Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The view from here

I thought I would take a moment to explain the choice of images used for our blog's header as it was very intentional. The shot was taken from our apartment and seems to epitomize the experiment that is Abu Dhabi, and more widely, the UAE. That is, one finds here juxtapositions galore: modern skyscrapers next to mosques, Emiratis wearing centuries old garb (dishdashas for the men and abayas for the women) and talking on their iPhones, fast-food restaurants along side traditional Lebanese bakeries, and prayer rooms located in shopping malls, to name only a few. Much of recent Muslim history can be summed up in this way: how does one (assuming the desire is even there) embrace both modernity and their own Muslim identity? To be sure, this is a challenge that has been or is being faced by pretty much everyone in the world; it's just that, as of late, we seem to be focusing on how the Middle East has approached this challenge (and there are many very good reasons for this). And, of course, the ways in which the Muslim world has tackled this challenge are legion. Anyways, we thought this image communicated some of these interesting dynamics here in Abu Dhabi. I'm sure we'll be returning to this theme, both directly and indirectly, throughout our posts.

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