12 3 mins 9 yrs

Foreigners always have to mind how they go in sunny Dubai.

A Norwegian woman at the centre of a Dubai rape case dispute has been pardoned and is free to leave Dubai, she has said.

Interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, was on a business trip in Dubai when she says she was raped in March. She reported the attack to the police, but was charged with perjury, having extramarital sex and drinking alcohol, receiving a 16-month prison sentence.

That was quick. I was expecting her to be held for at least six months. I first went to Dubai for a stopover, to stay with my brother when he lived there. I borrowed his motor for a drive around, just to check it out. As he handed over the keys he said: “I know you can drive, but watch yourself. Don’t ever get into any aggro with a local. They’re crap drivers, but foreigners are the ones who get done.” I asked, but what if an accident is Abdul’s fault? “Doesn’t matter” he said, “it’s always the foreigner who gets done.” Welcome to Dubai.

“We came in and we sat down and they told us ‘You’ve been pardoned’. It’s from the ruler of Dubai. It’s from him personally so that’s – it just feels unbelievable – it’s a very, very good day.”

Isn’t that great of him? What a splendid chap to pardon a woman who was raped. Notwithstanding what I said above, it seems that a colleague attacked her and not a local. The point however is that many people pass through the gaff. Some to work, some for a holiday and some for a stopover. If you ever go there, for whatever reason, it’s best to remember that despite the veneer of civilisation, legally and judicially you’re travelling back centuries.

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  1. you’re travelling back centuries.

    Don’t you want to travel back centuries to Victorian England in which women, gay people, the disabled were treated like crap?

  2. Good post.

    Stay away from Dubai, whose fascination was never possible to understand.

    Boycott Emirates Airlines, the national flag carrier of Dubai, wholly owned by the Dubai government sovereign wealth fund.

    Boycotts aren’t normally my thing, but if you won’t condemn a place which ” pardons ” rape victims when it doesn’t imprison them, you won’t condemn anything.

  3. I considered a stopover there when I went to China.

    Why in God’s name do any Europeans go there for sun holiday when for the same or less money you can go to Spain / Florida / Cancun or a hundred far better places?

  4. The hotels are unbelievable, and there’s a certain kind of person who thinks others are impressed by some faux glitz. Plus Dubai has got some top footballers to buy places out there (probably they were gratis). Some people like that irrelevent stuff.

    There’s nothing you can find there that you can’t find anywhere else, there’s plenty you can’t do that you can do elsewhere. It’s soulless and in the summer it’s stupidly hot.

  5. If there is a criticism of dubai it’s the sewage system, the smell first thing in the morning stinks.

    Google Dubai and sewage system and you’ll see what I mean.

    It is soulless, it has no culture of its own. It’s a very diverse place, but it’s still only a feifdom that tried diversity as an experiment and it worked, it has no educated populace of its own so every educated worker has to be imported.

    It’s not as popular as it once was though, the global downturn has taken its toll. Not somewhere I’d recommend.

  6. Unless Spain, Mexico, Florida, Las Vegas, Central America, and California and many other places all go out of business, there’s no reason to consider Dubai for holiday.

    It has a good location for certain flight connections, but in a world of very long range aircraft, it too can be flown over, or the connection can be made in a better place, in Europe or Asia.

    What happens in Dubai won’t stay in Dubai.

  7. …despite the veneer of civilisation, legally and judicially you’re travelling back centuries.

    Quite literally for those who happen to be female.

  8. I’ve zero interest in Dubai as a destination. One of those things I don’t get. Like Jerry Lewis as a comic genius, the music of Steely Dan or tiramisu.

  9. //Stay away from Dubai, whose fascination was never possible to understand.//

    I think for a lot of people it’s important to be near wealth.

    For others – people who hate humidity, with chest ailments or allergies – it has certain health benefits. Then there’s the interesting architecture, and the golf courses.
    If you can handle seeing young men swagger in wealth and freedom alongside their servile women, there are a few attractions – try a pina colada in the Irish village at 40 deg.


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