Five: Waves of Change Walk

Introduction

Walk unannounced into the computer graphics lab ata branch of the Higher Colleges of Technology here and you find a surprise: The students are surfing the Internet unsupervised, designing their own Web sites, and generally revelling in the freedom and creativity of the digital age. Saleh Marzouqi, a third-year student, shows me his site called mothhel.net, which means “amazing” in Arabic. He created it two years ago for graphics geeks like himself, and his chat room now has about 850 members. When he graduates this year, he plans to turn it into a business. This is the way progress in the Arab world should happen, but too rarely does. And the United Arab Emirates may offer something of a model for the way change can come to a devoutly Muslim country without destroying its cultural traditions.

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