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Posts Tagged ‘Places to avoid

Dubai – The Riches to Rags Story of a Slave Society

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Growing up, besides the name America, the one other name I heard a few times too many was Dubai. I  heard often from  an awestruck  relative or friend who visited Dubai about its glitz, glamor  and flamboyancy. Almost no conversation of Dubai would be complete without a mention of the its gold, an Indian indulgence. Stories were told of how inexpensive everything was and of all the luxuries one could experience at prices that seemed very affordable to the average middle class family.

Of course, these were the days when Dubai saw its economy grow at an unprecedented  rate. While America’s consumption of oil grew, so did Dubai’s fortunes. Even at a time Indians awoke each day to find new never-before economic possibilities on their own soil, brought about by historic economic policies of the then Finance minister Manmohan Singh, Dubai continued to captivate and enchant the average Indian’s mind.  I distinctly remember the promotion of the Dubai shopping festival that aired frequently during the Sharjah cricket cup. Glittery aerial views of  Dubai coupled with commentaries of never ending praise for this city, that fought and won the desert, were all aimed at tempting the viewers of indulging in the lavishness of Dubai.

During these years of economic prosperity, a boom in construction led many Indian (and other Asian) construction laborers, who were eager for a better pay and a better life, to migrate to Dubai. Soon were born many consulting firms who ‘helped’ these poor, uneducated and illiterate workers seek construction jobs in Dubai using the hard earned money of the workers themselves. With the hope that this land, that they had heard so much about, would be the answer to their poverty and to their dreams of a prosperous future, these workers often times pooled in their entire life savings, left their families and friends behind and signed up for, what would be their biggest mistake, a one-way ride to Dubai.

Little has been written about the life of these immigrant workers. The long hours and little pay coupled with inhuman living conditions not only shattered the dreams and aspirations of the workers, but it left them further behind.

Added to this, was the economic downturn caused here in the United States that rippled its way across the rest of the world. As investments into Dubai dried up, so did many of their ambitious construction projects. What were horrific conditions for the workers to begin with got worse with the economic recession. With no work, soon there was no pay for a week at first and then, for months on end. Experiencing, the reality of the immigrant’s life in Dubai, while most workers longed to return to their family and friends back at home, almost none had with them their own passports that they were forced to leave with their employers as a guarantee that they would show up to work each day. When these employers lost their projects, in the quiet of the night, many fled the country leaving behind these hapless workers prisoners in a foreign land.

Find here a very eloquently written but rather disturbing article titled “The Dark Side of Dubai” about one of mankind’s greatest exploitations of human labor in the 21st century and another article here titled “Carnage for Dubai’s Creative Class” about the decline of the slave society known to us all as Dubai. For the sake of humanity, I hope Dubai returns  to its rightful owner, the desert.

Written by Au Fait

May 16, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Posted in News, Opinion

Tagged with , ,