Fact: in her email requesting an extension (read the link in my first comment), Asma had to ask for clarification on the essay topic which indicates that she didn't understand what was required, and that she hadn't even started the assignment.

The outcome is that neither party is happy. The education system in New Zealand has lost a generally respected teacher who upset some students and these students have now used this situation to get him fired.

It just seems a bit weird to me at the moment that all Buchanan has done to get fired was to send Asma this email. I would have expected the university to reprimand him as, in my opinion, I hardly consider what he's done to be a dismissable offence. Maybe there's more to it?

I'll keep you in touch with any further links as the info keeps coming!

SevenSummits said...

NZM and Moryarti,
So “we” are controversial? :- ) What exactly gave you that idea? ROFL :- )))
To make you feel better, from time to time some “secret police” makes sure that we keep quiet for a few days and spare CNN addicts from the political realities of our confused world.

Ok agreed, I am suffering from ideological bias here: This incident in my opinion is a real tragedy and NZ lost an intriguing scholar in comparative and international politics, especially with his profound knowledge of Latin America. I always enjoy reading the works of someone that does not blindly follow the mainstream out of an office chair and sucks up to …. you guys know what I am talking about! Certainly the academic community supports Prof. Buchanan's claim that Auckland University just as many others in the world is accepting "poor-quality" and "under-prepared" international students and judging from his character, he will make the most of this opportunity to bring this annoying issues to international attention.

Couldn’t we just sometimes skip all that sweet talkin’ in the light of some confused “political correctness” and be a little more honest? [Just imagine the situation that you need to tell some dictator out there that his problem is that he is “fxxxxxx corrupt”? By the time you rephrased the same statement into a diplomatic version, he will not have a clue what you are talking about.” Development policy at its finest! Grrrr ….

This quote from Paul Buchanan could be officially from one of my papers and I just love it:

“The answer is not easy to come by, but can be summarized as being rooted in flawed strategic rationales based upon faulty assumptions; political ignorance and disdain for contrary points of view, particularly if foreign; messianic dogmatism; an “ends justify the means” moral self-justification; catch-up crisis management styles driven by electoral rationales; and revenge, all cloaked in the doctrine of plausible deniability.”

My professors were brutally honest as well, because they made an effort to prepare me for the “real world”. In most European countries only very few Ph.D. students in the social sciences / humanities have a university employment and are therefore (in order to finance their research) engaged in a full time job, while writing there Ph.D.s in the evenings / weekends. (It takes several years and will demand a lot of discipline as well as personal sacrifice!) Sometimes, I just needed to chill and grabbed my boots and backpack to disappear for a few days into the Andes, Alps or Norway – upps – just to receive hell in all its facets from my old professor. (and in retrospect, I respect him so much for that – now he is like a father to me and I can fight with him for hours over controversial issues!) In Germany, “if you are German!” you already need an almost straight A average to be accepted as a postgraduate (plus a few more qualifications – depending on field), so professors do not need to worry about the talents of their pre-selected students, but they can surely be rough when it comes to lack of discipline or character. However the real “working environment” is usually not waiting for sissies, especially not in International Relations. Nobody will ask you, if you feel like spending Christmas or Thanksgiving with your loved ones, if there is an urgent assignment waiting or a conference/meeting for instance in the Islamic world to be scheduled – nobody will give a damn about your personal life. Period! Officially, in Germany when a relative will pass away, you will get one day leave to prepare the funeral and I suppose that we are extremely lucky compared to other nations. (Or will the UAE send one of those exploited laborers home to attend the funeral of his mother or father?)
I have seen pregnant women working for MSF (Doctors Without Borders) or similar orgs crawling around in the most remote places in Africa, encountered young ladies in Latin America as volunteers for the Peace Corps in places where I wouldn’t go without a bunch of armed guards and so on ….

Prof. Buchanan was probably not thinking about a future that will most likely be determined by getting married, materialism and producing kids. This entire is issue is absolutely ridiculous and that is just one of the reasons, why I will never teach (just the minimum requirement for my habilitation) – what a punishment to the free thinking spirit!

Please, NZM, keep us updated …

PS: Moryarti, the majority of my colleagues are not from Western nations and certainly never played the “foreign student” card – that is why they are leading scholars and of course highly respected in academic circles. At a certain level, it does not matter where somebody is from, only achievements will get you the deserved respect.

vagabondblogger said...

1) I sent my son to boarding school to be "prepared" for college, since I did not feel that ACS in Abu Dhabi was doing so.
2) My son attends GW in Washington, DC and has said more often than not, "I have no clue of what this prof. wants of me"
3) That said, he does his best. He goes in when he's having trouble and seeks a personal talk with the prof. - eye to eye - not an e-mail, before things get worse.

Both of my college age students have had problems with professors, as most students do.

I don't know every single detail of this situation, but unless he said something outright discriminatory, then I see something else at play here.

I read the article in the Gulf News and just wondered, "what the hell did this guy say to get him fired?" "Did they find a past history with him?" Obviously, the article led me to believe he was at fault, and being the person I am, I went along with it all.

I will only say this: If you want your child to be prepared for college, send him/her to a boarding school. They will learn not only truly educational things, but how to converse with a teacher, how to deal with problems (like "I'm flunking") and how to deal with a situation away from home where your parents, nor their money, nor their prestige can save you from your own mistakes. Still though, money, more than anything else, will get your kid into a top notch college - and I mean Hollywood money!

i*maginate said...

Hallo, hallo

I am ze latest professor on German quantam-physics. I have ze latest understanding on vat makes ze world go around, you have to read my latest words, all of zem. Vrom now, I vil refain from typing ze Germanic vords I am used to.

So, hallo. How do you do? I would really like to get to know the Gulf region. I think SA is highly interesting, given its motivational factors in the field of medicine and anthropology. I think the shade of green and the length of the plants construes a high energetic factor on the magnoscopic eventualities it endures. This goes without saying, the telescopic enormities this calculuates configurates to a heaven most hells would endure. Think about all those starved miners one would think of when one is paying ones bill in the high-loan, high-interest rate factorisations that contribute to the world wild hunger fund.

When the intricacy of the under-developed world is considered, cartoon-characters suffer, therefore depleting the natural world of its hydro-chloric substances. These include carbon dioxide, sodium phosphorate, hydrogen chlorosphosulphate, and nitrogen hydroxide. In the times our underground potential chloroxfides live in, this might contribute to a healthy and lengthy debate, but since underchlyorogical times, our forefathers have found these are debates that will die out in the time that underground chlorosusphate, 8 million year old trees have died since being discovered by Hungarian archaeologists that require $.3 Millionen to preserve the deep trunks of this revolutionary, amazing find.

Please read on, if you are interested in my words, and if you are not falling asleep. What I have to say is highly interesting, and definitely an indicator of the evolutionary state of mankind, in that the progression of my stream of thought will prosper and prosper, until the braincells of your brain will tell you to proceed to read the words I write, and to wait for the non-existent ending, which will tell you nothing, but will ask you to keep thinking, and question your mind when your brain asks you questions you could never have thought of, and dreams you could never have dreamt of, but please don't stop thinking: if you did, your logic would make no sense, and therefore you would question the state of my being, and the reason for your own existence.

Please don't ask me qvestions on existentialism: in the land of Germany, we would question these thoughts to a never-ending pragmatism, what we would say would equate to a sequence of non-sequentialism, and thereby dictating to a paragon of selfism.

Therefore, it might be best to refrain from this self-indulgism.

In this day and age of the here and nowafter, it would be a self-required definition to proclaim in the necessities of the after-age of the self-proclaimed masters: please note, masters, I do not spell with a capital M as is defined by the popular English language: due to decadence in our evolutionary times, as a capitalist, I decide to not use big letters as this makes the normal species of our small times seem smaller. I prefer, as a human capitalist, to grow our world into a big, capitalist fertiliser, that grows bonds into equities, and gold into diamonds. For the small-thinking minority, I am sorry this is a big post, as a human magnifier, my duty becomes as big as a beanstalk, that Mr Beanie could not climb, due to the profanities of our world and the smallness that we have to live in, and the lack of flowers that grace the plantations in which we have surrendered to live amongst.

I think for the betterment of humankind, this sermon is increasing in its eventuality, and the enlightenment is not furthering its distance for the growth of the species in the animal chain that requires cattle feed and porous rain. As per the human biologistics of rain species that do not frequent the humid factors of winter functionalities, it is commonplace known that desert chemistires do not accommodate the hybrid humbleness of sleeping DADDY LONG LEGS. It must be observed in our consequential Vorld zat one must go to sleep in terms of the long legs. This is a bountiful factor of the times we lif in.

nzm said...

SevenSummits: Be careful of the stasi - they're everywhere!

I know all about the German work habits and expectations - my partner is German and I worked for a German company for 3 years - enough said! LOL

I use the word "controversial" as a compliment. I love people like Paul Buchanan who shake up the "normal/politically correct thinking" by not only calling a spade a spade - he'll call it a black spade and have no qualms doing it - so strong are his convictions!

You've actually touched on the heart of the problem here - people can't deal with honesty and they can't deal with having their own poor performances evaluated and told like it is. So, they find excuses or lash out at their critics - accusing them of racism, their own agendas, etc - whatever they can use to deflect the attention away from the real issue which would require some heavy self-analysis and admission that they need to improve or change.

Society cottonwools people today. We see standards slipping everywhere. Kids have more rights in schools and in homes at the expense of discipline and maturity. In this instance, I'm talking generally about societies which have just gone overboard in their PC thinking - introducing ridiculous laws such as banning parents from smacking their kids, while trying to address the more serious issue of child abuse. Banning parents from using light smacking as a way of telling their kids that they've crossed a line is not going to stop someone who flies into a rage and beats their kids into pulp.

Teachers no longer have control over their classes. When I went to school (and I admit that it was quite some time ago!), the teacher was in charge and we respected that. Today, the teachers are impotent. They only have to look strangely at a kid to have that kid accuse the teacher of some bias towards them.

VagabondBlogger: Congrats on having the foresight to help your kids out as you have done. They'll thank you for it in about 10-15 years' time when they truly realise the value of your actions.

Neither Asma nor Paul Buchanan have handled this situation at all well, and yes, I believe that if she had gone to see him instead of emailing, none of this would probably have happened.

But she's now using the situation for self-vindication instead of facing up to the reality that she is not entirely blameless here. She's making herself out to be a victim to get sympathy and detract from the real issues.

nzm said...

Does anyone else find it strange that Asma's family didn't immediately contact her to tell her of her father's death?

If the funeral was to follow Islamic rite, then Dad needed to be buried within 3 days of passing.

I would have thought that contacting her straight away would have been imperative if they had wanted her to be at the funeral.

According to the newspaper reports, the timeline is as follows:
- the father passes away on May 19th and the family doesn't contact her because they don't want to "disrupt her studies". Instead, a nephew comes to Auckland from Wellington to tell her the news. (That would have wasted at least 1 day.) Asma is shocked and phones her family who "don't respond". Why don't they respond?
- Asma emails Buchanan on May 22nd (4 days after her father's death) to ask for the extension on an assignment due on May 29th. She also asks for clarification on the topic which indicates that she hasn't even started the essay or even the research for it.
- Buchanan emails back telling her to apply for the extension in the normal way by going to the university health center, as well as giving her more instruction on the essay topic.
- On May 30th (1 day after the assignment is due and 8 days after her first email), she emails Buchanan to say that she has the extension.
- He emails back with a frustrated emotional outburst.

In the newspaper report, Asma says that she can't go back to Dubai until June.


Emirates Airlines flies 3 times a day out of Auckland to Dubai as well as flights out of Christchurch. Singapore Air and Air NZ fly out daily for Singapore with connections to Dubai. (I know, I've done them all!) Airlines always have spare seats for compassionate reasons, and upon receiving a death certificate of an immediate family member from a pax, they will do their utmost to get them on the first plane out.

The whole thing smells - especially as in Gulf News she then plays the "my family knows a sheikh" card which most certainly should have helped her to get home more quickly!

vagabondblogger said...

I went back and re-read the article and e-mails. Thanks for the timeline nzm. This just sounds like two trains on a track headed straight for each other.

She said she felt a problem to begin with, due to her hijab. If so, she should have gone in to see him to earlier. He sounds like he didn't think to much of her to begin with. She does sound like she's not dealing with issues in her life appropriately, but he also sounds like a hard nosed ass, who should have just said no, without accusing her of trying to put a guilt trip on him.

I guess I'm surprised he was fired over this, when it could have been mediated and maybe he (and she?) should've been suspended. This will effect his career, and she has a lot of growing up to do.

Let me add, that her family sounds very strange - a father dies and they don't call to tell her ASAP. That's bizarre.

Kyle said...

From the first email that Asma sent to Dr. Buchanan on May 22, it seems she had no clue about the essay, whatsoever.

It’s clearly evident that Dr. Buchanan had the patience to elaborate (in his response of the same date) what was required of her.

As for the straw that fractured the camel’s back, and I say ‘fractured’ because it’s not yet over in reference to the email that got Dr. Buchanan fired. I would say that Dr. Buchanan’s email was a bit harsh but at the end of the day it all stems from frustration especially when one has to deal with under performing students that are just not up to the mark. It has nothing to do with religion and/or culture.

To study at a renowned varsity under the wings of a respected Professor is a privilege where one has to make use of all facilities available in order to excel. It has nothing to do where you come from or the size of your wallet because neither would enable one to excel but hard work and devotion.

The shit storm that Asma raised has just ruined her chances of success in this fiercely competitive world we live in.

Kyle said...

Teachers no longer have control over their classes. When I went to school (and I admit that it was quite some time ago!), the teacher was in charge and we respected that. Today, the teachers are impotent. They only have to look strangely at a kid to have that kid accuse the teacher of some bias towards them.

NZM; well said here & in the para prior to this one.

Inspire Your Mind said...
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Inspire Your Mind said...
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Seabee said...

It was a strange story from the beginning I thought, so thanks for all the background info.

I think it's clear that we have an outspoken professor (and nothing wrong with that in my opinion) and an under-performing student.
Professor loses patience, sends an e-mail that he might have worded a little differently...under-performing student plays the race/religion card, people with their own agendas jump on the bandwagon and the result is almost inevitable. Prof. is fired, the media hysterically screams one part of one side of the story.

What should have happened? Prof should have been rapped over the knuckles and told to be a little more circumspect in his correspondence, student should have been failed for lack of effort, not submitting work on time, not being up to the task.

Moryarti, yes it was an honest e-mail and I agree with your other comments about criticism. If people, student or otherwise, can't handle an honest appraisal of their work standards they shouldn't even consider higher education or entering the workforce, their personality can't cope with it.

Strange New Life said...

One little thing I thought I would mention is simply this - Australian and NZ univs have a mandate to get international FEE PAYING students. They will take in most of those who apply, if they meet minimal requirements. So while dear Asma may be a little slow to begin with, its still quite cruel to blame her for the flowed admission policies or Western guilt etc.

The professor should simply have denied her request and complained to his superiors about the quality of students being admitted. And did he have absolutely no say with regard to admission policies at all? Professors usually set the basic standards even if they do not get to pick the students.Perhaps he was fired because of not towing the party line with regard to admission policies, not just because of the E mail, which also indirectly embarrasses the university. The E mail questions the quality of students admitted and thus the quality of the university itself. Additionally this will discourage both fee paying retards and scholarship seeking nerds.

And by the way I have had grads/post grads and PHD students from Europe and US reporting to me at various points - and I have often been appalled by their inability to write a coherent, detailed, relevant and succinct paragraph.

Some of the commenters above would have their knuckles rapped for poor writing abilities, if it was up to me ;) LOL

SevenSummits said...

Interesting discussion folks – will comment tonight (GMT +1), because it is a Sunday and I am still busy with fixing my parents house – damn, why is granite so heavy – a truly philosophical question.:-)
However IYM gets a priority, because this one is serious.

Inspire Your Mind,
Oh no, constructive criticism or conflict resolution may not work, because I just tried that in my “not so serious response” to Rosh in respect to his accusation and you responded in the typical over-sentimental fashion that is so common in the region (from males and females) and has been described above by NZM: “People can't deal with honesty and they can't deal with having their own poor performances evaluated and told like it is. So, they find excuses or lash out at their critics.”

You are lashing out at me, despite the fact that I admired your webdesign and apologized for not being able to relate to the content. There was absolutely no rating in this comment and most certainly I would not expect anyone to relate to any of my “abnormal hypes” (or websites). In comparison, your chances are much higher to have a fan club. :-)

I made a very general assessment of women in the UAE (shared by the global scientific community that is concerned with development issues), admitting that there is not a sufficient amount of available data and clearly pointing out that this is from a Western perspective. There was nothing there that said that there will not be exceptions to that general assumption and certainly it was joking with my last statement. (I thought I made that clear?) Women have impressed me all over the world, starting from those in remote African villages (that do all the work to keep their families alive) to some from the “Emirati old generation!” that even thou illiterate managed to make sure that all their kids received a university education. Who said that I would ever underestimate someone like you? Why are you suffering from this obvious minority complex and react so badly to criticism?
I am honestly sorry that you are having a hard time in Canada for being from the Middle East as well as having a mind of your own and I sincerely hope that we will be able to discuss this a little further, because this is exactly what I am fighting against.
My work in regards to the GCC is purely philantrophic (financed mainly by myself), motivated by the “unimaginable” friendship and love I received from a Saudi family as a child/teenager (before 9/11, before Western hatred, before this incredible amount of racism – in other words a long, long time ago). They showed me the beauty of the original Gulf Arab culture, the beauty of the Arab language (in poetry and music), the incredible warmth and so much more ... After I returned back to the region after almost 20 years, I was simply shocked to see what has emerged and what happened to that special so welcoming subculture that I once admired. In other words, I am not concerned with your region for financial reasons and therefore have the opportunity to make my critical observations. (it is like playing monopoly and pick the “go straight to jail” card!) If you read my extremely harsh and honest comments on the UAE community blog “Success comes at a price for UAE's native minority” and have the ability to read between those lines, you will know that I am one of those very few Westerners that have the guts to seriously care about your “beloved country” and raise attention to not only the HR situation, but also the plight of the Emirati minority. It will come at a price for my safety as well, but just like Prof. Buchanan I will be ready to bear the consequences, if necessary. I already received one death threat from the UAE, but someone just needs to make a start and as a German scientist with an international reputation and sufficient connections to not only my government, but Washington as well, who would be better suited?

Do you really enjoy what is going on in your country? Do you look forward to those targeted 15 million “package deal” tourists? Should be give you a detailed description of what they will do to your beloved home? You probably don’t have a clue what is going on in all those beach tourism destinations and I would be embarrassed to bring it to a point. Topless bathing is just a start! Or do you feel proud of already being the red light district of the GCC? You are a doctor – let us talk about HIV or Hepatitis for instance – the results of the structures sleaze – how many Emirati males will bring those home to their families? And how will this pampered generation of young females deal with the situation?

Better stop right here, before you will get really upset with me for being honest. Finally, I have respect for you and enjoyed reading that you will continue in the States and certainly would enjoy to meet you. However not in the UAE, because currently I might endanger you with my mere presence and as a responsible person, I would never do something like this.
(PS: Is Emirato working for the UAE STASI? just joking and honestly now I could not care less :-))

LOL from Germany

vagabondblogger said...

Look, my son attends GW in Washington, DC. He's an Economics major (first we're still in shock that he was accepted, and second-econ?)

He was having problems with his statistics class. Had no clue whatsoever what the prof wanted. Decided, in order to save his sorry ass, he would need to hire a tutor, which he did. He passed, getting a better score than we thought he would (cuz the prof didn't ask any of the questions which required the help of his tutor.) Go ahead and laugh.

The point is, if you are a student you don't wait until after your assignment is due to ask about it; if you've had low scores (hello!- this should be apparent before the finals!), you need to discuss this with your prof - before the end of the term; get with the program - regardless of how much money you have, how smart you are, part of college is learning to "play the game." Lesson 1: If you are not doing well, then drop the f-ing course. Lesson 2: If it's too late for that you need to seek help from your prof, kiss his ass abundantly and tell him how much you love the subject and get him to help you- most likely through advice! If he thinks you are truly a f-up, he will let you know then. That's when you get your ass in gear to prove him wrong!

The more I hear and read about this, the more lame the whole situation sounds. Let me add that some unis do not know how to deal with problems and take the easiest road available. Everything comes from the top down and I would have to say somewhere on top of this heap of garbage someone made a wrong decision - and with the infrastructure in universities these days, that might be hard to pinpoint.

Again, the prof was an ass. He is "the adult" in this situation and should have avoided the insulting remarks.

Plus, I don't recall exactly who, but someone made a comment about the "quality" of the comments, perhaps the "grammar" used in this blog and how it wasn't up to standard. I admit guilt!

rosh said...

Seven Summits - respectfully, how would you expect somone to react when you make a generalizing statement about all women from a particular country?

To me, if there is one person, breaking the "norm" (as per your sentiments) - isn't that a positive to be reflected on, rather than continue to generalize (as per your first comment on this post)? Because then, you are just helping to participate and paint a false picture to whole world.

Inspire Your Mind said...
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SevenSummits said...

Strange New Life,
Well, welcome to multicultural Dubai and we hope you will frequently pass by the UAE blogosphere.
Please apologize my recurrent abuse of the English language – may we plead for a little tolerance? After all, for some of us, this is an effort to communicate in a foreign language. In this respect, BTW – how is your Arabic? ;-) Mine is even worse than my English after many years of continuous efforts, so I plead guilty for having absolutely no talents in this direction.

LOL from Germany :-)

SevenSummits said...

Your English is obviously a lot better than mine, so please note that I never made a
generalizing statement about “all women” from a particular country. I said the “vast majority”, which will app. translate into roughly 90% and in consideration of UAE demographics that will essentially relate to the portion of younger women in society. Even if you do not appreciate my statement, it sadly happens to be generally accepted consensus and as much as I would like to focus only on the exceptions from the norm this will not help us in defining policy recommendations. (so to ensure in accordance with your profile that all humans will live with love, peace and comfort)

I agree with your quest that understanding one another, is something everybody could use in today’s world and that is why I dedicated my time to write her an explanation, but despite a serious effort (at least for a cold hearted German ;)) to be kind to her and the fact that I am significantly older than her, all I received was a rude and insulting response. She basically proofed the point and I rest my case. Personally I find the fact very sad that she obviously does not feel that there is anything wrong with the current situation in Dubai (I hope you read my comment on the UAE blog) and hope that one day her wish to benefit her society will actually come true. I sincerely hope that in that quest she noticed that Emiratis still prefer to get medical treatment in the West or India, because government policies encourage that extra paid vacation for entire families and due to this fact Dubai clinics are not performing all that well economically. Well, just a thought!
If you feel that I am totally incorrect, just let me know for instance how many female Emirati students have actually ever worked in their lives to finance their education? How many of them have performed voluntary social work – e.g. Peace Corps?

Back to the topic,
I am not sure that we can actually put all the blame on Asma, but should ask ourselves, if she is just a fabric of her socio-cultural environment? Related questions would be: How do people relate to criticism, how are their communication skills, how do they feel about scholarly behavior, how can they interact with fellow students?
I could actually answer most of these questions in regards to the UAE, but don’t feel like another bashing – so please girls/guys feel free.:-)

I totally concur with vagabondblogger, about the advantages of a boarding school to improve these skills.
Being myself an only child – spoiled to death in an affluent home in a foreign country, where my “yellow” hair already made me special, my parents also took the wise decision to dump me into a boarding school (in another foreign country with another foreign language) at the age of 12. Military type of boarding school – or basically “hell”. Suddenly, I had to share my room with five other kids and just a tiny locker for my personal belongings. “Discipline” was the key requirement and just saying something like “shut up” to a classmate would result in having to run five miles and being grounded for two days. Ehhhm …. After beating up half of my class and constantly “running”, the logical conclusion was to work on my communication skills and eventually trying to fit into the system. The best thing my parents ever did to prepare me for the future and in retrospect it must have been so tough for them!
Just imagine Asma would have had the chance of such an upbringing, wouldn’t she have mastered the situation differently? Wouldn’t she have a completely different approach to life and respect the long term experience of her professor?
Kyle, that would answer your question as well, because first of all someone would need to see the privilege in being able to study at such an institution under the wings of a respected professor – mmmh, when you come from a rentier mentality and don’t understand the concept of hard work and devotion (few exceptions excluded) that will be a very difficult task.
They will shoot me for it, but I am just so tempted to say it: Nothing was ruined here, because her chances of success will not be founded in this fiercely competitive world that the rest of us live in, but in finding a well off hubby (if she does not have one already? Maybe no cousins are available?) that will take care of all her needs for the rest of her life (in this case - male exploitation at its best!) … and just maybe a part time government employment not exactly based on merit.
(Kyle, do you live in the UAE????)

I just wonder why she never believed in solidarity and team work with other students? They would have been able to explain it to her? The professor should be the last person to be harassed with dumb questions, honestly! Actually, as a prof, I do not agree that the sucking-up method will work, because it will just be too obvious. Straightforward honesty will be a lot better and well maybe depending on discipline, most of us would prefer a “Prof, I screwed up!” explanation with a little repentance. Thank God, I only have to deal with postdoctoral fellows and above and I could write an entire book about their excuses. :- ) Winning nation is Nigeria – by far – absolutely hilarious – well, ingenious really. Pure admiration, not racism! (You can never get upset with these guys, they will always put a smile on your face)


Inspire Your Mind said...
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rosh said...
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rosh said...
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rosh said...

Seven, oblivious to the entire chain of events between the professor & the student, I can't take a stand. From the face of it, the professor's email seem rude to point of being bigotry. However, I agree with you - like in every nation, there will be "brats" or the "lazy ones", whom in spite of opportunities for success, shall not take the efforts. Here in America, I can count 3 - all of whom are (my) first cousins. Likewise, you can have a share in the UAE or any other country.

My response was towards the generalization or the 90% - which is not fair, especially for a young nation. For instance, I have two (very) close Emirati friends I've known since an infant. One is a telecommunications engineer, the other a Pilot with Emirates -and no, they weren't "protected" during university life nor today at work (especially at Emirates).

Likewise, a certain young, successful female Emirati doctor - whose sisters range from being a lawyer, an architect and an IT engineer.

Personally, what frustrates, is the constant attack (the past few years) on the UAE. If I wasn't born/raised in that nation, I wouldn't care to defend or clarify most of the negative comments. Because I know life was good (in fact great) for the large majority of souls raised in that young nation. I want people to know -it wasn't hell or torture or sub standard quality of life for all of us. We weren't exploited, abused, insulted or any thing remote - neither are we silly, spoiled brats? Instead had the best possible & normal upbringing. What makes me more thankful for those times, is when I see the life of an average child today, especially in some parts of the "West".

However - an outsider would probably believe what reputable folks like you or far less reputable ones, such as a politician would have to say - especially given today's glam sham in the UAE.

I don't think, anyone shall say things are perfect, cause there is much to work & improve on - however for the most part, they are investing & drawing up changes for a better tomorrow.

Having said that, sincere apologies. I did not read your(3:55AM) post entirely. Was in a hurry to catch a flight (yeah, I know, lousy excuse :).

Re: folks like IYM, take another chance, and try to get to know them - you shall not be disappointed.

Inspire Your Mind said...
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Arabized said...

I havent checked out your blog in a very long time AE.

I hope everything is well and good with you.

Regarding the post, we don't know what really went down but i've had professors who were A LOT harsher than that. She needs to quit whining and I cant believe she pulled the 'im a foreign student' number. there goes all self-respect. I hate it when people search for pity.

SevenSummits said...

now that is what I call a “healthy attitude” :- )
Obviously, your profs did a great job – Besides the fact that I have met many young Arab Muslim woman of your caliber, you will certainly be my hope for sustainable peace and human well being in the region.

rosh said...

Hmmmm Seven Summits, no comment/response? Hope I didn't offend anyone.

Emi - sorry for being off topic on your blog, thanks for the opportunity to debate.

SevenSummits said...

not offended at all! Comment still in the making - later tonight. ;) Currently struggling with a cement mix ...
Thanks Emirati also from me for offering a debate plattform!

SevenSummits said...

“catch a flight“ – mhhh :- ) that is one of my lousy excuses, we obviously need to improve our skills in this aspect. It is not so easy to offend me, because if I would be that sensitive, I should never set a foot into the Middle East. :-( (not that much fun being an obvious Westerner these days)

Fresh food for thought:
We both have in common that we grew up in a foreign country and “got extremely attached” to those respective places. In other words, we are suffering from some type of predisposition that is extremely difficult to overcome. When you are actually raised in such an environment, you become partially blindfolded to the difficulties it encompasses. What is even worse is the fact that you just cannot realize this piece of evidence, just as if you are suffering from some type of drug addiction.

I actually grew up in one of the most troubled countries on this earth and still it is my home. My second home! I deeply love this mind-boggling madhouse (a place where no normal minded person would voluntarily set a foot into) just as much as I love Germany, maybe even a little more. While people are simply shocked when I tell them that I am about to travel to a place that has an issued security warning from every Western nation, my sentiments are so strong that I - as a freezing cold German - have tears in my eyes when the only available airline (apart from Saudia) is approaching the pothole tortured military runway (the only one still in use).
Finally a last worried look from the service personal on board, that is not even allowed to leave their accommodations in this truly “failed state” during their stay!
Local friends from infancy have made their way unto the airfield in anticipation of my arrival, followed by long hugs, kisses and endless laughter. No racism, no pretence just pure honesty and a culture of warm heartedness. Perfect example of successful integration – they made me to be one of them (including understanding one of their local languages), despite the fact that my appearance is just so different. Nobody cares when the generator that powered the landing lights gets switched off and the entire place vanishes in darkness due to the fact that environmental degradation has destroyed the infrastructure (reservoir siltation), nobody complains about the fact that it is much to dangerous to travel the remaining 300 km to my house at night (mass impoverishment has turned a crime free country into a dangerous place) and nobody mentions that we are sitting in an urban agglomeration of roughly 5 Mio suffering people where Islamic fundamentalists increasingly find easy prey. In other words my childhood friends now constitute the powerful elite of that nation, they are the ones indirectly giving the orders to HR abuse and torture, allowing mismanagement, planning recurrent coup détats and still feel that they are entitled to all these things. Of course indirectly and certainly they are anything from uncompassionate to fellow human beings – yet, their powerful positions may be of short duration with no guarantees whatsoever, a social security system is absent, local investment opportunities insecure, they have huge extended families or even settlements that expect support from them and they need to keep their supporters happy to stay in power. Even those that would like to make a difference are entrapped in this system that they just cannot change a thing. Moreover the West is supporting all this crap by selling weapons (especially Germany!) and supplying those in power with fresh funds in form of development aid. Could I actually work in this country? No, of course not! Because I am either not neutral enough to support totally obsolete Western solutions or because I am simply lacking the necessary emotional detachment to make any serious recommendations.
This is just what is happening to you and the UAE on a lesser scale. When you grew up this was a different place and now you are – just like me a little blindfolded and emotional about the reality.

Just to give you a simple practical example: For an upcoming conference I was meant to present my reconstruction recommendations for Iraq and Afghanistan (and I was certainly going to tell them that we should mind our own business and if any humanitarian intervention should take place, it should be without Western involvement.) – yeah, I was so ready for that with all my hot temper, but ….
They gave me a call and insisted that they desperately need me to give a lecture on the level of corruption in my “second home”. No way – and I tried to avoid that all these years! How can I do something like that? When I sit down and look at the official figures, I see the faces of my friends and all of the good deeds they have done with the money they obviously circumvented. The clinics they build in their village, the power supply, the numerous children they sent abroad to get a good education (not only their own) and all those people that sit in front of their houses everyday seeking an audience and receiving help. Yes and it is corrupt, but it is also an unofficial social welfare system that we Westerners will never understand. Our norms and values are simply not applicable in that type of environment, because we would first need to assimilate an entire culture. A culture that also has its positive aspects – lots of them!

Did I manage to get my point across? Are you really able to look at the UAE from a neutral point of view? I wonder what you will say …

Cheers :- )

moryarti said...

wooohaaa, i should visit Emarati's blog more often..

Hey Sevenwhatchamacallthem

For starters, I wasn’t directing my comment to you, so go practice your armchair psycho-crap on someone else.

Oh yeah, I wasted a few minutes reading your response to me only. I suggest you spend time working on your English so that you do not take words/meanings out of context.

Unlike yours, my comment is clear and to the point.

Both instructor and student over-reacted and the whole thing has gone way out of proportion.

As a matter of fact, I was even pro-instructor in this case. Hence my comment "I've had worse conversations with some of my professors" and those conversatoins never went to the extent of this female student's.

No has the full picture, very few can really know. FULL STOP.

Stick to the context, don't put words in other people’s mouths or shut the hell up.

SevenSummits said...

If you have a problem with anything I wrote please get directly to the point, instead of telling me something as ridiculous as that I put words in your mouth. Just like SEABEE, I totally agreed with everything you said and also confirmed your statement that the majority of foreigners are not playing the "I am a foreign student" card, so unless you have a serious comprehension problem, you should maybe let me know what is your real problem is. Even better would be an approach of mutual respect, instead of being extremely discourteous. Normally debates are meant for discussing opposite views, but trying to pick a fight with someone that agrees with you out of some type of deeply rooted racist motivation is pretty shallow and also simply full of pretence.

rosh said...

Nicely said Seven.

Am working on that response, work is keeping me very busy (another lousy excuse :)

SevenSummits said...

not an excuse :-) - a reality of life I can relate to - take your time. I will send you a PPP in the meantime ;)

SevenSummits said...

PS: Moryarti,
Forgot to say, that I really enjoyed your write up on Kuwait (definitely one of my favorite GCC member states) and am waiting what type of offending response you will construct for this statement. Mmmmh – maybe Westerners were not meant to read it in the first place or maybe those with an opposing view should stay away from your blog? Just hilarious …
Cheers :- )

qadi said...

don't worry: she'll breed good slaves for the chinese/iranian occupiers...

jude said...

and so on

BuJ said...

Interesting :)
If every 2nd word was truncated in this post I would have still known it was Emirati who posted it..

So much character!

Let's just say if I went to Gulf News everytime I had a problem at university, then Gulf News would have run out of paper (and URL addresses).

Cairogal said...

"This is simply an example of how a lazy bitch of a student is given a new lease of life due to the overtly politically correct western establishment of guilt and her exploiting a system which is meant to serve those who are truly hampered by racism"

I agree with your commentary, though no teacher in the HCT system would ever dare write this email, either, and HCT is certainly not western establishment of guilt. Or is it?

SevenSummits said...

BuJ, now that was soooo funny and a very true statement – I can’t stop laughing! :- )
Cairogal, mmmmh – this will most likely be “the only serious attention” that she will ever get in her life, so maybe we should let her enjoy the moment.;)

nzm said...

While it doesn't excuse the Buchanan's actions, it should also be pointed out that the day after he sent his badly worded email to Asma, Paul Buchanan did send her another one in which he apologised for what he had written.

The case went quiet in the NZ press after about 3 days, but this report was filed 19/08/07.

nzm said...

And another take in a similar theme to the link that I posted in the above comment.

Is this guy for real? How many bloggers are blogging about this in the UAE/Middle East, other than Emirati?

Maybe there are some Arabic blogs that are covering it, but it would be interesting to know what Buchanan is reading!

If anyone knows of other blogs talking about this case, please let us know so that we can all go over there and join in the fun! LOL.

rosh said...
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Anonymous said...

Having studied at New Zealand Universities, and lived in the UAE for a number of years, I find the the accusation that New Zealanders are racists misinformed.

As a devout Muslim, I have always been deeply disappointed by the institutional racism that Emaratis dole out to people from poorer countries (read Asians, Africans etc), while at the same almost worshipping White people.

It is very shameful to admit that NZ, a secular country has none of this racist bullshit. While UAE, despite having guidance from the Holy Quran, acts like they are true descendents of the people of Makkah (Al Jahiliya), before the time of the Prophet .

Muslim students in NZ are treated with respect, and are allowed to practice their faith freely. I suspect that this student in question is using race to cover up her oqn shortcomings.

Anonymous said...

time for next post

Girlmeetsstrength said...

surprise! someone with ego issues is up to fight the professor on making her study for her own good.

and then we wonder why are women mistreated.

207 said...

Hello Emirati,

I came upon your blog and find it to be quite intriguing. I also have a blog on interesting news and updates from the Emirates -

I keep posting stuff in this.

I would like to exchange links with you. For that, I’ve already added a link to your blog on my blog. Please add my link on yours too.


nzm said...

Anon @ 1:12am:
On the whole, I do agree with you about NZ and the people, and like to think that people in NZ live and let live, moreso than in other countries.

Maybe it's, in part, due to our geographical isolation from the rest of the world that, on the whole, the NZ population is more tolerant and welcoming.

But then I read some kiwi blogs and my heart despairs that NZ is also losing that tolerance. I have seen comments on some NZ blogs about muslims and islam which totally disgust me in their ignorance and falsity - and that's from people who should know better and who should be able to research topics before they shoot their mouths off.

I just hope that what I'm reading is only a minority people voicing on a blog, and that they do not speak for the rest of the NZ population.

Everywhere I travel, my NZ passport brings smiles and extra special messages of welcome. I can access some countries for free because of reciprocal agreements between the NZ government and those countries - Oman for example.

I have been called out of our car at Jordanian checkpoints by big soldiers waving big guns and shouting, "Kiwi, who's the Kiwi?", and while shaking in my shoes thinking the worst, have received huge smiles from all of them and "welcome to Jordan, Kiwi, we wish you a happy stay!" while they have ignored my fellow German and English companions!

I would hate to lose this because the NZ population followed a trend and became ignorant and intolerant.

shammydharamy said...
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Anonymous said...

I leave you a video on non violence. I hope you enjoy.
Big Hug, Roberto

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صلعم said...

I think she is a stupid girl taking advantage of the system there in Aus. She is clearly a bad student and she is also a lyer in my opinion. I really feel sorry for this professor of her, he got mixed up in this.

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