While an expat coming to the UAE might be more interested in the "Western" view, it is more than worthwhile getting the other side of the coin from a UAE National. Although some of these blogs are in Arabic, many are starting to blog in English, which will start to give a balance of opinion, or at least more of a choice in what you choose to read.
The big worry of bloggers in the region is to what limit freedom of speech can be really taken. There have been a couple of radical bloggers who mysteriously disappeared from the blogosphere. However, these days bloggers seem to be given a bit more slack. Just so long as what is written is not attacking the royalty, or walks the line of obvious controversy there does not appear to be much of a problem. With much of the western media covering the issues that occur in Dubai and the Middle East, the realm of free speech is starting to gain a little more ground. One daily newspaper, Gulf News, even provides snippets from a number of the blogs and publishes them every Monday in their tabloid section.
We have put together a selection of the best Dubai blogs that we think you may enjoy. Whilst these are not necessarily the best blogs in Dubai, they are essentially a guide or a good starting point in understanding what the UAE is all about. We have concentrated on those that are UAE focused rather than those that just happen to be based here.
We suspect that, if you enjoyed the site, then you might enjoy the blog in which we attempt to complement what we provide here and in the newsletter. Smoke it and see!
The Emirates Economist
John Chilton gives an economic and insightful viewpoint on what's going on in the UAE and the region, with real life economics in practice. Occasional general theory make it an enjoyable education. Having termed the phrase "farkonomics", a play onFark and economics, (and perhaps even more eyebrow raising than freakonomics) a new phenomenon could be born.
Adventures in Dubai
Keefieboy, a seasoned Brit Expat, blogs about change in the UAE with tongue in cheek typical humour. Mixing in the goings on of daily life with Better'Arf makes his musings all the more real. Rumours of his departure from the sandlands will leave a gaping hole in the UAE blog scene.
An Emarati's Thoughts
From the name, it is obvious that Emirati is a UAE National. He always has something to say, sometimes controversial but gives a great perspective, both eloquent and highly creative.
A Secret Arabian Journal
If you really want to understand the Gulf, this is where to go. Regular postings on topics that will educate you on things that you will not find elsewhere can only be found here. Other blogs in the same genre include A Secret Arabian Journal: redux,Dubai Nights and in the midst of chaos
Dubai at Random
This relatively new blog will give you stories from Dubai, that have a realism because of its frank observations. Its appeal is due to the fact that the blogger has a cross section of friends from all walks of society which make his tales all the more appealing. He also knows a thing or two about the stock market.
Dubai Consumer Mirror
Moryarti looks at Dubai from a consumer perspective, but his views don’t stop just there. In contrast and in complement, Dubai Media Observer gives a critical view of the media industry here and woke gives his take on Bol Dubai.
Secret Dubai Diary
SecretDubai gained notoriety after her blog was banned for a period of time. This incident in itself created the impetus for a plethora of bloggers to emerge. She has a huge following, by UAE standards, and you are bound to get a little controversy as well as numerous comments on daily pieces on the goings on in the UAE. She also maintains a more comprehensive Guide to UAE Blogs which is worth checking out if you want to immerse yourself in the Blog underworld.
UAE Community Blog
Secret Dubai also initiated the community blog which contains links to large selection of UAE blogs, both general and UAE specific. It almost acts as a coffee shop where people announce their news or bring important issues to the forefront. If you start your own blog, this where you could share it with others. Aqoul is a high brow approach to covering MENA debates and toot is an invite only collection of the best blogs from Arabia. Those familiar with Metroblogging will be happy to hear that there is a Dubai Metro Blog Site.
Other blogs worth checking out include Buj Al Arab, UAE raised commenting from the UK, One Big Construction Site, by Samurai Sam, raised in the UAE and blogging from Oz, M&J Adventures from a couple of constantly traveling expats, Life in Dubai, an expat returning for a second stint in Dubai post boom, the Desert Weasel with some succinct expat rants, and An Englishman in Dubai.
Everyone will no doubt have their own favourites. No doubt you will find yours from those highlighted above or from the blogs that they link to. If you are completely lost, we suggest you start at the UAE Community Blog. Get involved, share your opinion and even start your own blog - the more the merrier. Just be aware of the difference between fact, opinion, and rumour!