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05 December, 2005

Slavers' lament

Oh wah! Hearts bleed and violins come out for these poor camel trainers who aren't allowed to use infant child slaves to jockey their beasts any more. Hi-tech robotic jockeys just aren't as good as the real, underage deal:

Yaseen and Kraz both laughed at the absurdity of the device, at the thought that this robot jockey could ever perform as well as Yaseen did during his peak as a resilient and victorious eight-year-old.

"But what can we do," Kraz asked with a sigh.

It's difficult to determine whether these men are mendacious or simply deluded. They claim that all of their child-jockeys:

"...entered the country willingly and with proper visas, and that, most importantly, their young jockeys were better off here than in their native countries."

What, like five-year-old Abdul Kaiyoum, found in a pool of his own urine and a home-made plaster cast after falling in training? Or three-year-old Shahi who broke both his arms while picking up dung? Or nine-year-old Shakheel whose stomach was ripped open after a fall? Did tiny children such as these "willingly" leave their mothers for a life of fear and danger in faraway land?

As for "better off here" - were these children even given proper schooling, food, shelter and medical treatment? Basic love and care? No. They were worse off than child gymnasts in Cold War communist countries. It serves the camel trainers right that their execrable practice is at last being reined in.



Blogger _sublime_ said...

Why don't they just limit jockeys to being UAE nationals of a certain minimum age and standard weight? Is it that difficult?

05 December, 2005 01:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is abusing your own children better than abusing someone else's?

05 December, 2005 07:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops, sorry, didn't see "minimum age". Need a second cup of coffee.

05 December, 2005 07:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sublime.... thanks for making my day? i'm laughing so hard at your 'suggestion' that my coffee is now on my computer screen..


uae nationals as child jockeys?????
yeah sure !!!!

whatever next??

05 December, 2005 09:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they'll be better off hiring midget jockeys..

05 December, 2005 10:15  
Blogger luckyfatima said...

this whole issue really pisses me off. how dare those exploiters claim that those kids are better off being used as child labour! I happen to have personally spoken to Ansar Burney, the man who has been singely advocating for the end of the practice of keeping child camel jockeys in the Gulf. He got involved a few years ago and because of his efforts (he produced a documentary about the issue, lobbied the Powers That Be, pressed for the set up of the shelter in Abu Dhabi, and has more recently been networking w/ shelters in these kids' countries of origin to ensure they get support back home whence they return)Because of his bell ringing work, UNICEF got involved. Anywayz, he told me that many of these kids have un attended broken limbs, kidney and liver problems, and their genitals have been damaged from this work. These kids are so abused. Most of them do not speak the language of their home country. Before, they were just shipping them home with nothing but the clothes on their backs, but now they have established rehabilitation camps for them in their respective countries.

Anyway, I pray for these children. They are truly the dust of the earth being eaten by some of the wealthiest people in the world.

The reason why ending this practice has taken so long is because they perpetrators are hardly the average Joe, they are the richest people of the GCC who can afford a camel farm and a legion of underage slaves.

A side note is that in traditional Gulf culture, local children DID race camels. But they were just regular kids, not kept as slaves, not starved to keep them underweight so that they would be light for the race, not denied any form of emotional affection, not forced to clean the camel farms when they weren't racing, etc.

Anyway, if this issue concerns you, too, you can google The Ansar Burney Foundation and make a little donation if possible. and tell a friend.

05 December, 2005 10:59  
Blogger CG said...

UAE children have been used as camel jockeys...and abused too.

The time has come. They cannot exploit these poor children any longer. All eyes are on them now, and they have no choice left but to accept the changes.

The fault lies only with the Rulers here in the UAE (and Qatar) that this was ever allowed to happen.

These children should all be granted UAE Nationality and be given a grant by the government that ensures they receive a full education and housing. To send them back will mean they will only be re-sold, possibly for a worse situation (could there be worse? I don't know, but imagine there is).
The people who 'had' these children in the camel camps should be prosecuted. The Government needs to answer a lot of questions and do it now.

05 December, 2005 12:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can anyone even IMAGINE that the visas/paperwork for these children is legal. What complete bolloks. The racketeers who prepare these papers should be imprisoned and assets seized to pay for the education/board and lodging/food and clothing till teh children reach the legal age (18, 21).

05 December, 2005 13:09  
Blogger samuraisam said...

luckyfatima actually there were more reasons for the setting up of the shelter etc, mostly to do with the HBO documentary that pointed the finger

05 December, 2005 15:03  
Blogger luckyfatima said...

samurai sam: yes, Ansar Burney is the man behind the HBO documentary

05 December, 2005 15:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 2002, the UAE was condemned by the US for Human Trafficking, and placed on the list of the 14 worst countries in the world, because of the child camel jockeys. No mention of the US report appeared in any UAE newspaper, but all the newspapers reported that a new law had been issued prohibiting child camel jockies, setting a new minimum age of 16; in addition, all the (2002) child camel jockies would be immediately re-patriated.

The UAE was accordingly taken off the Worst Human Trafficking list for 2003 and 2004.

During the 2004/2005 racing season, an international inspector went to see the races run by 16 year olds, and found that nothing had changed. So the UAE once again made the Worst Human Trafficking nations list for 2005.

The UAE newspapers had to run apoplectic editorials condemning the report without actually mentioning the report or its contents, and now ran front page stories that all the child camel jockies were to be replaced with robots, and that dozens were being repatriated.

That's dozens (too old and heavy to still be of use) out of thousands.

Still, a camel-racing afficionado reports that, this time, they really are using the robots. At least for some races.

05 December, 2005 15:54  
Blogger samuraisam said...

there has been international attention to the usage of child camel jockies along with photos etc for ages, at least 5 years ago if not more.

interesting that within a week of that hbo doco airing they magically decided that it was time to change, mentions of the article were on several horse racing websites, and they all blamed a certain someone, most of the articles have since magically dissapeared. go figure.

05 December, 2005 16:12  
Blogger desertblog said...

The problem is this country waits for a tragedy to happen before taking much needed action. The parasailing death happens before stricter measures are put into place, a girl has to drown in a Springs pool before that area gets closer emergency services, how many Sheikh Zayed Road deaths will it take before they sort out the horrendous driving here? Or will it need to be the death of a prominent person on these killer roads that knocks them into reality and makes them realise there is no point of building 100+ towers if people are to terrified of driving on these roads to get to their apartments?

05 December, 2005 19:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post SD. The ludicrously nostalgic vein to that article needed critical comment.

05 December, 2005 22:23  
Blogger _sublime_ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

05 December, 2005 22:36  
Blogger _sublime_ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

05 December, 2005 22:37  
Blogger Unknown said...

why u deleted my post :(

06 December, 2005 17:29  
Blogger secretdubai said...

twintopaz - the only comment I would have deleted, if anything, was an anonymous one-liner that sounded offensive. I don't know if that was yours or not.

Generally when people comment by name/nickname, I always alert them to the fact if something is borderline-problematic, and ask them to re-comment.

06 December, 2005 21:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ansar Burney warmly welcomed at State Department:

WASHINGTON, DC - Recently been declared as International ‘HERO’ in the field of human rights by the United States government, Ansar Burney, Chairman of the Ansar Burney Trust has visited State Department in Washington, DC on Wednesday on an invitation by the State Department to met with the American NGO’s and High Officials.

On his arrival at State Department to give speech on human rights and presentation on the issue of underage child camel jockeys living like in hell in Middle Eastern and Arab countries, Ansar Burney was very warmly welcomed by the officials and the American NGO’s. Senior Advisor to Secretary State, Ambassador John R Miller and other officials from State Department received and welcomed International human rights ‘HERO’ Ansar Burney his wife Shaheen Burney and son Syed Fahad Burney.

Chairman of the Ansar Burney Trust, Ansar Burney, Vice Chairpersons Shaheen Burney and Syed Fahad Burney on an invitation by the United States Department of State are visiting Washington, DC on a twelve days visit of USA.

To listens his speech and to see presentation on the issue of underage child camel jockeys, young girls on prostitution against their will, domestic violence, labour problems, human smuggling and trafficking as well as other human rights issues in Middle Eastern, Arab and Asian countries, almost 40 American NGO’s including officials of State Department including representatives from the Embassies of Australia, Israel and Qatar were also present in State Department to listen Ansar Burney.

Before Mr Burney’s speech, Ambassador Miller introduced Mr Burney as human rights HERO.

Earlier widely known as human rights ‘Saint’ Ansar Burney, also member of the International Bar Association (UK), American Bar Association (USA) and Karachi Bar Association (Pakistan), along with Shaheen Burney and Fahad Burney also meet the high officials at State and Trade Departments on in Washington, DC and discussed with them international human rights issues especially human rights situation in Asian and Middle Eastern countries including underage child camel jockeys issue, modern days slavery, smuggling of young girls for prostitution, discrimination with foreign labours and domestic violation in Middle Eastern and Arab countries as well as other important issues including human rights situation in Pakistan.

The meetings of Mr Burney are going on in State and Trade Departments as well as with International American NGO’s and Embassies of foreign countries on coming days.

The great efforts of Mr. Ansar Burney has brought a very big human rights change in Middle Eastern countries when UAE and Qatar banned use of underage children as jockeys (Modern days Slavery) only because of Ansar Burney Trust.

It may be recall here that the US State department has recently been declared Mr. Ansar Burney as International HERO in the field of Human Rights (HERO ACTING TO END MODERN-DAY SLAVERY). The Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed and presented the Certificate of International HERO to Mr. Burney.

According to US Department of State; a noted Pakistani human rights activist, Ansar Burney has worked relentlessly to bring to light the plight of thousands of South Asian and African children trafficked to Arabian Gulf countries for exploitation as camel jockeys. These abused children, some as young as two years of age, are purposely malnourished (to keep them lightweight) and denied education. As a result of Mr. Burney’s efforts, the Government of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) established it’s first-ever shelter for rescued child camel jockeys, and rescued 68 such children and repatriated 43 through the shelter. Mr. Burney oversees this shelter. He is quick to point out, however, that much more needs to be done to rescue, rehabilitate, and repatriate thousands of trafficked children throughout the Gulf region.



01 January, 2006 23:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 'Angel' of God, A 'Saint' and a Pakistani human rights activist; Ansar Burney has saved thousands of underage children from modern day's slavery.

The great and unforgettable efforts of Ansar Burney Trust International ( ) has became fruitful when Qatar and UAE banned the use of underage children as Jockeys.

These children whose ages were from 3 to 7 years only were on slavery for 17 to 18 hours a day in these countries. The miseries and cries of these innocent children were the happiness and enjoyment of rich Sheikhs.

The great efforts of Ansar Burney have saved thousands of such children from Hell.

We would like to thanks, congratulate and Salute to you Mr Burney. You are an Angel a Saint and a great human being.

20 January, 2006 14:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Serious request guys,I want to marry an emirati, wheres the best place that i can meet them, or does anyone know someone that arranges meetings?

03 February, 2006 17:23  

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