society is completely
stratified with every inhabitant categorized
February 28, 2005
A significant challenge that I have faced would be
the enslavement of the non-locals in the United
Arab Emirates. I can't speak for all
Arab states in the Persian Gulf , but my experience is the UAE
is quite disturbing. I decided to go to the UAE because I wanted
abroad. My friend
boasted of a thriving metropolis that has anything and everything you could
want from a typical Western country; she also explained how easy it would be
to find a job in this budding city of Dubai.
When I arrived, I could clearly see this was an
affluent country. What I could not see stepping off the plane
was the slave labor it took to run the country.
I think the general consensus of the world is that places like Ethiopia or
Cuba are poor countries where people live in misery on a daily
basis. What people
do not see is that the same thing is going on in the UAE, to a lesser extent.
In a street filled with luxurious cars and lined
with florid buildings, you can find poor, exploited Pakistanis
living in squalor. Emirati
society is completely
stratified with every inhabitant categorized into a tier on the triangle.
It is a conglomerate of cultures which would lead one to think
would foster a
robust society as it has here in New York but the truth is to
the contrary. People are
clearly divided in the city; as there are borders between countries, there
are borders dividing the cities into cultural spheres. Clearly,
as a Westerner, I
was afforded more rights being in a latter tier but even still I never felt
The UAE has not signed any of the UN's human rights
agreements which gives way to a lot of problems and discontent
workers. I always maintained
that if the UAE did not have the rest of the world to force as its slave
labor within its own borders, it would completely crumble. Furthermore,
aren't really educated and they don't need to be in a country based
One of the major problems for me is employment.
I was working for a company and I had to work 6 days a week, which
I got used to. What I could not
take was teaching
8 classes a day with no time to prepare for my other classes so I was
constantly working overtime and not getting paid. My company branch
was in a constant
state of distress.
As a female, I was not given the respect that is
demanded for a
man so when I tried to clarify certain objectives within the office
I was constantly ignored and coddled. Meanwhile, if I tried to
to help me in my endeavors, s/he would do nothing because they accepted
this mind frame. They felt they couldn't change it, so they didn't.
Another problem I witnessed was the non-payment
of many of the workers. The scam these local companies have is
to coax many Indians and Pakistanis
money in pursuit of a better life, job and more money to send back
to their family. I met several people who told me in their countries
teachers and engineers
meanwhile they are preparing my order. Once they get to the Emirates,
they are forced to work day and night and it has been reported that
pay for no reason.
One such case was a group of Bengalis who, after
coaxed into paying money to go to Dubai for their new life, worked
for 9 months
They have no rights because they are non-citizens, part of they scheme
they have cooked up over there. Eventually, they did make a formal
complaint, which they
can do, and it pushed the government to put pressure on the company
them, which it did- 3 months' salary.
In the end, I thought it best to return to New York
and give my life here an opportunity. I did not find the Emirates
to be a fair country
deal with the daily injustices that were committed in part of the
Emirati government. If you are a visitor of Dubai, you won't see
of the picture but
working there enables you to see the greater part of the spectrum.
In retrospect, I'm glad I had the opportunity to
live in Dubai because I
learned a lot
about the world and how it works. Living in the West, you don't
really see this kind of thing and it made me appreciate what
I have here
in America a lot more.