When the Sharjah Radio host Mohammed Khalaf dedicated a week of his daily talk show on the touchy subject in May 2008, the responses echo the sentiments of our own citizenry. Khalaf started by asking his guest, UAE university professor Ebtisam al-Kitbi, whether she thought Emratis might disappear:
"It is reality. Today we face an invasion of millions of people coming to us from abroad to stay. They have no intention of leaving this country. As result, our existence is threatened."
Al-Kitbi dismissed callers who suggested she was exaggerating:
"Today the locals can't find plots of land to build their houses, while you are selling entire areas to foreigners. The person responsible for this should be punished. No matter how high-ranking they are, these people should be punished."
Another guest, president of the Arab Family Organisation Jamal al-Bah, "totally agreed":
"We have too many foreigners competing with us for work, education, even marriage. Our girls are finding it difficult to get married because of the expatriate girls. We are like a ship lost at sea. ...We need to do something before it's too late."
Khalaf took a call from an agitated Emrati man. "You are pouring salt into our wounds. You're making us cry. I am telling you that if this situation does not change, I will leave the country in the next three years and I vow never to return." The caller starts weeping and hangs up. (page 260)
Powerful stuff. If our mainstream media were not so thoroughly emasculated, that would be the true tone of the national conversation.