Debunking Myths of The Middle East

Be careful not to get Trafficked. Don’t get kidnapped. The men oppress their women. There’s a lot of sex slaves out there!

One of the most important reasons why I travel is to combat ignorance. How can you really know what a culture is all about unless you’ve experienced it for yourself? A lot of the above statements were from people who have never visited the UAE in their lives, but the propaganda they “heard” about the Middle East and how terrible it is-with ISIS roaming around and kidnappers ready to take American girls as captives, led them to assume this would be my fate.

Now imagine if I allowed their comments to hinder me, I would’ve never been able to sit here and tell you that I felt safe in Dubai. At some points more safe than I do while living in Brooklyn. I traveled to the Middle East and survived. Yes, there are injustices going on in the UAE including: a lack of fair labor laws and poor labor treatment for the individuals working on those beautiful buildings, prostitution, human trafficking and mistreatment of housemaids–but this is the case wherever you go, even in America.

Not all women are oppressed in the Middle East. Middle Eastern women jhave different standards than some American women. Middle Eastern women wouldn’t dare expose their bodies for the entire world to see. They treat their bodies as a temple, only revealing their treasures to their husband. They know their worth and walk with confidence in their long black Abaya’s. They wear the best of the best underneath their garments. Christian Louboutin shoes, Alexander Mcqueen dresses. Almost every one of the women have a designer bag. While shopping with their friends they open their Abaya’s and reveal they are decked out in jeans and the latest shirts from Zara. They are just like us.

I learned the importance of being chaste, while in Dubai. Always being mindful not to offend anyone by exposing my shoulders, or showing too much cleavage like I would in America. Yet, the profound significance of this was that I didn’t feel less sexy, I felt beautiful. One of the most monumental parts of my trip was being able to put on an Abaya for the first time. I felt honored to imitate the essence of a Muslim woman. I felt like they showed me another way. I was able to walk in their shoes for sometime, while in the mosque and it felt empowering. I have such an indescribable respect for them.

Thank You God for bringing me back home safely. Unfortunately we do live in a crazy world and anything could’ve happened to me. I am completely aware of that. However the moral of the story is, you should never let other peoples beliefs of a country hinder you from traveling. You should also never let your own misconceptions hinder you. Go for it. Find out for yourself, and you will be glad you did, because whether good or bad, you still will have a story to tell and an experience to share for the rest of your life.

Hyatt  Capital Gate Abu Dhabi

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