Matt J. Duffy :: Thoughts on Journalism, Culture, and Global Communication

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About the author

Dr. Matt J. Duffy teaches journalism, media ethics and international communication law. His research focuses on journalism and media laws in the Middle East. Duffy's book "Media Laws of the United Arab Emirates" was published in 2014 by Wolters Kluwer. His academic work has been published in the Journal of Middle East Media, the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, and the Newspaper Research Journal. He received a Ph.D. in Public Communication from Georgia State University in the United States where he studied the use of unnamed sources in journalism. Duffy is board member of the Arab-United States Association for Communication Educators, an organization that aims to improve journalism in the Middle East. He teaches international communication law at Kennesaw State University.


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I’ve been kicked out of the United Arab Emirates

posted on August 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Over the summer my wife and I both received notices that our contracts had been terminated and our residency visas would be canceled. Our employers told us that the order came from “outside the organization” and with no further explanation. Without a residency visa or a job, my family and I have been forced to leave the United Arab Emirates.

So, I appear to have discovered the limit for the tolerance of academic discourse in the UAE.

Matt J. Duffy, former assistant professor of communication at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi

During my two-year tenure, my colleagues and others constantly warned me that such a fate could await me. Still, I felt I had a duty as an academic and professor at Zayed University to speak and teach with minimal reservation about my area of expertise—journalism, international media law and communication ethics.

I wrote columns in Dubai’s Gulf News about press freedom and other issues. I taught international media law in my classes, including accurate appraisal of the UAE’s media regulation and how it differed from other approaches. I also helped organize events that allowed for public discussion and debate of Emirati issues. I blogged and tweeted about sensitive subjects—particularly how local press coverage differed from international counterparts. I launched a student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, a prestigious U.S. journalism organization. And these students organized a celebration of the U.N.’s World Press Freedom Day in May. See the post below for a more exhaustive list of activities that may have led to my ouster.

I understood the risks in taking these actions and have no regrets.

But, I should stress that I didn’t move to the UAE hoping to garner attention and get booted out as a security threat. I observed the landscape, tried to decipher the “red lines” that I shouldn’t cross, and listened to the words of the country’s leaders who constantly stress the importance of education to the development of the nation. H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, told faculty at a recent convocation that he wanted the university to “engage with the community.” I followed the example of other local university professors who offered constructive observations from an academic perspective.

Tales of ex-pats who are mysteriously whisked away for various offenses are fairly plentiful in the United Arab Emirates. Some of them take on an apocryphal tone. I thought it might be helpful to document exactly how my departure was orchestrated.

H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, minister of higher education

The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) informed my wife, Dr. Ann Duffy, of the news of her immediate termination in mid-June. She was told that H.E. Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili was instructed to terminate Ann’s contract and revoke her visa. My wife had served as Division Manager for P-12 Policy, Planning and Performance Management with ADEC for more than a year and had received positive feedback on her performance. She holds a PhD in education policy and has 25 years of experience. She was also serving as chair of the school board for the American Community School, the school affiliated with the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

I learned about my fate six weeks later via a phone call from Zayed University’s provost, Larry Wilson. He also said that the order came from outside the university system and that Shiekh Nahyan had tried to appeal the directive. This appeal explains the delay in notification between my wife’s termination and my own. After hearing of my wife’s termination, we assumed my notice would be arriving soon and were surprised after a few days that we hadn’t heard anything from Zayed University.

No other information accompanied our termination orders, other than that they originated from outside of the respective organizations. It appears certain that these directives to fire my wife and I originated from the security forces, although we have no more information than presented here.

I should note that at around the same time the university was also told to terminate the contract of one of my faculty colleagues. He had served with distinction in the College of Communication and Media Sciences for 14 years. No explanation accompanied his dismissal either.

I am heartened to learn that the university did not choose to fire me and have great admiration for Sheikh Nahyan. He appears serious about creating a university that strives to compete at a global level and understands the freedom required for academics to practice their profession without interference. Last year, we held a forum at Zayed University about the impact of censored media on the Arab world. Sheikh Nayhan invited the attendees to his majlis and spoke favorably of the event and the need for academics to bring these issues up for discussion. His comments were carried on the state news agency, WAM. These terminations seriously undermine the efforts to bring world-class education to Emirati citizens.

The unknown member of the security forces who suggested kicking me out of the country

Unfortunately, Sheikh Nahyan wasn’t able to counterbalance the demands of the security forces. In fact, since the advent of the Arab Spring in early 2011, the security forces in the UAE appear to be winning every argument. The government recently booted out several organizations that promoted community engagement and security forces arrested dozens of Emiratis over the summer.

That’s too bad.

The UAE that I moved to 2010 appeared to be a progressive country in a region of the world that featured little progression. The country’s leaders talked about the desire to build a knowledge economy and educate its residents according to international standards. I was particularly impressed that Sheikh Nahyan ordered the communication department I joined to attempt to earn accreditation from a U.S.-based journalism education accrediting body, ACEJMC. This organization insists that institutions offer “instruction in and understand the range of systems of freedom of expression around the world, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances.”

I suspect that having two professors fired by the security forces will put a damper on my former department’s chances for accreditation.

The actions of the UAE’s security forces stand in stark contrast to the country’s publicly professed intentions regarding the development and education of its workforce. Quite simply, it’s impossible to teach creativity and innovation in an environment where both teachers and students are scared to express themselves.

To be fair, the UAE is more progressive than many of its neighbors. The country allows people of most religions to worship freely here and is generally welcoming to outsiders. Still, we cannot brush over its steadfast opposition to allow for even moderate forms of free expression and ability to offer dissent.

I suspect few Emiratis will speak publicly decrying my ouster and some will certainly cheer it. The security forces have created an atmosphere in which Emiratis understand the consequences of openly questioning the government’s actions. The public sector accounts for roughly 90 percent of jobs for Emiratis, meaning that anyone who crosses a “red line” can easily find they—or even a member of their family—are no longer able to receive security clearance for their high-paying government position. The government also employs more direct methods–like indefinitely detaining its citizens–to quell opposition voices.

These actions leave the sphere of public discussion in the UAE severely limited.

At some point, the intellectual leaders of the UAE must debate whether throwing people like me out of the country is making it stronger or slowing down progress. It can’t be both.


Click here to read my top 18 guesses at why I got booted from the UAE.

Click here to read a personal note.

And click here to see some supporting documents including my last job evaluation.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post referred incorrectly to Provost Larry Wilson’s job title.

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  • Mo on 28 August 2012

    How are they going to bring a world-class education to Emirati citizens without a slight regard to the professors working in their universities? They should bring instead the security forces to teach “loyalty” courses. Pathetic and a complete disaster.

  • Mohamed on 28 August 2012

    Sorry to hear about your termination
    But I would like you to think about the sense of security you felt in UAE that you never find in the world and if the country allows anyone to talk about anything will that sense of security be still there and the examples of that is will around there world and the people in the UAE are happy the way they are because they came to live a happy life not concern about politics

  • Len Day on 28 August 2012

    It’s a sad day when academics can’t do what they were brought in to do – teach! Anyway, here’s a link to a very interesting, and related article on the BBC website:

  • Terry Collmann on 28 August 2012

    Mohamed – would that be the same sense of freedom felt by the 14-year-old South African girl raped last year by two Saudis in a hotel in Dubai and then charged with consensual sex, or the sense of freedom felt by the Filipina jailed because she gave birth to a baby in the UAE and couldn’t immediately provide a marriage certificate? The UAE is a society purposefully blind to all the injustices that go on within its borders, because of the money that flows from under the gropund. Ultimately, that makes for a very sick place.

  • Mira Jamal on 28 August 2012

    I am honestly very sad and upset to read about this. You are one of the very few inspirational teachers I was fortunate enough to have, and I highly appreciate everything you have taught me. I’ve learnt so much from all your classes, lectures, and talks. You’re a great teacher, and know that all of your students, if not most of us, will deeply miss you. I wish you all the best in the journey to come, and I hope you take all the good memories with you.

  • Al Anoud Saeed on 28 August 2012

    I’m very sorry to hear that but I want you to know that you have been such a great leader to us..

    Take care

  • Anood Lari on 28 August 2012

    It makes me really sad to hear this. You are such a great teacher. I think I speak for everyone when I say that you inspired me to be the best I can be and always give a 100 percent.
    Thank you for your continious support Dr Duffy. Good luck with the next chapter of your life. Never change.

  • Dum on 28 August 2012

    You maybe right , but how can you come to the beach with Tuxedo, it looks funny , and everybody was nice to you , but instead of going and change you like it that way , you maybe the best in dance floor, but sir it’s sunscreens and pure teaching pure teaching heart was going to make the short the best to inJoY the beach

  • Hiba on 28 August 2012

    If u remember the girls who went to talk with dr Suliman about CCMS teachers, they are the reason that u have been ckiked out the country and I’m happy to tell you that any teacher n CCMS can be ckiked out because what u do is not teaching but showing off. Good luck in ur new life :D

  • Catherine on 29 August 2012

    Matt, so sorry to hear you are going, and I know CCMS will miss you. Good luck in finding a job back in the USA.

  • Random Joe on 29 August 2012

    Hi, emirati here, i hope you read this:

    My heartfelt sympathy towards you and the family, its a shame that we have lost an academic, any loss is a great one. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

  • Lolwa Thani on 29 August 2012

    Dr. Matt J. Duffy with all respect .. why dont you try focusing on the bright side of it !? what i mean is your own society is in need to your tremendous efforts !! coz i dont realy think that your now living in the ( Utopia ) !! Especially when it come to Media , Specifically Journalism .
    all the best in your life and Carrier .

  • Mariam on 29 August 2012

    I’ve always wanted to be ur student Dr.Matt! I could sense the enthusiasim & the knowledge in the eyes & minds of ur students. May God bless you for being such an honorable teacher; Irreplaceable.

  • Saeed AlDhaheri on 29 August 2012

    Terry Collmann…did Mohamed claim that the UAE is Utopia? He did not, and you are totally biased.

  • Mariam AlS on 29 August 2012

    I agree w Hiba! U need to remember u were GUEST in our country and u must behave. we love uae!!! uae is the best

  • bugsy on 29 August 2012

    Hi Mariam,

    I bet the iranians and syrians say the same about their country.

  • Bader Nasser on 29 August 2012

    Matt…as commented by one of the readers, you don’t know the name of your university’s president although you worked there for two years! Please understand my reluctance to believe what you say. The fact of the matter is that you did not respect the laws of the land and the terms of your employment contract. This is why you were kicked out. Don’t try to play the victim. Please feel free to contact me on my email if you like to chat about this.

  • X on 29 August 2012

    Replying to Mohammed above who is championing the security in the UAE: no country is without crime, and sure we all feel a sense of security here but that’s because we’re told to feel safe. I’m sure there are stuff that happen everyday that we don’t hear of.

    would be nice if the people who decided to put themselves on the other side of the argument to not confuse nationalism with existing problems.

    Shame about Matt and his wife, i wish you all the best.

  • X on 29 August 2012

    and one other thing, loving this country does not mean not wanting to acknowledge the problems.

    if you really love this country you’d want to fix them instead of depending on blind faith.

  • Mariam AlS on 29 August 2012

    if u don’t like it here – LEAVEEE

  • Zee on 29 August 2012

    Mariam AlS and Hiba,

    You guys are everything that’s wrong with the UAE. Stop treating professors like your servants. You clearly have no idea what education is, and I pity you greatly for that. You guys don’t even deserve to be at university; you clearly don’t understand what a university is/should be, nor are you grateful for the opportunity that’s handed to you on a silver platter.

    As an Emirati, it stings to know that you and I share the same culture.

    Oh, and one more thing: you might want to learn how to spell.

  • Zee on 29 August 2012

    Dr Duffy,

    Sorry about what happened, and good luck with your future endeavours. Hopefully you’ll end up working in an environment where you’re appreciated.

  • Eliazia Mohammad on 29 August 2012

    I am sorry about what happened it’s such a shame. I was a student in ZU and I was incessantly harrassed by the students for my outspoken views. What sort of education do they want? Everything I studied there was censored I never felt like I was getting an education I felt like I was being pushed in the midst of some sort of pandemic. Getting kicked out of ZU was the best thing that ever happened to me I don’t see the girls there going anywhere with their lives. The way you were just discharged makes me feel so frustrated at the state of things here. It is so very unfair I wish I’d had the chance to have met like minded people such as yourself teaching in ZU. Could have made a difference but since the UAE insists on keeping the people as backward as they are so it’s their loss. We shouldnt be afraid to speak out. It is a basic human right to be allotted that freedom. What is more disgraceful imho are people like Hiba and Mariam I cannot imagine what sort of upbringing could beget such ignorant idiocy. Best of luck to you and thank you so much for writing this.

  • Eliazia Mohammad on 29 August 2012

    You get a brilliant academic teaching in the backwaters of ZU and this is how they repay him. Makes me want to tear my hair out in frustration,

  • Maryam AlShamsi on 30 August 2012

    This topic reminds me of myself when I made a presentation about tattoo and its use in it’s art form, no one in the class seemed to comprehend what i was trying to convey since its a class of historical art-form. Many students complained about my presentation that its against our religion and against our country to talk about tattoos,and Im a local girl who should be ashamed of myself; but what they fail to understand is to view tattoo as an essential art form,and that what I was presenting. According to them I was put in affront, and it was too controversial.
    In any case, if they choose to to keep a backward frame of mind, its up to them, which will probably lead them to no where.
    As a media student myself, I totally understand what were your intentions.

    I am deeply sorry about this news, but Im sure u’ll have a better life, without anyone retraining your liberal mind.

  • Anonymous on 31 August 2012

    I have a very similar story, and I’m sure there are plenty others in the same boat. I would not even for one second doubt the truth of this story. I was similarly dismissed from a teaching position at AUD (American University of Dubai), and little to no reason was given why (I knew it was because of an article I had published in 7days criticizing an aspect of the school). Never in my life had I realized the importance of my granted first amendment rights as an American until this happened. There is a reason why the UAE has to pay people so much money–you wouldn’t stay there otherwise. The UAE, as one of my dear coworkers so aptly puts, is akin to someone with golden handcuffs.

  • diego on 31 August 2012

    A passenger plane carrying singer Cat Stevens to Washington was diverted to another city 600 miles away yesterday so the musician could be escorted off the flight by FBI agents and sent back to Britain.
    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said the singer, who converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam, was denied access to the US “on national security grounds”.

  • hind on 1 September 2012

    First of all not the uae national security who kicked u out of the country, and not ur silly things that u did in the country are the reasons too. I’m gonna tell u the truth, over the last year we have establish a group called against CCMS, we were more than 20 students form ur classes. The main reason of this organization to kick u out the country, and thanks god we did, we spents days connecting with people in and out side the uni. Then they told ur the progress should take long time until the summer, and we should be quite, in the first place we thought that nothing would happen to u, but every thing happend as we wish. 
    Don’t play the victim rule because u r not! And to make yourself hero because heroes don’t speak about what they have don’t. 
    I wish that u can get a job as professor in Oxford because I believe that they need u more than we do!

  • Umm Saqer on 3 September 2012

    I feel sorry you have been fired – mainly for not exactly pinpointed to you the main reason. I liked the fact you were one on one basis with the students , being intouch with them in twitter and encouraging many on the era of Zayed university students and visitors.

    You should be thankful though for being here and receiving a VERY big salary you would not have got in your country and living for the amount of years here. I as an Emirati local would never dream to get your wife salary , let alone yours. I mean if the roles were reversed , i would never be given priority , the chance or respect in your country which you got.

    Let’s be honest. They will not FIRE YOU FOR NO REASON if you were good. Either you cost them too much , or you were talking a bit too loud in politics and encouraging the so called spring. I dont see where this spring will take anybody . Libya, Tunis, Egypt , Iraq , Syria are ALL against what the western medi are doing BAD.Hundreds of thousands have died, lost their jobs , widowed , orphaned. The basic need of clean air , happy homes, SAFETY is lost. With provacative remarks , incentives for so called young teenagers to do some sort of free speech which culd very well lead to the cases of the countries above should be stopped – all under the FARCE name of Diplomacy. Where is america now from afghanistan and Iraq after it killed many , and chemicals mutating kids ? When they couldnt deal with it – they left for the people to kill themselves. Ok , you lost your job . We locals here lose outr jobs every day and you open a blog and tweet freely and complain . Thats it you worked for years , got 4 times the salary you can just DREAM of in your country . Instead of being thankful you complain and nag . I’m sorry to say so , grow up . The money you got can keep you living rich for years compared to what you’ll get in your country .

  • Umm Saqer on 3 September 2012

    We are a happy country , safe and in accord with our rules. Bad exists everywhere. Even here, but the good is more in the balance.

    Please stop disturbing our peace under the farce name of diplomacy , freedom of speech and journalism.

    One should look at the bigger story. I wish you spoke against the deaths instigated under freedom of speech in the so called Arab spring. I am looking at EVERY country of this arab spring. ALL and I mean ALL have had people killed , houses ruined, safety lost. AND now after de throning their rulers, where are they > MORE in the dumps and no one cares. You people go footballing around asking for more countries to join the spring. Dont you know if the spring happens herein UAE , we people will be killed. I dont want my father or brother killed , my siblings orphaned be it mom or dad are lost or my kids living in fear just to make your journalism happy and peopel writing thoughts.

    We only encoourage thoughts and words to keep our country safe and citizens happy. You lost a job and you are crying like a baby and asking for people to pat you. You are a man , with your degree you can find jobs – true in USA even if its a RICH country wont pay you 1/4 what we paid you … yet again instead of being thankful for working years here, you are screaming and wanting to stay more to get more millions and have that free five star accomodation , free insurance, free tickets , free education for your kids in any school and uni of your choice. I mean i GIVE YOU ALL THE RIGHT to scream and cry here and ask for pity and hope this blog could get you your job back. I as an emirati local wont get 1/5th of what u get , but it saddens me that after all this – as you wont benefit for more rich years you cry out here.
    i wonder where ALL those compassionate bloggers for you here from LORAINE , dominic , ADAM , ALEX, MARK , BRITT, ALEX , ADAM , MIKE – where are you from the arabs killed , lost their jobs , the breadwinner died in american instigated wars like afgahnistan , iraq etc? those people lost their jobs , their workplace, children orphaned under war under terrorsim and ” collateral DAMAGE”

    In conclusion , Matt .. what is your collateral damage or damage ? that you wont add another year to the many years you worked here?
    Seriously , this is frustrating – many of my family members were fired from their jobs. We locals , arabs , from this country since grandparents… for reason or no reason they were fired – be it to put some one instead, someone better – or just for the sake of change ,,,, stop moaning and crying and asking for sympathey and tweeting all over twitter and making people retweet . Seriously grow up and you should teach and learn ..
    Journalism has consequences… be it good or bad – ONE must knwo the risks .. if it is for a good cause – the damage done be it fired , killed or whatever – if done for A good CAUSE .. we shoud be happy … cause we spoke our mind , we are free…
    but nNOT cry and say we didnt do anything .

  • Umm Saqer on 3 September 2012

    @Lorrainne charles “: our existance in ANY country, in any city , in any job is uncertain.

    The sad truth . But again you go on being prejudiced and biased.. and again , unthankful .

  • Umm Saqer on 4 September 2012

    @najam :
    it’s not dictators. Dictators wont let you live ten times the luxury you can only imagine in your country from free five star accomodation , tax free salary , tickets m insurance , free education for kids – the list goes on .

    It’s a country that looks for the benefit of its people. Dont grudge us our safety. A country wont pay you that much and make you live like kings over what us emiratis get .. just to let you take our basic need of SAFETY. Matt , you can take all my salary – but i dont want people killed here for your freedom of speech,

    Be my guest and do so in america . They might let you do that but any action of actual damage caused , i believe any country woudl think you a threat and deal with you in a devastating way . Uae has been kind. It just stopped you from getting more millions =)

  • Umm Saqer on 4 September 2012

    @Dominic Bellone:
    yes he will not only call you when we run out of resource, he will JOIN u in washington cause we wont be paying him as much , actually we will be poor then … and yes , Matt wouldnt wanna work for free and teach us journalism then or even get a normal salary. We wont be interesting ,,, and he wont moan and cry here … we wont be interesting anymore …

    what bothers you if we are wayward in our country Dominic ? Seriously , if our people are not as western or friendly as we say we are ? seriously go away and let us be. I am not complainging of the bad you do in your country ? its your country do with whatever !!!

    All i have against ur country id if you hurt humans in afgahnistan and iraq and SLYLY and undercover work to raise shaos in egypt and elswhere. Stop telling me my country is fake indirectly . Cause you are more fake. Go fix your errors and stop throwing stones at us.

    You are a sad person .

  • Umm Saqer on 4 September 2012

    @Mike Dunkel :

    Of all matt’s supporters , i wanna salute you.
    You are frank , honest and truthful. Atheist or not , relatives in israe or whatever … atleast you speak your mind with no hidden agenda of wanting your job back and indirectly dissing people here and there .

    kudos to you !

  • Umm Saqer on 4 September 2012

    @Terry Borden :
    excelled and truthful accounts.
    You are fair and truthful.
    I respect your honesty and frankess and accuracy .

    much appreciated and i wish you well in UAE.Hope there are more like you out here.

  • Amna on 10 September 2012

    I would have told you that I’m sorry for what has happened, but the way I see it, what has happened to you, and many others is the building up towards a wake-up call, and eventually there will be one who will trigger that bell. Many of us will begin to question our rights as humans, and what they do to try to be in control and contain our ideas.

  • Hazem on 10 September 2012

    Standing in solidarity with you and all other professors terminated on grounds of freedom of speech, I mention below forms of freedom of expression to avoid to keep your job in the USA:
    Joel Kovel lost his Bard College position for writing books like “Overcoming Zionism” and calling Israel “a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses.”
    DePaul University denied Norman Finkelstein tenure. It then fired him for speaking out and writing books like “The Holocaust Industry.”
    Political activism and honesty about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict also cost tenured professor Denis Rancourt his University of Ottawa job.
    UCLA Professor David Delgado Shorter is now targeted. On April 4, department chair Professor Angelia Leung rebuked him. She said his web site was being reviewed for posting inappropriate material pertaining to the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

  • Amena on 19 September 2012

    Everything is subject to double standard here in the Emirates, that’s whay I learned. “Freedom of speech”?! Every single readers comment in the national press awaits for approval before being, or being not, published, or published WITH funny ammendments… GulfNews open for discussion only certain atricles for a tiny time span, hours literally, and everytime I play with local sensitivities I end up unpublished (but luckily, not prosecuted). A country, which loudly vocals its National Zero Road Mortality Awareness Compain allows increased mortality and car accidents rate during the Holy Month and that coutry praises itself as progressive?!? Complete ridicule. Just try to speak AND you will be heard, but not by “the community”. As community is diverse and “some are more equal than others”.

  • Professor X on 29 November 2012

    Reading the responses to this article supports everything this man is saying.

    1) Sorry to hear about the WAY you left. When you get to a certain level of your career, you should always be able to leave on your own terms.

    2) Education is what needed. Censorship is like putting a bandaid over a ringworm. Things get traumatically worse… Then when the bandaid finally comes off either intentionally or by mistake, it’s disgusting….. That’s what is happening in the outer Arab nations. No one is educated enough to question the questioner. One fool sparks and opinion and everyone blindly follows because they have no real knowledge and education of there own.
    3) Its important for us to realize as Emiratis that censorship is a means of control. Yes rules and measures need to be put in place, but we must be aware and prepared to deal with everything inside and outside our little world. That is the only TRUE way to progress.

    Hats Off to you my fellow educator.

  • Mary Abraham on 19 January 2013

    This is quite confusing! I have seen Dr. Duffy in an interview with Emirates 24|7 on DubaiOne in less than two or three weeks ago as a current professor in Zayed University!

  • Cedric on 6 February 2013

    Education in U.A.E? Oh please don’t even get me started on that. According to my brother all the tests and assignments we used to worry us with back in India were useless. In U.A.E it is all about contacts etc. Illiterate people rule while educated people from third world countries get exploited. The hillbilly yokels from the States (or any other western country) are treated as the Lord’s incarnations. The country promotes racism, ignorance and illiteracy.

  • Teri on 5 April 2013

    Emiratis do not understand the concept of “free speech” and trying to teach it to them is like trying to teach an elephant to fly. I taught high school for ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council) in the UAE for four months. I was told I was going to TEACH, however I was shocked and appalled at how students were allowed, and even encouraged, to cheat in class, on projects, exams, etc. They see nothing wrong with cheating to garner good grades. They even went so far as to purchase project PowerPoints from the local “bookstores” (then didn’t have the sense to edit them and take out the REAL author’s name on the intro slides..). My students did not want to study and demanded that grades be given to them.

    Having been instructed by ADEC on my arrival that I was to teach and reinforce “critical thinking and problem solving skills” but then having to adhere to a list as long as my arm on subjects I was NOT to discuss under any circumstances was almost laughable if it weren’t so sad (pigs, religion, Israel, dating, voting, dancing, co-ed education, politics, other countries monetary currencies………).
    When grading ADEC standardized exams we were instructed to be overly “generous”, but ADEC continues to perpetuate the fallacy that they have high standards for their students. There was no rigor to any areas in the entire ADEC education process that I witnessed. I finally gave up and came back to the U.S. If the UAE wants to continue to delude themselves that they are offering UAE students an “education” then who am I to burst their bubble? But I do not have to take part in the charade.

  • Moose on 2 May 2013

    “I understood the risks in taking these actions and have no regrets.”

    That was the smartest thing you said in that entire rant. This country has given citizens every sense of security, freedom, healthcare and education.

    They’ve delved into making their society the best living society, not only in the region, but also in the world.

    People will always question things, it’s in their nature to question anything and everything. But it’s also imperative to control society by being transparent and truthful. Our UAE government and its leaders have been the best for us, what did we ever give them in return? This government is never to be criticized because it gave us the sanctity of life and security that no other government in the world would.

    At least when they deported you, they deported you with dignity and not humility, explain to me what government or country would ever treat you that way.

    You knew the risks, so now deal with them.

  • Teri on 2 May 2013

    Moose, are you serious? “..control society by being transparent and truthful”. No govt controls society by being transparent and truthful. They control by distorting the truth.. They all do it to a certain degree, but countries like the UAE that are theocracy monarchies have got this down to a science. They wouldn’t know how to tell the truth if their lives depended on it. I am no longer in the UAE (I wasn’t “kicked out” but hauled butt out of there as soon as as I realized that there was a Wizard behind the curtain in the UAE- for your benefit this is an allusion to “The Wizard of Oz”). I still read The National newspaper though because I can’t believe the shoddiness of its so called “journalism”. The stories border on soap opera at times. I am glad that you have your little dream world, but some of us prefer reality and true freedom.
    I wouldn’t go back to the UAE for triple my salary.

  • Moose on 2 May 2013

    I’m a Palestinian man, I currently don’t have a country because of the current political situations. I don’t hate or discriminate on any nationals, neither I am political or stand by any political views.

    For many years, us Palestinians have always tried to find a place where we can feel a sense of belonging; either to a community, nationality or country.

    I’ve lived in the UAE since ’98. I grew up here, schooled here, graduated from here and now work here. It gave me and my family a home, food on the table, healthcare and security.

    I maintained, and still do, my code of public discipline and respect; to-date, I get treated in this country as if I am its very own national.

    I was as free as the literal meaning of a free bird – yes I am now referencing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird”. My youth, teenage life and adulthood experience has been the most memorable and admirable experience to-date, in the UAE.

    If you refuse to see that because you wish to be pessimistic about it all that’s fine, it’s your right to express and think however you want.

    You speak of shady journalism? The National happens to be one of the most top tier newspaper in the region hiring some of the world’s most renowned writers, editors, journalists and reporters from the US, UK, India and more. Their stories are the most acute stories and the most resourceful pieces you can read.

    But fine, let me indulge your theory about our journalism. Let’s assume that it is what you claim it is, then again which country or media in the world is perfect?? But I can bet you triple your salary that our media’s imperfections can take out any other country’s media imperfections at any given time.

    I’m not trying to convince you to love or admire it like I am. I’m not trying to persuade you to change your mind, I’m simply trying to explain, just like you, that the reality of freedom exists anywhere in life. Whether it may be in UAE, in UK, in US, in CA or even in Palestine…it’s simply taking an action in making the best out of what you have.

    Then again, it’s alright to agree to disagree my friend :)

  • Teri Adams on 10 August 2013

    than I shall choose to disagree. If you haven’t ever lived in a truly free country then you have no idea what I am talking about when I speak of “freedom”. And nice attempt at trying to reference Lynyrd Skynyrd.. That song talks about personal freedoms, not political or human rights ones..

  • wafa on 3 March 2014

    sorry to hear that. however, your could have asked some one before initiating such a project that is a threat to our Security which is the main reason of tourists visiting our country due to our high security and peopl’e safety, you have to wonder why most people prefer to visit UAE it make scense because of the security, and thats why the shikhs are keen to remain and sustain that which could harm the country in any other way.
    also i beileve our country gave you the opportunity to teach which is a bright side for you and great experience to be carried out in your new job. Hoever i would like to comment on one lady here she said that 2 saufi men raped an african girl well honey uou dont have an idea of what foriegners might persue in our country and RELIGION is our first priority we want the poeple to follow for instance the phillipina girl who gave birth which is a sin and against our RELIGION, people who comes and lives in this country should be blessed because we and our shieks are ver generous people and they should RESPECT that and shouldn’t do anything that harms us and our RELIGIOn

    thank you

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