Shelley on Dubai

December 2, 2009 at 9:01 pm (capitalism, environment, Human rights, Jim D, Racism, workers)

Look on my works, ye rulers of Dubai, and despair!

  • ..WHAT is it about Dubai and Percy Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” asks the bosses’ magazine The Economist
  • Well, for a start it’s the semi-slave-labour and racism that has built this horrible  Las Vagas in Arabia:

    Like the rest of the Gulf region, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been built by expat workers. They are strictly segregated, and a hierarchy worthy of previous centuries prevails.

    “At the top, floating around in their black or white robes, are the locals with their oil money. Immaculate and pampered, they own everything. Outside the ‘free zones’, where the rules are looser, no one can start a business in the UAE without a partner from the emirates, who often does nothing apart from lending his name. No one can get a work permit without a local sponsor.

    “Under the locals come the western foreigners, the experts and advisers, making double the salaries they make back home, all tax free. Beneath them are the Arabs – Lebanese and Palestinians, Egyptians and Syrians. What unites these groups is a mixture of pretention and racism…

    “Down at the base of the pyramid are the labourers, waiters, hotel employees and unskilled workers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, the Phillippines 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 or 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.” 

    Read the rest of Ghaith Abdul-Ahad’s report here.

    Will recommends this as the “best article about that disgusting racist shithole.”


    1. Sue R said,

      You don’t think it’s something to do with capitalism and imperialism, do you? I note the article finishes by saying that these are the same conditions that prevailed in 19th century America: i’m not so sure. Eighteenth century Britain maybe, but by the nineteenth century the working class had began to be organised. Of course, the article compares the workers to slaves and the slaves did endure dreadful conditions, but factory work was not generally done by slaves. Wasn’t that one of the causes of the American Civil War?

    2. charliethechulo said,

      Oh well, even popular ‘liberal’ bloggers makes arses of themselves from time to time…

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