Friday, March 20, 2009

New Gulf economics blog

Check out Iqtisad Al Khaleej (Gulf Economy) dedicated to covering economic, financial and political issues in the Gulf. If you follow The Emirates Economist for coverage of these issues, you'll want to consider adding Gulf Economy to your reading.

Like The Emirates Economist it looks like Gulf Economy will venture outside those issues at times. Consider this post:
Dubai is drowning in debt and defaulting fleeing expatriates, and across the United Arab Emirates rigid visa and labors law mean people who lose their jobs have to leave within a month. But how do the authorities react?

Yes, by clamping down on an apparent rise in lesbianism - cough - "masculine women".
BBC World: The UAE government has launched a campaign against what it describes as masculine behaviour among women.

Under the slogan "excuse me I am a girl", it has launched a series of workshops, lectures and TV programmes.

The aim, the UAE authorities say, is to help women avoid what is seen as "delinquent behaviour".

That is how the social affairs ministry in the emirates describes what would in some other societies be known as homosexuality or transvestitism.
More from the BBC report:
There were no studies available that describe the extent of the phenomenon in the rest of the Emirati society, they said, but it is believed to be common in girls' schools.

A social worker in charge of the campaign, Awatef al-Rayyes, was quoted as saying that this kind of behaviour could be attributed to a number of causes including the unfair treatment of wives by their husbands and lack of mixing between the sexes.

This, she said, could lead to girls feeling more secure in the company of other girls and some may adopt the male role by having their hair cut short or by putting on a man's voice.

Officially, Arab societies view heterosexuality as the publicly accepted norm, and all other forms of sexuality or sexual conduct are regarded as deviant or abnormal.

However, homosexuality is believed to be common.
From Salon:
This week, officials jumped to action by launching a campaign called “Excuse me, I am a girl." (I'm pretty sure that was lifted straight from "The Valley Girl's Guide to Political Rhetoric.") It's aim: to fight a major "menace" to Arab society: lesbians.

Officials say that lesbians, euphemistically known as "manly" women or the "fourth sex," harass "normal" women, according to the Los Angeles Times [blog]. The government isn't interested in cracking down on harassment, though, so much as they want to eradicate inadequate femininity. The Times reports that "the campaign, which involves educational experts and psychologists, will include awareness workshops to explain the phenomenon and ways to face it." Naji Hay of the ministry of social affairs told a local TV station: "The phenomenon of manly women has become apparent in society ... These women are against the normal nature of females."
Back in 2005 the Khaleej Times carried this story:
A recent debate on a UAE radio station criticising the emergence of female homosexuality has brought to light that the practice is rampant in ‘female-only' educational institutions, particularly among those residing in university dormitories.
Meanwhile, several UoS students have alleged the existence of physical relationships between women students, especially among those living in the female dormitories on campus.

A student, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, "Only recently, I saw two women students kissing each other behind the dorms. They behaved like a man and woman in love."

Another student who also spoke on condition of anonymity said, "There are many female students who behave like men on the campus. They sport short hair, no makeup, and do not wear a sheila. Their mannerisms resemble that of men and appear to be physically tough," she said, disclosing that they remain weary of such students who approach pretty female students and ask them for a kiss.

"Besides, there are a number of girls who appear very normal when they meet, but send out SMS messages to pretty girls asking them for a physical relationship."
Also from 2005:
More than two dozen gay Arab men — arrested at what police called a mass homosexual wedding — could face government-ordered hormone treatments, five years in jail and a lashing, authorities said Saturday.

The Interior Ministry said police raided a hotel chalet earlier this month and arrested 22 men from the Emirates as they celebrated the wedding ceremony, one of a string of recent group arrests of homosexuals here.

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Blogger rosh said...

As far as I know, this is not new. Lesbianism in some shape or form, has been in existence past 2 decades..especially female dormitories. Why can't they just let people be..or offer moral support or counselling? It's hard enough living in conservative society..seriously, wtf is "excuse me I am a girl"?

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These campaigns never work. I have made a suggestion in the past, and I'll make it again.

Burn them at the stake. No, I'm not kidding. Or hang them the way they used to after friday prayers.

If the govt is really upset about this, or anything else for that matter, there is real action that can be taken.

But I'm tired of the UAE half assing things. Hang them or leave them be. Dont parade 1/2 assed initiatives around me. I'm tired of BS.

2:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly,lesbianism is getting worse and worse every year and i do not blame these girls but blame their families that are not doing a good job taking care of their daughters. girl do these things because they are not allowed to go out they have to stay home so they call their female friends and enjoy their times together

if the goverment did not catch the private party that was done in the officers club in abu dhabi they would have not started this

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Tiffani said...

Quite useful material, thanks so much for the post.

2:09 PM  
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3:45 PM  

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