Tags Archives: Cities

Dubai and the Fantasies of Civilization

By Adon Apamea / Deep Green Resistance Middle East & North Africa

By Adon Apamea / Deep Green Resistance Middle East & North Africa

Dubai is an interesting city. A thriving futuristic metropolis in the heart of the desert considered to be the crown jewel of modernity with indoor ski resorts, gulf courses, fully computerized metros, giant air-conditioned shopping malls, and the tallest skyscrapers in the world.

Built upon the oil money and over the desert’s sands starting from 1970s, Dubai is rootless more than any other city in the world. With a few thousand original natives, Dubai attracts millions of people today from around the world who come to live and work, or to just take a look at the legendary city.

The dispossessed, like yours truly, come to Dubai for work when all other possibilities are blocked. Some of the latter enter the city with the dream of doing big money. Some come out of desperation while the rest are forced into cheap labor or sold as slaves for the sex industry.

The possessed – those who have loads of money and are possessed with making more money and power, also come to Dubai. Most of them come to squeeze the life out of the first group for profit while some just want to show off their fortune or discover what the fuss is about.

The dispossessed sit on the bottom while the possessed sit on top. The hierarchy looks something like this: native Emirati men – specifically those possessing money, power and oil – sit on top, white western men sit right next or beneath them managing the growth of one of the fastest cities in the world.  Some brown men, mainly from Pakistan and India, sit in the third row, and more whitish people and some Arabs sit somewhere in the fourth row making the middle management and landlords of the city. East Asians sit on the fifth row doing all the blue collar jobs, answering phone calls, making deliveries, and fixing air conditioners. And last a majority of Pakistanis, Indians, Bengalis and Sirilankans sit in the last row, building the city in the scorching heat, cleaning houses, and opening doors. In the shadows, an unknown number of women, from all nationalities of the third world are sex slaves, without passports or means to escape their slavery.

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Ekümenopolis: City Without Limits

Ekümenopolis: City Without Limits is a feature documentary that tells the story of Istanbul and other Mega-Cities on a neo-liberal course to destruction.

The film takes a look at the city on a macro level and through the eyes of experts, going from the tops of mushrooming skyscrapers to the depths of the railway tunnel under the Bosphorous strait; from the historic neighborhoods in the south to the forests in the north; from isolated islands of poverty to the villas of the rich. It’s an Istanbul going from 15 million to 30 million. It’s an Istanbul going from 2 million cars to 8 million.

It’s the Istanbul of the future that will soon engulf the entire region.

It’s an Istanbul nobody has ever seen before.

A Drone is a Perfect Citizen

By Asher Kohn / thestate.ae

A drone is a perfect citizen. It follows orders. It produces. It does not waste. It does not take breaks, it does not gossip, and it does not unionize. A drone does not worry about the second-order effects of its actions. A drone will not whistleblow and a drone will not strike. A drone works, and works hard, and does nothing else.

A drone is an economist’s compatriot. They are perfect rational actors, their brains wired to view everything in cost-benefit analysis. A drone can be cheated, but never confused. A drone will always be convinced that its decisions are correct. How do drones communicate? In certainties. Drones are sure of their place in the world and their place in the hierarchy. A drone will seek its maximum advantage in any situation. Without the need for sleep or sustenance, a drone is a higher being. An animal perfectly evolved for the digital world.

But perfect evolution does not mean an ideal form. They are working on it, though, creating drones like the famous “Big Dog” that is more adaptable. It is able to operate, its parents note excitedly, ‘even’ in nature.

This talk of perfection is literally inhuman. It is anathema to a carnival, which is why Murmuration is so wonderful. The carnival frame allows us to discuss drones in human terms, in fears and worries, in excitation and love. A carnival is silly, as irrational as can be. And as human as can be. The carnival is a meatspace event, drawn by Murmuration in an incursion into the drone’s digital world. The carnival is, arguably, a rationalism-free zone.

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