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Why Dubai sucks

Why I left Dubai and won’t come back, part 1/2

I lived in Dubai for about 4 years – this is where I met my boyfriend. When we decided to quit our jobs in Dubai to start traveling full-time, we got two kinds of reactions from friends and family. The most common was “I wish I could do that as well, I am so jealous!“. The other one, a bit more rare, was along the lines “you have such a great life in Dubai, why would you want to quit all of that?!

There are several reasons why I would want to quit “all of that” Dubai has to offer. I was far from being unhappy in the UAE but there are a number of things that make this place only OK for a while and really NOT OK to live long-term. You can never belong.

Not your typical census in most parts of the world!

Not your typical census in most parts of the world!

 

In no particular other, here are some of the reasons why I left Dubai and won’t probably come back.

 

1. Human Rights VIOLATIONS

If you mention the word Dubai to anyone around the world they will automatically think of richness and fast development. It’s not the poorest place on Earth, that is true, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a fair share of misery going on. Side by side with that misery there is violation of the most basic of human rights.

We could start with the most obvious of cases: exploitation of the labor force. Dubai has gone from nothing to what it is now (a great pile of concrete and glass) in almost no time. In a couple of decades, exploited workers coming mainly from Southern Asia have literally understood the meaning of the expression “sweat, blood and tears” to serve the so-called lifestyle that Dubai residents – locals and expats – seek. I can’t stay in Dubai earning a great salary knowing that, while I earn those figures, people around me are being exploited that way. The system is unfair and many tend to overlook that, lured by the luxuries they most probably would have never been able to enjoy at home: full-time babysitters, cooks, live-in maids, gardeners, drivers.

Human rights violations doesn’t necessarily mean that people will earn ridiculously low salaries in a place where things cost a fair share. It means humans living in boxes without AC or fans, when temperatures easily reach 50C and more. It means working 7 days a week and only taking holidays once every 2 years. These are the workers that will be building skyscrapers non-stop even though the law requires construction to stop when certain high temperatures are reached (on those days, funny enough, the radio would never announce the same temperature your car dashboard displays).

 

 

The International Declaration of Human Rights says: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment“. I think the above fits just right.

Also in the declaration one can read “slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.In Dubai, as a laborer, you are likely to experience a modern form of slavery. Although not legal, it isn’t at all uncommon for employers to apprehend the passports of laborers during their contract. This way, even if a worker is unhappy, he won’t be able to quit, change jobs or leave the country. To add to this, sometimes laborers get paid not monthly but at the end of their contract, making it even more impossible for them to make a move.

Laborers queuing for the ride back "home" (photo from moveoneinc.com)

Laborers queuing for the ride back "home" (photo from moveoneinc.com)

No wonder the UAE hasn’t signed most international human-rights and labor-rights treaties. Dubai proudly displays the tallest building in the whole wide world, but, at whose cost was it built? People tend to forget what’s behind the surface.

 

2. Religion is the mother of all RULES

For me it makes no sense that a country bases its law on its religion. While in some countries religion still plays an important role to create a social conscious and influence individual behavior, it’s in the Muslim world where religion presents itself as the mother of all rules.

In many points, the Sharia law fails to comply to the international declaration of human rights. This affects the equality of races, fair trials or punishment etiquette, to name a few.

Let’s look at some examples of cases that took place in Dubai while I was living there, where the law didn’t seem to be that fair:

A colleague at work has a friend who was driving on the highway when 2 guys decided to cross. The UAE’s roads are mainly highways and those don’t have pedestrian crossings. It’s not uncommon to see people attempting to cross these multiple lane speedways because not everybody has a car and, eventually, you have to move. So this girl, whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, tried to avoid killing the 2 men who miscalculated their crossing and, not only killed them but crashed against a road divider. The price to pay? A traumatic experience, a couple of nights in custody, a fine that would go towards the repairs of the road divider and AED 250,000 (USD 68.000 ) in blood money for the families of those that passed away. Lesson learnt? If you kill someone, even if they literally place themselves in front of your moving vehicle, it will be your fault.

Let's play a game: the first to spot a pedestrian crossing wins a prize!!

Let's play a game: the first to spot a pedestrian crossing wins a prize!!

Another interesting case related with women behind the wheel: a pregnant lady that was driving in Dubai had an accident. In the collision, she lost her baby and was accused of homicide of the unborn. I am not advocating that driving while being very pregnant is the most responsible thing to do, but accusing someone of murder as if it was intentional, doesn’t seem right. As if the event itself wouldn’t have been punishment enough for life.

Under the UAE’s law I was an out-law by living together with my boyfriend and not being married. In the neighboring Emirate of Sharjah, the police actually went door by door looking for unwed couples. This is extremely scary! Although in Dubai I haven’t heard cases of police checks, you never know when you’re going to have to interact with the police or if any of your conservative neighbors might put out a word on you. Tip: when referring to your significant other, always call him “husband” / “wife”.

If I would have ever become pregnant while living in Dubai, the first thing I would have done wouldn’t be booking a gynecologist’s appointment. Instead, I would book a flight out of the country before I got deported or suffered more serious consequences.

These are just a few examples of what happens when the law is based on religion. In Rome, do like the Romans. That’s why I don’t want to be “in Rome” so I don’t have to play by Roman rules.

 

3. You MUST have a religion

Even though the official religion of the UAE is Islam, there is freedom of religion. Still, this country only officially recognizes the following religions: Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Bahaism.

When I got a job and applied for my working visa in Dubai, one of the fields you had to tick in the online form was “Religion”. When the admin who was filling my form asked me what my religion was, I replied “atheist”. Such an option or “other” didn’t exist and, to get a visa, I had to choose a religion! I chose Christianity, although I have been fed up with my initial religion for years, but I guessed it would be consistent with my country of origin, and I knew even then that the UAE likes that.

 

4. I see your true COLORS, and that’s why I love you (not)

The UAE is a racist country, sometimes playing it subtle and some other times being too awkwardly open about it. This is not the UAE’s fault by the way. It is the collective prejudice of all the different cultures that get mixed up in Dubai.

Ever since I started dating someone from a different race, I noticed this differentiation way more than before. So much that sometimes, eating at a restaurant, after my Indian partner pays the bill, I have heard staff saying things such as “Thank you M’am. Please come again M’am”. As if ‘Sir’ was invisible.

Work discrimination based on country of origin is ridiculously common. Where else in the world would you read job ads that include sentences such as:
“Only UK/Australians”
“Seeking maid. Filipino only”
“Indians please abstain”
“Job position for Arabs only”

 

Your average Dubai job listing...

Your average Dubai job listing…

With work discrimination comes salary discrimination. There is an unofficial rule that the job market in Dubai seems to follow: a person should get double the salary that he/she would earn in their country of origin. This should be enough to justify someone to move but… how does this make sense when everyone living in the same city would have the same level in expenses?

This ad leads me to think that an European hairdresser makes more money than many Asians in higher positions

This ad leads me to think that an European hairdresser makes more money than many Asians in higher positions

This changes it all from here onwards. Depending on your race and country of origin, you will be more inclined to live in certain parts of the city that you can afford according to your job category. You will eat at certain places, you will use certain means of transportation. And you will feel outraged and, not so unlikely, be racist yourself, not by discriminating others directly, but by developing prejudices that will end up serving as fundament to racist and ethnocentric behavior.

If you ever have trouble with a local, it will probably be your fault. You don’t want to be in a car accident that involves an Emirati, even if he/she was the person colliding with you. In many cases, the law will tend to help the local person, in detriment of the other, no matter who’s fault the event was to begin with. Depending on your nationality and race, you might be better off. If you are white (specially US American or British) you will probably do fine. If you are from Southern Asia… good luck to you. For everyone else: it’s 50/50.

Add to racism the legallt backed homophoby and you’ll understand that gays must remain inside the closet! Simply put, homosexuality in Dubai is a crime. If you can get into jail or deported for public display of affection being in a heterosexual couple, you can only imagine what would happen to you if you are gay. Jail time, deportation (if you are an expat), death penalty… you wouldn’t want to find out.

 

5. It’s NOT a DEMOCRACY

Once again, religion comes to play in a country that, as its neighbors, bases its political ideologies in Islam.

Not being a democracy, the UAE doesn’t allow political participation of its residents or, even, citizens. More over, there are no workers unions and demonstrations are not allowed. You can’t possibly be an active participator in building the society you are supposedly part of. For better or worse, you pretty much don’t have a say.

 

Do you live in the UAE? Have you ever been to Dubai?

Would love to read what you have to say about it!

 

Read part 2/2 here!

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128 Comments

  • Prashant Sharma Says

    Agree! Religion as the bedrock of a country’s legal system is absurd. Religion is the way an individual connects with God (if there exists one); why should it be used to administer a society/nation?

    • Manuel Cruz Says

      Because you have a wrong idea of what Religion is. Each Religion aims for a form of society, even atheism (actually a religion known as “humanism” that doesn’t label itself as such so that it’s morally acceptable to attack the others). The only way to achieve that society is through laws accepted by the community, and in fact each religion gets the kind of society they deserve. Western countries are great because they’re based on Christianity, meanwhile those that embraced humanism (communist countries) have had it pretty bad for a whole lot of reasons, the main one that their leaders don’t believe in divine punishment, and don’t see their citizens as anything more than workforce. Even animists value the members of their tribe above everything else, socialist humanism scores REALLY POORLY when it’s the predominant religion of a society, practically all genocides from the XXth century have been a result of socialist humanism trying to impose by force, as they see themselves morally superior to the rest of humankind.

      When you say “Religion shouldn’t take a role on the administration of a society” you are saying that a community shouldn’t follow their beliefs of what a perfect society should be, unless these beliefs are rooted in humanism instead of any other religion. In that case, you end living in a humanist society, and you get the kind of society you deserve.

      Unfortunately for you, humanism is in recession and it’s expected to disappear within one century, because humanists believe in Malthusianism (even though it has been proven wrong) and therefore don’t procreate as much as other religions. The other problem with humanism is that it defends Islam as a way to attack Christianity, and that tactic has backfired so much, that practically every socialist dictatorship in Africa has become an Islamic country nowadays due to mass revolutions (because humanist societies are THAT bad, in case you didn’t get the point, and also because Islamic societies are Conquerers by design).

      By the way, EVERYONE in the world except white people in Western nations are racists and don’t care at all about the racism issue. So it’s only a problem for US, westerners. In fact, many cultures (specially africans) believe that not being racist (putting your kind before the others) is actually a sin, and readily exploit this weakness on westerners because they think we are stupid. Western mentality has a lot of rules put in there to make ourselves feel morally superior to the rest of the World, and it’s a mistake to travel to other parts of the world and expect them to share our (patently flawed) mentality.

      Before you criticize other cultures, I suggest you to learn about “western mentality” to see the beam in your eye. I suggest you also to learn about “humanist religion” to grow a bit of respect for other people’s religions. Who knows? Maybe their barbaric god told them to live in those sand dunes so that one millenia later they would be sitting on oil and become filthy rich.

      • Bored Says

        Saying that atheism (or humanist philosophy, it doesn’t really matter) is a religion is like saying that being bold is a hair color. Please, stop being silly.

        • Zara Says

          hahahaa!! Your analogy couldn’t be any funnier!! :P

        • Manuel Cruz Says

          Humanism is a religion because it has all the traits to consider it one, so it is studied as such by sociologists. That humanism doesn’t call itself a religion serves more as a selling point than a definition. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Most atheists in the western world are actually humanists, and became humanists while in their student years because humanists spread their creed on (mostly public) colleges, specially in social fields.

          Students mistakingly make the connection of being humanist with having a higher degree of education. The humanist leaders, because of their socialists roots, see those below them as workforce to acquire status. As such, academia is filled with students that work hard just to have the leader sign their work, thereby benefitting of their work to raise his status. However, the student sees it as an honor because he worked hard in the pursuit of knowledge and for the common good. If you think all religions are a scam, this one is no different.

          The trouble with humanists is not that they pass their dogma and bullshit to students (that’s more or less what all religions do), but that HUMANISTS DISREGARD AS USELESS A WHOLE LOT OF IMPORTANT STUFF ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Haidt ), which I believe is the hidden reason behind their societies failing so hard. I’m a supporter of science, but I’m against most postulates of humanism and atheists because they are harmful (without realizing it, because they just don’t put any value to a lot of stuff).

          • Aschwin Wesselius Says

            To underscore what Manuel is trying to say, I ask people to watch “Agenda: Grinding Down America” (and yes, that should say “U.S.A” instead of America).

            Communism is everywhere and when you try to see it, you might start to get afraid, very afraid. I don’t say communists are behind everything but their agenda is rolling.

            And yes, I can relate to communism being a religion where they put Man in the place of God.

      • Rick Says

        Religion is an unnecessary accoutrement to society, and humanism is not a religion any more than off is a TV channel. Religions should be approached with ridicule and derision as they are as offensive to the mind as palm reading or astrology. Superstitious BS.

        • Zara Says

          Hey Rick, thanks for your comment!
          I dont’t believe in religion but respect whatever people might want to believe in. What I can’t seem to be able to understand (or even respect) is that religion is used as a fundament for law and governance, when I think it’s 2 completely different things!

          • alex Says

            Zara if u have so many problems with dubai then why dont u go to hell, I guess hell is the right place for for and by the way you are no one to judge anything about any country or relegion let people take their own decisions and move on in life …

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  • Javier Says

    Maybe agree, but you didn’t know about all these before going there? I still didn’t visit that country and I know more or less what is happening there. And you spent there 4 years. I guess that you could have a big image of Dubai just with your first months there.
    Also, I think there are more places like Dubai everywhere. Even in “Occidental countries”.

    • Zara Says

      As I mentioned, I knew a lot of “unpleasant” details about Dubai before moving there, of course, but not until you live there every single day and get to meet other people and their realities, you realize the depth of certain issues.

      I never mean to say that Dubai is the only “evil” place in this world and yes, there is a lot of shit happening in “occidental countries” too. The whole world has issues, different issues. Never meant the opposite… just that this post is about the particular case of Dubai and my experience and thoughts after living there.

      Also, it’s not that I just started thinking this way after moving out of Dubai, but while you are there it’s really not safe to express your opinions with this very same detail.

  • rul Says

    What did u expect in a Muslim Country??
    Islam and Democracy are not possible together. Islam only recognizes Sharia, Islam Laws. The same will happen on Europe if we don’t stop this “people of peace” around the world.

    • Zara Says

      I knew the UAE was not a democratic country, but didn’t realize how flaky the law was until coming across many cases during my days in Dubai. I understand that, being such a young country, it lacks history and standards, but the way the law “adapts” itself depending on who is being judged, can be quite sickening.
      Here is a good and recent example of this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatnews/9357655/British-man-facing-death-penalty-in-Abu-Dhabi.html So, 2 guys are caught consuming weed. The Sudanese one goes to jail, but the Emirati one (having done the same thing) simply goes to rehab. Way to go UAE law! How fair..

      So, not all is that obvious. It didn’t take 4 years to figure out but it did take that amount of time to figure out the nuances of the situation, as it is not just about being “good” or “bad”. If only life was that straight forward!

      Thanks for commenting, Rul!

  • I lived for 2 years in Dubai and I left the city and the country because the racism and exploitation of workers. Im from France.

    • Zara Says

      That exploitation you mention is just one of the problems, I think. But definitely one of the most obvious ones and that should make the authorities and local rulers care and do something about it.

  • Really nice article, I like it.

  • pinger Says

    Sometime you can hate humanity … Who can be recording the dot 5 video and don’t try to stop them? Please some alien race, invade us now. It can’t be worse.

  • Fernando Says

    Wow! I just found your website through Meneame and it just so cool! I wish a lot of fun and nice trips all around the world.

  • Whoever Says

    Was it taking 4 years to realize of it or the money you were paid was enough to buy your silence? It sounds after all, you’ve decided to justify yourself writing that, but you accepted to do that for four years and you made all what you’re critizing sustainable in that society… Good luck cleaning your soul…

    • Zara Says

      I actually didn’t know about all the above points before moving to Dubai. No amount of reading or researching could ever be compared to experiencing something in a place, in first hand.
       I did know a lot of generic things, for example regarding women’s status in society, how religion is important to the point of being the fundamental structure for the local laws, how there were some violations of human rights even… But only after living in Dubai for a while, I understood the depth of the issues mentioned in my post. Not everything is so “in your face”, there is a lot of subtle things that, when you observe and experience them in your daily life, end up becoming big things. For instance, after I started dating an Indian man, I could experience much more clearly situations of racism, subtle discrimination, prejudice, etc. It can be very deceiving when you see a certain reality from your personal perspective only and if you don’t end up mixing with other cultures much (real mixing, not only working together, etc..) you might even never look at things from other perspectives, which you might not have ever considered even existed. 

      It’s very easy to ignore issues that are all around you when they don’t affect you directly. At the end of the day we all have to make a living and some are willing to compromise more than others to earn big bucks. You’d be surprised at how many people in Dubai don’t truly think about the points mentioned: sometimes your life-style won’t allow you to come face to face with certain realities and it’s lot like you want to dig into them either, because it’s not pleasant. So, many people stay in a mind set that is pretty much “let me earn my salary, live my life and move on… What can I do anyway?” 

      “you’ve decided to justify yourself writing that, but you accepted to do that for four years and you made all what you’re criticizing sustainable in that society” You have NO IDEA of what I did or did not while living in Dubai, so stop judging based on assumptions. That’s a very shallow thing to do.  To “whoever” I say “whatever”!

      • Antonia Says

        Perfect answer to a very unpleasant comment! As we say we can not judge based on assumptions!
        we are all proud of you!!

      • Andreas Says

        to me it also seems as just a self-justification – I’ve been living in Dubai for 8 months now and see those things… I saw them already first month after I moved here. So I think it’s really a bit hypocritical after 4 years to say – I’m leaving because the country is exploiting these poor Indians and I can’t take all these money. That’s a bit ridiculous, sorry.

        • Zara Says

          ” I think it’s really a bit hypocritical after 4 years to say – I’m leaving because the country is exploiting these poor Indians and I can’t take all these money” – if you read parts 1 and 2 of my post you would see that I am talking about more issues here than “just” the exploitation of the labor force.

  • sergi el gran Says

    if you don´t like the contry go away. no one force you to stay

  • Phoenix Says
  • Ghadah Says

    Im sure we can all agree that every country has its own rules and social system. As an Arab who travelled and lived in London and the USA for more than 5 years, I had to adapt to their rules and life style, sometimes it was pleasant and at others it wasn’t but I always tried to keep an open mind and let others be. Thats what happend to me when it came to religion and social issues.
    As for human rights I can assure you that I learned that I must be careful and not help someone who slipped in front of me so I wont be sued just in case they thought I did it, and not to go pray in a mosque so I wont be under ‘surveillance’ . Where are my rights and personal freedom then???
    At this age and time its gullible to believe in democracy, it doesn’t exist, presidents and prime ministers say what you want to hear and promise things they know they wont manage to finish in time for the next elections, at least in Dubai Emaratis get grants and money from their government, and you as a foreigner get paid double what you would get in your country.

    We would all appreciate it if you would mention all the good things Dubai has offered you.

    • Zara Says

      With this post I never meant to imply that other countries (even democratic countries) do not have problems. There are issues all over the place.., sure! But this was a post about Dubai, that’s all! If you were to read other entries here on Backpack ME you’d realize that more has been writen and posted about Dubai and the UAE and it’s not all bad. This was a post about what it was: what I dislike about Dubai.

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  • Mona Says

    Hi Zara,
    is it possible to contact you via a private email?
    Can’t find it anywhere on your blog.
    would love to ask you some specific questions about Dubai.
    Cheers

  • Yassine Daoudi Says

    you criticize Dubai and connect it’s law with Islam as if it’s a religion that promotes racism and enslaving people ! in Islam everything is clear and simple, you should go and learn sharia before indirectly criticizing it by criticizing a UAE law that supposedly take it’s rules from Islam, UAE law is based on an old religion, the religion that Islam replaced, it’s called Arab Pride and Elitism, in this religion there is one rule, Arabs supremacy, being an Arab I like it slightly, but being a Muslim first makes me hate Dubai, and hate all the democratic countries that pretend to respect human rights when they bomb weak countries, and stay far away from the strong ones even if they do the worst inhuman things you can imagine

    and finally Atheism for me is the most stupid “religion” ;)

    • Zara Says

      I never said that “Islam promotes racism and enslaving people”. I did say that Dubai is a Muslim place and that those things do happen over there – the way each person connects the dots interpreting this is up to them. But that those things happen is a fact.

      • Angela Says

        I lived in Indonesia, primarily Islamic. There was a case a year back in Sumatra where kids at a punk rock concert were arrested, their hair cut/heads shaved, tossed into a swimming pool as a sort of ‘baptism’, then forced to pray.

        I thoroughly enjoyed your account of Dubai, having once considered moving there and decided against it after what I had read and my own experiences living in an Islamic country.

        • Zara Says

          That punk rock concert story sounds pretty hardcore!..

          I never get why some religious people want to force their beliefs on others and make them pray even if they know they are doing it by obligation and not devotion to whatever power from above… it’s such a theatre!!

          Thanks for your comment, Angela!
          I hope you are in a place you enjoy now! :)

    • Hasan Says

      Dear sir,

      With respect. Atheism isn’t a religion. It just tells us how stupid other religions are.

      • peter Says

        Technically, the No religion Atheistic views have turned into a religion. You can not deny that. Atheists believe in No god, but in self human power, and science, Humanism. Being good individual , basically having good morals. Same thing, its just a no god religion. Atheism – the no religion religion

  • nivk Says

    so why arnt you complaining about the fact that Americans and Europeans get paid the most money and get the best perks in the UAE and they do nothing , actually they get to to show how undeserving and lazy they are. have you had your grocery delivered to your house before ? how bad did you feel about it then ? did you have a maid there or got one to clean your house for you ? did you write about that ?

    here in the US:

    1)1. Human Rights VIOLATIONS
    Arizona’s Immigration That Law Violates Civil Rights
    2)2. Religion is the mother of all RULES
    how is that different than America , but i guess you don’t watch much news.
    3)You MUST have a religion
    Same in the US
    4)It’s NOT a DEMOCRACY
    same in the US , you get funded by corporations , votes mean nothing.

    the only reason i picked the US because i live here , where racism is very lively all through out the bible belt .

    i find you through this article to be very pretentious, it took me 3 months to hate Dubai and i left, not after i milked the cow .

    on a side note Arabs in Dubai are the best people i have ever meet there, and whats shocking is how racist Europeans are , you probably should write about that .

    • Zara Says

      Nivk,

      I did write about the differences in salaries according to country of origin. I never meant to say that Westerners are not part of the problems that Dubai has (in my opinion), much on the contrary. They promote differences in people and yes, there are a lot of racists too.

      “Religion is mother of all rules. how is that different than America , but i guess you don’t watch much news.”
      There is no mention to “America” in my post, in no way I compared Dubai to the US – let’s call it US but it’s annoying that you guys call it “America” when that’s the whole continent and not just your country, by the way! I am not from the US so why would I write about Dubai comparing it to YOUR country? ‘Cause the world doesn’t end outside US borders.. There are inequalities and racism in the US, as well in many other countries across all continents – by saying there is racism in Dubai I don’t imply that racism is inexistent elsewhere. And the fact that there are issues in other parts of the world doesn’t make Dubai’s issues any smaller.

  • Ulrike Says

    I just left Dubai and moved to Australia, but I loved it there. Being a serial expat, I tend to look at the positive aspects of each country I live in and try to enjoy everything it has to offer. If you are going to start listing things that are wrong with each country, there is not one country in the world which is perfect.
    If you don’t like the religion, don’t go to a Muslim country; yes, the plight of the labourers is bad, but you can volunteer with a charity and help them out; racism unfortunately exists everywhere; not a democracy – no, but there are plenty of so-called democracies where the people are much worse off, etc etc.
    Would I go back to Dubai – of course! Just not in the summer… ;-))

    • Zara Says

      Of course, one needs to look at the positive aspects of a place – and I did while living in Dubai, otherwise I wouldn’t have made it there for so long!! But some things grow on you with time, both on the positive and negative side of things.

      To be honest, I don’t think volunteering with charities that help out laborers makes that much difference. Giving them clothes or food is not going to change the way they are treated and if individuals and charities take care of this problem in these kind of small ways, then the rulers might start feeling that this is not their job to do, when I think it totally is!

    • Simon Says

      Very well put…. I just arrived in Dubai to live. I have read a lot and understand what it is to be here, you come here doing the homework first.

      I am from New Zealand, which is a very liberal advanced country far different from the UAE. But I have come here to experience a different world and be part of another culture. Life is about experiences and learning, UAE is a great place to make the most of a new world – it is still developing here, both geographically and culturally. Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say.

      Looking forward to the new adventure here. Yip, I like the idea about helping with a charity for the poor conditions some people live in but remember it is often the companies responsible for this and not the government. Some very cruel individuals that need to be sorted out

  • Nina Says

    I’m going to work in Dubai starting next week. And I’m very thankful that you have a given me a wonderful insight to the country that I will working in a few years, I think. Your blog has a lot of helpful information that will be very helpful with my stay there. I would very much like to read the next part of your blog about this. I’ll keep track of this. Although I have some questions to put to you but I don’t know how can I reach you. I hope you’re open about this. Good luck to your future endeavors!

  • Ben Says

    I wouldn’t enven consider moving to a country if I’m not ok with the law and social life. It’s not like Dubai’s drawbacks are a secret to anyone. And, yes, religious books contain a lot of fundamental laws for a good interaction between human beings, if you can read it with a

    • Ben Says

      * critical manner. We always want to give a meaning to our lives, for atheists what would it be? I’d say money by observing people around me. And that’s far worse than some religions.

      • Zara Says

        Ben,

        I agree with you that most religions / religious books do convey positive messages. That does not mean that those who follow the religions do apply those principles in their daily life! between talk and action, there is sometimes an ugly gap. Some do, and some don’t.

        I think that your views on atheism are extremely limited. Just because one doesn’t follow a specific religion, it does not mean that one doesn’t have values, sense of humanity, compasion, etc.. Or only thinks about money as you mention. You can have great values and apply them in your life without being limited by the frame of a certain religion. Values are universal and can be religion fee. Atheists do think more than about money – thinking otherwise sounds quite silly to me.

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  • Golam Says

    I like this article, I can relate as I was a victim of inhuman to this Islamic place. Their islamic constitution was very discriminating and inhuman. I hope their certain rules will be ammended soon to this place. There are detainee who were sufferring form slavery from their local boss’s. Like for instance, one pakistani guy, a retaurant waiter, was accidentally messing one local lady to her black abayat with an iced tea trown into her while serving. The poor pakistani, kneeled to the lady asking sorry. The local lady had called the police. When the police arrived the local lady tells everything to the police and lied. The police beat the pakistani guy and charged of harrasment and convicted and put into jail. This is a clear inuman and racist country, specially their ladies act like super princess or majesty of all, as if they are th emost high. Fuck!

    • Zara Says

      It is true that it doesn’t always happen, but many times the law and social perception in Dubai is biased and racist. LIke they always say: “be careful… don’t ever get into a car accident with a local”. ‘Cause people know that, as a matter of fact, the law will be applied differently depending who is involved.

  • Interesting inside from a booming market in Arabia. I was already thinking that these Arabic states were places where foreign people are easily mistreated.

    I think that you have written a very nuanced article, showing that Dubai is way off from being a respectful country. Thank you for article.

    Power to the peaceful!

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Menno!
      There is indeed a lot of dust, sweat and tears under the glitz that Dubai is commonly known for.
      Not everything is bad, of course, but there is a lot of crap going around!…

  • Jj Says

    I am living in Dubai for 6 years. I like it. This is a place where people come to make moneu and then they leave. It is not a democracy. It has certain rules based on Sharia law but they are not enforced. You can do whatever the hell you want as long as you are not too obvious and decent. The police will only come and check on you if someone reports you. So act decent and French kiss at home. Yes there is racism and discrimination and rightfully so. When you have so many cultures in one place it is only normal to be able to choose who you hire who you work with.
    People who complain about all this lack of democracy and bla bla in Dubai forget to mention that there is almost no crime here, it is safe and we don’t pay taxes. You come here to make money so live with the rules or gey out. It is that simple. Nobody is brought here by force so if you stay it means you accepted thw local rules and you’re fine with it. Don’t like that you can’t stick your tongue down your bf’s throat in public while wearing hotpants that reveal your buttocks ? Don’t come here then. It is really that simple.

    • Zara Says

      You are right when you say Dubai is the kind of place people go to make money and then leave – I think it is the case for most people, anyway.

      But I don’t agree with all with what you said “It has certain rules based on Sharia law but they are not enforced” or that people can do “whatever the hell you want as long as you are not too obvious and decent”. This is absolutely not true. Yes you can drink at home, yes you can be more sensual in private… but this is not all there is when it comes to personal and social freedoms and (what I consider) basic rights.

      I also don’t agree with the part when you say “Nobody is brought here by force” – it wasn’t certainly my case, but MANY people are brought into the country with false contracts and work conditions agreements that do not meet reality when they arrive. This applies to laborer’s living conditions, to ladies who end up in prostitution and human trafficking networks when they were supposed to be performing other jobs, etc.

      Not all that glitters is gold. Dubai is a great money-making place for some, but certainly not for all. There is a TON of injustice happening.

  • muk Says

    what more in saudi?a (not so)good place for job but no freedom of everything including laughing…

  • Mishi E. Says

    I just left dubai with one of the same reason as yours. I Love your blog! FANTASTIC! Big clap clap to that! your so brave!! No wonder, why they call DUBAI as THE CITY OF SIN!!!

  • Mishi E. Says

    When I was there,, I feel like I’m living in hell (include the weather) and specially the cruelty of the pipol. note! not only in dubai I would say the entire middle east country where arabs live. coz I also work in Kuwait before! much more WORST than Dubai.

    • Zara Says

      It’s not about where Arabs leave, Mishi. It is not Arab people’s fault, or at least not only.
      It is everyone’s fault – everyone who is part of the “multi-cultural society” that exists in Dubai.
      The UAE is probably quite “advanced” when compared to other neighboring Gulf countries though…

  • Chris Says

    A well written article but you seem to have enjoyed the less crazier aspects of Dubai (tongue in cheek.) I am in the Middle East far more than I care to be and while Dubai is the most liberal of them, they are all the same in the end unless you are wealthy.

  • kaushik Says

    Zara don judge me on this but work conditions for indians in india is not that great either…

    to be honest its much worse, india has a contrast or extreme riches with the likes of ambanis(forbes 4th world richest) and murthys…and poor(70% of population)per capita is as low as $100 ..u think that the people who get expolited here would get great jobs back in india?? no! certainly not…. the very fact that they moved to UAE would be to earn better than what they did back here.. and no i am not saying that whats happening in DUBAI is right but i just want you to know that this will continue to happen as it has happened in past… history repeats itself….remember the pharoahs who used slaves to build pyramids? many died of starvation and heat….same stuff happening now and it will contnue to happen..
    we can to a certain extent stop this…educate people and make them aware of whats happening…ironically a week ago i have recieved a job offer from one of the banks in dubai…now i am reconsidering:)

    good bless!!

    • Zara Says

      Kaushik:

      I never said work conditions for Indians in India are better. I know this is not true in every case and, worse than that, I guess they don’t always have jobs – otherwise they wouldn’t be looking to go abroad, without their families and all… Still, this is no justification for what happens in the UAE. Because the UAE is a country with a lot of money and resources and exploiting people shouldn’t be a necessity. Still, as you well said, “history repeats itself” – and this is how it has happened in big empires and civilizations. Still, I repeat, the UAE should learn from the past and do better. They should do better as time goes by, I guess. But it’s sad to see there is no international pressure in order to do so – the Gulf has something the West wants, so the West keeps quite for the sake of their own interests!.. Sad but true.

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  • Niaz Says

    its pathetic to read the story, First analyse who u are and then move about with the country, any country outside my home country i have always felt problamatic, but dont fuckin give such bull shit out of your story. you prostitutes always mean money and luxury. Live as if u die tomorrow. Analyse wat is life and death and then talk more. avoid this foolishnessss my dear friend.

    • Zara Says

      Oh, so you’re that kind of guy who thinks all western girls are prostitutes?!..

      I don’t think I can have a rational argument with a guy like you. I’m all about money and luxury, so as you’re giving me none of these things, I shouldn’t be wasting my time with you..

  • Hasan Says

    Hi,

    I am an Australian citizen with a South Asian background. I’ve done my Masters in Civil Engineering from New South Wales University in Sydney. I also have few years work experience in Australia. Can I expect a higher salary in Dubai than most South Asians or will it be equal?

    • Zara Says

      Hasan,
      iI really depends in the company and how you manage to negotiate your salary package. Some companies do pay better based on nationality – but also depends on the nationality of the company itself. So as sick as it may sound, you might get a better pay just because you’re coming from Australia, in some cases yes..
      Do let us know when you find out! :)

      • Hasan Says

        Thanks for the quick reply Zara. I’ve been to Dubai a couple of times for very short visits. A friend of mine settled in Dubai proposed that I should give Dubai a try. But I seriously doubted that there exists a country with the pay scale dependent upon on your nationality or colour of skin. I also found the question about religion bit funny as I’m myself Atheist or at the very least an agnostic atheist. But I guess if they ask me that I should say Muslim since it will be consistent with my name :D Dunno if they’ll like it or not :)
        And I will sure let you know. I’ve this blog bookmarked :)

        • Zara Says

          I don’t think you should worry much about the religion question. At least for me, it only mattered (a bit) when I had to fill in paper work to get a resident visa – it’s not that people will care much at an individual level, it was just official paperwork. I had a lot of people asking me my religion, just while doing small talk, and I always said I had no religion as such and that didn’t seem to change anything.

          Good luck then and keep us posted! ;)

  • Timea Says

    It’s so funny to read all the comments because the only people getting offended are the people who practice a religion. Then they try to tell you that your religion is stupid. Hence why the “none of the above” box or “it’s not for me” would have been my choice.

    Living by freedom and enforcing happiness in life is how I try to live and will only ever worship the only thing that creates and maintains life which is the sun.

    Excellent article and thank you for sharing a side that clearly has been hidden under a luxurious rug.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks for your comments Timea!
      Religion and religious preferences are a very sensitive subject – it’s true that many people practice their religion without caring about other people’s beliefs but it’s also true that some other religious people try to enforce their religion and views on life on others. Everyone should be free to believe and practice (or not) whatever the hell they want! Even if that is worshiping the sun! :)

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  • Abhishek Says

    Hypocritical to say the least. As another guy already stated, you’re going on about all these issues after ”milking the cow”. The dream trip you’re having aroung the world has been funded/initated by the money you guys earned/saved in Dubai (squeezed from labor force you feel sympathy for and the biased muslim economy you find digustin).

  • Zara Says

    Abhishek: by that logic I could have been in Dubai “milking the cow”, as you say, for much longer… and then take the money to travel around the world even more, no?! Different life circumstances and a relationship kept me in Dubai for about 4 years – it wasn’t just the fact that I was busy squeezing the cow’s tits.
    Unfortunately Dubai didn’t make me that rich that I could be living it up the way you probably think I do.
    I never mentioned anything about a “muslim economy” – if anything, I did mention that I don’t appreciate the fact that the law is based on Muslim principles (or any other religion). “Muslim economy” is a concept I am not familiar with.

  • ijlal Says

    I agree with the racism part
    ive been living here since i was 3 (Im almost 16)
    I mean TO START OFF WITH the PHILLIPINAS, it seems as they cant see anyone else except their countrymen
    and then ,not all, but some of the locals who know nothing AT ALL are extremely racist towards all asians!!!! SOO Frustrating even when theyre abusing someone from another country i feel extremely sad and try to helpout the abused !!! this is not a way forward for a developing country
    even tho it isnt aloowed in our religion (ISLAM)

    • Zara Says

      Ijlal, racism in Dubai can indeed get quite frustrating.
      I think the best one can do at an individual level is be equal to everyone, no matter where they come from, their financial background, race, etc.. we all have to do our best within our friends circle and only then society, at a larger scale, can become more equal too.
      Hang in there!! :)

  • OMG Says

    I will be arriving in Dubai to work for a year from the USA. Being that I am completing my dissertation in the USA, I have some books on Homosexuality and therapy, will I be detained in the airport in Dubai if I bring these books. If I had my books shipped to dubai in a box, would the box be opened and checked. I need this books to finish my dissertation and just dont want any problems. Please advise.

    • Zara Says

      Sorry, but I have no idea about what happens to be boxes you ship into the country.
      As per the things you bring on your luggage… it could only (potentially) be a problem is someone opens your luggage, but it’s not like normally they’d check item by item.. so the likelihood of authorities finding something they might not like is fairly small, I’d say.

  • Vik Says

    Ok..I’ve read all the above comments and i must say…as a guy who was born and spent the first 15 years of his life in Dubai…and who knows people who spent over 35 years of their lives there…slogging their asses and working day in day out only to be told one day that “You’re too old Mr. X. Your services are not required anymore. Thank you for your time..”. The people of Dubai live in a shell…and having lived in Asia and studied and worked in Europe my suggestion would be – Travel…move around and see the world..and then come back ‘home’ to Dubai…You’ll be surprised at what you have written here.

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  • Mona Says

    A friend, Aydin Momtaz, an Iranian expat living in Dubai, recently tackled a topic about Dubai and I fully support it. While you raised valid points, I still love Dubai. I’ll copy below parts of his message.

    “Yes, I know some of you will say it’s all fake and argue these are only the sheen over the sh!t, but while you mentioning that, please remind me where on earth you have no sh!t and which government is dealing with it by improving it as days go by?

    Yes, I know you are going to say it’s all about money, but tell me, which big city is not?
    Yes, I know you are going to talk about censorship. So please tell me in which place people talk freely and are actually heard and really considered?

    Yes, I know you are going to say there is no history in Dubai and they try hard to pretend there is history. But hey, tell me how many places you know who have a rich history and were built in less than 20 years?

    Yes, I know you are going to talk about Gay and women’s rights and barbaric view on rape and rape victimes. I agree, but please, tell me, in which place there is no rape and there is zero discrimination towards homosexuality? Tell me where do you think rape victimes are truly taken care of? And where rapist and sexual molesters are truly punished by the punishments they really deserve?

    Yes, I know you are going to mention the poor maids and laborers and sickening conditions of labor camps. I agree, but please tell me which city got to its glory without hard and extremely unfair conditions to those who built it. Just because you don’t see it now in those places, does it really mean it never happened there? Why you don’t mention it as part of its history when you brag about how much history and culture that place has?

    Yes, I know you are going to say there is no culture in Dubai, so please remind me which city you think is the most cultural and how long did it take it to reach that standard for you.
    Yes, I know you are going to mention you are not allowed to have sex in public beaches. So please, tell me where are you legally allowed to have sex on its beaches and I’ll move there!

    Yes, I know most of you won’t be reading what I wrote and just going to mention all the things I mentioned.

    And no, I’ve not forgotten my heritage. I am proud of my background. I am Iranian-Spanish and I say it with absolute pride. I’m not fooling myself, I know to most, this is not heaven or the promis land, but hey, I tell you this, this is Dubai and this is why I like it so much!”

  • Mona Says

    In addition to that, remember Dubai is creating history at the moment. It has evolved within the last 20 years the same way others have done within a century. So yes, it is not perfect. The exploitation of human rights is appalling, but hello slavery in the US a hundred years ago!

    • Zara Says

      Hi Mona,

      I get where you’re coming from, but I’d have to disagree with a lot of the points you quoted above.

      I understand other places are far from perfect too, if not now-a-days, also when the cities where building up, societies where developing, etc.. Using slaves in a more obvious or subtle way has happened throughout history, true. But Dubai has tons of money so they don’t “need” to exploit people this much in order to develop their city. They could still afford to do so and pay people better and, specially, treat them more humanly. They just choose not to do so because they don’t consider everyone human at the same level.

      Also, if shit has happened (and still does) in other parts of the world, Dubai should observe and learn from other’s mistakes. Otherwise, they shouldn’t associate themselves with the adjective “modern” as many times as they currently do. Being “modern” is not just about having futuristic looking buildings!..

  • Charanjeet Singh Says

    To,

    The Editor,

    Discrimination with me in Dubai (A serious issue for Human rights Association)
    UAE Withhold my original medical reports of suspected tuberculosis.
    Brutal law of deportation on an assumption based T.B scar in United Arab Emirates.

    Respected Sir,

    Let me introduce myself. My name is CHARANJEET SINGH, an Indian national. Former resident and an Ex-Banker in Dubai..Year 2003 to 2006 I was working in India in a multi national bank. And since April 2006 to October 2011 working in U.A.E without any issue in my health..

    3rd March 2013, I came back to Dubai and joined a new job in a law firm in D.I.F.C. (Dubai International Financial Centre), On 4th March 2013, i appeared for medical test at D.I.F.C.
    18 days later i.e. on 22nd March 2013 at Al Muhaisna medical centre that comes under D.H.A (Dubai Health Authority) suspected that i have old T.B and I was deported immediately. Countless others are getting deported just due to a scar in their lungs.

    Neither I, while working and staying in my home country or Dubai, nor my parents had any kind of T.B infection in their lifetime.

    To prove myself I have already done skin test (Mantoux) twice and both times it was Negative.
    First time at Dubai when i noticed nurse writing on my medical card as negative, U.A.E did not issue me any report so that I can prove you my test reports nor they give it to anyone from any country and second test at A.I.I.M.S.
    I went to A.I.I.M.S (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) hospital at New Delhi and done all my checkups i.e. Skin test (Mantoux), Chest x-ray, Blood test, 3 times Sputum test and a Chest C.T Scan too on special advise by senior doctor to have a close look at the scar.

    D.H.A does guess work on T.B on the basis of mere x.ray film. Telling you the fact as it is.

    Based on my test reports, A.I.I.M.S issued me the Certificate stating that I do not have any active T.B. Senior doctors (A.I.I.M.S) asked me why did they deported you when there is no sign of T.B in our body??

    I really felt humiliation from U.A.E and felt depressed about this brutal and outdated law of deporting the patients just like a prisoner after he completes his punishment. I never expected this kind of behavior from U.A.E as happened with me.

    D.H.A was not ready to give me anything about my sickness in written. Why it was concealed from me??? What does this reflect?

    Present circumstances reminds me the malpractices of untouchability existed five decades ago, where in an individual was deliberately excluded from social interaction permanently.

    If U.A.E health authorities are really scared from heart to help these patients, at least they should not treat them like prisoners, deporting them back to their home country with permanent ban to enter U.A.E just because of a small suspected scar.
    This is the beginning of discrimination by gulf countries with expatriates excluding Arabs from gulf regions and i am sure the situation is going to be worse very soon if changes are not brought to their laws. I believe and I know it is discrimination.

    How about D.H.A staff? Will be they be deported permanently if they are infected with Active or Old T.B??

    http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/health/deportation-laws-reform-lies-dormant clearly mentions this is absolute discrimination and it is major issue of Human rights.

    Assuming the current scenario in the future, i will never suggest 53% Indians of UAE’s total population to work and visit U.A.E whether they provide double pay of what your are getting in your home country.

    Finally, they will be the culprit if they still go and get deported in case they are sick with any kind of scar in their chest in the mid of their growing career just and just because of U.A.E’s adamant laws.

    These harmless scars may come on anyone’s body, will leave a huge impact on their career just and just because of U.A.E outdated laws. Today it’s my turn; tomorrow could be the ignoring readers from different countries.

    I have lost a lot because of their law, I wish from my core – no one should face the same in their life without any reason.

    I request U.A.E to remove sickness from U.A.E instead of removing the sick.

    “IT IS NOT JUSTICE IF IT IS NOT EQUAL”

    Your support will be highly appreciated to write something for this moral cause.

    (Charanjeet Singh)
    Email: [email protected]
    Mob: +91 9560728263
    New Delhi [India]

    • Zara Says

      Hi Charanjeet,

      I am sorry to read about your story in the UAE.
      Once cannot expect fair treatment in a place that does not follow a democratic system.

      All in all, I’d say you’re better off somewhere else rather than the UAE.

      All the best!

      • Kshira Says

        “Once cannot expect fair treatment in a place that does not follow a democratic system.” I don’t think democracy is the solution to this issue.
        Ahem! I am not so sure all Democratic countries are necessarily “fair”. Democratic and liberal countries forcing liberalism on people is not fair either. What about France banning hijabs(veil)? How is that fair to the women who choose to wear hijab? How about involvement of Political entities/regimes in SriLanka against Tamils? Ultimately it comes down to living in a country whose values you find acceptable. There is no “one place” that will be fair and acceptable to all. Because what seems fair to you may not be fair to another person. Sadly.
        I studied Democracy in America in my senior year. (I highly recommend you to read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_in_America). For the most part it is tyranny of the majority.
        I feel that racism and egalitarianism are not established by political/social structures, but by values taught at home as well as through quality education.(India is democratic but it is far from being free of power greedy politicians who oppress minority. Also there is much racism at the social level and it is evident in how people treat their “servants” and “lower class”/poor people. It is terrible. I don’t think Democracy alone can fix that.)
        Also no religious or non-religious law preaches inequality and racism. Infact almost all religions (if not all) preach equality of human beings before God). Unfortunately there are negative side effects of all political systems since the reality is far from the theory of these systems.
        I still appreciate living in a Democratic society (USA); there are actual measures to enforce protection of minorities and equality but I think I would attribute it more to American values and the education. “Where there is knowledge there is freedom”. If there is a country based on religious laws/social structure and values, but there is real and proper education and intolerance towards injustice (no partiality) then it is bound to have more respect to other human beings compared to “democratic” societies that are overrun by corruption and lack of education.

        • Kshira Says

          By the way… I completely agree that it doesn’t justify what’s going on there. “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. Unfortunately I don’t know if the alternatives are as better as they appear to be. :-(

  • Penelope Mccarrel Says

    I like what you guys are doing. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys. I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my website. :)

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  • Charanjeet Singh Says

    BRUTAL DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT ( A REAL STORY )

    “HELP THE HUMANITY WITH YOUR SIGN IN TO THIS LINK WITH YOUR WHOLEHEARTED SUPPORT IF YOU SAY “NO” TO DISCRIMINATION. “UNITED WE STAND “

    WE WILL BRING THE CHANGE TOGETHER.

    IMPOSSIBLE ITSELF SAYS I M POSSIBLE”

    YOU ARE THE WINNERS OF MY SUCCESS!CHEERS TO ALL MY LOVING BROTHERS AND SISTERS !

    DO SHARE THIS LINK ON FACEBOOK TO SUPPORT AGAINST DISCRIMINATION.LET THE VOICE REACH EMIRATES.

    http://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/heights-of-discrimination-in-dubai-d-h-a

    FEAR NONE BUT GOD !!!

    • Zara Says

      Best of luck with your “fight”, Charanjeet!

      • Charanjeet Singh Says

        Thanks a million Zara .My fight is not especially to come back or work in Dubai , it is a fight for others who are cheated by their personal laws.There is no such discriminating law in any other country especially gulf regions. U.A.E is scared to invest money on patients who spent their 40 to 50 years working in UAE. No citizenship – No medical security – instead of medical support, an expatriate is kicked out if he is not well – only running horses are required in U.A.E – India is The best when it comes to medical support for any national – free of charge medical be it a national or expat.It was a major mistake to start my career in U.A.E. They will not understand others situation.

        • Zara Says

          Hi Charanjeet!
          I understand that your fight’s goal is not to come back and work in Dubai – if they treated you as they did, why would you want to be there anyway?!

          People who spend all their lives in the UAE know what they “signed up for” – let’s not forget the UAE is NOT a democracy, citizens’ opinions barely count.. so you can image residents’ opinions will count even less.

          My only suggestion to anyone born there or stuck there for whatever reason, would be: if you have the means to go somewhere else.. get the hell out of the UAE!

          • Charanjeet Says

            YOU ARE VERY RIGHT “ZARA” . JUST IMAGINE IF ALL INDIANS COME OUT UNITED ARAB EMIRATES ” WHAT WILL BE THE SITUATION ” FOR JUST ONE WEEK :))

  • Zara Says

    Charanjeet: if all Indians were to come out of the UAE that would be the end of that country as we know it!

    • alex Says

      Yes zara excellent answer ..if all indians come out of uae they and their family will die due to hunger u are a fucking bitch, guys you all wating time reading zaras fucking article instead of asking her go ask your parents they will guide you in a right way..

  • Realist Says

    you know this is nothing new right? Indians and southeast Asians, in general, are treated bad everywhere including “advance, liberal and open minded countries” like New Zealand, Australia, America etc. It’s just a reality that indians have to accept. On the other hand, you have been very fortunate to have been born white and I can’t stress enough how much the world values white people. You should count your blessings and be thankful for what you are because you are never going to be discriminated against the way indians have to go through. You guys have opportunities like back packing and taking a year off but indians can’t do that. The idea of leaving their low paying jobs does not even come to mind. These are opportunities that the world has given to white people and you should be very grateful. So please stop pretending like any if this affects you.

    • Zara Says

      Yes, I know this is nothing new. But experiencing something in person vs reading about it / watching something about it on TV is substantially different. By living something personally, you are allowed a much more in depth insight on things.

      By saying that Indians (and others) are not treated well in the UAE I am not saying they are treated better in other countries – my point was to make what’s wrong in the UAE stand out, independently of comparisons. If you do something wrong, just because others do it too, that doesn’t justify a bad behavior.

      I know I am privileged because I am European – if you read a little further on this blog, you’d come across other instances where I make that very clear. If you’d read the About Us page (http://bkpk.me/about-a-z/) you’ll see that the other half of this project is Ashray, an Indian guy. While it’s true that most Indians can’t just “pack and take a year off” as you say, it’s also true that some can (as fruit of their own work).

      I am grateful that I have certain privileges just because I happened to be born as a white person or have an European passport, but I think it’s very wrong of you to state “please stop pretending like any if this affects you” because it seriously does. Not only because my husband is Indian, but because I care about the society I am a part of, and I care about how I can contribute to make things right or wrong.

      Your comments sounds almost as if you’re saying “please don’t give us your charity”.. so I guess you missed the point.

    • Chait Says

      I think in terms of blanket statements yours take the cake ! So Indians are treated badly everywhere, how much have you travelled to make that assertion. I think if you are Indian, you suffer from many of the self-flagellation tendencies which many Indians suffer which is: I am to blame for any misbehavior towards me. Unless that behavior is changed, you will never fight it. Discrimination has to be fought, and some progressive countries like US, UK, Australia and even India provide you sufficient tools (legal/governmental) to fight that discrimination. The UAE and the middle-east don’t, because for them its not even wrong.

      I praise the author of this blog, she did not have to go through the humiliations herself, but she felt it was wrong and spoke about it. It takes courage and self-conviction to do that. Bravo !

      • Zara Says

        Thanks Chait!
        Just because one doesn’t suffer a problem on their own skin, doesn’t mean one should become indifferent – that’s exactly the problem in Dubai.. the lack of humanity and their everyone seems to be too focused on their own shit.
        Anyway.. thanks for your comment! :)

        • alex Says

          Zara I guess some one fucked you in uae and didn’t pay you for it …I guess this is why you hate uae

          • Zara Says

            Alex, thanks for proving my point that EVERYTHING is about money in Dubai and the UAE. If you’re over there, I guess that is also your way of thinking by now and that is why you are reflecting it on me.

            I am not telling anyone here what they should or shouldn’t do, but I am free to express my opinion (even if negative). Particularly over here, considering this is my own blog! People are free to interpret what they read as they wish. Also, our comments area is an open place to debate ideas in a healthy way. Trolling and insulting is not welcome.

  • Antoine Says

    Hello there! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this post to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  • Shilpa Says

    I sort of agree with point 8, that if you live in JBR, marina apartments, the perception is that your living a great life. Another point you missed out on mentioning is UAE’s absolute stupidity in choose candidates for higher positions in a company and their payscales. The arabs seem to have no brains in looking into educational qualifications. Having been living in UAE all my life, i find this one thing completely outrageous.

    • Zara Says

      This reminds me of a story I once came across: someone in Dubai was outraged because a guy who apparently used to work as a butcher in New Zealand became the HR manager in some company. I think he got the job although he was not the most qualified guy for it.. but he certainly was the “whitest”. I bet a butcher from Asia or Africa would have NEVER gotten that same job.
      I can’t say this is the “Arabs’ fault” as you point out, because in many cases it’s Western people behind company’s decision making. Whoever is making these kind of choices, is just silly and discriminatory. Too bad on them.. they might be missing out on really good talent out there!

  • Elle Says

    Good and accurate article.
    My fiance is currently deciding if he wants to stay in Dubai after the first week there for a job. He is Indian. I am Australian. He is not in a menial position, but white collar. He was told it is company policy to take your passport. This became the beginning of a dispute and his questioning whether to stay. In part of the discussions he said he knew it was illegal for them to hold an employees passport. They could not care less. Everyone does it is the reply. Employees have to give 3 months notice. 3 months!!!! If not you have to pay the employer 1.5 months of your wage. And remember they hold your passport to ransom. And this is for workers who are paid so little that they can rarely save much from thier wage. It is expected that you will be happy with living in accommodation where you share sleeping space with others. You are from a poor country you are little better than an animal you should be used to bad conditions. Here we offer bad conditions among shiny new buildings – you should be grateful. Long hours, poor pay – you will get used to it. That is the answer. Seriously – You will get used to it. People get used to domestic violence as well. You can get used to anything. Does not mean you should. Does nt mean it is moral or ethical or even humane to expect it.

    I was aware this would be the case but I have been horrified at just how exploitative it is. And how cavalier the attitude of employers is. They act like they are doing workers an enormous favour and how much it costs them for visas etc. As if this is not factored in to the costing of hiring a virtual slave labour force from poor countries. It angers and sickens me.

    • Zara Says

      Hi Elle,

      I am sorry to read about the shitty situation your fiance is going through in Dubai. Not a surprising one, unfortunately.
      As you say, one gets to know that Dubai is not the most just and fair place in the world while abroad.. but it’s only once you are there that you get to appreciate the twisted nuances of life and work in the Emirates.
      As you say, employees seem to accept anything that comes their way, like employers taking their passports (even though this is, I believe, illegal). There isn’t much one can do, it seems. No one stays around long enough to influence the system (not that you can do much at an individual level).. people come, make some money, and then go. And that’s exactly why nothing can change for the best in Dubai, because when you do not belong, you do not care.

      Hope your fiance’s situation improves and things work our for the best! Good luck!

  • xyz Says

    There is job for male prostitutes right

  • John Says

    I Just wished i was born in the West instead of being a Lebanese living with these brainwashed people 18 years

    • Zara Says

      Not everything in the West is good and not everything in the East is bad.
      Dubai should not be taken as a representative example of the whole Middle East. But I’m sorry you had to put up with Dubai for 18 years!..

  • John Says

    I JUST FUCKING HATE THE MIDDLE EAST EXCEPT IRAN/TURKEY/CYPRUS AND ARMENIA BECAUSE I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN A MATERIALISTIC SOCIETY FOR OURSELFS BUT NOT FOR OTHERS

  • Pingback: Most Popular Articles of 2013 | Backpack Me

  • Ahmed Says

    Here’s another perspective from an Indian Software Engineer who has worked in USA, India, Saudi and UAE.

    http://yousufahmedbaig.blogspot.in/2013/12/why-i-chose-not-to-work-in-uae-for-long.html

    A very interesting blog and a must read.

  • Shaun Says

    I’m only working in Dubai for a few weeks and I can see what your saying, I couldn’t get my head around the Indians on our site working for 30 dib dobs a day, and the fact a McDonald’s costs 30 dibs,
    There must be a whole underworld I havnt seen.
    The shopping malls remind me of a scene from Star Wars where there are different types of aliens from different planets,
    I can’t work out where Dubai will be in 20 years? Who are they aiming all these empty buildings at?? Who will come and why??
    Its a strange old place,
    Strict Islam with prostitutes and a bacon double cheese burger.

    • Zara Says

      “Strict Islam with prostitutes and a bacon double cheese burger.” – this is one of the most hilarious yet accurate ways to describe Dubai I have come across!

  • Archana Says

    Really really nice thought provoking article. Hope the Asians understand and leave the country as soon as possible. We are better off in our own countires then living in this **** called Gulf.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Archana!
      I agree with you – sometimes, it’s better to have a little less money and stay in your own country, with those who you love and who love you back.. making more money doesn’t always mean being happier!

  • abdul sami abdul latif Says

    People should not get confused with the concept of religion, it is a set of rules formed to run a society in a way that is thought best for the society, imagine you think of a new organization, once you get to the basic formation, the immediate step would be to write the code of practice, religions have come the same way. Human nature is to find something new, so now the new group has formed called aethiests though they do not know that they also have some rules and customs which they think are right/wrong.

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