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Peter Cooper is the editor and publisher of the ArabianMoney Investment Newsletter and website. He was formerly a partner in, sold in a private equity deal in 1996. His book 'Opportunity Dubai: Making a Fortune in the Middle East' was a best seller, and his latest... More
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Dubai Sabbatical: The Road to $5,000 Gold
  • Is Paris the New Dubai? 1 comment
    Jun 18, 2009 12:12 AM

     When Americans want to die they go to Paris, but Paris Hilton seems to have decided that if you want to live you should come to Dubai.

    Or perhaps her arrival in Dubai yesterday has a higher purpose: bridging the cultural divide between the United States and the Middle East. In actual fact the reason behind her visit is much simpler: to make a television show to promote Paris and Dubai.

    Cultural links

    This will of course not be a tale of two cities. What the Hilton heiress will discover is that modern Dubai has more of a cultural affinity with a large American city than most of her viewers could ever think possible.

    The skyscrapers, the hotels, the shopping malls, the nightclubs, this is the Manhattan of the Middle East, and the surprising lack of Dubai citizens dressed in national black and white is explained by the fact that 95 per cent of the population is expatriate.

    It would be amazing if Paris Hilton did not feel at home in such an international city with a multinational culture. You can of course venture into the desert for a night under the stars, most tourists and expatriates also do that.

    Then again Ms Hilton is a fashion queen so here the Arabic cultural influence will be apparent in the apparel of locally based designers, and Islamic art and architecture is also distinctive.

    However, at another level it is delightful to welcome an honest, commercial observer to Dubai to make a television series that will doubtless be viewed by millions of Americans and will likely influence their view of the Middle East.

    Cool shopping

    If that means a region hot on the good life and cool for shopping then so much the better. There is more to the Middle East than the occupation of Iraq for Americans, and they should be seeing another side of life here.

    Is this just another media distortion of reality? Naturally many will be outraged, but Paris will probably be a fairer judge than the biased and largely fictional recent UK press articles about Dubai in The Independent, Times and Guardian, who should know better.

    From the Dark Side of Dubai to the Lighter View from Paris perhaps.

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  • Marc Courtenay
    , contributor
    Comments (411) | Send Message
    Peter: Please email me concerning an important proposal. My email address is Thank you and thanks for your comment today.
    18 Jun 2009, 08:18 PM Reply Like
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