The United Arab Emirates celebrated its National Day on December 2. There were flags everywhere..flags to tie your misplaced identity to, flags to hide your identity if you can cleverly use them to cover the registration plate of your car. Dala al Hashemi used an Emirati flag to hide the number plate of her SUV, when she went out to stab to death a Romanian-American, and place a home made bomb outside the residence of an Egyptian-American doctor. The attempt to kill the American doctor (fortunately unsuccessful) was premeditated--Dala allegedly went to the doctor’s residence, several days earlier, to make sure he lived there. But Ibolya Ryan, the special education American teacher, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dala stayed in the women’s room of a mall for an hour waiting to kill an American, any American…Ibolya finally walked in; it is not clear how Dala identified Ibolya as an American.
For those of you who have been fortunate not to visit the UAE, understand that that union of seven Sheikhdoms along the Persian Gulf reeks of gaudy phoniness. It is a place of the foreigners, for the foreigners, (build) by the foreigners--all three groups of foreigners pretty much living in mutual exclusion. This is where European-descent people and the wannabes can shamelessly get a taste of life once lived in the colonial era. The social hierarchy is hard to miss: Westerners at the top, non-Emirati Arabs and skilled workers from other places in the middle, and disposable labor from South Asia, Philippines, and other countries at the very bottom. Many have been wondering how long this last vestige of ‘colonialism’ will last. Ibolya Ryan’s murder may be signaling an end of that era of exploitation.
Thanks to the surveillance camera footage; Dala’s folly of visiting the doctor’s residence for reconnaissance, days earlier, when the registration plate of her SUV was not covered with anything; and the hard work of the Abu Dhabi police Dala al Hashemi was nabbed. But what can be done about the malice that exists in the hearts. Can Dala’s arrest deter others who might be harboring the kind of ill-will towards Americans and Westerners that Dala holds? Probably not, especially if such people are driven by religion.
Many in the Western expatriate community of the UAE must be thinking along these lines.
Photo, courtesy of the Abu Dhabi Police.