(Hendrik Hertzberg, Steve Clemons and Charles Kaiser in Dubai)
This morning I am out to see more of Dubai — along with two terrific social and political commentators, the New Yorker‘s Hendrick Hertzberg, who has his own blog at the magazine and Charles Kaiser, publisher of Full Court Press and author of the The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America.
I had a great conversation this morning with some visitors from Abu Dhabi this morning — who said that the jeering at the Government of Dubai for its economic woes is “both off-putting and ill-placed.” My impromptu breakfast friends highlight that everyone suffered during the global economic crisis, and nations and states — and governments like Dubai — are developing work-out strategies. To throw blame at Dubai for engaging in behaviors that paled in comparison to the house of cards and financial corruption that the US unleashed — in their view — is really disrespectful.
Secondly, they pointed out to me that lots of financial and business entitites in Dubai are thriving, particularly Emaar — whose Burj Dubai opens tonight.
I will be at the opening of this tower this evening, along with Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed and 5,999 of his other special guests — and I can attest to the building’s massive size and beauty as I am looking at it this very moment. It’s hard to believe that 90% of its space has been sold or fully leased and that its developer, Emaar, is already in the black on the project — but that is what numerous sources confirm.
The next “largest tower in the world” project is set for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — and the Dubai-based Emaar is involved with that as well.
More later, after Hertzberg, Kaiser, and Clemons see some more of Dubai.
— Steve Clemons