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Billions of Dollars Later, Dubai’s World Expo Opens
People visit the site of Expo 2020 on September 30, 2021, on the day of its opening in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai. (Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images)

Billions of Dollars Later, Dubai’s World Expo Opens

In what seems for many to be a nod to the 1964 World’s Fair in New York where the Vatican pavilion attracted huge lines and countless visitors to view Michelangelo’s magnificent statue, the Pieta, visitors to Dubai’s Expo 2020 are lining up to see a seventeen-foot marble replica of another Michelangelo masterpiece: his statue of David. The latter is making quite a splash given the nation’s laws against nudity and the statue’s seventeen feet of naked Biblical personality. Almost 200 nations are exhibiting their respective gifts to the world on an over-1000-acre tract of desert at a cost of billions of dollars. As the name implies, the about twice-a-decade exhibition was scheduled to open a year ago but was pushed off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For its contribution, the United States had to rely on a handout from the UAE when it couldn’t raise funds in time. Its pavilion showcases American inventions, including one of the current commercial space ships. The ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the force behind the event, told the opening ceremony that Expo 2020 is “a chance to showcase the best of human excellence. It offers a platform to forge a united worldwide effort to build a more sustainable and prosperous future for all of mankind.”

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