Mosaic – a picture created by setting small pieces of stones, beads, tiles, sequins, or pieces of paper of different colors and sizes onto a flat surface. Through masterful arrangement, the highly varied pieces that individually have their own look and meaning create a bigger image. And what makes this method artistic and unique is that the pieces that form it are still noticeable – they do not lose their individuality.
With that definition and interpretation in mind, it can be said that society as a whole, its institutions, and nations are metaphorical mosaics – each person are the pieces, its identical pieces are his or her fellow members in the denomination they belong in, the differently shaped or colored ones are those of another group, and the picture being formed is the society, institution, or a nation as a whole. And in the Middle East, there is one city that is perhaps the epitome of what a figurative mosaic is because of its diversity. People of all color, birthplaces, and walks of life can be found in this bustling city’s market, communities, or nondenominational churches – Dubai is its name.
Dubai of the United Arab Emirates is perhaps the most renowned, glamorous and glamorized, advanced, and beautiful city in the Middle East. In response to the need to sustain or even accelerate its breakneck growth in economic power, its gates opened to the rest of the world, inviting professionals of different fields, nationalities, and cultures into a green pasture in the middle of the desert. And an accidental but rather welcome result of this massive influx of people all over the world in Dubai is the creation of a multicultural society, which in turn gives the city a colorful cultural identity of its own.
Aside from the Muslims – those who originally lived in Dubai – Dubai has been flocked and dominated by expatriates, composing more than half of the population. Indians, Pakistani, Filipinos, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Chinese, Americans, and British are just some of the few nationalities that stay and work in the city. These groups, each with their own cultures – customs, traditions, religions, and beliefs – interact with each other – and so do their cultures. These cultures are different, yet they are able to coexist with one another, or even borrow and learn from each other.
The Big Picture
Question is, how? What makes people, wherever they may come from, able to come together in one city – be it in Dubai or anywhere else in the world – and live in harmony? What is the common denominator of these denominations’ cultures and religions? Brotherly love, respect, peace, and unity. Whatever the color of your skin, your faith, and your practices may be, it is these values that bring us together – or even closer. They allow us to understand – and even learn – from one another’s experiences and wisdom.
Dubai, a shimmering and wealthy city it may be, is by no means perfect, but it’s doing something right: diversity. While it can be said that the cultural diversity found in Dubai is commendable as it is now, it can even become better. Through brotherly love, respect, peace, and unity, the beautiful colors of Dubai can make a more beautiful mosaic.