Monday, 3 March 2008

Actual journalists need not apply

There is lame, and then there is Dubai media lame, and then there is the execrable bloody human excrement dregs of lame that appears to be Martin Newland's new newspaper The Nation, as well as his journalistic courage.

The Press Gazette's Axegrinder dug up these nasty little nuggets. You can read the full excerpts here and here, but here is our favourite little piece of turd-dom:
"I can tell you now that every application from a journalist wanting to come and work here who has included in his or her portfolio an "investigative" piece about labourers' living standards has gone straight in the bin. Not because the theme is unworthy – it is and we will do it – but because we are looking for other, more nuanced and mature avenues into the national story."
So essentially if you are a journalist with the least miniscule microbe of talent, experience, news sense and ethics, no need to bother applying to Newland's Abu Dhabi government PR rag. Not unless you first sit UAE Media Course 101: How to prostitute every last shred of your integrity for the sheikh's oily dollar.

246 comments:

1 – 200 of 246   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

My favourite bit is this:

"We cannot adopt the stance of the exasperated Westerner. We go at the country’s cultural pace... And remember, above all, that we are not here to pick a fight with Dubai."

So, absolutely no danger of standing out from the crowd, then! It's like Emirates Today all over again. How I wish I could work for an organisation that has such lofty goals. Oh wait, I already do.

meeja tramp said...

To the crew at The Nation: send us scoop at dubai.anonymous@gmail.com ... how behind schedule is the launch by the way?

Anonymous said...

The difference here is, at least the founding team at Toady thought they'd have some freedom before they started.
Newland's obviously decided long ago it's only going to be about the money.
Still, his previous employer begins his prison sentence today, so he's used to working for sleazbags,

Anonymous said...

Calm down DMO. Aren't you just getting a little hot under the collar over nothing here. Is it really that earth-shattering that the boss says the new newspaper won't be picking a fight with the authorities and trying to kick down the door from the ouset?

Surely he seems to be saying that the issues WILL be tackled but in subtler ways and the paper will cover human interest tales and reflect life as it is in the UAE.

It's surely naive to expect that the boss of a new newspaper in the UAE would be saying openly: "We're here to kick ass and no-one will stand in our way in our fight for press freedom here."

I don't read into this that The Nation will be merely here to brown nose in all the right places. The message to me seems to be evolution rather than revolution and the key line is: "We are here to produce a professional, commercially viable newspaper. Press freedom is a byproduct of this." Seems an eminently sensible and realistic approach to producing a newspaper in the UAE.

I really don't see what all the fuss is about.

And before someone says it, no I don't work for the paper in any capacity and I have no association with it or any of its staff.

Anonymous said...

Re: poster at 23:44. Getting 'hot under the collar about nothing'? Newland made a song and dance about bringing the best staff from Canada and the UK to Abu Dhabi - and within a few weeks of launch he announces that he's just going to churn out a pro-government PR sheet anyway.
I wonder what all the new arrivals are thinking now. In fact, I know what a couple of them are thinking, and it isn't pretty.
If they want to work for a paper that's emasculated itself because that's the only way the ad people can sell space, they might as well defect to 7days, 24/7, the KT or the GN. At least they could live in Dubai.

secretdubai said...

Surely any UAE hack that has already reported on the plight of labourers for a local publication has demonstrated that they can report safely on the subject?

Or if he's talking about UAE based hacks that have written about labourers for overseas publications, then he's blocking the talent and calibre of journos like Jim Krane.

And if he's talking about overseas journalists, then surely any of them that have written about labourers have a proven interest in and knowledge of the UAE and its issues, despite not living here?

And given that Newland himself admits that the theme is "worthy" and that he actually plans to cover it, there is no other explanation for his bizarre and arrogant statements than that Martin Newland is a complete and utter fucking idiot and an insulting disgrace to journalism.

Anonymous said...

Journalism can be so self righteous. There's almost an obsession here among media expats that the conditions of labourers are scandalous and a national shame. Right away, let me say I'm not claiming conditions here are paradise for labourers. But there are points that are overlooked when people take this on as a "damn Dubai" cause. You rarely see an analysis of labour law or regulations in these stories, and you certainly never find any acknowledgment that most major cities were built on the back of cheap labour, if not straight out slavery. And just out of interest, everyone who works at a Dubai based media company should find out what the lowest paid employees are earning at their company. You will be astounded. Where do you suppose they live and what do they eat?

Perhaps Newland's beef is with the decidedly one note stories he sees on this matter which point to an inadequate journalistic skill level. And to be real, he's smart to not be pounding his chest and claiming he's going to show the locals how it's done. Press freedom is an evolutionary process and claiming it should be imposed fully formed simply shows a lack of understanding of how societies form and progress.

(For the record, I'm an Industrial Relations consultant who looked at Dubai as part of a broader case study for a corporate client considering relocation.)

Anonymous said...

Fun though it might be to slag off other people, as someone who has spent many years in newspapers here, I have to say Newland's comments sound perfectly sensible. The Nation will be watched closely at launch by the powers that be. Surely it makes sense to start off gently. Emirates Today tried the guns blazing approach, and got away with it for less than a week. Now look at it.

Anonymous said...

Emirates Today tried the guns blazing approach

it did? I remember launch week stories about ho wonderful the burj was

Anonymous said...

Yes it did, but if you blinked you might have missed it. They were the first people to doorstep somebody, which weant down like a lead balloon. That's why Matt Slater had to be shifted from local news to world news - it was that or fire him. It might not quite have been on a par with Wartergate, but the point is that they made all this noise before they launched, and then as soon as it looked like they really might try it, they had their balls ripped off.

Anonymous said...

Wow. It takes a lot to beat Frank "Western Journalistic Standards" Kane in the hubris stakes, but Martin appears to have done it! I can't quite believe it, but journalism here is now in a worse state than when I arrived four years ago. And, to think that the high point of crusading journalism was 7 bloody Days a couple of years ago. what's the The Nation has a Khalifa/gilt furniture/pot plant picture on page one of the first edition?

Anonymous said...

I think the point is it can't be good if you start off with such low expectations. I understand his point and it probably shows maturity and wisdom. But what we all want is someone to take the mantle and drive standards forward. Newland has obviously decided this is his last chance of a hefty pay packet before he retires, and doesn't want to rock the boat. Good for him, probably good for the newspaper's long term success, but let's all be honest, deeply depressing and uninspiring.

Anonymous said...

This is quite the most embarrassing thing I’ve seen put out by a supposed journalist in a long, long while. Frank Kane was simply na├»ve, but in context of this, he was at least making a call to arms, however misguided. This is craven pandering of the very worst kind, a tacit admission, from the start, that his paper will be a neutered, government friendly rag.
Martin, a couple of points. 1) The region already has a viable commercial newspaper. It’s called the Gulf News. And if you think you’re going to scoop up even a 100th of their ad revenues you are in for a shock.
2) The region already has a pandering, below average broadsheet capable of kissing shiekly arses and self censoring anything of interest from it pages. Actually, it has two : the Gulf News and Khaleej Times.
3) The labour story is pretty much still the only decent story here. It affects everything, from international perception of the place through to property prices and, of course, our basic fucking humanity. Though, as a Telegraph scribe, I don’t imagine you’d have had much call for that in your past career.
Well done. In one little memo to staff, you’ve revealed yourself as a government shill, a hopeless editor and a fucking tedious raconteur.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 09.30. You are wrong.

It was Michael Jabri-Pickett who was moved from home news to international at ET, and not because of what went in the paper.

No it was because the foul-mouthed incompetent (incompetent because he decided he could run a news desk with no reporter cover after 6pm as "news doesn't happen here in the evenings" and without any court reporters) shouted out in the news room in front of some Emiratis that "Shk Mo can s*** my c***." He was probably lucky not to be deported.

Matt Slater remained on the news desk until he left for Time Out.

Interestingly both are now at the Nation.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the problem myself.

A journalist writing about 'investigating' the plight of labourers here is hardly makring themselves out to be original are they?

If I was said editor and the best story idea a bunch of writers could come up with is the one dimensional 'Thomas stands outside his sparse accomodation in the dimly lit sprawl known as sonapur...he was promised...blah blah' then I'd be annoyed too.

It's not exactly showing that you can think of new ideas is it?

I also have to laugh at the bunch of ITP and ex-Emirates Today hacks posting on here who are questioning the editorship of a man who was at the helm of the Daily Telegraph (because you get that job by accident).

The labour issue is practically the only story here? Did you get rejected by Newland? Not surprising if you really think that.

Anonymous said...

anonymous at 15.32

news desk implies that Matt Slater was news editor (or similar level) for his tenure at ET.

I wasn't aware this was the case. What's his experience of running a newsdesk with a big staff?

Anonymous said...

Really? Endless speculation over Princess Diana'a pantie colour on the day she died or accusations against the parents of kidnapped children don't rate as worse journalism or more embarrassing journalism than an editor saying he's not going to adopt a Rambo style or cover stories already done to death.

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything at all wrong with any of this...seems like a fairly intelligent and well reasoned approach to how to run a good newspaper. Of course perhaps all of the posters here would like to explain why 7days - which of course adopted the oh so popular all gund blazing approach - now criticises no-one in the government now? And how Gulf News, apparently a weak, toe the line mouthpiece - is able to run near campaigns about the negative points of Salik, criticise the RTA, report on labour strikes etc.

Could it be because they didn't adopt the 7days approach?

Read what Newland said (see below)....can anyone really disagree?

Press freedom is a byproduct of this.

The more we zero in on templated “red line” stories at the expense of human interest and the ordinary narrative of life in the UAE, the more we look like a foreign newspaper, peering into the goldfish bowl.

Often the human interest narrative is the way into the red line story anyway.

We cannot adopt the stance of the exasperated Westerner.

Do not pick small fights if there is a bigger one to be won down the road.

Anonymous said...

Wazzup ? Newlands fail to give you the Media Correspondent job ?

Anonymous said...

No you don't become editor of the Telegraph by accident. Being a right wing twat obviously helps. Conversely, you don't leave after just two years by accident, either. Christ, even the Tories didn't want him. Now, that speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder if the people laying into Newland anonymously are the same ones who had their CVs binned by him. Sour grapes anyone?

Anonymous said...

Prepare for all those journalists who jumped to the 'Parochial', now trying to extricate themselves from what sounds like a turgid mess.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it supposed to launch by now? How long does it take for f***'s sake?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but give 'em a few points for at least trying to stand up for Martin. I mean, until they realise the great new salary won't pay for a shoebox to live in in the capital, an so just gets burned up in the endless commuting.

Anonymous said...

Let's break out our trusty Guld Newspaper Business Planner, shall we?

Failed fleet street hack in charge? Check

Huge money spent getting into an already dying industry? Check

Completely outdated newspaper format? Check

Hugely expensive imported team? Check

Government involvement/ownership? Check

Oversaturated market already? Check

How can it possibly fail?

want to kow what it'll look like in five years?:

www.bahraintribune.com

Anonymous said...

Anon at 16:04

I presume you've been the editor of a million plus selling newspaper?

Or perhaps you work on features for a magazine in Dubai that sells 5,000 copies a month?

Anonymous said...

Failed fleet street hack in charge? Check

How did he fail exactly?? Supply evidence please. You know why he left the Telegraph?

Huge money spent getting into an already dying industry? Check

"Dying in the West, not dying out here. In case you didn't notice.

Completely outdated newspaper format? Check

So the only two newspapers which sell in the UAE constitute an outdated format?

Anonymous said...

Newland - stop defending yourself, and get back to work!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to whoever it was that cleared the air on Jabri-Pickett/Slater worship. JP was and is perhaps the most unobjective 'journalist' I've ever met with some very destructive personal prejudices. Slater is a plagiarist of the highest order who on the occasion that he delved into original work, came up with stories like The Tourist Who Got Lost at the Mall of the Emirates. Wankers.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes - The Tourist Who Got Lost At The Mall. It was a classic.
Any Toady insiders able to paste that classic up here please?

Pee Tea said...

I think the obvious issue here boils down to this: There are things that are perfectly okay for someone in Newland's position to think, but utterly idiotic to come out and say. Of course it makes sense for a paper in the Nation's position to not rush headlong into this issue. And yes, this story has been done to death--anyone who pitches the making-tea-with-their-own-urine labourer story can hardly be accused of providing a deep and unexpected insight into UAE life. I'm less concerned with Newland's committment to credible journalism than I am with his seeming inability to refrain from flapping his lips. Okay, for all you lefties: to refrain from flapping his wet Tory lips.

Desert Orchid said...

This article today shows how Gulf News reports on labourers' conditions in Dubai:

http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Society/10194888.html

A horrific story, with no solution in sight, Dubai govt washing its hands of the problem, and no comment at all from the newspaper. It is left to the reader to draw our own conclusions, and I know what mine is: this is a city built on slavery.
A second article in the Snooze today highlihgts the desperate and tragic plight of Emiratis in Abu Dhabi who can no longer afford a housemaid now that minimum monthly wages have been set at: Philippines=1470, India=1100, Sri Lanka=825, Indonesia=800, bangladesh=750.
Mr Newland, if you cant find something to say about slavery and institutionalised racism, then I despair.

Anonymous said...

A newspaper that has an agenda will have no credibility here. If you're going to import journalists that have zero experience in the region and can't speak a word of Arabic, you're going to have to set limits. If their journos came here with a crusader agenda against human rights abuses etc, they are fools.

There are ways to go about it, and they don't have to be that explicit. The media scene in the region is different, and that doesn't neccessarily mean its inferiour.

Ethnocentrism certainly isn't going to get you anywhere - but home.

If you like your own country's standards in journalism, you should have never left your country.

Anonymous said...

" It is left to the reader to draw our own conclusions ..."

Oh, no - you mean the paper isn't telling us what to think? Appalling! I support your call for didactic, self righteousness in our media.

The story tells us what's happening, draws attention to the plight of labourers, shows us the municipality is not too concerned and even provides images. What exactly is the problem with this story?

It seems you won't be happy until you have the media calling for an armed revolution. And then you'll start whining about how the role of media should be to report the facts, not agitate for civil disobedience.

Anonymous said...

15:35 has a very good point. It is not the job of a newspaper, except within the confines of its op ed pages, to give an opinion of a story, is it?

The Gulf News has shown cajones recently - Abdul Hamid is obviously feeling adventurous. Good for him.

Will be interesting to see if The National matches it. I doubt it will push any further.

Anonymous said...

Gulf News, XPRESS are both good papers with good reporters. They deserve credit for walking a fine line and often coming up with some interesting results. Perhaps it's not always earth-shattering stuff but things are changing slowly. There is no long history of journalism in the Gulf, it's an infant market, it will take time.
As for The Nation, I think it's strength may lie in its capital focus, there are a ton of stories that go missing from the pages because there hasn't been an intensive focus on AD.

Anonymous said...

"Gulf News, XPRESS are both good papers with good reporters"

Really? Then how come I've not read anything about the massive oil slick that has practically decimated marine life on the east coast of the UAE.

Anonymous said...

You mean this one?
http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/02/21/10191422.html

Anonymous said...

It was all over the radio too.

Bhoyrul Rocks said...

Putting MJPrickett in charge of recruitment probably wasn't a very smart move.

Supercilious, self-absorbed, pretentious and very rude.

Anonymous said...

the atmosphere here in the newsroom is excellent - lots of bright, keen, very talented people digging up some great stories.

as anyone who has seen the daily dummy runs knows, there will be plenty of juicy stuff and great, previously unreported stories in the paper when we launch in mid-april.

it wouldnt be DMO if it wasnt cynical and vitriolic, but you guys are just way off the mark on this one.

Anonymous said...

The early dummies of Toady were good too...

Anonymous said...

Everyone has an agenda.

And that agenda depends on your values, politics etc. If you like nasty, racist, apartheid, right wing police states like Dubai then your agenda will be one of tacit compliance.

If you believe in civil society, democracy, transparency, human rights and accountability then your agenda should be, however nuanced and subtle, to call these fuckers to account. In my book

Dubai is an absolute monstrosity on every single level against which a decent society has ever been measured. I have no desire to be involved in Newland's paper (or even to live in Dubai), but my agenda if I was, would be to expose it for the fraud it is.

So, grow up, get some real meaningful values and then have the confidence and courage to go out and make them real.

Doesn't mean you have to 'blow the bloody doors off' but it does mean it should inform everything you do.

Anonymous said...

so why did Robert Seraphoney marry his mother?

Anonymous said...

"Dubai is an absolute monstrosity on every single level against which a decent society has ever been measured."

You can't be serious. It wouldn't even make the Hot 100 of absolute monstrosities. What planet are you from?

Anonymous said...

Ok - vast human rights abuses; segregated society bordering on apartheid; exploitation of workers not seen in any developed nation for a century; whole country run by corrupt oligarchy; no free press; no accountable justice system; terrible food; terrible architecture; awful urban planning; completely soulless shithole; no culture.

Oh you can make money in Dubai and go shopping.

Forgot about that.

Anonymous said...

Dear DMO,
I'd like to suggest a new thread if poss. I'm about to leave a Dubai publishing company and move to another. I am presuming my company won't want me to go to a competitor (ie rival publisher, the titles aren't in direct conflict), but I'm reassured that DMC don't uphold bans on journos.
Anyone had problems making a move?

Anonymous said...

"... exploitation of workers not seen in any developed nation for a century ..."

Your grasp of history is somewhat lacking. Start with any of a dozen African nations, and make your way to the United States which practised segregation well into the mid 20th century, Soviet Russia (see Stalinism), other Esatern Bloc nations (Caucescau et al), China - just for a start.

I mean seriously, get a grip. So you hate it for whatever reason but bordering on apartheid? It's as stupid as calling any right wing political cause Nazism.

Anonymous said...

You've deliberately misread my comment - it says "developed" - so that's africa, china and stalin's russia all out of your argument in one fell swoop.

The point is that Dubai's reality does not match the rhetoric. The exploitation is appalling for a nation that claims to be offeringsome kind of paradise and an apogee of civilisation. Does anybody know the figures for deaths on construction sites? Has anyone ever asked? Or is that a non-story cos it's swathy chaps from the sub-continent rather than nice white boys from the UK?

But, yes, it is a paradise - if you're a ruthless, right-wing nut or a vacuous wannabe.

And as for the apartheid tag please tell me of a more segregated society on the planet? And by that I mean official state-sanctioned segregation.

Anyone's attempts to counter that point of view will be met with a robust argument.

That's because, much like those who seek to defend Dubai, I have an agenda.

Anonymous said...

The UAE is considered a "newly industrialised" country, not developed, which is splitting hairs but since you resorted to pedantry we might as well get it right.

I'm not aware of any laws here forbidding certain races from entering specific places, or any of the other legally sanctioned rules based on skin colour which is what apartheid is - legalised racial segregation. The most segregated society on the planet? That's ridiculous.

You can have an agenda but framing it in this way is just pointless. It's not a question of defending Dubai, just getting some perspective. Of course there will be, and are, important social issues here and particularly socio-economic disparity but development at this pace is like a controlled fire.

The rhetoric doesn't match the reality? Well, sure, but where does rhetoric match reality? Certainly not in your argument.

Anonymous said...

Pedantry is very different to complete misrepresentation.


Ok - so name me another society on the planet that segregates along racial lines in the same way as Dubai? And, if it's not done officially, it's done by consent (seemingly by the likes of people like you).

The only recent society that had similar levels of development and practiced a similar kind of segregation was apartheid South Africa - hence my analogy.

For example how many labourers do you know or come into regular contact with or know on a first name basis? If I think of my life in London I know people from all backgrounds and races - taxi drivers, civil servants, artists, labourers etc

In Dubai, because of official and consensual segregation this is simply not possible. And in Dubai this segregation is done racially - Arab owners, white managers, educated brown admin, uneducated brown labour.

Attempting to deny this is collusion.

Dressing that denial up as rational, enlightened debate reveals a complete lack of values and morality. It is a nod to cultural fascism.

Dubai sells itself as a the city of the future - this is a future that anybody who believes in human rights, equality and free expression would want to resist.

That's my agenda and it is certainly a battle worth fighting.

chris said...

Well, that was a boring little diversion. Thanks, guys.

Anonymous said...

Why dont you just f**k off back to your mediocrity then chris and leave the real debate to grown ups?

Anonymous said...

Mr Discontent, Dubai, complains too aggressively - and now we see so coarsely as well.

His diatribes make me wonder if he is a sacked former Dubai journo who failed to make the grade - or any money.

Mr Discontent can go to any society and find at least as many things wrong with it as Mr Discontent claims about Dubai. He could start with (modern) North America, where they still have racial divides and sweat-shops.

While life may be good elsewhere than Dubai (where?)it is still better than most other places.

How pleasing to know that as a long-time Dubai resident, I will not have the displeasure of meeting Mr Discontent.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but your maid is stealing from you (right now). And your gardener is sleeping with your wife, fatty.

Anonymous said...

If 16.18 is Mr Discontent - again, his latest missive merely serves to show what a nasty little man he really is.

And wrong on three counts!

He'd best go back to all those "taxi drivers, civil servants, artists, labourers etc" he knows.

(Incidentally, knowing"is one thing, being a friend of, is another.)

Anonymous said...

But enough about me, how about me?

Is the reason you’re a long-term resident you’re still here trying to get the last word on an argument you had in 1986?

Is it possible for you to post something about media rather than another insight into your Daily Mail view of the world?

I’m just saying, the point of the thread is the editorial decisions of the new Nation newspaper. If we wanted to hear your views on … well, let’s face it, we’ll never want to hear your views.

(Not Mr. Discontent, just someone who would prefer threads to stay on topic).

chris said...

"Why dont you just f**k off back to your mediocrity then chris and leave the real debate to grown ups?"

Bless

Anonymous said...

While there are many valid criticisms of Dubai being expressed by Mr Discontent I just can't let his "terrible food" jibe go without retort. I eat very well here, as does my housemaid, my gardener, my driver, my houseboy and my car washer.

Anonymous said...

Dubai isn't even the most segregated society in the region, never mind the planet.

And invoking apartheid to support your rabid views is an insult to anone who actually suffered through it.

Anonymous said...

The ultimate form of racial segregation was apartheid - and dubai is completely analogous to this. A mass of labourers who are defined along racial lines with no rights to vote or partake in anything approaching civil society and who are not allowed to organise and are supressed with violence when they do so. Just cos you're some greasy exploitative racist ex-pat who cant deal with the truth, tough. Dubai is appaling by any measure of what would be called a decent society. .

Anonymous said...

What country lets non citizens vote? Being denied the right to organise is hardly unique to Dubai - not agreeing with it, just noting it's not uncommon. The truth is what it is, not what you need it to be.

It's nice that you are a champion of equal rights and racial harmony. Now if we could just get rid of those greasy expats.

Anonymous said...

Dubai allows everyone - from labourers to maids, from journalists to bankers to do a little better than they did in their home country. It's not racist, it's guided by economics. Pay people enough to get them to come and work.

I think it's the most intelligent policy I can imagine. It's hugely efficient, has built a city in 40 years, and has allowed 100s of thousands of people to support their families, affecting millions more indirectly.

If this policy had not existed, none of those people would have benefited. Which includes people like you and I.

The UAE has great architecture - the Burj Al Arab is magnificent. Christ, we've even got to Chrysler buildings.

The glass in not half empty, it's half full. Enjoy the life, or just f@@ck off home.

Anonymous said...

Err - I don't live in Dubai and wouldn't contemplate it, not now and not ever. I have the terrible misfortune to travel through there at times.

And actually I do a lot, lot better away from Dubai on every level - better money (sure wages are high for some in UAE but living expenses are ridiculous, reducing any benefits - being pegged to the weedy US dollar doesn't help either), better culture, better people, better public transport, better quality of life, better health care, better society, better schooling, human rights, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of labour etc etc etc etc. It's not all about the car in the drive you know....

And, let's face it - most of Dubai's ex-pat population are people who can't make it elsewhere. The so-called 'managers' and 'creatives' I've met in Dubai would last five minutes in London, NYC, Paris, Tokyo etc. It is really low-level stuff - just look at the output.

As for the architecture.... you're joking right??? Dubai is an appalling pastiche of post-modernism that inspires nothing except empty grandiosity.

The fact that all that wealth has produced nothing but architectural monstrosities says everything you need to know about the failed ambition of the place.

And, creating shite replicas of NYC's awesome Chrysler building shows how empty the entire vision is.

Please, if you're going to enter into this debate, make sure you have some intelligent to say. The counters to my argument so far have been a joke.

Anonymous said...

Most democratic, civilised societies offer citizenship and voting rights to residents.

No chance of that in Dubai.

No chance of even being able to organise in the workplace, nor other basic freedoms.

And everyone who lives there or spends any time there knows that a brown South Asian labourer has far, far less rights than any White or Arab person.

That's called racial segregation - even wages and economic benefits are segregated according to ethnicity.

And, just for those who don't think this is a form of apartheid here's the dictionary definition.

1. An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
2. A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.
3. The condition of being separated from others; segregation.

All attempts to defend have to be considered as collusion.

What is astonishing is that some posters here living in Dubai could STILL be critical of that set-up but they choose to do otherwise.

These things don't end unless people struggle against them, mentally, physically, politically etc.

chris said...

For crying out loud, get a room you two.

Anonymous said...

Thought you were back in the bar with your imaginary friends Chris.

Anonymous said...

If you think Dubai is the most segregated society in the world you haven't been around much.

You sound a bit crazy actually.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but whether I'm mental or not has nothing to do with the points I've raised. I'd be more than happy to debate my mental health as long as we can debate your intelligence.

I'd also be happy to read your list of other state-sanctioned segregated societies - if there are other segregated societies that still doesn't mean Dubai isn't one.

When you've got your list we can debate that point. I can think of a few - let's see what you can come up with.

If not, just f**k off.

Anonymous said...

And anyway - if you think Dubai isn't segregated and is a bastion of democracy, freedom and liberty then you really are mentally ill. In way of treatment I'd suggest a lobotomy.

Oh.

You've already one.

Oops

Anonymous said...

Dubai has its strengths and weaknesses. The fact that so many people stay and do not leave - ever - suggests the positives outweigh the negatives.

And it's not all about salary - really. Yes, you will earn more here than in the UK. But it's also the year round sunshine, and the lifestyle. London is a great city, and far more cultured, but life is also grey, drab, fricking expensive and hard. Dubai just offers a little more balance.

Now you can choose to believe this, or carry on with your preconceptions. That really is up to up to.

Anonymous said...

That it's sunny is the level of your argument???????

And what lifestyle? Shopping and golf and being in debt? Oh - I forgot the glamour of the Irish Village.

I could list 20places I'd choose to live before Dubai.

Also didn't that recent Economist study list Dubai 80something city in the world to live in?

Dubai is a pit - let's face it you're only there cos you didn't have a career anywhere else - and now you seek to desperately defend this abhorrent place so you can warrant your own existence.

Or you're too scared of being asked to leave if you say something wrong - after all, in Dubai, Big Brother is watching you.

Get a spine.

Anonymous said...

Can you two morons having a ridiculous argument between yourselves please fuck off - this is about the new newspaper not your own insecuries

Anonymous said...

No one said it was a bastion of democracy, freedom and liberty. They were just refuting your insane and inane suggestion that it's "the most segregated society on the planet".

As for the list of societies with state sanctioned segregation I'll start the list with Saudi. In case you don't read the news, an election in Malaysia was just held which had state sanctioned segregation as its major issue.

I think most educated, intelligent people see Dubai for what it is, warts and all, but this "worst place in the world for human rights abuses" line is peurile and peobably suggests more about some individual experience you might have had here rather than a reasoned analysis of the sate of the society by a stable mind.

Anonymous said...

I think it's more than two people! Or maybe one of them has multiple personalities. (What if one personality is white and one black? They'll get segregated.)

Anonymous said...

Fact - Dubai is segregated along racial lines - this is also known as 'apartheid'.

Fact - journalists can't work in freedom in Dubai

Fact - human rights abuses exist in Dubai.

Fact - workers are exploited in Dubai

Fact - Newspapers are scared to publish the truth about the place.

This is ALL on topic - Newland has bottled and so, it seems, have most of the people on here.

Now, a final fact - pretty much EVERYONE I've spoken to outside Dubai who works in the media agrees with what I've outlined above.

Accusing me of mental illness because I've stated this is a rather sad and pathetic attempt to close the debate down.

It's par for the course in Dubai - once you've lost the argument attempt nasty (and kind of crap) personal attacks.

Anonymous said...

Just to quote another poster

"I think most educated, intelligent people see Dubai for what it is, warts and all, but this "worst place in the world for human rights abuses" line is peurile and peobably suggests more about some individual experience you might have had here rather than a reasoned analysis of the sate of the society by a stable mind."

I think most educated intelligent posters would read the thread thorouhly before engaging in the debate.

I never once said Dubai has the planet's worst human rights abuses.

So, once again, say something smart or just f**k off.

I'm beginning to see why most of you have chosen to live here.

Anonymous said...

You said it was "the most segregated society on the PLANET."

You weren't quoted as saying it has the planet's worst human right abuses.

Another poster said "...but this "worst place in the world for human rights abuses" line is peurile ... referring to the ongoing attack you've made, very clearly suggesting you believe Dubai is definitely in that league.

I don't think you can claim to have won the argument, just the gold medal for nut jobs.

Anonymous said...

Don't journalists like to go to sleazy nightclubs and dodgy bars. That might be a problem for Newlands and his staff in Abu Dhabi. Wonder how they will get round it.

Anonymous said...

There has been no argument to lose because no coherent opposing point of view has been stated.

It's all been "the weather's nice" and "i have a nice job so why do i care" or 'there's no segregation'.

I almost forgot - another viewpoint is that i am mental - which is not an argument - it's just amateurish attempts at abuse.

So, I aint lost cos not one you muppets has the nuts to say anything that stands up to any scrutiny.

And yes, Dubai is quite possibly, at the moment, the most segregated society on the planet.

I've challenged people to name worse - Saudi is one that I could possibly agree with but Malaysia??? I suppose you could say Palestine/Israel or the new state of Kosovo but I dont think either has state sanctioned segregation.

I do believe Dubai offers a nightmarish, quasi-fascist, racially segregated, vision of the future.

I am certainly not alone in saying this - plenty of commentators would agree with me.

What they fail to mention is the tacky, cheap footballers wives aspect of the place.

Just cos it's new, big and shiny means nothing.

Anonymous said...

Mention of Malaysia was in response to your request to make a list of any societies with sanctioned segretation, not to name one necessarily worse. ("I'd also be happy to read your list of other state-sanctioned segregated societies ..")

You're an incoherent, shrill twit and sound like a naive undergrad.

The footballers wives aspect? Gee we hadn't noticed that - thanks for pointing that out Sherlock.

Anonymous said...

If you want to live in Dubai without criticizing the place - plenty do, and worse, many seem to think that's what's expected of them - then you should also be prepared to deal with the consequences, which is that at some point someone's going to come along and point out what's obvious to the rest of the world: you're an ignorant, selfish twat. That's the trade off. That's the social contract.

Anonymous said...

Here's a piece from the Guardian website back in Jan this year http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/01/25/why_liverpool_fans_are_wrong_t.html

This piece is basically making every single point I'd previously made - is that writer mental, shrill and a naive undergrad?

Truth is that nobody has offered any decent response to the points I've raised except personal abuse or a complete denial of the realities you live in. If the fact that Malaysia has some level of segregation is the basis of your debate (and....?) then I rest my case.

The rest of the decent world is coming to realise that dubai is nothing more than a tinpot dictatorship.

As another poster just pointed out "someone's going to come along and point out what's obvious to the rest of the world: you're an ignorant, selfish twat. "

Anonymous said...

Ok, how's this for a reasoned response:

What you see as exploitation (foreign labour, low pay, tough jobs) is a reality of most modern societies.

Take the raw materials for a CD, for example. These are mined in difficult, dangerous conditions, for little pay, and then sold on the world market, for manufacture for sale, primarily, to developed economies.

The difference between the miner in Latin America and the labourer in Jebel Ali is geography. Working in Dubai, you see the exploitation every day; sitting in the UK, you're playing it on your stereo without thinking about it.

Dubai is a developing country, so it's where the rubber hits the road in terms of first world/developing world labour relations. It's not pretty, but there's a new dynamic unfolding here that will have implications for the wider world economy.

Putting people into crude boxes ("racist", "mentalist") doesn't get us very far, as this thread demonstrates. Nor does hiding behind the human interest, as The Nation seems to be suggesting.

Anonymous said...

Where the UAE has well-established laws and norms, which it then implements, foreign journalists working in the country need to tread carefully. I'm thinking of locals having their power bills paid; Emiratisation; the censoring of the internet; the law banning unmarried couples from living together etc. All of these are things that Westerners might not like, but it's not really our business.
But what about things which are law or government policy, but which are openly, and officially, ignored?
Prostitution is illegal in the UAE - yet important families made massive profits from the Cyclone Club; for years the UAE officially opposed the use of child jockeys in camel racing, yet anyone driving past Nad Al Sheba could see the truth; when the Salik toll was brought in, officially it was a huge success - until they had to repay all the fines because, in fact, the system was a farce; when that power cut happened in August two years ago, remember the official word was that things, for example, at Dubai airport were unaffected, yet 7 days had a picture on the cover showing that every flight had been cancelled?
Do we not have the right to be 'exasperated Westerners' at this official policy of lying?
If Newland and his defenders on here simply shrug such dishonesty off as a matter of 'cultural pace' then they really should ask themselves if it's worth even starting the new paper.
The last thing we need is more of the cowardice that turned 7 days and even the KT from what they were a couple of years ago to what they are now.

Anonymous said...

At last some posters with something interesting to say - Newland's comments have to be considered through the prism of Dubai's/UAE's political, economic and cultural conditions which include exploitation, human rights abuses, censorship, total lack of democracy and segregation.

The point about the process of exploitation being openly on view is interesting - I guess while the mines of the Congo, where important metals for mobile phones come from, are an aberration, the place isn't putting out glossy brochures and also isn't filled with 1000s of university educated westerners who claim to be journalists. The complete lack of analytical skills and courage on display on this thread is quite depressing. Newland's line is just pathetic.

The point I made earlier, about segregation, is also uncontested. Even within the parameters of Dubai's own twisted logic, segregation will lead to an inevitable cultural failure - people who contribute long term will have to be enfranchised on some level at some point. Dubai does have a functional form of state-sanctioned apartheid that is probably unparalleled in the world at this moment.

I also think, if a nation takes part in the international community, that outsiders are allowed to have an opinion about that nation's laws etc.

Take the death penalty in the USA or the Taliban's policy on women. Should we hold our tongues cos it's deemed 'their business?"

As for internet censorship in Dubai - even North Korea allow Skype. Laws around such things are used as forms of social control not because they are sensitive to cultural mores but because of expediency. "Follow the money" someone once said - most of the laws in Dubai are about a single thing - the greed of the people who run the place.

Now, I never suggested any journalist should go out and engage in openly flouting the laws of UAE - my suggestion was that considering such things as exploitation/democracy/segregation should inform your work and the decisions you make regarding that.

Be nuanced and subtle about that, box clever and maybe Dubai will have a media worth talking about.

At the moment, in an international context, Dubai's media is pretty much considered a joke. Sure, a joke that makes money, but still a vapid, empty, big bowl of wrong.

But it does seem, that most people who arrive in Dubai just fall into line - scared by the draconian laws and seduced by its tacky charms.

Anonymous said...

Skype isn't about censorship, it's about protecting Etisalat. That's the problem with people who are hypercritical of Dubai - it's all about subjugation and segregation and censorship. Half the time it's really just the normal exigencies of doing business.

And the point that what happens here, in terms of labour conditions, is common to most societies is well made. But you don't need to go to the Congo, you just need to look at recently developed countries like Singapore. They did exactly the same thing with regards construction workers from India and Pakistan, and maids get the same treatment and suffer the same issues. So we don't need to go to some lawless African Heart of Darkness scenario for our comparison to Dubai.

The poster who is railing against Dubai has been criticised for some pretty outrageous hyperbole and then backpedalled to claim they are being attacked, or their argument is not being responded to in any meaningful way. The only point really being made is that the view, or expression of that view is over the top, and one dimensional.

Anonymous said...

I can't really buy this "normal exigencies of doing business" argument.

Take Skype: a globally-available technology is banned (and providers prosecuted) to support a (practical) monopoly. The monopoly can make super-normal profits, and even when a (quasi-governmental) "competitor" is launched, it is forbidden to compete on price.

People who could benefit most from VOiP have least access to it. If you work in the Free Zones, a blind eye is turned.

In almost all sectors, there's government and quasi-government companies in a lead position (real estate, media, telecoms, etc). These operate in many ways as private sector entities, but can use state regulation to enforce their position as they need to. In addition, there's no real tracking of where the profits are invested or who they go to.

All these issues could really use some kind of investigative media to at least ask the questions. Unfortunately, as noted earlier, we've moved backwards since 2005 (which, interestingly, is when state-owned media began trying to push competitors out of the market).

Anonymous said...

I guess the level of my hyperbole is an attempt to directly correlate to the level of hyperbole generated by the collective Dubai pr/marketing machine.

I agree re: Singapore but this blog is Dubai Media Observer and not Singapore Media Observer. I've actually had stories published in the international media criticising their use of the death penalty.

I have also not backpedalled one iota - I quite rightly pointed out that calling me mental is not an argument - It's just an insult and is utterly meaningless.

As for the Congo - somebody else raised the issue of mines in different countries, not me, so.... I don't get your point.

Dubai is home to a lot of people who should know a lot, lot better.

Attempts to get yourselves off the hook have been pretty poor so far.

The list so far is - calling critics of the place insane; the weather is good; the money is ok; singapore is bad (?).

I also stated (if you actually read my postings you'd see that), as you did, that one needs to follow the money.

But just because someone is getting rich off all this exploitation, censorship, lack of democracy, doesn't mean it is ok.

I still fail to see why well-educated Western journalists based in Dubai won't inform their work with a belief in human rights, anti-exploitation, diversity, enfranchisement, democracy, freedom of expression etc etc.

That was my original point and is the crux of the thread.

What I've discovered instead from posters here is a complete and utter denial of the facts - According to this line of thinking Dubai has NO segregation, is a nice place to live and the exploitation that goes on is relative.

Dubai has official state-sanctioned segregation and consensual cultural segregation based on racial lines - this is a FACT.

Sure, if you're an ex-pat profiteering off the pool of cheap labour with a porsche in the drive and a steady supply of Russian brasses then Dubai might seem like fun. Why don't you go down to a building site and ask a labourer how much he's enjoying the sunshine?

Finally, ALL exploitation, like poverty, is relative. Doesn't make it ok though - personally I would want my journalistic output to be informed by a struggle against exploitation/segregation where ever I came across it.

I guess if you think those things are alright you should just come out and say so rather than making excuses. At least we'd all know where we stand. I am enough self-awareness to know what my views are.

An agenda of apologising for exploitation and segregation is a collusion with it.

That's what I've witnessed here but people have attempted to wriggle off the hook, much like Newlies, in pretty much the same way.

Shame on you.

As a final point, socially and culturally, the big hope for Dubai are the labourers. They are the only group engaging in active and open struggle against Dubai's set-up. Any and all societies have been formed through such struggles - those guys working their guts out in the hot sun are the heroes of Dubai - not some spiv in a suit who thinks he is charlie big potatoes cos he's got the kind of job he'd NEVER get back home.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 00.53 makes some excellent points, but I can't agree about 7days and KT showing "cowardice". 7days was faced with a very clear choice: mend your ways or go out of business. It's easy to talk tough on an anonymous blog, but when you've got 40 or 50 people with families to feed, the decision really makes itself. It's great to push the boundaries, but at the end of the day a newspaper is a commercial business. If you're closed down or run out of money because advertisers boycott you, the only thing you'll be pushing is your suitcase to the airport. And my understanding of KT, although perhaps someone can correct me here, was that the government effectively took it over?

Anonymous said...

If they threaten to shut down any paper that attempts the merest mention of open debate then the accusation of Dubai being oppressive clearly carries some serious weight..

You really can't have this argument both ways - Dubai is either oppressive or it ain't - nothing to do with business decisions.

Anonymous said...

yes, government took a 30% stake in Galadari Group which effectively muzzled the previous owner, Mr Dear Readers. Perhaps KT hacks could let us know to what extent that move has since affected day-to-day editorial decisions.

Anonymous said...

First of all let’s not pretend that the press is free anywhere in the world. The UK, which many people seem to hold up on this site as a shining beacon of liberalism, has some of the most draconian libel laws in the world. That’s not to say the press in the UAE is free – it’s not by any stretch of the imagination - but to pretend we’re the only ones who face censorship is wrong. To attempt to link it to a lack of culture or gaudy architecture is massively distorting the issue.

The mistake many expats make is to move here, decide everything’s shit and that they know best. Funnily enough, the arrogant approach doesn’t get you far. I’m assuming most of us on this site are from the UK, where immigration is a huge issue despite foreigners being a small percentage of the overall population. Imagine then that the majority of people in the UK were foreigners, who took to ridiculing our institutions and calling for change through their newspapers, which aren’t even published in our language. They may well have some good points to make – many of the criticisms we have of Dubai are certainly valid - but let’s not pretend that any of us would welcome them. We’d feel under attack, and rightly so.

Whether or not you like it, aggressively pushing press freedom in the UAE is not our job. Certainly we should try to gradually improve things, but try to impose it and it will inevitably blow up in your face, as it did at 7days and KT. It can only come if Emiratis want it, and things are changing in the Arabic press – look at Emarat al Youm, which can be quite critical at times. But if we, as foreigners who massively outnumber Emiratis, attempt to impose our views on this country it will be perceived as an attack and a threat to local culture, not matter how well meaning, and no matter how right we may be.

If you accept that then you can enjoy a very nice lifestyle. Despite rapid inflation, I have a maid, a gardener and someone who washes my car. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m probably not on the fast track to the Wall Street Journal, but I have other priorities. I can provide a good lifestyle for my wife and kids, way beyond anything I could realistically expect in the UK. Call Newland a copout, but what’s he got to prove? If it’s a Pulitzer you’re looking for, you’re probably in the wrong place.

Anonymous said...

Recently I met the head of a company and agreed to do some work for them. After the meeting he drove off in a car costing more than I earn in several years. He could have afforded to pay me ten times what we agreed without batting an eyelid. But we agreed on a price that we were both very happy with. Am I being exploited?
I could afford to pay my maid several times her salary without it impacting my finances seriously. I pay her a price we agreed on, and that we’re both happy with. Is she being exploited?
Of course there is exploitation here, and of course it is wrong. But to suggest that paying people a wage they’re happy with is somehow wrong is nonsense. How is my maid being exploited? She is well looked after, keeps her own passport, is saving up for her dream house back home. How’s she different to me? Because she’s got brown skin? Simply because it tends to be white people employing brown people, there are some who immediately assume it’s racism. The guy I mentioned at the start of my post was Asian. I’m white. I doubt very much anyone would suggest that’s in any way racist, but I can’t see any difference in the situations.

Anonymous said...

Trust me, trying to explain labour relations through the mechanism of your maid's pay grade is a losing tactic.

(I understand you also let her eat cake.)

If you only want to attack Dubai, then live in the UK and write the annual "Dubai is crap" article in the Guardian. It doesn't further the situation, but you get to feel righteous.

On the other hand, the idea that any critical article flies against the values of the nation is nonsense. There’s an obvious audience - across nationalities -for real news.

There’s also a relationship between English and Arabic media in terms of breaking barriers. Wire coverage of the labour riots provided the basis for UAE newspapers to cover the story, Asharq Al Awsat provided the most detailed coverage when Dubai Dry Docks burst, etc.

Both sides need the other to be doing their job to avoid being singled out and beaten down.

As the poster says up thread, the issue is whether you’re content to repeat propaganda, or whether you want to ask a few questions.

Interestingly, a lot of the English language journalists with a reputation for pushing hard are now at the Nation – how that’s going to work with the mission statement of not picking fights is anyone’s guess.

Anonymous said...

So anyone who attacks Dubai should be dismissed as 'righteous'?

Come on - you really have to do better than that....

Dubai seems like heaven cos you've been an abject failure everywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in the segregation issue - there was reference to Malaysia earlier in the thread - should take a look at this - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7289509.stm.

It seems that Malaysia is now abandoning segregation.

But, it should be pointed out, Malaysia does have fair and free elections something that Dubai residents can only dream of at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 18:47 is just wrong. When I advertise for positions, I get candidates from all over the world, in senior positions, in regional and national newspapers applying.

Many of us here have wire and newspaper backgrounds. I, for one, held relatively senior positions in the UK, and still decided Dubai was better for me.

Not everyone is the same, we all see places and things differently, and for you Dubai may be a backwater. However, I personally see it very differently. This is one of the few places in the world experiencing massive growth and its economic fundamentals have a global impact. It is a fascinating place to be - both as a human and a journalist.

You really need to stop transferring your own inadequacies onto everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree - this notion that everyone here is an abject failure is not uncommon but is nonsense. I've worked all over the world and I've met and dealt with plenty of smart, switched on people in Dubai and some who are struggling to keeep their heads above water but doing so nonetheless. Expat life isn't for everyone and if you hate it and suffer culture shock and homesickness one of the text book reactions to that is to blame the place and the environment and become hypercritical of the whole situation as a way of justifying the fact that it just isn't for you. No shame in that, but move on and find a situation that works for you.

Anonymous said...

For someone who claims not to have lived in Dubai, 18:47 seems to project wildly crass views. To claim ex-pats in Dubai are failures in their own country is an unsubstantiated statement. Post graduation, I was progressively and successfully working my way through my career in London, however I found the city did not suit my needs. Despite being on an average wage for my position (and on a good wage in comparison to the majority of my similarly aged friends), I was not content with my living standards. Call me sybaritic but in London, I lived in a box, could not afford my own car and only managed to scrape the money together to go on in holiday once a year. It wasn’t a bad life, I just craved a little more. Moving to Dubai was a joy for me – I’m not hounded by youths asking me to buy them cigarettes during my weekly shop, mugged at Kings Cross train station or threatened by a drunken man asking me for directions.

In Dubai, I’m on a similar salary as those in my position in the UK and have progressed in my career at a similar pace. So far, I have seen several benefits to being here. I work with people from different cultures and at all levels, whether Arab, European or Asian. I have also picked up many phrases in French, German, Arabic, Hindi and Urdu, something I would probably not have the chance to do on a daily basis in the UK (at least not that I experienced during my 5 years in London or previous 18 years on the South Coast). I no longer live in a box, I am now comfortable in my spacious flat in Dubai Marina. I can afford to go on holiday two or three times a year and I also have the time and money to go out to dinner to socialize with my friends which includes; Canadians, Indians, Brits, Arabs and Malaysians.

Segregation occurs all over the world, it’s just brushed under the carpet. If you think the UK is innocent, then you are seriously deluded. Walk into any West End hotel and you’ll probably find a number of illegal immigrants working for less than the minimum wage. Also, was there not an uproar in the UK regarding the Poles undertaking labour work for next to nothing, leaving British labourers with no jobs?

Yes, labourers' working and living conditions in the UAE are unacceptable but that’s not to say it’s down to colour or creed. There are a number of highly successful Indians and Asians in the UAE – I work and deal with them on a regular basis. In the UK, upon first glance you’ll see segregation. For example a large number of Asian-run corner shops to cater for their communities, most of which are located in rundown areas in London. It is only upon further inspection that you will find Asians and Arabs living in areas such as Kensington and Knightsbridge. However this is not racism, what this comes down to is social status.

Elitism and poverty are both rife across the globe. I am sure if a British ex-pat in Dubai offered to do a labourers job whilst undercutting the current wage of an Asian, they’d be hired! So again your accusations of Dubai being apartheid are, currently, unjustified. As a half cast, I find it more comfortable and socially acceptable to live in Dubai rather than in London. So far, I find you inept of making any warranted statements. To me, you sound like the right-winged, racist and narrow minded dunce that most people in the UAE are trying to escape from. Dubai, the UAE and the Gulf in general have many imperfections but they’re growing rapidly. It took the UK and US hundreds of years to get where they are today and the Middle East is doing it in a few decades. As for your comment regarding no history, I’m shocked at your ignorance! Dubai is older than the Trade Centre, you know! It’s been a hub for trading between east and west for thousands of years. Their have been ancient mangroves uncovered in Dubai and Al Ain dating back 7000 years. What about the history of the Bani Yas family? How the monarchy here came about… On your “many visits” to this wretched place, have you ever visited the majlis in Bastakiya where a group of locals socialize? Go there and ask them about their non-existent history!

Dubai is not paradise but for the huge number of people I know living here, it’s sure as hell a damn site better than most. I’ll tell you why some people agree with you on your views of Dubai, it’s because it’s in the Middle East. People in the West live in fear that Arabs actually have more brainpower than them and can not bear the thought that the Middle East is a thriving place for the Arabs, let alone Westerners! Stop spouting such drivel and come up with a decent and valid argument!

Oh and another thing - despite your snub of the comment regarding weather, to some it’s an important factor. Some half a million people in the UK alone claim to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is apparently due to a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus (a gland that controls fatigue, hunger, thirst and body temperature). Dubai is the perfect place to avoid this, increasing productivity and thus providing more to the economy. Everyone’s a winner!

Anonymous said...

Re: the last comment - was it penned by Dubai blog bot?

It seems to have been written in a weird, almost robotic style.

Anyway whatever kind of droid you are you made my point for me - you couldn't make it in the UK so went to Dubai and profited off the back of exploited labour instead. The ONLY reason you can have the kind of life you do in Dubai is because some poor Indian geezer is dying on a building site.

As for London being messy - it is a democracy there - people have freedoms - such a set-up is messy. Not the quasi-fascist neat lawns and police state of Dubai.

And why does every Dubai apologist always assume that anyone who is anti is some ex-employee???

I have never had any need to work in Dubai and never will have.

As for the SAD argument - ha hahaha - my god, that was the whiniest excuse I've ever heard.

There are lots of other far nicer sunny warm places to live than Dubai - the only problem is that the ones I can think of are democracies, with far more open markets and without the same racially segregated labour force.

This means whiny ex-pat White boys like you have to compete.

Which, unfortunately for you, means you're back in your box.

Anonymous said...

14:14 is quite clearly an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Back to the insults again.

Well, I guess that's all you've got....

Anonymous said...

Tut tut, twisting my words… I wasn’t unsuccessful in my career in London, I was doing as well as I am in Dubai. In fact, I’d say my job in London was far more exciting than my job now. What I DID say in my last post was that London didn’t provide me with what I wanted and that’s why I moved. It wasn’t a career move, it was an adventure move - something that’s quite obviously beyond your comprehension. I think you should look back and find out who built your idealistic town or city, if he was a white man I bet he was earning a pittance working 12+ hours a day.

London a democracy? Hahaha!!! You so much as say your Muslim over there and you’ll be interrogated. Celebrate Christmas and you’re reprimanded for preaching. A democracy where rapists and murderers walk free? Give over! Your comments are absolutely laughable! I feel 1000 times safer here than I do in the UK (except on the roads). You certainly need to gain a little perspective on the world. My top boss is an Arab, I’m working for him for not much money in my eyes and I work long hours. Do I moan about it? Of course. Do I feel exploited? No. Why? Because I know I’m on a good deal here.

As I said, the labour conditions are terrible and something needs to be done about it but what are YOU proposing people do? Instead of constantly criticising, how about you offer a solution. Are we meant to sleep in tents on the beach? Or are we not allowed to buy a tent because some poor girl in China was exploited for pennies a day to sew it together? Are you telling me you’ve never bought an item that used cheap labour to produce it? Ha! Get a grip! I’m not saying slave labour is acceptable but it’s too hard to avoid.

And for your information, I am not a writer or journalist and I am not a man, so please don’t “assume” because I have posted on this blog that I am either.

Anonymous said...

Actually I don't live in London nor the UK.

I think you need to go back and read the thread - my only suggestion was that if you believe in democracy, freedom of speech, enfranchisement and don't like segregation or exploitation you should let that inform your journalistic output.

The big difference which you fail to point out is that in Dubai if you even make mild criticisms you can go to jail or have your paper shut down - in the UK this doesn't happen.

Also, if you're resident in the UK you can vote at least at a local level. The point being that if you're contributing you should have that right.

The UK also has a minimum wage and entrenched civil rights.

Dubai doesn't.

Employing people based on race is illegal in the UK - in Dubai it's encouraged.

I would never suggest that the UK (or anywhere else) is utopia. But plenty of journalist have dug up all kinds of stuff in the UK that has put ex Tory ministers in prison, stopped exploitation and brought business to account.

That simply cannot happen in the UAE.

It seems you enjoy the quasi-fascism of Dubai. I think it's probably best you stay there.

Anonymous said...

"...whiny ex-pat White boys like you..." That would be an insult, yes? And why would "White" be capitalised? Your earlier references to other skin colours weren't capitalised. That's apartheid by punctuation you scurvy dog!

This righteous idiot has been spouting on about human rights and apartheid and other populist claptrap for days now and seems to claim a right to insult anyone and everyone but at the same time constantly take exception to anyone else's so called insults.

What's "written in a robotic style" even supposed to mean? Read just fine to me. Bit long for a blog but whatever.

Go save the world with your narrow view of how it all works. Exploitation of foreign labour is all OK in the context of a democracy but deplorable in any other society. You're just annnoying.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha - attempts at dismissing this are getting more pathetic by the day.

Every time someone like you opens their mouth you just make yourself look really dumb.

Human rights is populist claptrap??

How can punctuating a word be equivalent to a government policy of racial segregation.

And as for calling me a 'scurvy dog' - what are you? A fucking pirate?

Or should that be parrot?

Anonymous said...

Or just prat?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that’s why the UK media is filled with conspiracy theories such as the royal family bumping off Princess Diana and 9/11 being a governmental plot. Freedom of speech in journalism may occur when it comes to nominal topics such as milk tokens and MP bugging but talk about the real dirt and it’s covered up in the West! Check out bilderber.org/nuj there are just some examples of people losing there jobs who have been critical of the police! I don’t believe journalists have freedom of speech anywhere in the world. What about Scotland Yard slamming the BBC for their report that an officer thwarted the hunt for Stephen Lawerence’s murderer?

I don’t think racial employment is encouraged in Dubai, if it does then it’s rare. What may constitute as a factor is language. Should you need someone fluent in Hindi, then you’re most likely to employ an Indian. Same with Arabic, English, Malayam and so on. The problem in the UK, despite its ethinic diversity, is that all business is expected to be conducted in English.

On the whole, I think you're confusing lingual skills for race. Sure, there may still be racism on some levels but again, the same happens everywhere in the world. My mother is of an ethnic minority in the UK and she has been turned down for jobs because of her race. Nothing the judicial system can do, the potential employers say she's "over qualified".

Anonymous said...

So many people with so much time on their hands. I love Dubai!!!

Anonymous said...

Employers discriminating against people based on race is illegal in Dubai. You can argue about how well the law is actually enforced, but that’s a different argument altogether. You would expect our know-it-all friend to be aware of the facts, since he appears to believe he knows everything, although perhaps he’s too busy single-handedly saving the world from the evils of Dubai. I really think he needs a girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

More half-assed insults.

"Get a girlfriend" shows the range of your wit.

I am not out saving the world from Dubai - I just like pointing out to you bunch of losers that you live in a nasty little fascist police state.

Anonymous said...

Human rights are not populist claptrap but your expression of them is. The most amusing part of this thread is your insistence that you are somehow winning any arguments. You seem to have a view of Dubai formed after reading an article somewhere or listening to some disgruntled expat venting on the place. The reality is thankfully more complex and more interesting. I think most of the people on this thread writing from a position of actual experience get it. Love it or hate it, and most people swing between the two, it certainly isn't the dystopian nightmare you seem to believe it is.

Anonymous said...

He's getting very boring. Let's move on.

Anonymous said...

He's kinda funny though. I'd totally invite him to a dinner party.

Anonymous said...

Sure it's complex - the world is a complicated place - I've never said thats not the case.

But, it you scroll up, my original point was that if you believe in human rights blah blah blah that should inform your journalistic output.

I also pointed out that Dubai is exploitative and promotes segregation.

Which is does.

For saying this i have been abused, called mental and even - in one highly amusing moment - 'a scurvy dog'.

But it doesn't really change much.

You live in Dubai - a place condemned by pretty much every single human rights group, democracy movement and labour organisation in the world.

You have to reconcile yourself with that - not me.

And, despite some of the tedious, smug I-have-a-maid type crap I've read on here, I am certainly not alone in my analysis.

There are plenty of the kind of 'articles' that you so readily dismiss, written by academics and journalists certainly far smarter than you or i.

I'm sure you'll have some way to ignore or abuse all them as well.

But that's just an excuse.

You live in a shithole - I've been and seen it; people I know live and work there and agree with every word.

Dubai is a chimera; a myth; a hole in the desert filled with snide spivs and closet fascists.

Anonymous said...

All defense of Dubai on here comes across as over-privileged Westerners trying to get themselves off the hook.

Same as Newland.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you were called a scurvy dog! after being accused of "apartheid by punctuation" - I assumed that post was just poking fun at the whole discussion. You sure are sensitive for someone with such damning opinions and who rants about spivs and Westerners and White expats while claiming to be above the racism you condemn.

Dubai hasn't been "condemned" by pretty much every human rights group in the world. It's been judged and found wanting in some areas, is a fairer statement. You're prone to these sweeping statements about the world and the planet and that's the problem with your arguments - they just come across as shrieking generalisations borne of hatred and resentment (bit like racism).

The ILO certainly doesn't consider Dubai in such harsh terms although it does always note that the tripartite principle (govt, labour, management) is not workable due to the restriction on organised labour - but hardly a unique position. Generally though there are numerous treaties which are rattified between the ILO and Dubai. Not perfect but not a condemnation by any stretch.

A look at the Amnesty International report (2007) pages on Dubai don't exactly provide a damning indictment either:

"In November the Prime Minister announced measures to regulate the labour market and improve conditions for foreign migrant workers, including a health insurance scheme, fixed working hours for domestic workers and the establishment of a special court to resolve labour disputes."

But what would these two notoriously fascist loving organisations know about the real Dubai?

Your original point was that Dubai is the most segregated society on the planet or that it practises apartheid or something equally ludicrous, not that human rights should inform journalistic output.

Mr Sh1t said...

Let's face it, all these idiots are just shitting themselves - Dubai is the best place in the world, and leaves everywhere else in the shit.

So what if some shitting shit coloured people are exploited - I bet they smell like shit, so that's fine. And as for the shit other people give, if you can't take the shit, get off the toilet.

And being somewhere with the smell of open drains drifting through suits me completely.

So, frankly, shit you, you shitting bunch of shitters.

I love the smell of shit in the morning. Smells like... victory.

Anonymous said...

Ok - Let me throw a few quotes into the mix.

Most will now be dismissed as shrill with other posters suggesting that they be taken down or the blog might get shut. Ahh, the joys of freedom of expression, huh?



"To base wages and conditions on the relative weakness of a migrant worker's native land, rather than the strength of the economy in which they work, is blatant exploitation. The oft-heard argument that these workers chose to take the jobs and the bleats of 'they're better off than they would be at home you know' show an ignorance of the true nature of exploitation; choice and exploitation, far from being mutually exclusive, are more often than not bedfellows. This is the exploitation of entire societies - to cite individual choice as a justification for the appalling treatment of migrant labours is as callous as it is facile."

and

"The UAE has acceeded to, but not ratified, conventions on Discrimination against Women, Racial Discrimination (racial discrimination is ingrained into the very fabric of the nation)and Rights of the Child (until last year, pre-pubescent Pakistani children were effectively kidnapped and forced to work as camel-jockeys). Strikes and trade unions are illegal and unlike most the countries above they have not ratified ILO conventions on freedom of assocation and collective bargaining. (India has not ratified the conventions either, but trade unions exist and prosper in India. Nepal has not ratifed convention 87 on freedom of association.)"

www.mafiwasta.com

Then there is this from the news.bbc.co.uk

" One aspect that hasn't changed in all these years is Dubai's fixation on 'quality expatriates' - a euphemism for White Europeans, or the rich and famous, or, in particular, the rich and famous White Europeans.

I used to work for a newspaper here that paid different salaries to employees of similar qualifications and work experience, based on their ethnic origin.

Whites topped the list, followed by Arabs, Indians and Pakistanis, the Filipinos, the Bangladeshis...

This bias seems to be more institutionalised now.

Visa restrictions continue to be relaxed for westerners and keep getting tougher for the nationals of the Third World.

'Apartheid'

All the new urban developments are aimed at White executives (there's hardly any other kind of Whites here) and moneyed Arabs.

The Asians, who make up the entire labour force that builds these fancy structures, are still the worst-paid workers, forced to live in out-of-town labour camps, away from their loved ones for years at a stretch because they cannot afford to travel back home or bring their families to live in Dubai."

Here is the Human Rights Watch 2008 report on UAE.


"While the economy of the UAE continues its impressive growth, civil society continues to stagnate and human rights progress has been slow. Authorities have exerted censorial pressure on a wide range of activists, impeding the kind of vigorous monitoring and reporting that can draw attention to and help curb human rights abuses.

The UAE is a federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, `Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Sharjah, Dubai, Ra’s al-Khaymah, and Umm al-Qaywayn. The rulers of each emirate, sitting as the Federal Supreme Council, elect the president and vice president from among their number. In December 2006, the UAE held its first-ever elections for 20 seats in the 40-member Federal National Council (FNC), an advisory body to the president. Only members of the electoral colleges, a group of 6,595 UAE citizens chosen by the rulers of the emirates, were allowed to cast ballots and to stand as candidates. One woman was elected to the FNC, and the rulers of the emirates appointed seven other women as council members.

Freedom of Association and Expression
The government approved the formation of the first human rights organization in the country, the Emirates Human Rights Association, in February 2006, but the organization has remained largely inactive.

The government has actively discouraged the creation of other human rights organizations. In July 2004 a group led by Muhammad al-Roken, a former president of the independent Jurists Association, applied to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare for permission to establish the Emirates Human Rights Society. In April 2005 another group of 30 activists headed by Khalifa Bakhit al-Falasi applied to the ministry to set up another human rights association. As of November 2007, the ministry had not responded to either application.

The UAE has barred prominent UAE commentators and academics from disseminating their views and harassed and prosecuted human rights activists. The government has imprisoned and punished journalists for expressing views critical of the government.

In August, a court sentenced Mohammad Rashed al-Shehhi, the owner of a popular website Majan.net, to one year in prison for defamation of a public official, ordered him to pay $19,000 in damages, and closed down the website. In September, the court sentenced Khaled al-Asli to five months in prison for writing the website article in question. The court released Asli on bail pending his appeal. In September, a court sentenced two journalists working for the English-language daily Khaleej Times to two months in prison for libel, but released them on bail pending their appeal.

In September, UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad issued instructions “not to imprison journalists for reasons related to their work,” but indicated that other measures should be taken to penalize journalists for “violations.” On September 30, the prime minister ordered Shehhi’s release on bail. It’s unclear whether or not the charges will be dropped.

In June 2006, a Federal Supreme Court judge issued an arrest warrant for Muhammad al-Mansoori, president of the Jurists Association, for allegedly “insulting the public prosecutor.” After spending most of 2007 outside of the country, Mansoori returned to the UAE in early September. The UAE government has reportedly warned him to cease his human rights advocacy.

Security agents detained Muhammad al-Roken twice in the summer of 2006, questioning him about his human rights activities. They also confiscated his passport and barred him from leaving the country. In January 2007, in what appears to be a politically-motivated case, a lower court sentenced Roken to three months in prison for sex out of wedlock. The sentence has been stayed and is currently on appeal. In May 2007, the government returned Roken’s passport.

While it closed City of Hope, the country’s only shelter for abused women, children, and domestic workers, the government has created a new quasi-governmental body called the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, which will manage a facility providing the same services with capacity to house 260 people, a significant increase. City of Hope’s former director Sharla Musabih is on the board of directors of the new organization, and the government has dropped what appears to have been a politically motivated criminal prosecution of her.

Migrant Labor
Roughly 85 percent of the UAE’s population are foreigners, and foreigners account for nearly 99 percent of the workforce in the private sector, including domestic workers. As of August 2007, according to the Ministry of Labor, there were 4.5 million foreigners in the country, compared to 800,000 Emirati citizens. The UAE’s economic growth has attracted large domestic and foreign investments and the current construction boom is one of the largest in the world. Exploitation of migrant construction workers by employers is particularly severe. Immigration sponsorship laws that grant employers extraordinary power over the lives of migrant workers exacerbate the problem.

Abuses against migrant workers include nonpayment of wages, extended working hours without overtime compensation, unsafe working environments, squalid living conditions in labor camps, and withholding of passports and travel documents.

Over the course of 2007, the UAE has made incremental progress toward improving the conditions of migrant workers. Most significantly, a substantial number of employers have made improvements to workers’ living quarters, including improving sanitary conditions and easing overcrowding. The ministry of labor also claims to have shut down over one-hundred companies that have violated labor laws, but has not divulged the names.

On February 5, in a step toward greater transparency, the ministry of labor published a draft of a revised labor law on the internet and invited public comment. The draft law falls far short of international standards in several critical areas. It contains no provisions on workers’ rights to organize and to bargain collectively, it explicitly allows authorities to punish striking workers, and it arbitrarily excludes from its purview all domestic workers employed in private households. The ministry had not indicated at this writing when the revised labor law would be enacted.

Women domestic workers are at particular risk of abuse, including food deprivation, forced confinement, and physical or sexual abuse. In April, the UAE introduced a standard contract for domestic workers which provides some protections, but contains no limit on working hours, no provisions for a rest day or overtime pay, no workers’ compensation, and only provides for unspecified “adequate breaks” and one month of paid vacation every two years. The standard contract does not serve as an adequate substitute for extending equal protection to domestic workers under the labor law.

The government failed in 2007 to put in place a minimum wage as required by the UAE Labor Law of 1980.

In 2007, migrant workers continued to engage in public demonstrations to protest their treatment. In February 2007, 3000 construction workers went on strike for five days in Abu Dhabi. The strike ended when management agreed to raise daily wages, include pay for Fridays, and provide basic health insurance to workers. Following the strike, the ministry of labor ordered the expulsion from the country of 14 of the protest “instigators.” Also, in February 2007, 300 to 400 construction workers blocked a busy highway in Dubai, protesting low wages, non-payment of wages, and substandard living conditions. The police ended the protest and escorted the workers back to their labor camps. In July 2007, the government sent in the armed forces to put an end to a four-day strike at a gas processing plant.

Following a surge in heat-related illnesses and injuries at construction sites in July 2005, the Labor Ministry directed construction companies to give their workers a break from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. during July and August. In the summer months, temperatures often reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit. However, in July 2006, after intense lobbying by construction companies, the government reduced the afternoon break to the hours of 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., which remains in force.

Trafficking
According to the US State Department, human trafficking to the UAE for commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude continues to be a serious problem. In its 2007 annual report on human trafficking, the US State Department placed the UAE on its Tier 2 Watch List for “failing to take meaningful steps to address the problem of foreign women trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and of foreign male and female workers subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude.”

Until recently, the trafficking of young boys to the UAE to be trained as camel jockeys was a widespread problem. Responding to international criticism, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan decreed in July 2005 that all camel jockeys must be age 18 or older. In 2006 the government cooperated with UNICEF to identify and return 1,071 children to their home countries. In 2007, the UAE government continued to work with UNICEF to exclude all underage children in camel racing and to repatriate former underage camel jockeys.

Key International Actors
The UAE has emerged as a major business and trading hub in the Middle East, attracting substantial foreign investments. In April 2004 the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the US. The UAE is currently negotiating free trade agreements with the US, the European Union, and Australia.

In October 2004 the UAE acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. However, it is not a signatory to other major international human rights instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the Convention against Torture."

Another on camel jockeys (didn't this only stop after it became clear that the tourists might stop coming? I guess most of you lot were too busy dozing in the sun to care) - www.uaeprison.com

" The HBO'S REAL SPORTS show in October 2004 was a three month undercover investigation of Child Camel Jockeys in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 'Real Sports' travels to the U.A.E., for a special expanded report called 'Desert Racers' on the perilous lives of camel jockeys where many of the atrocities were documented on hidden camera.

( Bryant Gumbel, one of America's most recognized broadcasters, serves as the anchor for the program which bears his name, 'Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel'.)

The report alleged that the tiny jockeys who compete in these races are victims of a horrible slave trade. They are beaten, mistreated and, in some cases, sexually abused. They have been kidnapped or sold into slavery as mere infants.

In addition to enduring inhumane living conditions and beatings, the boys are intentionally starved to keep their weight down. Weak from undernourishment, some are maimed or killed while trying to pilot the 1500-pound camels.

Higgs, the independent British photojournalist, captured some of the boys on video for HBO's Real Sports despite a ban on photography at the track.

Higgs visited the UAE this year between May and August. The main camel racing season had ended, but there were still "loads and loads of very young boys at Nad Al Sheba," the Dubai camel track, Higgs said.

He said in an interview that because of the inherent dangers he was able to see inside only one camel camp near Nad Al Sheba -- a camp surrounded by barbed wire and that looked more like a prison camp than a training center, he said.

Some of the most appalling scenes -- children showing off bruises, the chains where the boys are punished, allegations of rape -- were filmed elsewhere in the emirates.

But Higgs said he believes abuses also happen in Dubai, which human rights activists say is the center of the child slave trade.

"It's pretty much countrywide," Higgs said.

And there is no way, he said, that the sheiks who rule the emirates aren't aware of the practice -- or that it is happening without their tacit approval.

"These sheiks have a vise-like grip on power within the emirates," Higgs said. "They know exactly what's going on, and they are involved in anything involved with status. ... And camel racing is an enormous status symbol."

Catherine Turner, a child labor officer for the humanitarian organization Anti-Slavery International, said in an interview that when her group sent a photographer to Dubai in January, underage camel jockeys were "really everywhere to see if you looked in the right places." (See pictures taken by ASI photographer in Dubai, Click Here.)

Turner said she knows of no links to specific sheiks, but the fact that the child slavery still exists indicates the UAE is not serious about combating the problem.

"The sheiks do enjoy the camel racing; they are linked very closely to it. ... If they chose to put their weight behind it (ending child slavery) that would be very welcome," Turner said.

Anti-Slavery International, in June 2004 released photos that they said were taken in Dubai showing child jockeys; they accused the UAE of keeping the boys in brutal conditions.

Ansar Burney, a Pakistani activist who has campaigned against the practice, said that Abu Dhabi's crown prince contacted him last month after seeing him in a documentary aired on HBO detailing the plight of the young jockeys.

Burney said there are about 5,000 child jockeys in the Emirates and some 40,000 in the region. Children from poor countries are either bought from their parents or kidnapped and brought to the Emirates with fake passports where they are incarcerated in camps.

"These children wake up quite early and work up to 17 hours everyday, they live in private jails and are subjected to slave labor," Burney said.

Many from USA disturbed by the HBO report. I have never seen anything as disturbing as this documentary. Human rights abuse doesn't even come close to describing the acts perpetrated against these children. One comments.

And in retrospect by what some of them saw in UAE, remembers child camel jockeys. Based on the way they saw Arabs treat adult workers from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, they aren't surprised by the allegations of child abuse.

You should have seen the faces of those young Arab boys. I've seen that look many times when I was walk in' the streets. Silent suffering. You don't forget that look easily.

Those rich bastards sitting there cheering it on and hoarding their human slaves. Made me want to grab my Mossberg and smoke all those evils 'muthafuckas' at point blank range. And to make it worse, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) is an United States ally since it has large oil reserves and a key staging ground for American Forces in the Persian Gulf. Another reacted."

Now from Amnesty

"In December, nearly 6,600 UAE nationals selected by the rulers of the seven Emirates that make up the UAE voted in the first elections to be held since the country became independent in 1971. They elected 20 members to the 40-member Federal National Council (FNC), an advisory body with no legislative powers and whose other members are directly appointed by the rulers of the seven Emirates. Sixty-three women candidates stood for election but only one was voted onto the FNC. "

And this from mafiwasta.com

"Exploitation of these workers, ranging from non-payment of wages to physical abuse, is not simply commonplace or widespread; as this document will show, it is systematic. The UAE’s labour laws are wholly biased in employers’ favour, and the mechanisms used to enforce the laws are completely ineffective. The government agency in charge, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, has neither the ability nor the willingness to execute its brief. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that the government as a whole, far from acting to protect workers, is an active participant in the abuse, profiting directly from a system which keeps a large migrant workforce in conditions of bondage.

This system of exploitation is underpinned by the denial of the most basic of human rights - the right to freely associate and to bargain collectively. Described as being “among the founding principles of the ILO”, the UAE has not signed core ILO Conventions No. 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association. According to the ILO, Conventions No. 87 and 98 form part of the most fundamental international labour law requirements.

Considering that the UAE had an OPEC quota of 2.51 million barrels per day in January 2006, it is difficult to envision any economic justification for the denial of these rights. Given the high mortality and suicide rates of the migrant workforce, the appalling living conditions, and the absence of individual or collective rights, Mafiwasta and Human Rights for Change hold that there is an urgent need for pressure to be applied to the government of the UAE. Mafiwasta and Human Rights for Change do not believe that reform of the system can be achieved through existing domestic pressures. "

Most of the journalists in Dubai are just doing extended PR work. For Dubai as a destination, a place to invest. You swan around eating and attending events but have absolutely no idea whatsoever what having values actually means.

Thats why you can come on here and defend Dubai in the way you do.

In essence, you have NO choice. You could be deported for one.

I'm sure there are some good journos in Dubai but, let's face it, most of you get stymied and shut down if you really do your job.

But then, for most of you, your job is producing fluffy (mostly badly written) pieces on restaurants, spas, severely edited films and hotels.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God! You really are something. We're all completely aware of all of this material and hardly need you to cut and paste entire websites onto the blog to inform us as we lie around in the sun, go to our fancy events and wrire PR. Strangely enough, from your perspective at least, these websites are all readily accessible here.

The camel jockey stuff all seems a bit redundant, but anyway I don't want to set you off again - we'll run out of server space.

Bottom line is Dubai is nothing like you asume it to be, which is not to say it's a paragon of harmony and hope but you have no right to accuse people of not understanding what having values means. Perhaps the people who are here will influence its future direction - directly or indirectly, by the irresistable force of social hegemony, by bringing their values here. This idea that only greedy, racist, white, rich, people come here and prosper is way off base. Like most people I know and work with and see socially, from all nationalities, I'm just working for a living, paying my rent and living my life. It simply isn't what you think it is. But we've all heard your viewpoint and that's fine. Try keeping it short in future, those long, tedious cut and paste postings are not really what blogs are about.

Anonymous said...

here's more from workersliberty.org

These poor, uneducated labourers and workers are pretty much heroes.

They are the ones struggling for an improvement in labour laws that you bunch of sycophants then enjoy.

The truth is that none of you would be there if it wasn't for those 10s of 1000s working for 500AED a month. There'd be no roads, no buildings, no supermarkets, no bars, nothing. Dubai is built on bones and exploitation. Sure, it's happened before in other countries but doesn't make it right now. We're supposed to know better - yet, while you get fat and tanned and your maid is cleaning up your filth, you then have the gall to deny such exploitation even goes on. You try to explain it away, make excuses - it really is disgusting.

"34,000 blue-collar construction workers employed by “Arabtec” in the “United Arab Emirates” are said to have returned to work after a three-week strike (14 November). However, the only sources for this are the company they work for and the UAE regime’s official press agency… Either way this was an extremely important strike by a group of low-paid migrant workers.

The workers are working on a variety of construction projects including “Burj Dubai”, the tallest building in the world, being built by a consortium of the Dubai-based “Arabtec” and Belgian and South Korean companies. The low-paid workers had been demanding a pay rise variously reported as 28% and 70%; the employers said they were offering 14%. All sources of information in the UAE are subject to stringent censorship.

The “United Arab Emirates” is an historical anomaly: a collection of feudal statelets preserved in aspic by British “protection” lasting from the mid-nineteenth century until 1971. Gaining control of their own economy after the departure of the British Army, the emirs became rich on oil royalties and diversified into tourism and banking. Now the UAE, still under absolute dictatorship, is engaged in the largest construction project in the world, a series of artificial islands in novelty shapes to provide holiday homes for foreign capitalists.

To extract oil, build luxury hotels and villas, and service the super-rich, the UAE, a small and sparsely-populated country, requires cheap migrant labour. Migrant workers, mainly from the Indian subcontinent but also including significant number from Iran, the Philippines, sub-Saharan Africa and from other Arab countries, now constitute between 75 and 80 percent of the population, the highest figure in the world by far (no-one really knows the exact figure because many workers are working “illegally”). 5% of the entire population are domestic servants, many others clean the banks and hotels, and huge numbers work in construction, hired and fired whenever their employers like.

“Illegal” workers, many of them domestic servants, are paid even less than “legal” workers and have no security at all. This is found convenient by employers wanting to save money. A new police crackdown has just been announced to arrest domestic workers. If they are caught these workers face fines and “administration fees” amounting to between three and fifteen months pay even for a relatively well-paid migrant worker — so detemined is the UAE state to squeeze the last drop out of them.

The reaction of the middle class to this beggars belief. “Residents, especially those families whose spouses are both employed, said that they are finding it extremely difficult to adjust with the sudden decision on the part of the domestic helpers [i.e.to work at night to avoid being arrested]”. “The domestic help who comes to work for us twice a week is a Sri Lankan. We pay him 200 dirhams a month which is far cheaper than sponsoring a proper maid. It works for us and him as well,” was the comment of one callous rich housewife.

These workers are not entitled to become citizens or to many civil rights. They are paid a fraction of what the fifth of the population who are counted as “Emirians” earn. They live in special quarters of grossly overcrowded and substandard housing (many in barracks) positioned miles from the districts inhabited by the “Emirians”, European and American professionals, tourists and wealthy foreigners. The striking workers are housed in 36 company-run “labour camps” (sic — that really is what they are called) across the UAE.

Human Rights Watch has recently condemned “abusive labour practices” in the UAE and describes the working conditoons of migrants as “less than human”. Health and safety precautions are non-existent, especially in the construction industry: last Thursday at least seven migrant workers were killed and at least thirty-six injured when a bridge they were working on collapsed. The country is so dependent on migrant labour and the living standards of the “Emirians” and wealthy foreign residents so dependent on the virtual slave-labour conditions of four-fifths of the population that the situation in the UAE today is directly comparable to apartheid South Africa.

Of course there are no “race laws” in the UAE, but the regime makes sure migrant workers, however long they have lived there, have no chance of becoming citizens with full civil rights.

Really the “United Arab Emirates” is not a “country” at all and certainly not “Arab” (probably more than half the total population is Indian) but a cartel for importing migrant labour, with the powers of a state to set their terms and conditions of work, repress resistance, and ensure their labour remains dirt cheap. However, migrant workers in the UAE are fighting for their rights in every way possible.

Strikes and unions are illegal, but this huge strike is the culmination of a number of self-organised migrant workers’ actions including riots of over 2,500 workers in March last year and a series of construction strikes last month involving thousands of workers. In response to both these waves of action, the regime has “urged” construction companies to “review” their rates of pay (!) and enacted improvements in working conditions which have not, however, been enforced.

The workers fighting for their most basic rights against this monstrous and outmoded feudal dictatorship and its many capitalist partners in crime need our support!"

Anonymous said...

I know some cool people who live and work in Dubai.

They all hate it there!!

My target are those who seek to defend it.

Which, you can't.

Anonymous said...

Well, no one can defend anything against rabid anti-intellectual repetitive cut and paste crap like this. There's no point trying. You simply don't know what you're talking about.

Go away now, you're boring and ignorant.

Anonymous said...

I hope I never meet anyone living here you think is cool. That would be like a trip back to high school.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha - this is getting better and better.

I might be 'boring' 'ignorant' 'anti-intellectual' and my friends might all be from 'high school'.

BUT - the charges, as laid out, still stand.

Dubai practices segregation.

Dubai is home to some terrible exploitation.

If you live there you will be benefiting from that on some level.

The argument that everyone living in the developed world benefits from exploitation to some degree holds some water - yet, it doesn't excuse it and doesn't mean it shouldn't be challenged.

What I've read on here are not solutions to Dubai's segregation or exploitation but EXCUSES about why posters don't see fit to do one single thing to change it.

Such posters wouldn't want to change because, with their maids and lifestyles in the sun, they'd have the most to lose.

Imagine if the labourers wages were doubled to 1000AED? It's still nothing but it would mean that your lifestyles would diminish - it would be a tiny step towards equality but one that most of you on here would seemingly be aghast at.

Why not argue for a minimum wage for labourers?

Why not argue that labour should be able to organise itself?

That's how exploitation ends - concrete steps that come about through international and local pressure.

But you're not allowed to even ask for those small steps in Dubai or you will be shutdown and deported.

Now, you can dress that up anyway you want, but that is called state oppression.

Anonymous said...

You're on a Dubai blog now you drip. Those issues are discussed openly here and all over Dubai every day. That's the point you won't get. It's not the draconian, dictatorial, subjugative, censored, society you wish it was. Your call for a revolution is appealling in a retro kind of way but you don't seem to have a good sense of modern gepolitical reality. You're now trying to reinvent yourself as some reasoned champion of human rights but you've been claiming all kinds of world's worst titles for Dubai since this started. And the argument against you is not that Dubai is completely wonderful, it's that it isn't in any way the place you claim it is. And your obsession with us all having maids and fancy cars is laughable.

Anonymous said...

Although Emiratis are outnumbered, it is their country and generally they accept the status quo knowing there is very little else they can do about it.

Expatriates, as stated by the last Minister of Labour, are considered a temporary work force, as explained to the ILO, which is why they will never get Emirati citizenship.

Expatriates either accept that and stay, or don't - and get out.

By the by: BBC Have Your Say web site has a word length imposition. Any thought of DMO doing the same?

Anonymous said...

If Dubai wasn't the economic success it is (for now - all bubble economies burst at some point) it would be outrightly dismissed as a medieval tinpot dictatorship.

For some reason, mainly because it's the only place a lot of you can get a decent job, this means you are putting up with stuff you'd never, ever consider back home.

Calling me a drip doesn't change that.

Plus, I've made no call for revolution at all.

Just argued the case thats journalists in Dubai should inform their work with democratic values.

Which has been roundly shouted down.

Mainly because I refused to back down on issues such as exploitation, segregation and human rights.

Here's what another poster added further up the thread (seeing as most of you don't seem to have read everything)and it sums the whole thing up nicely -

"If you want to live in Dubai without criticizing the place - plenty do, and worse, many seem to think that's what's expected of them - then you should also be prepared to deal with the consequences, which is that at some point someone's going to come along and point out what's obvious to the rest of the world: you're an ignorant, selfish twat. That's the trade off. That's the social contract."

Anonymous said...

There's a great book I'd urge you all to read called The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington. We all assume that everyone, no matter where they're from, would like to live in a democratic, free market economy, and that they would welcome any effort by the West to help them achieve it. The reality, he argues, is that a significant number of cultures genuinely do not want it. Personally as a Westerner of course I support democracy, but I'm curious to know why the poster believes it is every Western journalit's duty to "inform their work with democratic values". My understanding of true journalism, although admitedly I'm an abject failure since I work in Dubai, is that it should be impartial. Having an agenda, no matter how worthy it may appear, doesn't seem to fit in with that. I'd be curious to know how you square that?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone choosing to live in Dubai is evil and we’re all going to hell. BORING! Sort out the country of your residence before you come here slating ours. You’re not helping these labourers, just infuriating us.

FYI, there have been many improvements for labourers here over the last two years – midday breaks, necessary healthcare and yes, more money. So many journalists write about this story and call for improved conditions and better pay. Despite what you think, there are people who care enough to actually do something about it rather than just preach online.

chris said...

Hands up anyone who read the posts with all the quotes in them.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as 'impartiality' - just positions. What position you choose to adopt would be based on your values.

You can also adopt best practices - and attempt impartiality - but given Dubai's eager censors that's impossible - you simply can't print the facts. A counterweight to that is definitely needed - you can't do that in Dubai so it needs to be done outside.

I think you are right about imposing western values on cultures - human rights can be the clothing of convenience of neo-imperialism - just look at how the West 'saved' Iraq.

But the line that some cultures aren't ready for 'democracy' is patronising.

How I would look at it is this - who benefits the most from the way things are? Take that as a starting point and go from there.

Some of the strongest proponents of democracy and emancipation I've met have come from the developing world. In the West we've grown lazy, taking our freedoms and benefits for granted.

I've also never once said everyone is evil in Dubai - There were some pretty rightwing opinions being expressed on here and I countered them.

As for the improvements for labourers - they ONLY came about because they started rioting.

That's why their struggle is providing the context within which everyone's rights are improving.

So, when Newland describes what is the essential struggle at the heart of Dubai as an irrelevance then he has no understanding of the mechanics of history or social progress.

The segregation and exploitation that exists at the heart of Dubai culture will only end through struggle.

That struggle will take place over years and will need everyone from labourers through to their allies in the media to take part.

As it being 'their' country - well let's see how they would get on without everyone. If they want people to participate then they need to give them some respect and some rights.

Anonymous said...

on another note:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY XPRESS!

Anonymous said...

I've read Clash of Civilizations and I've read the American journalist Robert Kaplan, a random freelancer until Clinton got spotted carrying Kaplan's book about how ethnic hatreds in the Balkans are "age-old" and the Balkans people are so stupid and backward that they're bound to fight. Ie: You can give a shit, but you shouldn't intervene.

People used to say this about the tribes of Arabia, to the extent that they were on the Western map before the advent of the oil age. It was a bullshit cover for what turns out to be a pretty smart if cynical policy: get paid, and get out. As for democracy, within those tribes, some kind of democracy must have obtained. Consensus is important in the Sunni tradition, even if the decision-makers are limited to a select few. Watch any cops and robbers movie: Criminal dictatorships don't last long. Then the Brits came along in large numbers. Oil was discovered. Tribal wars were quelled. Tin-pot dictatorships were created to better control the flow of wealth.

Fact is, if Dubai media workers are complicit in fascism or whatever in Dubai today by not using whatever narrow, shaky platform they do have to speak out against awful conditions suffered by the weakest among us, that's probably always been the case. It's just that the oil workers and geologists who first came here from Europe knew what business they were in, and they behaved accordingly.

Expats still do the old thing of helping the ruler generate wealth and consolidate his rule while taking a fat slice for themselves, but now they also live a very Mulberry-ish existence in the ruler's lands, with plenty of economic freedom that elsewhere citizens enjoy - so much economic freedom that citizenship doesn't matter. If you've seen Black Velvet, even Lumberton doesn't have a KFC on every corner to opiatishly offset the malevolence at the heart of the place. Dubai feels like a suburban extension of the city I grew up in, 10,000 miles away, but the city I grew up in got rid of slave labour about 100 years ago. Which makes Dubai sort of a mind-fuck. Dunno if Dubai's the world's worst offender on human rights, but the difference between the surface and the reality is vast. Or maybe there's no difference, since the labourers are there toiling along Sheikh Zayed Road for all to see.

It might seem strange that a dictator would admit thousands of foreign journalists and not create laws explicitly forbidding them from poking around. That's the kind of blatantly stupid thing non-effective tin-pot dictators do, and some tin-pot dictators really are that stupid. They can afford to be, because they're willing to simply kill people in large numbers. Whoever pointed out that these rulers, by contrast, see media as an extension of their PR-marketing complex is right. Powerful people everywhere have an interest in seeing media this way, but some are better than others at execution. There are two good reasons why the promise of "Western-standards" made to the media here, and by extension to the rest of the world, isn't worth the paper it's printed on. The rulers harbour old, tribal notions about honour and shame and see press censorship and publicity in that context, and they've ensured that media here's too weak to change that. Bad press isn't just bad for business, as in the West, but a grave insult. For now, the vast majority of the local population seems to feel the same. In any case, they're not in a position to complain even if they wanted to. Like most of us, they're not sociopaths, which is why we're allowed to live here.

In the West, we got democracy and it worked for us, more or less. Maybe because in Australia, we were criminals to start, and in America, religious fanatics with nowhere left to dissent. In any case, we got growth, the labour movement curbed industrial abuses, and there were wars for new immigrants to fight in, thus strengthening their claim to belonging. We also noticed that nevertheless our democratic leaders all seem to go to the same schools, and that pissed us off. But not enough, because we could afford not to care. We started worshiping celebrities, and then we started bitching about shit on the internet to ease our consciences. Meanwhile, the Arabs are starting to bitch about shit on the internet, too - to some real effect, and in some cases, with real costs - even though they were raised in a very different system, one that even seems to make some sense from the standpoint of cultural survival- at least more than celebrity worship does. That's leader-worship.

Like it or not, for now, fascism is the default setting of Gulf society. Fast-growing economies like the one we contribute to often are. And here, just as consensus is important in the Sunni tradition, so is lineage. The rightful sheikh is the rightful sheikh. This one has been smart enough to create the appearance of a democratic-leaning place by creating conditions that allow thousands of Western journalists to work here without the power to upset his rule, while also ensuring, by buying up the press through a bunch of quasi-governmental entitities, that a "free" press not only does not hurt him, but perpetuates his rule.

Maybe this particular rightful sheikh is earning the title. I don't know. But I do know that some of you are foreigners who accept money for editorial decisions like what's the most delightful way to paste up a ruler-worshiping front page about two rulers meeting, and though it's required of this culture, you don't comply because you're lefties who want to "respect" cultural traditions, and you don't comply because you're like Newland, a pro-business editor who probably thinks that keeping a paper in business and fighting the good fight are one and the same. Arguably, the US press is pussier for acquiescing to the Bush line about wire-tapping for so long than Dubai hacks are for not calling out Dubai in print for being what it is: friendly to the powerful and murder on the weak. Dubai hacks are weaker, for whatever reason, than American hacks are. But just as there's no excuse for the US press, there's really no way to get around the complicity of Western-trained journalists in perpetuating an unjust system here, even if the system is "age-old" and seemingly beyond legitimate reproach by a bunch of infidel alcoholics. People can vote with their feet and leave, but someone will replace them. And who does that, anyway - leave Dubai because they don't like how brown-skinned labourers fare here? Who does that anywhere?

For anyone who cares about the weakest among us - and I should admit that I collected a paycheque from a Dubai publishing house with a manageable level of guilt - small battles are the way. Self-exculpatory? Sure, but probably true. International campaigns are easier to launch, but less likely to make a difference. See the Dubai Ports Scandal, which hinged in US Congress and the American press on the fact that a couple 9/11 bombers passed through Dubai. Americans are made and to some extent genuinely care about such things, but wasn't that the beginning of Dubai's time in the sun? America is a schlocky middle-brow place, after all. The Russians certainly don't care, either, about what really happens here. The Brits don't care; they invented this place. The South Africans love putting dark people in their place. The vast majority of people throughout the world have believed Dubai's hype, which is offensive to my intellect, even though I know that Greece had slaves, and America had slaves, and now Dubai has slaves. One reason, perhaps, why Dubai's hype for the most part flies with the masses in the Western world is that all Dubai's really doing is following our own growth model.

For Dubai's hype not to fly in the rest of the locals would probably need to get to a point where leader worship is not in their self-interest. For expats, the problem is that reasonable people, whether money-grubbing wankers or lefties pre-occupied with "cultural respect", might agree that criticizing the nature of power in a country where the ruler basically pays your bills crosses some red line. It also defies common sense: which is why the Gulf tribes, a small people, worship the strongest among them in the first place. It is their country, after all.

The labourers need their own newspapers. It boggles the mind that some high-powered activist hasn't found a way to make this happen.

Failing that, there's a Stalin or a Trotsky on the construction sites. There has to be at least one.

Failing that, throughout the rest of the developing world hacks fucking die for these issues. They don't sit around collecting $70-80k working on some trade rag while complaining about human rights in secret.

Anonymous said...

Finally someone with something interesting to say.

You really do elucidate the central problem for journos in Dubai - how do you square the basic tenets of your trade with the context of Dubai? And the fact is you can't.

What has galled me about posting here - and some of my postings might have been 'shrill' - is the complete and utter lack of self-awareness of some of the people who work in Dubai.

My point was always that you need to be open eyed about what Dubai is - a segregated, quasi fascist, dictatorship built on appalling exploitation - and then, if you don't like those things, let that inform your work.

The shock for me has been either a) the complete denial of that or b) complete indifference to it.

What does actually surprise me on the short visits to Dubai is how badly paid most of the media workers are and how poor the quality of life is in Dubai.

Also because the quality of the media output is soooo low most staff are de-skilling or picking up bad habits.

So there is this vast trade off that leads to .... a sun tan???

I think the idea for the labourers paper is excellent - but, most of them don't read.

If you look at the history of the UK at the time of the industrial revolution, workers would gather in huge groups to hear the news read out to them. They would have discussion groups with the most literate beginning to publish their own freesheets in small print runs.

Education groups were also set up where workers were taught to read and write.

I think the media in Dubai, far from being a cutting edge, mobile industry, will be completely left behind by events on the ground - they will be left to reading the foreign press to find out what is going on 3miles down the road.

Anonymous said...

I've been to Sonapur and spoken with a company doctor shocked and exhausted by the conditions he found in the men he treated:
With up to ten men per room, communal illnesses are rampant, eye infections, skin infections, sores, etc are some of the most common ailments that he treats. Many of these men come from regions with high incidents of ocular diseases, it is only a wonder how many of these men work on construction sites with poor vision, let alone the heat stroke and related ailments that prevail.
This doctor also spoke of numerous cases of food poisoning amongst his patients. Forced to make their lunches and leave them out in the sun for hours, many become violently ill.
Any journalist can go to Sonapur and I think that anyone interested in this topic should go. I doubt you'll be able to report much of it, but it is an experience you can speak about when the opportunity arises.

Anonymous said...

Clarify the Above:
**Not a company doctor...a doctor who works at the Clinic in Sonapur.

Anonymous said...

Just a second point I'd like to add: When I spoke to the main doctor working for Arabtec and presented the information I had gathered (I was working on a story of eye diseases amongst the men..did not publish it) he didn't have much to say in response other than "If the men have a problem, they can come and speak to us about and we will take care of them". When I spoke to some men at the Labour Camp about what the doctor said, they laughed out loud.

Anonymous said...

Your wet dream fantasy that you're fighting against fascists on this blog is the most ridiculous delusion you've come up with so far. Just about every poster responding has qualified their statements by saying something like "it isn't perfect, or great, or even acceptable, just not the place you describe". You constantly bring up descriptions of yourself like "shrill" (which you are) but quite frankly someone with your level of biloeous rhetoric should be able to take an insult or two - you're way too sensitive to be an effective crusader and just seem like someone who takes a high handed moral position as an exercise in self aggrandizement. (Blogs are full of them.)

And yes to word limits - the only thing worse than being preached at by a champion of the oppressed, right out of central casting with a cut and paste fetish is more of it. Economy of words is a skill journalists should strive for.

You see the world in binary terms - great, now go away.

Anonymous said...

7:13: Nice ad hominem. You lose.

Anonymous said...

If you read through I laugh off any attempt to 'insult me' - water off a duck's back me old china.

I pointed out that insulting me isn't an argument - it's just an insult - some of which bordered on the outright bizarre (scurvy dog????)

My wet dreams also focus on far more interesting things than the tacky lives of Dubai ex-pats.

I've provoked a discussion that's raised some good stuff (the last few postings particularly).

You're just repeating the same old tiresome insults that are beginning to sound shriller than anything I've posted.

My extreme position was, as I allude to right at the start, a tactic to provide a counterweight to the endless PR/Marketing spin of Dubai.

It was also deliberately provocative so that Dubai's defenders could be exposed.

It worked well.

Now, you can turn around and try and tell me it ain't so - I don't really care one way or the other.

And of course stuff is complex with differing shades - simple binarisms don't function except in the imaginings of weirdo religious nuts.

But some stuff in Dubai is very simple.

As you live and work in Dubai you are forced to reconcile yourself to that situation. You have no right to vote; no right to freedom of expression; no right to organise your labour; you can't even use Skype for christ's sake and if you fuck your gf in the privacy of your own home you could go to prison. If you are Gay/Lesbian you have to live a clandestine life with the constant threat of incarceration hanging over you. You live in a city where, every single day, you will see the exhausted faces of labourers driving past you in their cramped buses. You look at them with the full knowledge that these workers have almost NO rights. That they are being ruthlessly exploited.

The reasons given here for tolerating that are mainly career and lifestyle.

As for the cut and pasting (only two of the 20+ postings I've made) - well, I wanted to present some evidence that I am certainly not alone in my take on Dubai.

I also wasn't the first one to take that step.

Finally, back to the complexity issue.

Complex issues need space to be explained, debated and worked through.

That might require more than a couple of minutes focus.

Tabloid vernacular certainly has its place in the pantheon of journalism but I am writing on a blog (a place of free unedited expression) not for the Sun.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to whoever posted the ad hominem line - perfect summary of the direction this debate has taken.

Anyone anti-Dubai is attacked for their presentation and their personal attributes.

Yet the core of their argument is never answered.

Hence, in debating terms, those pro-Dubai lose cos they fail to address the argument and focus on the person saying it instead.

Anonymous said...

one more cut and paste - yeah I know it's from Wikipedia but who gives a fuck...

"An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject.
It is most commonly used to refer specifically to the ad hominem abusive, or argumentum ad personam, which consists of criticizing or personally attacking an argument's proponent in an attempt to discredit that argument. It is also used when an opponent is unable to find fault with an argument, yet for various reasons, the opponent disagrees with it. Many times, an opponent's use of an ad hominem attack is an indication that the opponent realizes that the argument itself is correct and cannot be refuted."

Anonymous said...

To the reporter who talked to the Arabtec doctor: Why did the employees laugh out loud? Because the company does help, just not that much? Because they don't help at all?

Anonymous said...

Now he's providing his own cheer squad ("I support his argument and am in awe of his wordsmithery!") and a lesson in Latin, for dummies.

The claim has constantly been that anyone and everyone in Dubai is either directly involved or complicit in the promotion of segregation or slavery of some sort just because they're here. No new or interesting points, just regurgitated, tired old rhetoric.

People who jack off about ad hominem arguments when they've been using expressions like spivs, white expat trash, abject failures and telling everyone to f**k off (just say fuck you idiot) and writing FACT after every peurile point, and are so desperate to be seen as intelligent they think they need to teach us what certain words or fifth form latin expressions mean, are pains in the ass.

Like all bad writers, you need an editor. Preferably one with a baseball bat.

Anonymous said...

Threats of violence now..... ha hahahahah.... oooo very very scary.

You certainly seem to be taking this very personally - your vitriol and personal attacks are well off beam. Your claims that I also think everyone who lives in Dubai is personally responsible for all the horrors of the place is a deliberate obsfucation of the points I've raised.

What I stated was that those who are both oblivious to and defenders of said horrors are colluding with them.

If you've taken that personally then it must have hit a nerve.

I didn't post up the 'latin' thing and had to look it up to find out what it meant. At first I thought it was a piss take then i realised it was prescient.

Accusing me of being a 'bad writer' ranks up there with the lamest insult so far.


Come on, I just know you can do better than that.

Anonymous said...

You're boring and verbose and a revisionist. No one is oblivious to anything you've lectured us on, so I guess you're talking to thin air.

Lobby your own government to provide reparations to the people who were crushed and exploited and abused and segregated and enslaved during the formation of the shining beacon of social justice and democratic perfection you call home before you impose your self righteous demands and accusations of collusion on anyone else.

From the soft comfort of our Western lives we could all hang our heads in shame if we took the time to look at how our own cultures got to where they are now. It's small wonder the rest of the world criticises us for our hypocricy and insistence on imposing our values on their lives.

I'm not suggesting the errors of history justify human rights abuses in the present but the suggestions made about Dubai on this thread are ill-informed, overblown, pointless and old. No one is stirred to action, or humbled by guilt, by the level of this rhetoric. And all the "must have touched a nerve" and "so there, I win" stuff is better left in the schoolyard where it belongs.

I'm just killing time until a new thread starts, meanwhile you're a fly buzzing around our heads.

Anonymous said...

So why spend so much time and effort trying to swat me you plank?

I never said "I win" - someone else did.

My comments about Dubai are backed up with hard data - you're even agreeing with some of it.

As for the West, sure, i agree 100%. But you live in Dubai and this thread is called "Actual journalists need not apply," and is on the DMO.

Plenty of writers, thinkers, journalists who are resident in the West call what the West does to account all the time. Who put Jeffrey Archer in prison? Who wrote about rendition and US torture in Iraq and Gitmo? Also plenty of journalists in the developing world get shot, killed and imprisoned.

Most of the so-called Western journalists in Dubai do nothing to promote anything other than themselves and Dubai itself. That's the truth. Most of you are working there only because you couldn't get a job anywhere else. Is there another reason for being there? And don't say the weather again - Spain has nice weather and you ain't there....

I really don't give a fuck about how you feel about my 'rhetoric' or my 'overblown and pointless' insistence that Dubai has segregation and exploitation at its very heart.

You're only dismissing my argument - you're not answering it or responding to it on any rational level.

Your retorts have threatened violence and been prone to personal attack yet you accuse me of acting like a schoolkid.

I don't think you realise how amateurish your attempts at debating this have been.

Anonymous said...

The best part has been the decrying of insults buried in an inane torrent of abuse about the skills and motives of people who live here. The very idea that the only reason people are here is professional inadequacy sounds like the whining of someone who was here for a while but got eaten up.

You can't dimiss criticism of the West as not the right forum - it's directed at you, the Westerner telling us all how it ought to be, on this thread.

Your argument is, or was, that Dubai is the most segregated society on the planet and you haven't backed that statement up with any hard data. Pasting in a thousand words from a website discussing or criticising Dubai doesn't mean you've supported or proven your argument. You made a statement you can't back up and you should learn a lesson about leading with hyperbole - there's nowhere to go from there except backwards. Didn't your debating coach coach teach you anything?

Anonymous said...

I just got back from the beach and there was brown skinned people all over the place. And women! I came here for sun, sand, sea, and segregation and what do I get? Other cultures and genders all mixing and looking at each other and swimming in the same sea. I suppose I could join a private beach club but if Dubai is serious about segregation why should I pay to get it? Isn't it my right as an inept failure in my home country to come here and enjoy the benefits I don't deserve?

Anonymous said...

Hang on - lets get this right - you guys are now saying Dubai has NO segregation??

Hhahahahah ahahhahhahahahhhhhaaaa.

Fuck me - lets break it down in broad strokes

Arabs own.

Whites manage.

Browns labour.

That's called segregation.

If you're saying that don't happen maybe you're not really in Dubai.

I can't think of any other nation on the planet that does it in quite that way.

If you can tell me where else is more segregated that would be great and I would be happy to accept defeat.

My pasted words came from people like Human Rights Watch - maybe you should direct your questions on the veracity of their research at them. I always thought they were widely recognised as being very solid.

Never spent much time in Dubai, no intention to either.

No decrying of insults - just pointing out their vapidity.

You really are confirming all the worst stereotypes of Western ex-pats.

Do you work in sales?

Anonymous said...

Actually isn't true that only Arabs own, whites, manage, browns labour etc. And if that's your view, you need some readjustment. There are numerous Indian and Western owned businesses here, plenty of non-white managers. Yes, it's fair to say that unskilled labour is Asian and sub-continental primarily, in fact almost exclusively, but that in no way constitutes segregation.

I think you've already acknowledged Saudi as a more segregated society so thanks for finally accepting defeat on this issue. Some might say Sinagpore is segregated under your definition and in fact was designed, by a British governor, with a partitioned racial plan as this was the way colonial powers envision peaceful co-existence. It still has distinct areas and lawsin place restricting property ownership and residence in certain developments based on race, citizenship and so on.

Human Rights Watch is a great organisation and certainly monitor and are critical of working conditions here but (and without actually searching their site right now) I don't think segregation in the UAE is one of their issues or campaign items. I don't feel your argument has been on the same level as their own work and it would be wrong to suggest you have demonstrated the same understanding of issues, even though you have pasted from their site in an effort to support your view.

Again and again you've been told that it's the extent of your claims that is outlandish, I can't see that anyone has denied a need here for increased rights for workers. I met someone recently who had been hired to train construction workers in certain skills needed to perform their jobs and do so safely and he was talking about how things should and could be improved, on the worksite. Maybe he'll have some impact, at least where he works. Maybe. But he'll have to be here to do it. Either way, my money's on him to do more for labourers here than you ever will.

Anonymous said...

To 8:39

When I spoke to the employees at the camp (through a translator) about the Arabtec doctor saying that 'employees could come to them with any problems they had', they laughed out loud as if it were completely ridiculous. They would never, ever do that. Even the Arabtec doctor, nice guy that he was, was even surprised at the thought of discussing eyeglasses for the employees but that was his response. It is one of those issues that gets hidden because there are so, so many other problems faced by the men but its a legitimate issue. Imagine being on these high rise buildings and not being able to see properly.
Furthermore, I spoke to someone at the Ministry of Labour who deals with the visas for these men and he said quote: "If these men have hearing problems or eye problems, they are accepted no problem" this is basically because this is not an issue they've ever considered.
When I went to Sonapur, I watched the men get off the bus, 1 man had glasses.
It's one of those things, men who can't see properly...it seems like a small thing - in many ways - everyone I spoke with thought that it was a minor issue but speaks to yet another quality of life issue.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the long post at 13 March, 2008 22:27. I'm also responsible for the ad hominem line. No disrespect, but you did it again.

Dubai certainly has segregation. But it is, as critics of that argument here point out, more complicated on the ground. For example, at my publishing house, I earned a third more than an Arab who was doing the same job as me. He comes from a country that our Arab bosses don't like.

Dubai deserves its fair share of criticism. One would think that it's the media's role to supply that criticism. With visas and licenses on the line, that's not always possible. Most media workers in the West are just functionaries, too.

The labourers may not have it worse than blacks in South Africa did under Apartheid. To some extent, all they have is a really tough job - the kind of tough job done by members of the underclass since the beginning of cities. It may be that there's nothing particularly unique about Dubai, and no reason for special outrage.

Furthermore, while probably no better or worse than their colleagues back home, journalists here do work under tougher conditions. Newland, refusing to "adopt the stance of the exasperated Westerner," may be right.

But that doesn't meant that Dubai can't stand some activism. And that doesn't make Sonapur right, or require defending here. I don't see how a reasonable person can condemn Sonapur while defending their own lifestyle.

Dubai's media people don't need to be ashamed of themselves. The vast inequalities in wealth and real freedom that exist in Dubai seem to bother people who work in media here more than they do your average importer-exporter or bank VP.

What I'm saying is that Dubai seems to lack the kind of crusading reporter set on martyrdom that you see in other developing countries where inequalities like Dubai's occur. Sonapur and Media City exist in two different worlds.

It'll probably be a national, not an expat, who becomes the first to really successfully hammer away about the shittier aspects of Dubai. Perhaps that's the way it ought to be.

But hey. I'm not in Dubai anymore, and I wasn't there to judge.

Anonymous said...

Racial segregation absolutely exists - I was speaking in generalised broad strokes.

You even admit it, and then deny it, in the same, opening sentence! Segregation is any society organised along lines of race - Dubai clearly does that.

So, while I might concede that Saudi society is more segregated the differences are marginal tween there and UAE.

Also, the voices I would be interested in hearing denying that Dubai is segregated would be those of the labourers - yours carries no weight whatsoever. If you ain't feeling it how can you possibly deny it? I'm sure whites in South Africa used to come out with the same lines - in fact I know they did.

I would love to have the resources at my finger tips to do the research the HRW do - telling me that my argument is diminished because I can't match that is patently ridiculous. I am putting this together on the hoof between assignments...this is a blog not the NYT.

I also don't think you need to be in the UAE to effect change within it. Apartheid in South Africa didn't end when we all went and got jobs there. A coalition of those within and without needs to be built - the UAE can be massively pressured from the outside. Your friend does seem to be doing something concrete though.

I do feel, for whatever reason, you've taken this very personally. Don't know why - maybe you could explain?

secretdubai said...

Re: the sight problems, this is something I investigated a while back. Statistically a high percentage of them would need correction because a proportion of any population (and quite a high one in the subcontinent) is short sighted. The extra risk poor vision must give them when hundeds of metres up in the air in the blinding sun is unthinkable.

Add to this all the sight problems one gets in the UAE - I personally have had countless eye infections (since arriving, never in my life before), and that is with good hygiene, good access to healthcare and medicine, and not being out in the bright sun and dust. So god only knows what it it is like for the boys in blue.

Regarding the whole Dubai-is-evil issue: we all know it isn't the worst place in the world. We all know that it has a lot of good points (though after a while I no longer see a disproportionately high tax-free white expat salary as a "good point" when others are under the breadline - merely a "convenient point") and we know that its media may not be the most censored in the world.

But Dubai is setting itself up to be a world class, open and free state. It is falling far, far short. It has the money and resources and absolute political power to vastly and immediately improve the plight of labourers and the dispossessed, but it does pretty much fuck all. It took considerable overseas pressure and media shame for it to sort out the camel jockey situation (and I would lay money that there are still remote desert camps where the problem persists).

What I find hardest and most disgusting to stomach is expats that come here and become apologists for something that should continue to appal them. Just because something is "traditional" or "cultural" doesn't give it any intrinsic value or status worth protecting.

People whinge about Dubai because they think it could do better and they think that it should do better. Media freedom is an absolutely bloody farce currently.

That said, having been involved in media training sessions with senior officials from leading Dubai govt organisations, and having heard their attitudes, I highly doubt the situation will improve in the next decade. It will take another generation of majority US/foreign educated emiratis to do that.

Anonymous said...

Secret Dubai: What do senior government officials say about the media?

Anonymous said...

The person claiming Dubai is the most segregated place in the world needs to understand he/she is arguing with more than one person. I posted a couple of times on it myself.

The point about local journalists being the ones likely to make a real difference is spot on. Few societies tolerate criticism from foreigners very well. But that can only happen when an, at least semi-mature, media industry exists and like it or not some of the so called has-been, loser, inept hacks here are laying the groundwork for that. It's the height of cultural imperialist hubris to think you can demand a free and open media, and right now. It doesn't happen like that anywhere and neither does a system of protection for underclass workers. The media people here now and the labourers are both an advance guard in that sense.

Yes, Dubai can do better on labour issues and can afford it and should address it but I'm not apologising for my lifestyle - I work hard and I live pretty simply here - before I can claim the right to comment on any issue or hold my head up.

secretdubai said...

I remember one session around the time of the 7Day=Satan era (when it quite innocently published an interview from AFP with Sheikh Khalifa, and the Arab papers - clearly acting out of spite or on official instructions - beat it up into some great "insult" to Khalifa when anyone with half a brain could see that 7Days was trying to suck up rather than offend).

We were trying to coach them for international media, since what the FT and the Times and the WSJ print about Dubai is aeons more critical than what 7Days with its Lime Tree-Jumeirah Jane readership prints.

But these officials, who worked for a supposedly world class international financial institution, were simply obsessed with 7Days. They kept repeating: "but they cannot print these things". I am not sure to this day if they even knew what "these things" were, if they had even (ever) read 7Days, just that it represented some huge nebulous insult to them, according to the majilis grapevine.

No matter how much we tried to position 7Days to them as a very minor, "village gazette" style rag (sorry 7Days - I love you, but you'd be first to admit you're not the Economist nor are you trying to be) but they just couldn't see past the garden fence. Dubai has so much self-importance contained in such a small village society that too many senior people - people who are educated, and people who matter - are missing the bigger picture. (I should be blogging this really. Maybe I'll paste it over to my now blocked blog).

Part of the reason that the US ports decision was so stunning to people here was because Dubai - like many other upcoming cities, perhaps - believes its own hype to a dangerous extent. Dubai is not as much on people's radars as we as sandlanders are led to believe. Sure people notice The Palm and the Deathspire (just starting to kick in nicely, that Google bomb) but they don't think about it every day of their lives as they go about their business in Peterborough or Wisconcin. But the bad stuff: they remember that quite a bit more.

How many glitzy mega projects does it take to blot out a toddler camel jockey? How many World's Biggest does it take to erase unpaid, indentured labour? I have no clue. But certainly more than they have got at the moment.

So until they understand the difference between 7Days posting an expat whinge about bad traffic in Barsha, and the New York Times printing 1000 words about human rights abuses, I cannot see any improvement to media standards or media freedoms.

Now I will go and blog this, because I am too lazy to think of and write another blog post.

Anonymous said...

SD:

I'm not sure if you posted the sight-issue on your blog a couple of years ago, but I think it could have been your blog that gave me the idea to search out the story.
PS> I worked for XPRESS and this kind of searching out was encouraged but because we weren't published for so long, some of the stories couldn't be re-verified. As far as I'm concerned, it has one of the most diverse group of journalists around and we were given a really good amount of freedom to investigate such stories.
I'm no longer there but I'll continue to toot their horn. I have nothing but good things to say about them.

Anonymous said...

SD:

I'm not sure if you posted the sight-issue on your blog a couple of years ago, but I think it could have been your blog that gave me the idea to search out the story.
PS> I worked for XPRESS and this kind of searching out was encouraged but because we weren't published for so long, some of the stories couldn't be re-verified. As far as I'm concerned, it has one of the most diverse group of journalists around and we were given a really good amount of freedom to investigate such stories.
I'm no longer there but I'll continue to toot their horn. I have nothing but good things to say about them.

secretdubai said...

I'm not sure if I posted about it, I know I meant to. I even got in touch with the people that distribute used spectacles to third world countries, and they were quite willing to send over supplies if the logistics could be paid for (unfortunately I have zero experience in fundraising and that kind of thing).

Incidentally I loved XPRESS since it started, I agree about quirky and investigative stories there.

bystander said...

I agree with secretdubai. A good friend in PR informs me that a couple of heads of semi government/government organisations won't allow their PR team to send out announcements on Thursday or Friday because "nobody reads the papers on Friday and Saturday". That underlines the short-term village style approach ... caring whether other Dubai government officials are reading the papers, at the expense of acknowledging that the news business is 7 days a week (and in other markets).

Also, there is a disproportionate amount of effort put into securing coverage on Dubai TV, because "that's what gets watched in the Majlis".

Anonymous said...

It's so true that there is a sub level of so called "decision makers" who are much more bothered by perceived criticism than the actual peak decision makers are. It's a result of the traditional deference to authority figures which is still played out here and that impacts on the kind of progress we would like to see. Everyone experiences that here.

Most of us come from cultures where the entire population is very media savvy and have learnt to deal with its nuances and tones over generations but that's yet to happen here. But ultimately it will be impossible to stop the development of an open and critical media because continued support and engagement with the world economies, in the way the UAE requires, demands it. This country isn't going to go down because they refuse to change their views on media.

Anonymous said...

This just in from my friends in the trade union movement - some of you seemed to hate my previous cut and paste efforts but this is hot off the press - I am now off to work on my tan while all the little brown people clean my house..... damn that guy banging on about worker's rights was soooo annoying...


"INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION (ITUC)

ITUC Online
000/140308


United Arab Emirates: workers sentenced to six months’ imprisonment

Brussels, 14 March 2008 (ITUC OnLine): Forty-five Indian construction workers have been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment under charges of holding illegal gatherings, vandalism, and violating public security following their participation in a strike last year for better working conditions.

The ITUC strongly protests against the verdict of the Dubai Criminal Court, a verdict that constitutes a strong violation of Convention 87 on freedom of association. According to the ITUC, Head Judge Jassem wanted to create a precedent and send a strong message to workers “who resort to illegal methods to get their rights from employers.”

“These workers must be released with no delay,” declared Guy Ryder, ITUC General Secretary. “Workers, and especially migrants workers in this particular case, must be free to exercise their rights to freedom of association and expression,” he added.

In a letter sent to the ILO, International Labour Office, http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/ITUC_request_for_ILO_Intervention_UAE_13_March_2008.pdf the ITUC requested the Office’s urgent intervention with the authorities of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates in order to secure the immediate release of the workers and to have the ongoing sanctions against them dropped.

The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates.

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 621 018 or +32.477.580.486"

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous cut and paster: What do you do for a living? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

why you asking?

Anonymous said...

Because I think you said that you aren't a journalist, and I know you said that you don't live in Dubai, which got me wondering about how you found the site.

Anonymous said...

Tell me what you think a journalist is and how the 4th estate functions and I will let you know if I fall into that category.

If not I'll only tell you what my favourite colour is.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying that your job is as irrelevant to this discussion as your favourite colour is?

Which fourth estate? Ideally, or in practice?

A journalist, I guess, should extract information, think about it, and pass it along to the public with context.

Not to suggest that media people in Dubai aren't journalists, but some, because they merely pass along what was given to them by a government or corporation, don't merit the title or the right to claim it.

This happens more in Dubai than most other markets.

Anonymous said...

Good answer.

Given the fluid times we live in let's just say I am a media worker.

Anonymous said...

I see.

Anonymous said...

In all this discussion about state suppression of the media here, no-one seems to have talked about 'the enemy within' - our own ad sales people.
They do nearly as much to censor and surpress proper journalism as the government.
I regard the Westerners in key sales positions at places like ITP, 7 days and 24/7 as the biggest villains of all.
They are the ones who should understand best of all how important editorial integrity is, yet they undermine it as a matter of policy.
I have seen so many examples, some just in the last few days, of these people doing cosy deals with clients to block critical coverage, promote risibly fawning PR puff pieces and place immense pressure on their own editorial staffs.
It's utterly bizarre that they have to do this when the place is booming, but this simply undermines how totally useless so many sales directors are.
Many of them DO fit the stereotype of 'Failed In London, Try Dubai'- much more so than most journalists here.
They can't sell, so they interfere with the editorial process.
They keep alleging that local ad agencies and direct clients aren't sophisticated enough to handle less-than positive press coverage.
They use racist generalisations to cover their own incompetence and they deserve nothing but contempt.
I wonder if Newland understands just how much internal pressure and outright, in your face, threat he will face from people who are supposed to be on the same side?

Anonymous said...

If you've worked in other markets, is pressure from the sales side more severe in Dubai?

Anonymous said...

Re: Poster at 22:13 - is pressure more severe in Dubai?
By about a factor of 10 compared to Australia, South Africa and the UK, all markets I know well.
It's breathtakingly brazen when you first get here.

Anonymous said...

I've heard stories of sales people at ITP coming down en-masse to magazines like Time Out and then singling out writers, berating them and on occasion, reducing young female contributors to tears.

Most of them really do fit the spiv category perfectly.

However, in my humble experience of the Dubai media, editorial at places like ITP are either too overworked or too compliant with upstairs to stand up to these creeps.

Anonymous said...

Hey - I found some courageous journalists in Dubai - they are now in jail (they are some of the 45 imprisoned strikers).

"Court records showed some of the accused confessed to orchestrating the violence and inciting others to riot by distributing and posting pamphlets at labour accommodations."

If only these guys had access to anonymous blogs, huh?

Anonymous said...

"I am now off to work on my tan while all the little brown people clean my house..... damn that guy banging on about worker's rights was soooo annoying.."

He sure was. But now that the discussion has taken a more rational turn perhaps he'll see how counterproductive making sweeping damning statements is, and how offensive it is to people who believe journalists have responsibilities to not take facts and use them to draw illogical and hysterical conclusions.

Those right wing shock jocks so prevalent in America (Rush Limabuagh etc.) call themselves journalists too and providing a left wing counterbalance may sound appealling but only creates a polarised discussion that goes nowhere and achieves nothing.

Anonymous said...

That's right - kill 'em with kindness, one day. Until then, Pablo Escobar called it "silver or lead." In Dubai terms it can amount to massively overreaching in defense of bullshit system to mask discomforting satisfaction over making right choice between visa-loss and cushy life. Who wouldn't do the same?

Anonymous said...

Now you're comparing life and business in Duabi to the strongarm tactics of a Colombian drug lord? Just another graphic illustration of your pop culture view of how it all works.

For historical references you should look closer to home: cheap Irish labour used to build canals in Britain and live in squalid conditions; Native Americans working on skyscraper construction in New York; and on and on, there a hundreds of examples and it's happening right now. I gues you know so much about this because you come from a culture so well versed in the exploitation of cheap foreign labour. But no, Dubai is more like a Colmbian drug cartel than any society you might be a part of.

"In Dubai terms it can amount to massively overreaching in defense of bullshit system to mask discomforting satisfaction over making right choice between visa-loss and cushy life."

That's some sentence but I think I get it. Criticising one position opposed to something doesn't mean you support the thing being criticised. No one is massively overreaching in defense, but plenty are objecting to the hyperbolic rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

Err - didnt post the last colombian cartel comment.

i dont see how repeating the exploitations of the past make them anymore acceptable.

Youre not very good at this debating thing are you?

you also seem, with every utterance, to be taking this very personally.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who you are but looking back over the thread I guess you are the person taking the lead on the evil Dubai argument. Although I used "you" in my previous post I was making a more collective address, like "you all" referring to anyone who may have taken the position within the group. But you are clearly in the minority so I can understand how you might have thought it was directed at you, the individual. This post is, if it makes you feel better. English is a great language but I find it has some shortcomings when it comes to pronouns.

Repeating exploitations of the past doesn't make them acceptable, the point is how unacceptable, yet prevalent, they are in almost every context. It should temper the casting of aspersions I think.

Not taking it personally, just chiming in from time to time. Why do you care?

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of reasons why Dubai is not evil. It's a pretty good thing that young, university-educated kids from throughout the Arab world have a nearby place where they can work for a decent salary. That won't sap the will of Al Qaeda - far from it. But it's something.

Anonymous said...

Hang on - i have agreed the situation is complex. I have also stated my hyperbole was a tactic to push the debate along (which it did).

now some posters have taken that up and theres been some good stuff on here.

you're still taking it personal - which detracts from the few interesting things youve had to say.

stop attacking me and get on with the debate or your comments will become increasingly irrelevant.

one of the key points raised is dubai has so much money now it could get very wealthy AND massively improve pay and conditions for the labourers at the same time.

the question then is why doesnt it do that?

i would argue racism and greed and apathy.

Anonymous said...

Actually no. You made comments that were ill informed and over the top and defended them for a long time. You can't now claim you were just trying to stir us all into action and have succeeded. Or that you're responsible for driving a worthy, reasoned discusssion. The media here will become more effective through even tempered reporting and education about the role of media in modern societies than by screaming at people about how ashamed they should be for living here or being citizens of this country. People like secretdubai, who talks about seminars or consultancy assignments in which media issues are discussed with decision makers, are doing the job here. Frustrating? Swimming against the tide? Sure, but that's what will make the difference here in the long run and accusations of apartheid and systemised segregation will just set that already too slow process back. The granting of rights is too slow everywhere and always has been.

On taking things personally. Perhaps. You made repeated attacks on people living in Dubai, calling them compliant and complicit, and a lot of straight out insults like abject failures in their own countries, spivs, white trash, ignorant and on and on you went. I think you've atacked people a lot more than they've attacked you although your conclusion have certainly been attacked.

I think it's fair to say journalists take it seriously, if not personally, when someone purporting to represent their profession does so using selective facts to draw sensational conclusions. I suppose it's one type of media worker's method, but who really aspires to tabloid excesses?

I'm sure your heart's in the right place (maybe not the part that seems to be black with bitterness!) but there are ways to effect change and starting from the position that this is the worst society in the world for certain human rights abuses is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Once again you discuss me and how upsetting my comments are (boo fucking hoo) rather than the issue.

do you think racism and greed and apathy are holding back extending rights and pay for labourers?

Anonymous said...

No, a direct reference to the points made in your previous post. Your comments aren't particularly upsetting, although you clearly wish they were, they are just wrong and counterproductive to the issue you claim to care so much about.

I think there's a certain element of racism in your own argument, or the way you frame it. But whatever, the issue is the thing, and the point is you do nothing to help it by calling people names, accusing them of ineptitude and failure, and claiming Dubai is at the epicentre of all that's wrong in the world. We all understand your position, so no need to go over it again for us, or claim we take it personally.

Anonymous said...

Just on media values - which this post is about - the nightmare scenario is that record oil wealth and infinite credit provides the mechanism to extend the GCC approach to media management beyond borders.

(The heaviest user of the UK’s libel courts, for example, is currently from Saudi Arabia).

Most of the new generation of UAE business leaders are fully aware of The Economist and The FT, and are increasingly expecting the same kind of glowing profiles in there when they travel abroad that they receive at home. Given the advertising pressure on European media, there’s a ready audience for this. (The Times didn’t really cover themselves with investigative glory when they came over here last year, for example).

Finally – is it me, or has Du extended the block to the freezones? I’m having to use backdoor channels to read any blogspots at the moment…

(Cross posted)

Anonymous said...

Just on media values, the nightmare scenario is that record oil wealth and infinite credit provides the mechanism to extend the GCC approach to media management beyond borders.

(The heaviest user of the UK’s libel courts, for example, is currently from Saudi Arabia).

Most of the new generation of UAE business leaders are fully aware of The Economist and The FT, and are increasingly expecting the same kind of glowing profiles in there when they travel abroad that they receive at home. Given the advertising pressure on European media, there’s a ready audience for this. (The Times didn’t really cover themselves with investigative glory when they came over here last year, for example).

Finally – is it me, or has Du started blocking blogger in the freezone? I’m having to use backdoor channels to read any blogspots at the moment…

Anonymous said...

I think the issue that gcc media control might extend further is a bit scary though think there're plenty of people who would fight that tooth and nail.

I notice that some posters here are still whining on about other posters anti-dubai comments.

The debate has moved on so just get over youselves.

Anonymous said...

Over the last few days several posters have accused me of being an extremist due to my anti-Dubai rhetoric.

Can these same people now rail against this extremist measure, which, however you dress it up, is as stark an example of racially defined fascism you are likely to see?

http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Society/10197993.html

Anonymous said...

That's nativism, not fascism. Granted, it's largely a difference of degree.

Anonymous said...

No it's not nativism - which is a weird anti-immigration movement largely led by 2nd or more generation immigrants to places like USA, AUS, NZ etc.

Fascism is (and yes it sucks I cut and paste from Wikipedia but I can't be bothered to type out EXACTLY the same thing) "an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers the individual subordinate to the interests of the state, party or society as a whole. Fascists seek to forge a type of national unity, usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic, cultural, racial, religious attributes. Various scholars attribute different characteristics to fascism, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: patriotism, nationalism, statism, militarism, totalitarianism, anti-communism, corporatism, populism, collectivism, autocracy and opposition to political and economic liberalism."

Anonymous said...

Yes, that article demonstrates how clumsily and poorly executed laws like this are in Dubai. Especially stuff like "getting pregnant illegally".

But "as stark an example of racially defined fascism you are likely to see" - no. That would be reserved for places like Darfur or in the recent past the Balkans. This is just one more example of the underclass harrassment immigrants, foreigners or ethnic minorities have to endure in any country.

Anonymous said...

Darfur is genocide - Fascism is a political ideology that can lead to genocide - eg the Nazis were a form of fascists who were genocidal. However, Italian fascists were reticent when it came to the Nazis genocidal aims. So the two don't always go hand in hand. Some Fascist states - Spain - didn't even take part in WW2.
The UAE is quite a good example of a fascist state.

Anonymous said...

It's actually a really bad example. Most historians would probably agree, regardless of its actual meaning, the term fascist has become something of a shortcut for referring to anything or anyone with an authoritarian edge that you hate. Of course it's quite easy to pick out a few of the many characteristics attributed to fascism over the last 60 years and selectively apply them, it's equally easy to refute notions of fascism in the same way. For example the relationship between fascism and capitalism would seem to disqualify Dubai which seems to support, or at the very least lean towards the laissez-faire.

I didn't check Wankapedia though as I'm sure someone will post the entire entry on fascism here within minutes.

Anonymous said...

Dubai is not fascist. It is capitalist without the normal left of centre controls that soften it in most Western countries. It pays the minimum it can, it charges the maximum it can.

That means, in general, people from Europe, Australia and the US are paid more than sub-continent workers because that's their price point on the world market. Right or wrong, fair or unfair do not mean anything within this context.

Because everyone is here on a contract, and because the local population is small and can be cared for, there is no unemployment or underclass that will turn to crime. There is therefore little incentive for local governments to think about things like minimum wages.

Dubai has a beacon of capitalism - with all the right, and wrong, that that entails.

I maintain my point several hundred posts ago, that this country has allowed everyone who is here to benefit just a little bit more than they would in their home country. The smaller that bit is, the more successful Dubai can consider itself as the paradigm capitalist country.

Anonymous said...

That's spot on. We all have our price. Everyone can do a little better here than their home country and that's their price point and with that comes toleration of conditions as a factor. All the way down the line. My lifestyle was better where I came from but my salary is better here and these are the earning years. Simple social economics - white collar, blue collar, whatever. I'm being exploted but I'm exploiting the situation too. And I've got Showtime, so that makes all the difference.

Anonymous said...

Seems like DMO is now home to its own little coterie of right-wingers - which I suppose is a fair reflection of the media in general in Dubai.

As for capitalism - as we can see it's working really well at the moment, hence all the governments bailing out the banks etc.

And as for Dubai being capitalist - anyone who believes even for the merest second that Dubai offers anything even approaching a free market (the bedrock of any capitalist system) has clearly not read their Adam Smith.

Onto fascism - Dubai and the wider UAE is clearly fascist in the political rather then knee-jerk sense of the word. It has a racially defined, anti-free market agenda (it tolerates what it wants on an ad hoc basis), that functions with state controls on free movement, free trade and free association. This is done by using things like religion and nation and powerful state apparatus that has no checks or balances provided by anything as communist as the rule of law. No other group except a very narrow group of UAE arabs hold any political power. This is held onto without any debate and is enforced by the repressive wing of the state. The leader is an unelected dictator who holds supreme, non-negotiable power. Business rules are made up on the hoof and to suit the interests of the ruling elite. This might be a strange new form of wealth creation but it certainly isn't Adam Smith type capitalism.

Sure it manages to buy off a few people but it also fools a hell of a lot more. What you gain in pay packet you certainly lose at the other end (that's why all those labourers riot - not cos they are greedy or criminals but because they are really really pissed off they've been sold a pup).

It basically gives a home to all the shallow, dumb people from the UK who can't make it back home who then make excuses like 'i get more money' (only a little now as the dollar plunges) or 'it is sunny'. Of course there are a few smart people but most of them can see the irony of their position and would never seek to defend the place.

Then others go on about complexity and western-centric viewpoints - they bandy these terms at any criticism, using them as bulwarks in their intellectually and rationally flawed arguments.

It's been interesting posting here but I'm moving on convinced that Dubai really is the nasty shithole I thought it was and that it is populated by some of the crappest journalists in the english speaking world.

You can post against me again here but I won't be reading it.... enjoy!

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