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31 July, 2007

The story of Badal

Badal, as we'll call him, was an Indian man who worked for many years as a driver in Saudi and the UAE. He held both Saudi and UAE licences, spoke several languages including fluent English and Arabic, and was considered a skilled driver and honest, hard-working employee by all former sponsors.

A couple living in Jumeirah wanted to hire Badal. He began working for them while they sorted out his sponsorship, and they were delighted with him.

But then a shadow fell. A small shadow, in the x-ray of Badal's lung. Tuberculosis, or rather latent TB that was not even yet infectious.

The Jumeirah couple were desperate to keep Badal. They offered to pay for all his medical treatment, even to quarantine him in their villa. No go. The Dubai immigration department refused Badal's visa, stamped his passport all over with BANNED, and took iris scans to add him to the permanently, forever banned list.

Before Badal was deported, the Jumeirah couple found a sympathetic pharmacist and bought all the medicine that they could for him. They found out the names of generic brands in India, and they gave him plenty of money when he went back so he could buy more medicine over there.

Even when Badal is cured, he will never be able to work again in the UAE. The Jumeirah couple plan to try and find him work in Saudi in the future. They even considered having Badal drive from Saudi through the Empty Quarter back into the UAE, but realised this would be putting him and them at risk. But that is how much they wanted to employ Badal.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compassion is an honourable human instinct.

31 July, 2007 03:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Prophet (PBUH) said: "O people, be compassionate to others so that you may be granted compassion by God."

31 July, 2007 03:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Badal has any fight left in him, he'll be back. Iris scan? Trust me, he'll make his way through the mountains of Fujairah! I really hope he beats the system.

31 July, 2007 08:28  
Blogger LocalExpat said...

Its one of those laws that people don't know much about in Dubai unless they encounter it.

Similar to the treatment of those who are HIV positive. If you ever go for an AIDS test in a private or public health care centre and your results are positive, the institution and doctor are obliged under UAE law to inform the Ministry of Health of the outcome and the person's details as soon as the results are out. Then the sufferer is 'hunted down' and placed in isolation until they are deported and obviously banned for life!

It is almost the same story for UAE nationals. Except that, as far as I know, they are arrested and place in isolation for an indefinite period of time ( correct me if I am wrong about this).

Horrendous! Absolutely disgusting!

31 July, 2007 10:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

three guesses who are the most uncompassionate people around??

31 July, 2007 11:35  
Blogger screwed.mind said...

If Badal is really as skilled as mentioned, I'm sure he doesn't need to come back to such stupid country. I guess it's an insult to his decency if one thinks he should return in any possible way.

On another note, hats off for the family that hired him. People of their qualities are not that many to be found not only in UAE, but also in all countries that modern slavery is made as a norm in society.

31 July, 2007 14:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What goes around comes around!!

31 July, 2007 14:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very decent of Jumeirah couple to go such lengths to ensure wellbeing of someone who was not family.

Of course this is another example of "world's best" ignorance, but i have a feeling it will not be added into the PR campaign of Dubai.

31 July, 2007 17:04  
Blogger Kalidas Pavithran said...

Sad story of a decent labourer,,, this is a classic example of how blind the laws are.. and hats off the to the family mentioned in the story.

31 July, 2007 18:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone!

What happens if someone buys a villa/apartment, ownership lease or whatever. aAd has the said diseases either one or both?

May the kind family be blessed immensely!

Badal... has escaped the planet of Apes.

31 July, 2007 21:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of the illegal expats now opting to go back to india refused jobs offered at the Embassy by UAE recruiters. They have got the taste of what this country has to offer for them. And they rightfully gave numbers as to how their wages are better in India. Just goes to most of them come here under delusions, and given a chance that the debts for visa/recruitment fees/ airfares etc are settled, will prefer to go back.

While UAE might hold the hope that someday they will drive a Porsche like the next door sheikh, or own Karama like the Lulu supermarket indian owner, these cases are too few. Hope is fine, but this is stupidity. Badal does not need this job, nor this country. He should go back to his country and live with pride, maybe a bit poorer. . But there are enough jobs for him there. And his government will treat his TB for free. He does not have to wait for 5 yrs for treatment like in UK. He will get it the same day.

01 August, 2007 11:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:13,

Well said and I couldn’t agree with you more. The best option for Badal, representative for all exploited unskilled or even skilled foreigners in the UAE, should be to return to his country and live in dignity within the social comfort of his culture/family. The overall objective should be, within the overall goal to achieve at least some part of the MDGs, to create employment opportunities in those economies. Undeniably remittances to developing countries play an important role in funding, however cannot be considered a long term alternative to substitute internal sustainable development efforts.

Now especially India, as a newly industrialized economy, is among scientists regarded as a country that has made amazing progress and will surely beat the challenges of the development nexus. Iran and Pakistan are also recognized for its achievements in R&D as well as their amazing!!! human capital, and while Iran will surely follow the positive path of India, Pakistan will first of all need to fight its demographic disaster and the ongoing corruption. All those smart brains from especially those economies, currently wasting their time and ability in the UAE, will urgently be needed to speed up the process of development in their homes. Same appeal will go to those numerous Egyptians building up the GCC (especially Kuwait) – you have a beautiful country, please go home and fix it economically and politically. The effort and maybe the financial disadvantage will be worth it in the long run for your people. (and nobody said this task will be easy!)

And while we are talking about “fixing economies within a long term perspective” the ideal solution for the Jumeirah couple would be to hire one of those numerous uneducated UAE nationals. (this would be an ideal opportunity to integrate women into the workforce) After all "Arab countries will need to re-examine and re-balance the tacit component of societal incentive structures so as to strengthen rather than undermine the fundamental values of human development." (UNDP / RBAS: Arab Human Development Report 2002 - Creating Opportunities for Future Generations, New York, UNDP, 2002, P. 119.) Currently the method of the distribution of rewards destroys the motivation for production and consequently is not driven by any notion of the ethical superiority of work and the rightful representation based on merit.

Unfortunately they have tried this in Saudi already (because despite its enduring oil wealth, they already face the downward trend in internal stability as i.a. a result of a poorly managed rapid population growth), but so far it has failed. It will take a long time to change this psychological condition, which has proved to have sincere consequences to the regions sustainable development.

01 August, 2007 13:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous @ 11:13 And his government will treat his TB for free.

Purely out of curiosity: is the health system there (India) that efficient? No need of wasta or such?

anonymous @ 21:32: What happens if someone buys a villa/apartment, ownership lease or whatever. and has the said diseases either one or both?

With or without the said disease you have no rights nor a title deed to “your” assets anyway.

anonymous @ elsewhere: please use a pen name and stick with it. Makes it easier for the rest of us.

Have a good day.

01 August, 2007 14:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

about indian health system,well you have to take it with a pinch of salt :-)

But seriously, yes the public health care is accessible for all and sundry, wasta well get you a room, no wasta will get you the general ward or atleast a place on the floor at desperate times. If you are sick, yes you will be admitted, and you will be treated at costs mostly subsidised by the government. There is no concept of register and come back after 10 yrs like in UK, here you go to hospital, wait for your turn, and get the care that the country can provide. It is not exactly american health care in looks and feel, but then doctors are pretty much decent.
like someone said, instead of wondering why the democracy does not work well, you will be amazed at how it works at such a huge level catering to a billion

01 August, 2007 16:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The law of deporting people with infectious diseases like TB is unfair especially that it is a treatable disease with a high success rate and risk of transimtting the disease to others can be completely removed after couple of weeks of treatment and isolation. Such law should be revised especially that so many good workers in this country can be affected by such disease and deporting them is not doing good to our community. Treatment it self is not expensive though its long (1 year of treatment and follow up) and laws should be made to enforce health insurance to cover the cost.

I am very respectful for what the employers did for Badal, and I would follow their steps if something similar happened to one of my employees.

I have some comments on the content of the article. When you have a positive finding "shodow" in the x ray, its not called latent TB, but an active TB "pulmonary TB". Diagnosis is confirmed by testing the sputum under microscopy +/- culture for evidence of tuberculosis bacteria.
A latent TB result from a positive skin test that is made for people who come from high risk areas or working in health sector. When I was working in Canada, I had a TB skin test and it was positive but the chest x ray was normal, therefore its called latent TB, and in this case I should go for a prophylactic treatment for a period of six months. I did not stop from working in Canada during that time cos I wasn't infectious. The health system covered doctors follow ups and the tests done, but I had to pay for the medication, but is was under the formularly of the Canadian MOH so it only cost around 100Dh in total.

Regarding testing people for viral hepatitis and HIV before coming to work in the UAE, it is a common practice in other countries including Canada. I made those tests before I went to Canada.
The issue is if someone in UAE got such diseases while working in the UAE due to working, for example after blood transfusion or while working in a health institute. In this case, I think he or she should recieve full treatment and should not be deported or banned from work unless his work will carry risk of transimtting the disease to the others.

I am hopeful that such laws will be revised soon, and as members of this community we will continue to speak out till change occurs.

02 August, 2007 08:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Are you telling us to "go home"? :P

02 August, 2007 16:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a way yes! Of course not meant in a negative way ;-) Since I am not a supporter of any “brain drain”, only once your home economies are saturated with skilled know-how, the issue becomes a different ballgame altogether. However, if anyone should decide to work in a foreign country, at least it should be a must that this individual can take his family along (schools, medical services, etc.), can practice his/her religion freely, is accepted as a member of the community and above all IS TREATED WITH RESPECT!

LOL and cheers from Germany

PS: Some time ago Germany was making a serious effort to get IT specialists from Pakistan as well as India, since we forgot to educate a sufficient amount of students in this field to meat our constantly rising demands. We promised them green-cards and so much more, but they refused to come and decided to go to the States instead. :P
Apparently our country is still not open enough to foreigners and they had the guts to tell us that in the face – great move!!!! My admiration!

03 August, 2007 12:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi SD,

U deleted a comment by someone who was very offensive and used inapporopriate words, but I think you are biased, cos some of the comments here are also offensive, eg the guy who described UAE as "planet of apes", I dont think he meant something good with this, and he was not showing any respect to the people who are living in the UAE.
If we are going to humilate each other while discussing our society problems, I would not expect anything but more hatred between us. I dont think this is one of your blog's goals, is it?

04 August, 2007 17:47  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Anon - I try to keep censorship to a minimum. So while I delete really offensive stuff, and hate speech, I tolerate a certain amount.

Yes - the Planet of Apes comment was rude and unfair. But it wasn't obscene.

And I am very happy for you to disagree with it and explain to the Anon who posted it why you think it is unfair/wrong. Because that is constructive debate.

04 August, 2007 17:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He does not have to wait for 5 yrs for treatment like in UK. He will get it the same day."

Sorry, where did the UK come into this? And if India's doing so well in treating people for TB, how come it has both the highest infected population (almost 2 million) and the highest per-capita incidence of any country in the world?

Largely irrelevant in the context of the original post, perhaps, but why criticise the UK (which at least offers a form of universal health care, which is often highly effective) over other, more deserving countries?

05 August, 2007 21:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD deletes anything against Westerners living here, especially things that are classified "hate speech" and I know this for a fact because I posted a so called “hate speech” describing the couple as having sex with this Badal guy and insulting Westerners. This was a test baloon. Sure enough, the post was not even put in the blog. SD however, gladly posts insults to the indigenous population whom she sees herself as having some kind of evolutionary superiority over.

Calling us planet of apes? What does this mean? I know that in Germany and Netherlands in particular people make sounds and act like apes as part of the usual anti African sentiment there; something we usually see in soccer games in these hateful societies.

Hey SD, either sensor everything or keep the doors open for all you coward. However, I think this is too much to ask from you because soon we will be kicked out from our own country by people like yourself the way things are going now.

This planet of apes is building the tallest building on earth and I am sure you are barging about this back “home”. It is the same planet which is opening its doors wide open for all people like you from every corner of the world to build a better life “back home”. In the West, i.e planet of non-apes, no Indian or Bangladeshi even dream of going there without being held into a holding pen like a mad dog. The west is so protective of its non-ape society that now you walk in any place in Europe and all you find is 60+ mean selfish grumpy old men and women walking in the ruins of old civilizations.

Finally, SD don't forget that you are living in this planet of apes which means that you are an ape too. Have you no shame?

07 August, 2007 06:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, please can you put me in touch with this couple. I work for a newspaper and want to try and have this story published.

If they are interested they can contact me on my email

07 August, 2007 11:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“I know that in Germany and Netherlands in particular people make sounds and act like apes as part of the usual anti African sentiment there; something we usually see in soccer games in these hateful societies.”

REALLY, wow now this is "an interpretation" of the immense beautiful party we had for the World Cup last year and welcomed the entire global community as friends. Wonder why I raised a Saudi and a German flag in my garden to symbolize friendship ….

In the meanwhile super big HUGGGGGG from Germany and LOL

PS: The “suspected” tallest building on earth is build entirely by foreigners, so try to be proud of something that is your own heritage and achievement!

07 August, 2007 12:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Jumeriah couple" What on earth is that supposed to mean? I find this very usually mention race in your posts. Odd..

09 August, 2007 00:13  
Blogger ann said...

To Anonymous at 00:13

"Jumeriah couple" What on earth is that supposed to mean? I find this very usually mention race in your posts. Odd..

Is race important to you, Anonymous? Is it really important where these people come from rather than what they did?

I've been reading Secret Dubai for almost a year now, and this much is true: The blog often quotes media reports that identify nationality as a matter of course. That's a peculiarity of the media in the UAE. But the Secret Dubai blog itself doesn't make a big deal of nationality.

Get over it already. It's not normal anyway, this obsession with the nationality of people.

09 August, 2007 04:20  

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