Planned to write a post on this subject, then my colleague wrote it for me. Alia Yunis notes:
Emiratis do not curse their government in public—that is simply not okay, and quite frankly, they have very little reason to curse it. The ruling families in the UAE have in general been very generous to their citizens. The people certainly do not have weekly street protests, as they do in Bahrain.
I’ve never heard of a protest in Abu Dhabi of any kind, and I doubt such things would be allowed—although, again, I’m not sure what the people would have to protest, which is perhaps why, unlike Bahrain, they don’t have elections either. Unlike the UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait, Bahrain’s most reliable source of income is not oil, but rather Saudi tourists who cross the causeway every weekend to party, i.e. drink.
In Bahrain, bars and restaurants that serve alcohol do not have to be in hotels, as they do in the UAE, and residents in Bahrain live in dread of the weekend traffic jams from the street-clogging arrivals from Saudi, where no one can drink at all, at least legally. Bahraini men where the traditional kandora and headdress and the women the abaya and shayla –but not all of them, and, as I did my book signing at mall, I marveled at the creativity the women had with the shayla, from the colors to how they wrapped it. Most of the people who came up to talk with me were Bahraini, which I don’t imagine would be the case in the UAE. For one thing, Bahrainis make up 50% of the country’s population, where in the UAE the figure is more like 15 percent.
Good summation. Yes, there’s no hint of unrest here in the UAE — everyone seems to be rather content.