This is the news that came buzzing through on my new iPhone this morning (thank you Matt for the fabulous Christmas present!) It must be a joke, I thought. Who can cancel New Year's Eve? Well apparently Sheikh Mohammad can. Last night, New Year's Eve celebrations across Dubai were called off. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ordered the cancellation of all forms of celebrations marking the New Year in Dubai emirate, as an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Naturally, this has thrown all NYE celebrators into a tail spin. It isn't hard to guess that every hotel, bar, and club in the city is throwing huge bashes, and now guests are demanding to know "what the deal is". Matt and I personally have tickets with a few friends for the celebration at the Atlantis and are anxious to find out if we are going to have a NYE at all.
There is an entire blog set up on TimeOut Dubai which is tracking all the latest updates, and so far it looks like good news for us, it appears that only outdoor celebrations, including fireworks and music are cancelled. However, let's not under estimate the importance of branding! Here are some of our favorites:
"The Dubai Drums event is still on. It's going to be called "New moon Desert Drumming For Peace".
"Alpha will not be celebrating NYE tonight, they will however be OPEN and supporting the Palestinians with a live tribute from Osheasis and JoJo De Freq (their already scheduled performers). Donations welcome at the door for Palestinians relief fund."
So far, it looks like our indoor celebration is safe. Matt and I aren't your typical conspiracy theorits, but try this on for size: all NYE celebrations in Abu Dhabi are still on, which as the more conservative of the two emirates is suprising. In fact, there is a huge outdoor concert with Shakria planned and ads on Google are already exclaiming "Abu Dhabi NYE is not cancelled! Buy Shakira tickets now!" This cancelation - which is bound to cost the Dubai economy millions of dirhams, and alienate resident expats and tourists who have travelled here purposefully for New Year's Eve, is only going to benefit Abu Dhabi, financially, and otherwise. This cancellation couldn't be the part of the behind-closed-doors bailout plan they are offering us? Could it?