The London Evening Standard reported a traffic accident of two Arab drivers crashing their Lamborghinis in the streets in Knightsbridge, London, damaging four other expensive cars along the way. Allegedly from wealthy families in Abu Dhabi, these car owners reassured shocked passers-by that they would pay for the damages.
Two weeks ago, we had stood in the same area, leaning against the railings outside Harrods, watching and counting the number of posh cars fleeting past. In the half hour that we spent there, I must have seen at least forty snazzy cars – Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and the more common BMWs, Porsches and Mercedes. A considerable proportion of the car owners or drivers are from Asia and the Emirates. We saw one long, cream coloured limousine with a car plate in exotic Arabic.
Inside Harrods, we saw many elegant Muslim women, draped in their long qihabs, their enchanting eyes giving one a feast of their hidden beauty. Some of their qihabs were impressively opulent in the sense that qihabs could be, decked with glittering, precious stones. They moved in such slow, graceful steps. Some of them had Prada and LV handbags. We saw these immaculately dressed women, who inhabit an entirely different world and culture, emerging from the expensive, chauffeured cars and entering the department store in unmistakable style.
My friends asked, since these beautiful women were dressed in black garb for most of the day, what do they need the luxury goods for? The truth is, I don’t know. Perhaps they are after the luxury goods for their sheer beauty and quality, rather than feeling the need to show off.
The phenomenal glimpse of the Arab world in Knightsbridge has reinforced my belief that to stereotype people or races is often misleading if not futile.