Thursday, April 05, 2007

This moved me

Whilst casually browsing blogs I came across this wonderfully written post by BD (link below) -it highlights the plight of labourers, mainly in Dubai.

From personal experience - Christmas 2005, overheard a prospective client at my dad's tiny financial consulting practice doing the "math" - the inhumane math, which included provisions for possible "cash flow gains" - gains if a labourer fell sick or broke an arm, hence didn't show up for work - gains if the labourer missed his ride that day to work - and then some more inhumane math.

I remember, butting into my dad's office - having a heated discussion with an inhumane mathematician. I was stunned to learn he (an Indian) was a labour supply contractor - scheduled to bring in unsuspecting souls from his own hometown???? After much debate with the fool (a sorry loser of a soul) - my dad threw me out of his office for being stupid & unprofessional- and then the mathematician - bless my dad.

It's all quite sad - there was a time this nation & it's natives were known for hospitality - both, to the haves & have not’s. If you'd want to experience selfless & very giving hospitality, you should "have lived" in the UAE. There wasn't much then, however it seemed we had a lot and was content. Very few/none suffered this way - none/little was exploited as today. This is primarily why I keep saying - I miss the old UAE - the real UAE - it was the way how things "should be".

I just wanted to say thanks for writing this piece BD. There is inhumane exploitation by the middleman - the already filthy rich. Most of 'em are foreign contractors, some are fellow countrymen of these helpless victims. - perhaps, in each of our own small way - we can help the government and the powers-that-be bring about positive change for the future?


Hot Lemon& Honey said...

Nice article, but let me ask you this.
This same American BD has a country that would not allow any of those ill treated people into the "states" to make a better living, would they?

That doesn't make what we are doing right, it is terrible. But let's see what happens. We will increase the wages, give better accommodations etc etc, the next thing you know, the laborers won't be from India or Pakistan. They will be back to square one.

The tight leash thing I can justify (not say it is right) but I lost count of the amount of times they run away without any notice to another job opportunity.
Like the laborours have no right, so does the employer it seems. It is all an invisible agreement.

Finally, I am sick of people pointing out the negatives. yes, they exist, but with all the changed and political sh*t happening in the middle east, one can't wonder by opening such doors what will the out come be.

Those same people who talk about human rights, actually developed animal rights before child protection rights. Tells you so much about who is calling the kettle black.

rosh said...

Very valid points HLH.

I think the underlying point of debate is life of the less fortunate. This country used (and to an extent still is) to about "giving" - self less giving. Today there are the fragile laws & governance in the UAE - yes most of it is based on trust and verbal agreement - and more so to fit the older generation and their ways of business - when trust actually existed, when words had value.

Today - UAE (read Dubai) has attracted much attention from all over. We have people from the Arab world, sub-cons and most places - the honest, the good & the bad, here to make a quick buck and more. Most of them don't care or don’t wish to know about the lives of the less fortunate nor do the bad one - care about the reputation or intentions of this nation, ‘cause they are in it for the money.

They know the loopholes, they know the weakness in this young nation -and intent to exploit it. This was the "mathematician's" point at my dad's office.

"people who talk about human rights, actually developed animal rights before child protection rights"

Yes I agree - very sad & true indeed.

Don't be drawn into the "comparison" debate or factor HLH. I strongly feel that is unfair - it's unfair to compare this young nation to "developed" nations with horrible pasts and honorable revolutions and hundreds & thousands of years of history.

I think BD's point was letting less ignorant souls (me included) know about the labourers issue - we all have to help in our own way - to help this young nation. We can't just sit back and expect the government to fix all the issues - and for that I support BD's work.

Look at the rent issue - people had debates - the media had debates and rent (amongst a lot of other factors) is much controlled now. Hence perhaps a debate for the less fortunate.

Hot Lemon& Honey said...

Well, good for you. But as UAE citizen, I've read many of his posts and comments and somehow I don't feel the same kind of intentions you talk about or have in mind.

Bad vibes.


I just have a couple of things to say after saying let the west mind their own business (not that everything that's happening in Dubai is perfect):
1. Now what; did we forget who built the skyscrapers in the States: literally slaves from Africa. That's the way they were looked at for ages in US. Now, they call them Afro-Americans to give it a more civilized excuse !!
2. When I work here for 14 contineous hours a day (non-stop)for a complete month twice a year and I'm not getting the extra pay that my Canadian colleages are getting and on top of it I get sh*t from time to time just for being middle-eastern.. what would you call this ?!