Faenza is where I’m from. Then there’s the globalized world
I don’t hate Italy, neither my native town, Italians and our way of life. I just realized that the world goes on, that there’s something outside which looks to the future and which is more interesting to live than keeping tightened to traditions, old paradigms and always-the-same routine, never-changing rethorics and for sure never-paid jobs.
I feel as I took the best from my country, I deeply perceived my culture and I discovered my roots. Then it came the time to move away and find out opportunities that neither Italy nor Europe are still able to offer. I was bored with the “old” and looked for the “new”.
Before arriving in Australia I therefore decided to stop in the Arabic Emirates Union. A Portuguese friend who works as a cabin crew for Emirates Airlines took me to visit Dubai, where she lives. Then we spent a day in Abu Dhabi, visiting the third largest mesquite in the world and had dinner with her Italian boyfriend.
Fortunately, I’ve never looked for traditional stuffs, such as gastronomy and handcrafts, so I didn’t felt lost or disappointed when I realized that in four days I just ate Portuguese, Greek, South African and Thai meals, I spoke Portuguese, Italian and English languages and spent most of the time in western bars, skyscrapers and malls.
This is not to say that there aren’t Arabic traditions. Please don’t misunderstand: it would be and untruthful statement. It’s commonly known that AUE is one of the most Muslim orthodox countries and it isn’t impossible to find traditional architectures such as the old medina and colorful souk. And for sure, I was a foreigner among other foreigners traveling or working in the Emirates.
But it’s also true that the last 50 years history of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the two major Emirates, led to a different reality from other more localistic and strict Muslim realities. For example, it’s completely different from Morocco, where I’ve been six years ago with a Moroccan friend of mine. Here, despite several girls wearing tight skirts (mainly in Casablanca) and highly modern sea-view promenades and hotels, you deeply breathe its archaic traditions and architectures.
On the very contrary, when you arrive in Dubai you can’t stop to think that you’re in a desert completely distorted by the western imaginary. Richness and maybe a sense of being competitive in the global trades led emiratinis to rebuild their landscape and way of life. Malls, skyscrapers, international firms, futuristic transports and architectures, plastic surgery and luxury cars are tangible everywhere.
But there was a question that always pounded away at my mind: “Why don’t they wear jeans?”. I mean, what about western clothes? Why they still, persistently wear the kandura and the keffiyeh (for men) and niqāb or chador (for women)?
“They used to wear jeans – I have been answered by an Italian man who has been living for 9 years in Abu Dhabi – But in the last 10-15 years they chose to go back to their tradition clothes to express their state of origin and their economical position. United Arab Emirates’ garnments became a status symbol”.