boy wearing mask, burj khalifa, covid-19 in uae
A boy wearing mask walks through a street in downtown Dubai, near Burj Khalifa. Picture used for illustrative purpose. Image Credit: Gulf News

A few requirements of journalism.

Know the land.

Know the people.

Know the culture.

Know the ethos.

Once you have a basic learning of these points, you can attempt to start filing a few reports. Not too complicated. Just the basics. Who, what, when, why, how.

In a span of about a week, an international agency of repute has carried two stories on how Dubai has been totally callous, lifting restrictions, enjoying life and has even gone back to its “party mode”.


This is journalism?

An international agency must employ ethical journalists, who report the truth. And the truth is this:

Dubai reacted with alacrity when the first cases reached our shores.

COVID-19 patients have received unparalleled treatment here.

Dubai imposed a lockdown with strict rules.

It has stringent quarantine measures.

It has social distancing regulations.

The authorities have undertaken a massive vaccination drive.

And most importantly, we in Dubai, know how to follow rules. Such as wearing a mask. And social distancing. We know our responsibilities. When the leadership has taken every effort to keep us safe, we will ensure we will do our bit. It’s called the Dubai spirit.

Remember the fire in a hotel? When the world wondered would the adjacent Burj Khalifa be enveloped in colours at midnight. Well, the show went on.

Remember the power outage in the city? When most cities would have come to a standstill, we powered on. The authorities and residents joined hands to ensure life carried on smoothly.

But these are just a few incidents. Perhaps the international agency is not cognisant of them? Or even ignorant of our Dubai spirit?

And it is this Dubai spirit that brought us back to our feet. 2020 was a nasty year. We in Dubai were hit hard too. We all were affected. As a community. The economy was hit, jobs were lost, families were displaced and we were just down - mentally and financially.

This was a challenge never experienced before. But the authorities met them head-on. Like only Dubai knows how.

The revival strategy was meticulously planned. Dubai opened up cautiously. Just a little. Enough for people to breathe mentally and financially. And then there was bit more oxygen: restaurants, gyms and cinemas opened with strict social distancing rules in place. Residents adhered to all the rules. We are in this fight together. And we are winning. We will win. That’s our spirit.

And then suddenly come along these reports, written by someone with either vested interests or is completely ignorant of our land. One wonders which is worse. Both are dangerous in varying degrees. Ignorance can be pardoned if there is an earnest interest to learn at some point. But this ignorance seems endemic.

Yes, Dubai loves to party. Is there something wrong with that? We partied before and we do so now. But with social distancing and all the precautions in place. It’s called the new normal.

And we love to work hard and be successful. Just because we are getting back on our feet and winning the battle against the virus, are you jealous? Every dirham is hard earned. At least respect that.

What is heinous is how the reports have been crafted. Irresponsible. Ignorant. Devious. Diabolical.

Don’t insult us in Dubai as a people. We know how to stay safe. Don’t preach to the converted. Perhaps you should focus on your homeland where the situation is out of control. Preach there.

You don’t know our land.

You don’t know our people.

You don’t know our culture.

You don’t know our ethos.

And you don’t know journalism.