Date Added: Sept. 5, 2005
The dramatic rise in gasoline prices in recent years has everybody reeling. While most chain letters on the topic suggest well-intentioned but misguided consumer campaigns to regain control of the commodity, some - like this one - simply attempt to assign blame for the rise and create a villain we can rally against.
Subject: FW: See what $2.90/gallon of gas can buy
In case you're wondering where this hotel is, it isn't a hotel at all. It is a house!
It's owned by the family of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the former president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu-Dhabi.
The chain letter above attempts to spark outrage by illustrating that a few wealthy Arabs are benefitting from the seemingly exhorbitant prices we're paying at the pumps. However, the chain's major premise - that the pictures it contains portray an exquisite manor that, while it looks like a fancy hotel, is actually a Sheikh's home - is a flat-out lie.
The photos attached to the e-mail depict precisely what the text says they don't: a hotel. Specifically, they are images of the newly-opened Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The resort is described thusly on its Web site:
"An enchanting landmark that's a wonder to behold for all who venture through its magnificent gates. Fairytales come to life as your senses are treated to an extraordinary and unforgettable experience. Breathe the air of luxury that fills every corner of this serene paradise.
"Feel the promise of a majestic experience fit for a king and deserving of an emperor. The Palace boasts 302 superior rooms and 92 magnificent suites each combining the ultimate in luxury with 22nd century technology."
The photographs in the chain letter were pulled directly from the Palace's Web site, which provides many more depictions of the hotel's finery in its photo gallery (see the references below).
Interestingly, in November, 2005, a Muncie, Indiana, area newspaper reported that a wealthy California land developer used the photos and explanation above in a presentation he made to the Muncie-Delaware County Planning Commission. Don Love argued to the commissioners that his planned Agricultural Bio-Enterprise Park could attract an ethanol plant and would be a serious blow to the opulence in the photographs. Savvy readers of the paper, however, recognized the images behind his argument and quickly wrote in to point out the deception. Love's attorney offered as a defense: "I'm sure we can find the pictures of the real one (palace) that probably looks the same."
So, it seems that this is another one of those chains that people want to be true so badly that they'll stop at nothing to make it true. However, as one supporter of Love's ag park points out: "the Arab/Muslim stereotypes Mr. Love cites don't help our cause, and only serve to fuel misunderstanding." Break this chain.
References: Emirates Palace Hotel, Muncie (IN) Star Press - November 10, 2005