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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-18-2008, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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when is liberation coming to saudi arabia

‘Who will listen to my story?’
Tariq Al-Maeena | talmaeena@aol.com


I bumped into Ahmed, a Bangladeshi worker at a recently opened French delicatessen serving customized sandwiches a few days back. In the course of my conversation with this young man, I learned a few things about the labor practices followed by some very ruthless Saudis.

This was his second visit to our country. During his first stint, he was employed by a five-star hotel when he was approached by a Saudi businessman who offered him a position with his company at a much higher salary. The Saudi told him he was in possession of over 100 labor visas for workers from Bangladesh, and if Ahmed wanted to get the job, then he would have to resign and return to Dhaka to process his new employment visa.

A father of two young daughters, Ahmed realized the opportunities and the financial blessings of this new offer and accepted without much hesitation. He left his previous five-star hotel job, returned home and soon returned to the Kingdom under the Saudi gentleman’s sponsorship.

As Ahmed relates, “When I arrived, my sponsor had me work in his office for the first two days. Then he abruptly told me that he needed me to work around the house. I told him that regardless of my qualifications, I would be willing to work anywhere and on any job as long as my salary remained the same.”

“For the next six months I worked as a domestic helper around his house driving for him and his family, cleaning his house and doubling as a gardener and guard. I was beginning to get perturbed and anxious, not because of the nature of the jobs I had to do, but because he had yet to give me any portion of my salary. During this time my father passed away, and my employer consoled me saying this was the fate for all of us.”

“When six months were over, and with my family in dire financial straits, I went to him once again and demanded that he pay me my salary for the past six months. He told me that he would as soon as he returned from Switzerland where he would be vacationing with his family. He promised me he would be gone for only two weeks and would settle accounts on his return.

“And besides, what was I so concerned about, he asked me. Wasn’t he feeding and providing me with accommodation? I explained to him that my family was getting desperate, and with Eid approaching, I wanted to do something special for them. ‘After I come back’, he assured me. Perhaps it was my faith in the goodness and honesty of Saudis that kept me going for so long.”

“Those were very difficult and lonely days, especially after hearing my wife tell me that my two young daughters were the only ones without new clothes for Eid in our neighborhood. With my father dead, there was not enough money to go around. But there was not much I could do except feel utterly helpless, a man incapable of meeting one’s family’s needs.”

“He and his family returned from their vacation after six weeks, not two weeks as he had told me earlier. When I confronted him, he apologized, saying he could not pay me my past dues now as he had spent a lot of money during his trip. ‘Europe is very expensive, you know’ was his reply to my pleas.”

“He then told me that if I was unhappy and wanted to transfer to another sponsor, I would have to pay him ten thousand riyals! If I couldn’t come up with the money, he would turn over my passport to Jawazaat (Passport Department) for deportation. I was numbed. From where could I get this money?”

“I have to tell you that this discussion absolutely shook my faith in the honesty and integrity of people here. To take advantage of poor people like me, he and many others prey on our trusting nature, not thinking for a minute about our obligations to loved ones back home. With desperation overcoming me, I ran away, my passport still in his possession. I had my iqama (residency document) with nine months validity and managed to secure this job. Alhamdolillah, they pay me my dues on time. But I have learned that my Saudi sponsor had indeed turned over my passport to Jawazaat. And every moment I live in fear that one day he would walk in as a customer and will turn me in.”

“Why don’t you take your case up with authorities such as the Labor Court,” I suggested, managing with great difficulty to hold back my fury and disgust at the actions of those who manage to openly flaunt labor laws and exploit workers and get away with it.

“Who will listen to my story, Mr. Tariq? I am just a poor Bangladeshi and he is a well-connected Saudi. The authorities would immediately arrest me and put me on the next available flight home.”

Fuel economy!! whats that??
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-18-2008, 08:55 PM
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When KSA trusts it's citizens and the citizens trust KSA. We had that for a brief time. I think it was maybe, 1765 or so. We got over it. Chose to liberate ourselves.

B

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thats what I intend to reverse.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 06:06 AM
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For those who incessantly blame white folks for the slavery of the past, you'll be shocked when you discover that slave trading still occurs, with Africans selling their children and kinfolks to other Africans and Arabs.
He was lucky to have a passport and not to be put in irons. We hear stories like his all the time from that place. But some are even to cheap to buy their slaves. Oh and I'm sure someone will point out how my attitude to Arabs is unreasonable.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 07:51 AM
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I don't think this sort of exploitation is restricted to just SA. A recent ladyfriend who spent some time in Bahrain indicated that she observed some rather shameless manipulation and abuse of immigrant laborers and domestics. These nations should be diplomatically taken to task for tolerating or even promoting such human rights abuses.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 07:55 AM
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The Europeans should stamp their feet loudly in utter condemnation.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thats what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Zeitgeist View Post
I don't think this sort of exploitation is restricted to just SA. A recent ladyfriend who spent some time in Bahrain indicated that she observed some rather shameless manipulation and abuse of immigrant laborers and domestics. These nations should be diplomatically taken to task for tolerating or even promoting such human rights abuses.


Good Luck on that with the price of oil that it is now, I am sure the ME countries will be all ears..........
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 08:03 AM
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The Europeans should stamp their feet loudly in utter condemnation.
I strongly suspect that they're doing far more to address these abuses than our own gawd-blessed Merka.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Von Vorschlag View Post
For those who incessantly blame white folks for the slavery of the past, you'll be shocked when you discover that slave trading still occurs, with Africans selling their children and kinfolks to other Africans and Arabs.
He was lucky to have a passport and not to be put in irons. We hear stories like his all the time from that place. But some are even to cheap to buy their slaves. Oh and I'm sure someone will point out how my attitude to Arabs is unreasonable.
Your attitude toward Arabs sucks; however, if you can garner me a pretty slave all might be forgiven after the initial test ride. Thank you for your rapt attention regarding this sensitive matter.
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