Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Modern Day Slavery?
Dubai: 1990 - 2003
"Down at the base of the pyramid are the labourers, waiters, hotel employees and unskilled workers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, the Philippines and beyond. They move deferentially around the huge malls, cafes, bars and restaurants, bowing down and calling people sir and madam. In the middle of the day, during the hottest hours, you can see them sleeping in public gardens under trees, or on the marble floors of the Dubai Mosque, on benches or pieces of cardboard on side streets. These are the victims of the racism that is not only flourishing in the UAE but is increasingly being exported to the rest of the Middle East. Sometimes it reminds you of the American south in the 1930s."
For the most part I've kept to issues of environmental concern for destinations. In his article on migrant labour Ghaith Abdul-Ahad provides an eye-opening narrative of life for those workers that should be read by all planning meetings in the Middle East.
We Need Slaves to Build Monuments
Update: Another related editorial on Dubai in the Independent, April 2009:
The Dark Side of Dubai
Update: Vanity Fair March 2011
Dubai Running on Empty