The best way to respond to what-aboutery is to state a simple truth. Say it slowly: there can be more than one bad thing in the world. You can oppose American atrocities, and Chinese atrocities. You can be critical of Israel, and of Islamism. You can condemn Dubai's system of slavery, and the fact people are detained without trial in Britain. You can stand independent of governments – including your own – and criticize anyone who chooses to abuse human rights. The world is not divided into a Block of Light, and a Block of Darkness; you don't have to pick a tribe and defend its every action.
So whenever you hear the cry "But what about?!", you can reply: what about we ignore this crude attempt to change the subject, and focus on the subject in hand?
Once the manic burst of building has stopped and the whirlwind has slowed, the secrets of Dubai are slowly seeping out. This is a city built from nothing in just a few wild decades on credit and ecocide, suppression and slavery…
There are three different Dubais, all swirling around each other. There are the expats…the Emiratis, headed by Sheikh Mohammed; and then there is the foreign underclass who built the city, and are trapped here…A Human Rights Watch study found there is a "cover-up of the true extent" of deaths from heat exhaustion, overwork and suicide, but the Indian consulate registered 971 deaths of their nationals in 2005 alone. After this figure was leaked, the consulates were told to stop counting…
"All the people who couldn't succeed in their own countries end up here, and suddenly they're rich and promoted way above their abilities and bragging about how great they are…It's absolutely racist."