Friday, July 5, 2013

Dubai : The Impossible City

From: Larry T.
Sent: July 5, 2013
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Fw: Dubai : The Impossible City
Dubai was given this title by Discovery Channel with its show focusing on the city's rapid growth. Dubai seemingly fits the title. The tallest structure (Burj Khalifa), the disputed "only 7-star" hotel (Burj Al-Arab), and man-made islands (Palm Island ).

A good article: Al-Kindi, the 'Islamic Philosopher,' is not much known in the West. This 9th century thinker was perhaps the ultimate '"Renaissance man" -- a 500 years before the Europeans got anywhere near even the idea.

The "Golden Age of Islam," of which al-Kindi was part, is -- in our world -- little taught and was little understood. This flowering of culture, government and -- crucially -- learning, reached its apotheosis in the rule of the Caliphs, whose empire stretched from what is now Iraq in the east to Southern Europe in the west. Not only is the legacy of that era still very much with us, but one doesn't need to travel to Andalucia in Spain (al-Andalus to al-Kindi and pals) to witness it.

Because whilst the Caliphs themselves (as far as we know....) didn't make it much past the pillars of Hercules, their Iberian 'offspring' certainly did. The language, architecture, cuisine -- indeed their entire culture -- that the Conquistadors forcibly exported, all owed significantly more to another conquest than most Spaniards, even today, would care to admit; that of Spain by the Caliphs. Consequently, Latin American countries, and the more Hispanic States north of the border, provide their own constant, accented, inflections and hat-tips to the once mighty Arabian globe-trotters -- consciously or otherwise. The journey, for example, from the guitars and laments of contemporary Latin American music to the classic music of Arabia is not a long one. Just ask Shakira. Continue Reading.

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