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post #11 of 118 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 02:15 PM
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post #12 of 118 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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post #13 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-19-2009, 09:33 PM
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I'm most of the way through this horrifying essay entitled "The Dark Side of Dubai" and all I can say is that I'm glad you're in Abu Dhabi instead. Stay safe if you can.

The dark side of Dubai - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
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post #14 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-19-2009, 11:17 PM
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What's next ?
White expat slavery by Arab Sheikhs ?

Quote:
Nobody told her there is no concept of bankruptcy. If you get into debt and you can't pay, you go to prison.

"When we realised that, I sat Daniel down and told him: listen, we need to get out of here. He knew he was guaranteed a pay-off when he resigned, so we said – right, let's take the pay-off, clear the debt, and go." So Daniel resigned – but he was given a lower pay-off than his contract suggested. The debt remained. As soon as you quit your job in Dubai, your employer has to inform your bank. If you have any outstanding debts that aren't covered by your savings, then all your accounts are frozen, and you are forbidden to leave the country.

"Suddenly our cards stopped working. We had nothing. We were thrown out of our apartment."
...
She is not alone. All over the city, there are maxed-out expats sleeping secretly in the sand-dunes or the airport or in their cars.

"The thing you have to understand about Dubai is – nothing is what it seems," Karen says at last. "Nothing. This isn't a city, it's a con-job. They lure you in telling you it's one thing – a modern kind of place – but beneath the surface it's a medieval dictatorship."
I guess it's fitting after all. One reaps what one sows.

Quote:
It is an open secret that once you hire a maid, you have absolute power over her. You take her passport – everyone does; you decide when to pay her, and when – if ever – she can take a break; and you decide who she talks to. She speaks no Arabic. She cannot escape.

In a Burger King, a Filipino girl tells me it is "terrifying" for her to wander the malls in Dubai because Filipino maids or nannies always sneak away from the family they are with and beg her for help. "They say – 'Please, I am being held prisoner, they don't let me call home, they make me work every waking hour seven days a week.' At first I would say – my God, I will tell the consulate, where are you staying? But they never know their address, and the consulate isn't interested. I avoid them now. I keep thinking about a woman who told me she hadn't eaten any fruit in four years. They think I have power because I can walk around on my own, but I'm powerless."

The only hostel for women in Dubai – a filthy private villa on the brink of being repossessed – is filled with escaped maids. Mela Matari, a 25-year-old Ethiopian woman with a drooping smile, tells me what happened to her – and thousands like her. She was promised a paradise in the sands by an agency, so she left her four year-old daughter at home and headed here to earn money for a better future. "But they paid me half what they promised. I was put with an Australian family – four children – and Madam made me work from 6am to 1am every day, with no day off. I was exhausted and pleaded for a break, but they just shouted: 'You came here to work, not sleep!' Then one day I just couldn't go on, and Madam beat me. She beat me with her fists and kicked me. My ear still hurts. They wouldn't give me my wages: they said they'd pay me at the end of the two years. What could I do? I didn't know anybody here. I was terrified."

One day, after yet another beating, Mela ran out onto the streets, and asked – in broken English – how to find the Ethiopian consulate. After walking for two days, she found it, but they told her she had to get her passport back from Madam. "Well, how could I?" she asks. She has been in this hostel for six months. She has spoken to her daughter twice. "I lost my country, I lost my daughter, I lost everything," she says.

As she says this, I remember a stray sentence I heard back at Double Decker. I asked a British woman called Hermione Frayling what the best thing about Dubai was. "Oh, the servant class!" she trilled. "You do nothing. They'll do anything!"

...

In the lobby, I start chatting to a couple from London who work in the City. They have been coming to Dubai for 10 years now, and they say they love it. "You never know what you'll find here," he says. "On our last trip, at the beginning of the holiday, our window looked out on the sea. By the end, they'd built an entire island there."

My patience frayed by all this excess, I find myself snapping: doesn't the omnipresent slave class bother you? I hope they misunderstood me, because the woman replied: "That's what we come for! It's great, you can't do anything for yourself!" Her husband chimes in: "When you go to the toilet, they open the door, they turn on the tap – the only thing they don't do is take it out for you when you have a piss!" And they both fall about laughing.

Last edited by mlfun; 04-20-2009 at 12:21 AM.
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post #15 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-20-2009, 06:02 AM Thread Starter
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There's been some anger in the papers here over the bashing of Dubai in the Western media, especially after the real estate market was hit by the credit crunch. But I think both are over-reacting. I mean, "expats sleeping secretly in the sand-dunes"? They'd suffocate in less than a minute. And of course Dubai is not perfect.

This city was built fast and the expats made fortunes from the CEOs to the unskilled labourers. Those who made the wrong financial decisions or were not lucky enough to make the 'overnight millions' their colleagues made are the few who complain. You can make a 1-hour documentary based on a couple of failure stories.

Unfortunately, you hear many stories of abused house maids. Also, you hear many stories of children (and even adults) abused by maids and other house help. It's a shame how some people treat those who work for them while they complain of the treatment they receive from their own boss. I think embassies of maids should make sure that they educate them about their rights and provide them with contact numbers to report any violations.
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post #16 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-20-2009, 07:10 AM
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heh, heh.......what goes on in Dubai or any other place for that matter pales in significance to the gross abuse, neglect and torture of innocent women and children in the US! ........and some men, as well! heh, heh.......move on! heh, heh.....
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post #17 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-20-2009, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Tahloube View Post
There's been some anger in the papers here over the bashing of Dubai in the Western media, especially after the real estate market was hit by the credit crunch. But I think both are over-reacting. I mean, "expats sleeping secretly in the sand-dunes"? They'd suffocate in less than a minute. And of course Dubai is not perfect.

This city was built fast and the expats made fortunes from the CEOs to the unskilled labourers. Those who made the wrong financial decisions or were not lucky enough to make the 'overnight millions' their colleagues made are the few who complain. You can make a 1-hour documentary based on a couple of failure stories.

Unfortunately, you hear many stories of abused house maids. Also, you hear many stories of children (and even adults) abused by maids and other house help. It's a shame how some people treat those who work for them while they complain of the treatment they receive from their own boss. I think embassies of maids should make sure that they educate them about their rights and provide them with contact numbers to report any violations.
The truth is much more sinister; it's called envy and jealousy. Oh, let's not forget hatred towards camel jockeys. I think a large population in the West will be much happier if you people just go back to your tents, camels and sand dunes and just simply disappear from the news and the world scene. Oh, and let Israel run your affairs because you people can't handle the wealth under your feet. I think this way we will get better oil prices maybe even free oil since we have been buying it from you at a premium then give it to Israel for free. We deserve that at minimum.
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post #18 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-20-2009, 09:07 AM
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Yup, it is indeed jealousy. They know that their oil won't last forever so they did something about it. Now they will have income from tourism and business even after the oil runs out. Dubai is now pretty much the biggest international hub for business. Other oil countries are also looking at this fine example and will hopefully follow. Many of Saudi's royal children have gotten high end education from the top tier universities in USA and Europe and realize this also. Many don't like the waste of the previous generation and do not like that their resources are being bought at such a rate by the west. When the new generation comes into power, we will be in trouble because these guys want the same for their nations as they have seen in America. Whether we want to or not, we will be weaned off their oil whether we choose to do it ourselves or its done for us by placing limitations. I do believe and I have said it countless times before that the next century will belong to the Arab world, Russia, and China. I believe that Europe and USA have seen their best time and peak.

Already doctors and nurses who are American trained make a crap-load more money in these countries without having to pay taxes and are provided homes, cars, chauffeurs, etc. So pretty much 100% of their salaries go towards savings minus the food you eat. They make more over there than they do here. I have know several doctors who have gone there, worked for 10 years and secured their retirements and have come back to work part time as physicians. Not a bad idea at all. I will also be looking into this. As an American and an American-trained doctor, I will be very high on the pay scale hierarchy. Let's see what happens.
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post #19 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-20-2009, 10:01 AM
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^^Wow, I HOPE you two are being facetious. Drew sounds like it, but cancer researcher does not. I would hope that we as americans have progressed beyond the slave thing...and would not encourage it by visiting, much less going there to cash in on it...

"If you don't know what you're looking for it's kind of hard to find it!"

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If it helps America through it's current crisis, I say go ahead! We can take it, after all we're Canadian!

Blame Canada!!
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post #20 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-20-2009, 10:32 AM
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^^Wow, I HOPE you two are being facetious. Drew sounds like it, but cancer researcher does not. I would hope that we as americans have progressed beyond the slave thing...and would not encourage it by visiting, much less going there to cash in on it...
Even if I go there to make mega bucks compared to what I would make here, how is that any different than all the Americans that have and go to Iraq to "rebuild" it after we have destroyed it. They are NOT there to "help rebuild" it, rather only there to get paid a crap load more than they would here doing the same thing. I know of a guy who has already made so much money in Iraq as a contractor that he will have CASH to start any business he wants to here in America when he comes back for good. His family is set. So these people are the ones taking advantage of the situation. And I will not be a "slave" as I will be compensated very nicely for my services. Now who is taking advantage? Why shouldn't I go and make much more money outside the US and pay very little taxes and get set for the rest of my life? Or would you rather that I work my ass off for $150K/year and pay taxes up the ass? Why not come back financially set and only work part time and pay even less taxes?

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