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05 October, 2005

Many hands, no light work

No matter how well people already know them, UAE labour figures are always startling. There are around one million Asian migrants working as unskilled labourers in the UAE, nearly a quarter of the ~4.5 million population:

"Last year alone, [Labor Undersecretary Khalid] Alkhazraji said the government issued 500,000 visas for incoming workers - a 20 percent increase in the country's work force.

"Nearly 98 percent of private-sector workers in the Emirates are foreigners. In the overall population, expatriates far outnumber local Arabs. In the flashy emirate of Dubai, foreigners make up more than 80 percent of the city's 1.5 million residents. They tend to live in squalid camps and must work in extreme heat."

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83 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is one thing these high-class people is missing here; that these workers are humans as well. If they are under terrible conditins, it is unlikely that they will build excellent buildings.

05 October, 2005 03:15  
Blogger samuraisam said...

that's dubai, has been to a lesser extent for the past 15 ish years too

05 October, 2005 06:19  
Anonymous another rakster said...

Interesting you posted this today. Gulf News today reports Dr Khalid from er um Labor Ministry(?) saying that construction companies who don't pay workers will be named and shamed (as happened last week after the protest on SZR). I find it enormously significant that someone in authority makes such a comment. Can't link to article yet, Gulf News is very slow to update online and Khaleej Times doesn't appear to have the story.

05 October, 2005 08:34  
Blogger The Lady said...

I have coined a phrase for this - "New world slavery" - 21st century style oppression.

Think about it.

It may take years, but our 'boys in blue' shall overcome...just as their forefathers did hundreds of years ago. Gosh, aren't we seeing protests almost everyday?

The march to freedom has begun...

05 October, 2005 08:40  
Blogger secretdubai said...

rakster - it's the same story in the link, only from the Guardian. They keep a permanent, open archive, so are useful for links.

05 October, 2005 10:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Named and Shamed ??
The owners of the construction companies have no shame, would they appear in the news if they had any ????

05 October, 2005 10:55  
Blogger Ghatan in Dubai said...

Dubai owes much of its good looks to these guys, but they are an invisible majority. The property boom would not be possible without them, yet their plight is only now being recognised -- when they decide to hold up traffic. Nice to hear that the Indian consulate is going to actively help out.

05 October, 2005 11:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine from France told me a French documentary crew came into town last month with the brief to do a film on glitz and glam in Dubai. But once they were on the ground and saw reality, the determined that the real story here is the appalling state of affairs with the laborers. The changed the film completely and began filming the plight of the workers. I haven't seen the doc since it's probably only showing in France...interesting though...wonder what these kinds of stories will do to tourism??

05 October, 2005 11:43  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

I'm intrigued by the focus on shame. In this environment public criticism of an enterprise is rare and great personal offense is taken by the recipient. Little distinction is made between criticism and shaming. When public criticism happens it means the shortcoming is viewed as very serious.

05 October, 2005 11:43  
Blogger twisted.ae said...

Well..*puts on economist hat* one contributing factor to the bad plight of labourers, is the incentives provided towards westerners. Although many Locals (not all) have a plush life in Dubai...it is the westerners who live like king and queens here, and so the market is primarily geared to their pockets(from food too housing too clothing and everything else). Of course Mr Asian Labourer is going to be the one who feels the effects of this the most.

If the UAE continues these massive projects for the next 20 years then I propose a substantial wage cut for westerners and an increase for labourers.

It may sound like a quick fix, that over simplifies the matter and in reality if initiated will hurt alot of people and the economy. But in the long run it should eventually stablize.

An easier solution is to just wait for the ILO to eventually have more power in the UAE, which WILL happen as the country rockets closer and closer to a legitimate First World Status and so proper trade unions can be established here to protect the rights of workers.

05 October, 2005 11:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Twisted: I would never, ever claim that Westerners aren't paid well in relation to the laborers, but kings and queens??? Excuse me? I make less money here than I did in the US! Substantially less...(including the 'no taxes') NOT all os us come here for high salaries...clearly since I can barely afford my Bur Dubai rent and 5-year-old Toyota. Some of us come to escape the culture of the US, to travel and learn about other cultures....this whole thing about Westerners making a ton of money is an URBAN LEGEND. Most of these Brits you see with nice cars or whatever have bought them on credit anyway!

05 October, 2005 11:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon1

And the point being????

All over the world from the UK to the US looping via Germany/France and downUnder. Manual labour is for the poor guys coming from a foreign country.

The UAE record is the best record so far for any foreign labour contingent.

What springs to mind is the poor Chinese people dead in England while collecting cokles on the beach. How about the Mexican people in the states. Did I mention the Turkish community in Germany, I suppose you get the drift. So give us a break with your attitude again and start comparing this country records of Human Rights with any of your country. The UAE will always come trumps ahead of any other.

05 October, 2005 12:27  
Blogger secretdubai said...

twisted - I can't see how the economics of that would work out. The "western" population is fractional compared to the labourer population, would it really share that much money about?

In real terms, if European white collar workers have salaries reduced further, bearing in mind that inflation, rent rises and the end of the package culture - "Dh20k plus [flights, accommodation, school fees, health insurance, furniture allowance]" have drastically reduced salaries already, they will just leave. In such a circumstance, they would be replaced by more affordable white collar workers from Asia (fair enough).

There is not a snowflake's chance in hell though that any costs savings on white collar labour would be passed onto blue collar workers by employers. There is a bigger chance that it will snow tonight, and the Creek will freeze into an ice-skating rink, than robin-hood-isation of the workforce takes place.

05 October, 2005 12:44  
Blogger pixelsonic said...

Twisted...a very novel suggestion :)

Anon1...I don't think that you have a very good concept of what human rights actually entail by first world standards (the level Dubai aspires to).

The UAE is not that bad in relation to alot of third world countries but can't compare to the best in terms of human rights issues. And let's not forget that as far as I know there has never been a concise, independent and public assessment of the UAE's human rights record so just because you don't know anything is wrong doesn't mean that you can logically assume that all is as rosy as you claim.

The cases you are mentioned probably concern illegal immigrants who, although their human rights should indeed be considered important, are not in the system and therefore not able to avail themselves of the services that many governments actually offer to landed immigrants/residents.

This is not the case with migrant labourers in the UAE, who are in the system and are still not treated properly. One can only wonder what it is like being an illegal worker here.

I think that the time is right for public examination of these issues to begin here because whatever the issues may be the UAE has indeed developed to the point where it should be more than capable of beginning to deal systematically with the issues of human rights, don't you think?

05 October, 2005 12:58  
Anonymous candy popper said...

Anon @ 12:27:

Human rights?? Does stuffing 20 workers into one company-provided flat sound like human rights to you? Or not paying them for toiling in the sun working on another la-la-land development sound like human rights?

Additionally, where in the world are you getting your UAE will always come trumps hogwash? It's time you caught up on your reading before making such idiotic claims.

And don't even compare them to Mexicans in the US? Do you even know that construction workers in the US earn much above minimum wage and lead happy, comfortable lives?!

Furthermore, this is not about what happens in OTHER countries - ofcourse everyone's got their own bleedin' issues. This is about what's happening in your own backyard...in a country that's enjoying social and economic success, and yet deprives those that are so so so intrumental in its growth.

The point? Frikkin unions.

05 October, 2005 13:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people are missing a basic point.

As an Asian, i can vouch for the discrimination we face when we are up against a Western for the same job.

Although equally qualified, sometimes even more, we are offered less wages with very few benifits when compared to a Westerner.

So bringing a parity between an asian, european, or anyone for that matter when it comes to wages is an important issue that needs to be addressed.

05 October, 2005 13:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ SD : There is a new substitution for expensive western white colla work force .... South Africa!!.. All they need is a fair-skinned Manager who speaks excellent english! and SA thing is enough for that... Just watch the trend!!

General View :

The UAE Govt/local law CANNOT be blamed for the plight of the labours. The labour recruitment is a scam.. The Labour is conned by REcruitment agent back home in his country who promises a salary of 1500-2000 AED a month and collect AED 10000 as a fee for that. Since in 70's & 80's people made lotta monies coming to gulf. This poor villager assumes that he also can become one, sell his properties and pay AED10000 to come here. Now this AED 10000 is shared by the recruitment agent, sub agent in his country and the HR manager, admin manager, executive etc... of the company hiring here. I heard cases of even Owners selling Visas!!! Its a Big Scam and the laburs are conned.

When they come here they realise that their salary is just AED500 and with overtime they can make max AED900 a month. Now they cant go back because they have nothing back home. So they try to pull on.

The country from where these labours are hired should take steps to crack the scamsters aka recruitment agents!!!

Important : These companies can atleast provide them Air conditioned transport and healthy living conditions..poor guys

05 October, 2005 13:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an european, i can vouch for the discrimination we face when we are up against an asian for the same job.

The asian will throw himself for any salary creating a low salary slum that will make all job seekers suffer.

So bringing a parity between an asian, european, or anyone for that matter when it comes to wages is an important issue that needs to be addressed.

05 October, 2005 15:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here here...no one should get paid less than their worth...

05 October, 2005 15:21  
Anonymous another rakster said...

Sorry secretdubai, I didn't read the original link. Oops...

05 October, 2005 16:00  
Anonymous an anon guy said...

@ SD. Snow? The creek freezing over?becoming an ice rink? Isnt Dubai already working on a project like this?

Many westerners may not live the lifestyle of 'kings and queens', but compared to a Bengali blue collar , they do. That appartment or villa you have provided for you free of charge, that car or SUV you drive, provided for you free of charge DOES costs money for somewhere. No tax and a lifestyle that surpasses what you have at home, costs money to provide.

This money being spent to make your life better, may not be seen in a pay check but it is visible in your general lifestyle.

Who are the majority of people living in the fancy neighbour-hoods of The Greens, The Gardens etc? Perhaps a couple of locals, maybe a few asians but it is 90% westerners. Burjaman, City Centre Ibn Buutututu Mall and all these places are geared towards you aswell, expats and tourists. Yes?

It is about time we looked after the indians and pakis working here, and invest more in them and give them a better lifestyle here.

05 October, 2005 16:15  
Blogger secretdubai said...

anon guy - the issue isn't about whether westerners earn a king's ransome by labourer standards. Of course they do given that labourers earn desperately miserable pay.

But westerners aren't going to bother coming and working here if their salaries are halved to subsidise labourer salaries.

That appartment or villa you have provided for you free of charge, that car or SUV you drive, provided for you free of charge DOES costs money for somewhere.

I don't know where you get this idea - virtually no one I know has free accommodation or transport any more. Over the past year or two - even taking zero income tax into account - many westerners are now earning no more or even LESS than they would back home. With zero benefits in terms of free education and health.

A company doesn't pay someone a higher price for the sake of it. They pay them because they want a certain nationality with a certain amount/area of experience, and that's what it costs to get that person.

The average westerner is not doing particularly well by western standards any more. And those are the standards they judge the situation by, not by the yardstick of a labourer. We all know we're as rich as Croesus compared to eight guys crammed into a hut with no A/C.

05 October, 2005 16:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon1

candy popper nd pixelsonic. Nice names btw.

Don't ya just luv it when people like you wana lecture people like us on Human Rights issues.

Gosh, I had to go out to the garden for a laugh.

I do not wish to go into political discussions but the hypocrisy is there for all to see. I just luv it when you can identify the mistakes in other countries but cannot see what is blinding you in your own backyard.

Tell me? Are you proud of whichever country you come from? Does your country has a whiter than white clean sheet of achievements?

How old is the UAE and how old is your country. What is the proud history of your country? Pillaging, Invasion, War?
Hummm, the UAE history has nothing to be ashamed of.
Does your country has the same or you just are another "Elitist" westerner?

05 October, 2005 16:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Similarly. The assumption that Indians/asians in general come here for the "High Salary" is also wrong.

The Indians for example who come here are the one's

1. who can't get a decent job in India

2.Who work here for the same salary as in India just to get an international experience.

3.Do you guys know that Indians who come here for work find it very difficult to get a job when they go back because ME is perceived to have very unprofessional work environment.

4.India topped at the salary increase worldwide with 14% avg increase . I personally had 30% increase every year when i worked there. My package here is same a in India ( even minus tax)

Now ..its not just westerners...even asians come here for that so called International experience.

One more point : Of all the europeans i met ..50% of them are not worth even 30% of their salaries. About 40% of the westerners are pampered too much. I also have met very competent westerners..

why is that they have to pay 10K for a western receptionist and who is not even a university graduate?

There is also major favoritism for Lebanese.. the equally competent Jordan/egypy guy gets only 70% of whats paid to a Lebanese..why?

Paying higher salaries to Locals is justified because they are sons of the soil and they need to be taken care..

05 October, 2005 16:48  
Blogger moryarti said...

interesting stats .. wonder where they came from..

Why is it that almost every post ends up being an issue of US vs THEM, Black vs. White, West vs East?

I really don't want to oversimplify the issue, but in a nutshell its the HAVEs vs the HAVENOTs (regardless to where you come from)

Economics 101:

BIG DEMAND: large amounts of semi-skilled laborers

BIGGER SUPPLY: hundreds of thousands of unskilled laborers who are desperate to leave their countries (not one country) due to severe poverty, oppression, lack of jobs ...etc

Situation rules in favor of Demand: Demand sets the terms.

Its a very vicious circle! And if we are to blame anybody, we might as well blame everybody.

I blame employers who exploited the situation and took advantage of the workers desperate need for living. But again, can you really blame employers? "its not personal," i can hear them say "business is business habibi" (revolting).

I blame workers who accepted these extremely harsh situations and kept quiet about it (I know, most of them didn't have a choice, but they set the trend) - They don't have to protest or block streets every time, but the SZR protest few weeks back is a pure example of them being able to get together and do something.

Then you have "BIG BROTHER".. who seems, according to the post, that is doing something about it .. about ^@#$ing time!

05 October, 2005 16:59  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Why is it that almost every post ends up being an issue of US vs THEM, Black vs. White, West vs East?

I know - I'm getting a bit tired of this! Even the camel entry started getting Arab-v-Asian kind of comments.

What I find even more annoying is the comment that: "your own country isn't any better" etc. No one is ever saying it is. Just because your home country isn't perfect doesn't mean you can't criticise others. Human rights are human rights regardless. The reason expats don't spent a lot of time criticising their own countries is because they are expats so don't live there.

"But yours is just as bad/worse" is the weakest, lamest, most pathetic argument in existence. It's a really childish attempt to evade responsibility and blame.

05 October, 2005 17:08  
Anonymous Sporadic Supernova said...

Wow !!! look at what i stumbled upon !!!

Another racialy charged comment page. Sigh !! Will this ever end??

Seems like there are a lot of unhappy souls out there ..

05 October, 2005 17:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon1

Dear SD

What is even more pathetic is a continuous attempt to deride the country you are living in and its people.

Could you please direct me to which of your post you said something positive about the place?

Could you show me where you have managed to find a positive element or angle to talk about?

Or is this all hot air?

The most feeble excuse you can come up with is your usual hypocritical attitude that anybody who does not agree with you must be using childish arguments however anything you and the plethora of westerners do manage to write is oh so full of deep cognitive meaning.

You can argue, debate, reject or disregard. But you are a defender of the free word, you are the anti-Censorship par excellence.

You cannot have it both ways. Freedom of expression for you and censorship for others. Or wait a minute, maybe you can.

Might is Right. Init?

05 October, 2005 17:42  
Blogger samuraisam said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

05 October, 2005 17:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you find the blog so offensive, why do you read it? Go set up your own blog where you can endlessly praise the amazing, positive and perfect things about your country. You can cover it with photos of sheikhs. I am sure you will have lots of readers.

05 October, 2005 17:58  
Blogger samuraisam said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

05 October, 2005 17:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The UAE will be a great place when people from Police Officers to Employers treat people as HUMAN BEINGS!!! instead of dividing them into Westerners, Asians, labourers, Muslim or Non-Muslim.

05 October, 2005 18:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The asian will throw himself for any salary creating a low salary slum that will make all job seekers suffer."

I think this offers some clues as to why 'westerners' and 'easterners' are treated differently.

It has to do with the readiness of Asians, especially Indians, to put up with a heavy workload, lower than market wages/salaries and longer hours than company policies officially state, all in a desperate effort to retain their jobs. That desperation gives employers a massive leverage, and a ready excuse not to pay more, nor to lower workloads and nor to improve the general work/life balance.

Westerners and Arabs (non-GCC) would not accept being treated that way. Their readiness to call it quits and go home keeps employers on their toes.


Someone said:

"One more point : Of all the europeans i met ..50% of them are not worth even 30% of their salaries. About 40% of the westerners are pampered too much. I also have met very competent westerners.."

I have no idea where you got those percentages from but it is a load of old cobblers. Westerners are paid more because of certain stereotypical reasons:

1) They will not work more for less than what was agreed upon.

2) In general, they have better management skills than most Easterners

3) They do not suffer the Asiatic disease of cronyism and nepotism (the latter more evident in workplaces with people from India)

"why is that they have to pay 10K for a western receptionist and who is not even a university graduate?"


Hire an Asian (Indian) and you will end up with:

1) Someone not able to communicate in English fluently, or clear enough so that you would recognise it as English

2) Probably has some proficiency in another field (computer science graduate etc) and will become frustrated with the job and immediately place CVs with a dozen colleagues in the market

3) Attempt to ingratiate him-/her- self with the employer by doing work outside the job profile

3) Slip-in a dozen relatives everytime a vacancy is made known in the company, thus contributing to decreasing the economical efficiency of the job market

05 October, 2005 19:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what is geat about these comments.

You get to see what are the common thoughts people have about other ethnic groups.

Shouldnt we be doing something to improve racial relations now that we know what are the perceptions of each group.

05 October, 2005 20:02  
Blogger secretdubai said...

You know what is geat about these comments.

You get to see what are the common thoughts people have about other ethnic groups


Yes - it's actually quite eye-opening and valuable for that reason. Despite being disturbing and even upsetting.

Could you please direct me to which of your post you said something positive about the place?

Could you first try reading the entire blog from start to finish - or at least the last three months - and then see if you still want to reask your question?

Praise where praise is due, criticism where criticism is due. I have a wealth of admiration for Al Ka'abi and his reforms, but the situation remains extremely difficult for many workers. And not just in the UAE - throughout the Gulf.

05 October, 2005 20:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you talk to any of the labourers here, they will invariably end up saying that their worst enemies are from their own countries.
my question is: what is anyone out here (forget the ministries and the media) going to do about it?
why can't the glitzy hotels that waste so much food after lavish parties and events arrange to have the food delivered at labour camps instead of trashing them? just a thought.

05 October, 2005 20:55  
Blogger samuraisam said...

because anonymous,
in 10-20 years when dubai has finished all its major construction (seems like its going to take at least another century IMHO) they can safely kick them all out of the country without any worry.

anyone that complains can be booted out instantly.

05 October, 2005 22:07  
Blogger Hurricane_ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

05 October, 2005 22:19  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Hurricane_ - I have to edit your post. The first line was borderline and I'm not in a risky mood.

---------
Hurricane_ said...Every eye opening indeed, I am glad I don't live in [...] DUBAI.

@Anon1 , SD has praised DUBAI in her previous posts, the reason you see a lot of criticism is because there is a lot of SHIT that just aint right.

The original post was never intended for Why westerners get paid more than Easterners, BUT I guess everyone wants to be a victim here. CRY ME A RIVER.

The person who tried to compare the plight of Mexicans in the US to Indians in the UAE, YOU HAVE not idea . Mexicans are far better off than Indians will ever be in the UAE.

05 October, 2005 22:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an Indian who worked in the Middle East for five years, I am ashamed to say that I see where the points made by Anon against Indians comes from.

The Middle East seems to attract the worst kind of Indian. 'Cronyism' fits perfectly - this is exactly what happens in offices with many Indians. And yes, the spoken and written English of many of these Indians is APPALLING. There are Indians in the media who can't write three sentences without making a serious grammatical error.

But, Anon, not all of us speak or write English as second-language users. A small percentage of Indians dream and think in perfect English. And their literary and pop culture awareness is usually extensive - not just the classics (which Indians love) - but even stuff by, say, Irvine Welsh or Harold Pinter or even Eddie Izzard for God's sake.

And a small percentage of one billion is lot of people. Sadly very few of them are in Dubai, so I can't blame you for your tunnel vision. I just hope that when faced with somebody who doesn't fit your stereotype, you have the open-mindedness to change your world view. I've had too many people (usually Brits) who continue to pantomime even after I demonstrate polysyllabic ability, and grasp of nuance and metaphor.

05 October, 2005 23:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon1

Hurricane, For the record, I cannot locate having said (written) anywhere a comparison between Mexican in the US and Indians in the UAE.
Your perceived inference is your own buddy.

I referred to the treatment of Mexican labour in the US.

Here, Ol'boy. Try this one on for your defense of the big allMighty:
Please do enlighten us on the slavery practiced in the oh so Western world and do tell us why and how and when it was abolished. (1833 and 1865) or your synaptic atrophy forbids you to so indulge!

Obviously, with such rich heritage and primitive history, you are perfectly placed to talk about Human Rights of other people in foreign countries.

So you've been there, done that and got yourself a 13th Amendment Tshirt paired with a Clapham Sect cap.

Did ya Masta?

06 October, 2005 00:48  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Please do enlighten us on the slavery practiced in the oh so Western world and do tell us why and how and when it was abolished. (1833 and 1865) or your synaptic atrophy forbids you to so indulge!

Maybe you could enlighten us on the slavery practiced in the Arab world and how and when it was abolished? If I am informed correctly, a slave market existed in Al Ain until as late as the 1960s.

06 October, 2005 08:36  
Blogger Jassim said...

Kewl discussion :) For Newman. Yeah u are right Mr Newman slavery existed in the arab world but not to near the size of the western worlds history.

Europe & America displaced millions of Africans & built entire nations on this. Think about that figure 'MILLIONS' before u even dare compare the UAE to the US.
Even AFTER this was abolished u then take thousands of Indians to take their place, a fact that is not talked about in ur History books to often.

Yea. slavery existed here to the 19th & 20th century & we took them from East Africa & even from Iran. BUT look around the Gulf now: Our blacks are more integrated into UAE culture than they are in ur 'enlightened' cultur.

Don't think I am just being patriotic coz I am honest & dont like the way Indians are being treated here BUT mistakes get made & things will change. Don't think I am attacking western people on this board either, I am just making a point.

2 everyone..Watch what point are made before i have to spray you with a bunch of wikipedia links as punishment for ignorance ;).

06 October, 2005 09:45  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Europe & America displaced millions of Africans & built entire nations on this. Think about that figure 'MILLIONS' before u even dare compare the UAE to the US.

I don't believe I did. But pointing to the US as a method of avoiding charges over slavery in the Arab world is not going to go unchallenged. You might also reflect on the fact that the West publicly and officially acknowledged its role in the slave trade on multiple occasions, whereas not one official apology or even token recognition has yet to emerge from the Arab world on this issue.

Even AFTER this was abolished u then take thousands of Indians to take their place, a fact that is not talked about in ur History books to often.

Are you able to point to an authoritative source which details how Indians were forced into slavery after it was abolished in the West?

BUT look around the Gulf now: Our blacks are more integrated into UAE culture than they are in ur 'enlightened' cultur.

Please feel free to name 10 non-Arabic blacks who are household names in the Gulf, or who hold prominent office in the region.

06 October, 2005 10:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

two points.
all the labourers are NOT indians.
and the reason indians are walked over is because they bend their backs and refuse to stand tall.

06 October, 2005 12:18  
Blogger Jassim said...

Comparison are being make throughout the coments on this and other blogs to traditional slavery and how we treat indians in dubai.

I am talking about black locals, not 'non-arabic blacks' who have roots in east africa. Some are descendants of slaves who are now today very successful and like i say b4 fully integrated into UAE culture. u can see for urself to the point that the only difference between them and us is the skin colour. They are now considered Emirati and they are now considered arabs and many accept this identity. Forget 'token recognition', it means nothing except a pretty phrase.
Of course racism with blacks still happen coz we are all human at the end of the day (this is not an excuse) but it is still not to the level like what we see in the US.

I saw a program on BBC Prime or World or some channel this year that explained that when west african slavery was being abolished slaves were taken from India to comphensate for any labor loss. You want authoritive sources?...I had to look for this, but here is your source.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/coolies.shtml

The West just substituted the word 'slavery' for the word 'indentured'.


lol an Emirati teaching Indian and American history. What next?

06 October, 2005 13:03  
Blogger Jassim said...

documentaries/features/coolies.shtml

prefix with http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/ coz i dunno how to stick the links in the comments section. ;p

06 October, 2005 13:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon1

The url is:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/coolies.shtml

Maybe this will help enlighten tim newman on the rich history of his country and what "Ordre de Grandeur" entails before drawing snide comparisons.

06 October, 2005 18:42  
Blogger pixelsonic said...

Anon1, although you seem to be intelligent judging by your writing style, it's too bad you can't seem to make the distinction between discussion and deflection which makes it difficult to have any sort of meaningful debate with you. My aim was not to lower the UAE as you seem to think but to discuss ways in which it could be made better. I'm sorry if you have an overinflated impression of how great this country is, I assumed that the idea that nowhere in the world is absolutely perfect would be pretty universal but obviously not.

So you tell us, Anon1, what would you do to improve the lot of migrant workers here and if you think that they already live in fair conditions then please just say so (which would likely invite a rebuke along the lines of "I wonder how long you'd last living in a labour camp yourself") instead of trying desparately to lower other ppls' countries.

Local Hero's informed and relevant arguments should be an inspiration for you.

06 October, 2005 18:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a simple term to describe the system of sponsored labour in the Gulf. It's called indentured labour and frankly not that different to slavery. Workers arrive with minimal rights, are stripped of the passports and eventually their dignity. They are prohibited from seeking employment else where and effectively become an 'únperson'forced to leave once their services are no longer required. Not really that different from prostitution...

06 October, 2005 21:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon1

Pixelsonic, If you so care to re-read my post you will undoubtedly realized that it is an answer to this post of yours dated 05 October, 2005 12:58:
Quote: Anon1...I don't think that you have a very good concept of what human rights actually entail by first world standards (the level Dubai aspires to).
End quote
And candy popper post dated: 05 October, 2005 13:14
Quote
Human rights?? Does stuffing 20 workers into one company-provided flat sound like human rights to you? Or not paying them for toiling in the sun working on another la-la-land development sound like human rights?........
The point? Frikkin unions.

End quote

As you can read my answer was in summary saying that we do not need lessons in Human Rights by people of other countries who have in fact nothing to show for except sheer hypocrisy.
Now we can debate that until the cows go home and you will still not be the wiser!
Your announced "aim" might be not to lower the UAE...etc and such statement is already risible, however your words betray your real "aim" and your Elitist attitude that we are very well familiar with.

Now for the second part of your diatribe on improving the migrant workers situation:
The effort laid out by the Labor Minister and the last support that was lend to the strikers shows yet again that the Minister and the whole UAE is listening and still better they are taking concrete steps to rectify laws and rules in fairness to both companies and staff particularly in the building industry.
Now, you know that as it has been plastered all over the local press and yet you choose to take the moral high ground and take a patronizing stand on Human Rights!

When you have something credible to say, we will all sit up and listen. But until that time, spare us the self-stultifying discourse.

06 October, 2005 22:28  
Blogger pixelsonic said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

06 October, 2005 23:45  
Blogger pixelsonic said...

Ok I'm bored so why not continue the bickering...

Anon1: (and I will try to filter out the Elitism with a capital E):

a). I don't see how pointing out well known issues of slavery in the past would serve to justify it in the UAE in the present, hypothetically of course, just because the former colonial slave drivers have given it up and become hypocrites. That logic is pretty flimsy (nonexistant?).

Moving on..

b). Dude, you still didn't manage to give your personal opinion on the matter at hand. You basically paraphrased the Gulf News article. And if that's all you think then why just copy and paste instead of spend time typing all those fancy long words? D'oh!


c). Whatever you may think, most people here don't hate the UAE/Locals/Whatever, it's just that open criticism in public is normal in alot of countries...not to be patronising but it's like a kahwa or tchai with a sheesha in the evening with friends...a completely normal social thing. This goes double for the internet.

As John CHilton alluded to, it's obviously not traditional here to criticise in public so if you are uncomfortable with this then I suggest you not come online.

In the spirit of debate BTW I think I usually go out of my way to be objective and polite, i.e. separate the poeple from the problem, as opposed to posting really convoluted flames about Dubai this, locals that, etc. like you do about (western) foreigners.

Complaining about people who complain = irony. Getting really acerbic and personal over it = (well you get the idea).

So if I'm an elisist hypoctite then you are my king.

07 October, 2005 00:27  
Blogger black feline said...

i got a feeling..there are too many armchair critics here..talking is cheap..

07 October, 2005 09:46  
Blogger samuraisam said...

I think a lot of people are forgetting about the child slavery that was only abolished less than 6 months ago....

07 October, 2005 10:30  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

As you can read my answer was in summary saying that we do not need lessons in Human Rights by people of other countries who have in fact nothing to show for except sheer hypocrisy.

Yes, the UAE does need a lesson in human rights from the UK. The current human rights situation in the UK is vastly better than that of the UAE on every measure, and this is backed up by every human rights organisation across the globe.

07 October, 2005 11:53  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

I don't see how pointing out well known issues of slavery in the past would serve to justify it in the UAE in the present, hypothetically of course, just because the former colonial slave drivers have given it up and become hypocrites. That logic is pretty flimsy (nonexistant?).

This logic is indeed flimsy, but it serves as a handy tool for the likes of Anon 1 to ensure that his country languishes way behind the EU in terms of human rights, with the gap getting ever wider, for the foreseeable future. Pointing to Britain's past as a method of deflecting criticism of the UAE's present requires no critical self-analysis, something which is essential for the advancement of human rights and civilisation as a whole.

07 October, 2005 12:00  
Blogger samuraisam said...

your Elitist attitude that we are very well familiar with.

are you sure you are not talking about yourself?

cyborg...

07 October, 2005 12:01  
Blogger A Yahya said...

Comparing slavery in the UAE to that of western slavery is almost irrelevent to the main discussion. But, if people (who shall remain nameless) want to continue talking about how this country needs to learn from the west because we are somehow 'backward' then follow that link Local Hero posted. It stated that the slavery of Indians happend 'well into the twentieth century'.
Now someone stated that what happens in the UAE is 'indentured'. This was precisely the name given to this SAME ethnic group's slavery not so long ago by the UK and the US. The difference is that at least the Indians here have rights and protection. They can protest at their conditions and see results. A little more research into the way Indians were treated by you, shows that like the Africans they were packed on ships and taken to Latin America and the Caribbean and treated in a less than human manner. Many died and and at this time they had no recourse and no help.

Habibi your treatment of Indians is no-way near close to how we treat Indians and notice we are taking steps alot quiker to rectify these problems than you ever did. THIS is not a 'deflection' of facts this is a legitimate statement. With this stain in your recent history , you have no right to point the finger at us. No right.

07 October, 2005 14:00  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

THIS is not a 'deflection' of facts this is a legitimate statement. With this stain in your recent history , you have no right to point the finger at us. No right.

Until such time that you separate the issue of past human rights abuses in the West from that of current human rights abuses in the UAE and take action to redress the situation, we in the EU have every right to point a finger at you and demand often and loudly that you do something about your current human rights situation.

07 October, 2005 14:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon1

Frankly speaking it seems that you lot, namely pixelsonic, samuraisam and tim newman have quiet a big problem which is split two folds:
1- Comprehension issues
2- Gullibility issues

You are so much entrenched in your own lies that you are unable to discern right from wrong and facts from fiction. Do not look simply at yourself as a person but as people or citizens of your respective countries and you will realize that the growth of your country and people is simply based on deception and the raping of other countries.
The clothes that you wear (metaphorically speaking), the good life that you lead are not a result of your sheer development but scorched at the back of countless countries and government you devastated.
Do you really read your history and do you update yourself on your existing history in the making? i.e. 2005

Tim newman said:
Yes, the UAE does need a lesson in human rights from the UK. The current human rights situation in the UK is vastly better than that of the UAE on every measure, and this is backed up by every human rights organization across the globe.

At first, tim newman made me laugh and I thought that he is not worthwhile answering to as his writing reflect an immature way of thinking.
Now I must admit a change of mind and frankly I pity the guy!

tim, tim, tim. May I direct you to this article in the Independent:
Britain in the dock for human rights failures after more than 100 'guilty' judgments filed.
By Robert Verkaik, Legal Affairs Correspondent
Published: 03 October 2005
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/article316691.ece

The article summary: Britain has one of the worst human rights records in Europe and faces investigation over its failure to comply with a series of European court rulings.
More than 100 findings have been lodged against Britain to which the Government has not adequately responded, five years after Tony Blair said he had fulfilled his promise to "bring rights home" by implementing the Human Rights Act.


So, please explain how the UK is better than the UAE track record and how and where this is backed by every human rights organization across the globe???
I will not even bother direct to other reports published by Amnesty Intl…etc

You cannot escape your inherent deep sleeping racism and your Elitisms. As whichever way you put your post and perfect your writing, you are not able to continuously hide your real inner thoughts as they simply surface.

Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop.

And this goes for pixelsonic as well with her (or is it he) condescending tone that she will lower herself and post on this threat as she has nothing better to do:
Ok I'm bored so why not continue the bickering...
This is two sample of Western attitude that we have to deal with on daily basis where if we don’t abide by their thinking then we shall be guilty of all ills in the world ranging from ignorance to insanity.
Never mind that their past and current history show them as the most vile warmongers that ever existed, never mind that they cannot admit to it and never mind their sheer arrogance.
Hey, they’ve got the guns.
Might is Right! Init?

07 October, 2005 15:13  
Blogger A Yahya said...

I dont want to sound like i am slinging any mud here, but second reading through Tim's replies I was thinking that maybe he is simply being ironic?

If not, then its rather like the kettle calling the pot black..

07 October, 2005 16:14  
Blogger samuraisam said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

07 October, 2005 17:22  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

So, please explain how the UK is better than the UAE track record and how and where this is backed by every human rights organization across the globe???

Easy. Despite the UK having a far from perfect human rights record in relation to the ECHR, it is still vastly better than that of the UAE - which has yet to undergo a full and independent human rights appraisal.

I will not even bother direct to other reports published by Amnesty Intl…etc

Yeah, you can leave that to me:

Freedom House Rankings

World Audit Rankings for UAE,UK

Here are some from Amnesty International regarding the death penalty and flogging in the UAE, offences somewhat more serious than those which are mentioned in the Independent article you quoted.

Here's how the UAE and UK fare in the press freedom rankings.

So, you gonna name a single measure on which the UAE currently outscores the UK on human rights issues?

07 October, 2005 17:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" and notice we are taking steps alot quiker to rectify these problems than you EVER did."

I think u ignored this point?

07 October, 2005 18:04  
Blogger micu said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

07 October, 2005 18:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, Ok settle down biatches!!!

You guys have all made your points, but its getting to skating on thin ice stage where some posts and some of there links are going to get mine and many others favourite blog site, black banned again!!! no not again!!!

Time for a new topic SD..Please...

07 October, 2005 18:10  
Blogger samuraisam said...

i removed my comment,
but hopefuly enough people saw those few links and the point was made...

07 October, 2005 18:18  
Blogger samuraisam said...

" and notice we are taking steps alot quiker to rectify these problems than you EVER did."
yes, but if this was 100 - 200 years ago, like other countries were when they had issues, would they have done anything at all?

07 October, 2005 18:20  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

" and notice we are taking steps alot quiker to rectify these problems than you EVER did."

I think u ignored this point?


Yes, I ignored it because it was not valid and was not relevant.

07 October, 2005 18:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Human Rights. The UK and US are in no position to talk about being the torch bearers for human rights , because we are not talking 100 and 200 years ago here.

2 Examples:

1) It was only in the last century (20th) you were still enslaving Indians, long after you 'abolished' slavery and 'virtually' kept it out of the history books (IF that BBC Website is correct.)
2) In the last decade you were actively engaged in commerce and trade with 'morally illegal' regimes that oppressed the majority of its population in far worse manners than how we treat Indians. (South Africa)

And Mr Newman, how is it not 'valid' or 'relevent' to the discussion; that the UAE is quickly trying to right it's wrongs? I guess it looks bad when compared to the West, as it took years just for your own governments to even admit that the appartied in SA was wrong, before acting to stop it.

I and others here indeginous to this region can admit on this board that the plight of Indians in the Gulf is bad, its a shame that people like you cant face up to the same charges from your own 'not so distant past'. Your selective amnesia almost makes for bad comedy.

07 October, 2005 19:36  
Blogger samuraisam said...

20th century = 1900's. that was 100 years ago.

07 October, 2005 19:46  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

And Mr Newman, how is it not 'valid' or 'relevent' to the discussion; that the UAE is quickly trying to right it's wrongs?

It is not valid because it is not true. For instance, the UAE is not taking any steps to abolish the death penalty and flogging, and nor is it holding public discussions on the subject.

It is not relevant becasue we are talking about the situation of human rights in the UAE right now, not a comparison of how quickly the UAE is changing compared to how quickly the UK changed.

And I restate that compared to the UK and the rest of the EU, the UAE's performance on human rights is woeful and the EU member states are absolutely right to lambast the UAE for this.

07 October, 2005 20:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 20th century ended 5 years ago.

07 October, 2005 20:40  
Blogger twisted.ae said...

Why should the UAE abolish the death penality? Has the US? Plus change is an ongoing process from 'here to there' and the UAE is going through a transition period...so i guess that would make anon's point kinda relevent.

...Anyway as this discussion proves...hubris clobbers humility every time. Secret D, please step in, you started this ;-).

07 October, 2005 20:50  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Why should the UAE abolish the death penality? Has the US?

Because the abolishment of the death penalty is an enormous step in the road to achieving an acceptable level of human rights, i.e. one that guarantees the right to life of those under its jurisdiction. The very fact that no system of injustice is infalliable should be enough for the death penalty to be abolished. If the UAE wants to be seen by the EU and much of the West as a country which takes human rights seriously, then abolishing the death penalty is an important, possibly essential, step to achieving this.

Has the US?

No it hasn't, and it is rightly criticised for not having done so. But quite how asking this rhetorical question supports the case for the UAE retaining the death penalty, I don't know.

07 October, 2005 21:03  
Blogger twisted.ae said...

..hubris clobbers humility everytime...

07 October, 2005 22:32  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Secret D, please step in, you started this ;-)

I reiterate: the whole "them vs us"/"UAE vs EU/UK" is pathetic and just avoiding the issue.

So what if one place is "better" or "worse" on human rights? Any breach of human rights is appalling and needs to be prevented, wherever it is. Mudflinging is not appropriate.

08 October, 2005 01:38  
Blogger pixelsonic said...

Exactly.

I just don't see the logic behind X is bad but since A did X then it's OK for B to do it. Nobody said it was OK for A to do it in the first place either!

The whole A is better than B and vice versa nyah nyah thing is irrelevant. They are both just letters in the alphabet neither of which is perfect.

The point is that X is bad and everything neccessary should be done to ensure that X doesn't happen.

Dragging in past centuries of history to the mix is simply an attempt to stretch the context of the argument so wide as to avoid the issue. A hundred plus years ago, X wouldn't have even been an issue anywhere. Things have changed a little since then. Don't like it? Get a youself a DeLorean, strap some rockets on it and drive it into the nearest wall at high speed.

08 October, 2005 04:19  
Blogger Poshboy said...

As SD has said.. all the comments on the posts are starting to be us vs them, colour vs colour, expat vs whoever, white collar vs blue collar.

Whilst I am up for healthy debate, this place ios starting to turn into a little bit of a slaggin venting place.

Before too long with all these comments flyting around, someone at Etislat is gingtotake offence and before we know it, this is weill become a blocked site...

let's try and do something for a change and maybe try to get on without this turning into a slag match of anger blah blah... certain people seem to be enjoying making the flaming comments to incite problems.

SD cannot moniter every post and sooner or later someone is going to say something to seriously piss someone off.

ok.. that's my 2 dirhams worth.

08 October, 2005 13:42  
Blogger desertdamsel said...

My, reading the entirety of this post has given me a headache!

Anon 1, your posts are so ascerbic that I think you may get ill if you continue to blog. Maybe you'd be better off doing some offline stuff... like campaigning to get all those evil Elitists out of your country. I'm sure you'll get lots of support as your views are very valid and clearly well researched.

Meanwhile, the rest of us will get on with having a mature discussion that doesn't descend into vitriolic hatred and racism.

10 October, 2005 00:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon1

desertdamsel, thank you for your in depth assessment and plebeian analysis.

I feel deeply concerned about what you said: "reading the entirety of this post has given me a headache".
Tssst, tssst tssst, we don't want your pretty little mind exerting itself and going in overdrive.

We'll try to make the posts short and feeble-minded to make them easier for you to digest.

Now go back to reading your savings account book to help you sleep better.

10 October, 2005 15:13  
Anonymous Dubai Panadol Addict said...

If Dubai Government put as much enphasis on HUMAN RIGHTS AND SLAVE LABOUR as they do when eyeing up the next big project then who knows how many more people would actually want to live here. I have always said...

YOU NEVER LEAVE A COMPANY BECAUSE OF THE NAME, its because of the people you work with or simply a better offer.
THE SAME GOES FOR THE COUNTRY YOU LIVE IN!

04 November, 2005 19:42  

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