Workers gardening near Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. — Dissident Voice/Caoimghin Ó Croidheáin
Who built Thebes with seven gates?
In the book you will read the name of the king.
Did the kings lift blocks of rock?
And Babylon destroyed many times,
who raised it so many times?
In which house did the golden architects of Lima live?
— Questions from Reading Workers (Bertolt Brecht, 1935)
Perhaps the closest thing to Elon Musk’s Mars vision is a visit to Dubai. Imagine an alien planet where you can only live in ventilated base habitats with comfortable locations and comfortable temperatures.
With temperatures soaring up to 50 degrees Celsius in Dubai, the hottest of the year, people move from air-conditioned apartments to air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned offices to air-conditioned shopping malls.
Of course, very nice cars, apartments, offices and shopping malls. Dubai is making big deals with expensive real estate: world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa (829.8m, 2,722 feet), world’s tallest hotel under construction (Ciel), and world’s tallest construction Foundation laid for — 1.3 km (1,300 m, 4,300 ft) high Dubai Creek Lookout.
This should keep Dubai on the top of the list for the next decade. Here, the hierarchy of heights determines your wealth. For example, the entrance to the Burj Khalifa is a gorgeous shopping mall that also has a huge food hall for employees, servers and store clerks. The more money you spend, the higher the Burj Khalifa you’ll get. Extreme wealth means most people who work in malls have likely never taken an elevator to the stratospheric heights of the world’s tallest building. Many people eat at the cheap food malls on the base, but very few people drink tea and coffee at the lounge and outdoor observation deck (named At the Top) on the 148th floor, overlooking Dubai. height. Airplanes rather than buildings. This contrast is emblematic of the incredible wealth that exists in Dubai.
Where did the masons go the night the Great Wall was completed?
Great Rome has many triumphal arches.
who built them?
Who did Caesars win against?
I read a comment somewhere that if Dubai was a book, it would be Cosmopolitan magazine on the cover and The Big Issue (homeless magazine) on the inside. Starting life as a poor village in the desert by the sea, Dubai has grown exponentially since then. For example, “In 1822, a British naval surveyor noted that Dubai at that time had 1,000 people living in an oval city surrounded by earthen walls dotted with goats and camels.” By the 1930s, Dubai had become known for its pearl exports, but “the Great Depression of 1929 and the innovation of cultured pearls devastated the pearl trade. Pearl industry The collapse of Dubai plunged Dubai into a deep recession and many residents either lived in poverty or migrated to other parts of the Persian Gulf. had already begun a period of infrastructure development and expansion in the 1950s based on revenues from trading activities (such as gold trading), but offshore oil discoveries were more prevalent than construction projects in the 1970s. set the tone for new rapid growth in
This growth was fueled by income from oil and gold, but relied primarily on cheap labor from developing countries. The treatment of thousands of Dubai’s workers has been the subject of numerous reports and documentaries, including Human Rights Watch (whose living conditions were described as “inhumane”) and the documentary Slaves of Dubai (2009). I’m here.
In an article titled “What Is Modern Slavery in Dubai and How Does It Affect You?” It is stated that:
“More than 88.5% of UAE residents are foreign workers, and immigrants from South Asia make up 42.5% of the UAE workforce. […] These migrants are usually illiterate and come from poor rural areas of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. […] Eager to move to Dubai and start earning money to send back to their families, they take out loans of up to $3,000 from unscrupulous recruitment agencies to pay for exorbitant “visa fees” ( This is actually illegal, the recruitment agency will cover these costs) and board your flight to Dubai, excited about your new life in the glitzy emirate. But when they land in Dubai, it’s a different story. Driven to a dirty slum outside Dubai where 45 men share his one outdoor bathroom and more than 10 sleep in a room, their passports are confiscated and he is actually forced to spend 14 a day. We are told that we will be working an hour, 6 or 7 days. A week in the desert sun.
Cramped living conditions and low wages have also contributed to rising suicide rates.
The International Institute for Strategic Analysis reports that the Kafala sponsorship system plays a key role in the exploitation of workers.
“Kafala is a popular system in the Gulf States that gives private individuals and companies responsibility and oversight over their workers. The kafala system involves withholding workers’ passports to regulate their residency and employment, and employers can control migrant workers’ salaries, living conditions, nutrition, He has almost complete control over his ability to work elsewhere, and even to return home.
The treatment of citizens is very different from the situation of foreign workers.
“In 2018, the UAE alone was estimated to have had 7 million workers. While over 90% of the private sector workforce is made up of foreign workers, UAE citizens continue to hold stable and relatively well-paid jobs in the vast public sector of Citizens face restrictions on their human rights, but the country offers generous housing allowances, access to free education and health services, a It provides citizens with a wide range of social benefits, such as preferential treatment in labor and higher salaries.
It also reported that “domestic workers are subject to various forms of exploitation and violence, including sexual, physical and psychological abuse.”
Was Byzantium, so celebrated in song, only a palace for its inhabitants?
Even in the fabled Atlantis, the night the sea swallowed it,
The drowning still cried out for slaves.
Young Alexander conquered India.
was he alone?
Caesar defeated the Gauls.
Didn’t he even have a cook?
Labor conditions and Dubai’s rapid building growth and expansion are tied to tourism, as many projects rely on sales to foreign tourists and investors. It has been sold and resold after completion without an investor visiting Dubai. Every shopping mall has a selling point with a sleek screen with his 3D map of Dubai and properties for sale. Sales assistants are usually from Eastern Europe. Dubai has become one of the “world’s top tourist destinations” and tourism is now one of Dubai’s main sources of income, so there is no shortage of potential customers. The city “had 14.9 million guests in 2016 and was her fourth-most-visited city in the world in 2018, based on international visitor numbers.”
Philip of Spain cried when his Armada was shot down.
Was he the only one who cried?
Frederick II wins the Seven Years’ War.
who else won?
A win for every page.
Who made a feast for the winners?
A once-in-a-decade great.
Who paid the bill?
Dubai’s most interesting areas are those where the workers themselves live, work and shop. Deira, for example, is a historic district whose population consists mainly of natives from Pakistan and India. Deira has many markets such as Murshid Souk, Spice Souk, Deira Covered Souk and Gold Souk. Leather goods stores, shoe stores, supermarkets, barbershops, butchers, cafes and family restaurants line the town’s sidewalks. Compared to the soulless atmosphere of more affluent neighborhoods, Deira’s large population of African, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers and their families enjoys the friendly clerks and the convivial atmosphere of its indoor and outdoor restaurants. lively group.
so many reports.
so many questions.
future of dubai
There is no doubt that Dubai creates a particular set of circumstances economically, geographically and geopolitically. It takes advantage of its central position in relations with Europe, Africa and Asia as an international meeting place for international trade and travel. Dubai benefits from the UAE’s diplomatic move to downplay regional differences.
The United Arab Emirates is revisiting its foreign policy objectives to strengthen global trading partnerships and ensure security and political stability by replacing strong military intervention and proxy politics with dialogue and diplomacy. doing.[…] Differences between the United Arab Emirates and Iran, Turkey and Qatar remain strong. However, the United Arab Emirates is realizing that the lack of healthy bilateral dialogue with regional powers will make progress towards de-escalation more difficult. After her decade of regional conflict and proxy politics, the country recognizes that the differing policies of regional players should not hinder diplomatic cooperation.
But in an era of rising temperatures and rising sea levels, the question must be how hot Dubai will get and how this coastal city will cope with erosion and flooding. Dubai’s survival depends on massive electricity consumption to keep air conditioning, trains and services in very large buildings, with more buildings currently planned for future development.
Even locals have always felt uneasy about Dubai’s future. It is A rover, but his son rides a camel.
I can’t help but feel that oil prices and/or a major collapse of the Western economies will have a serious impact on Dubai’s future. As the saying “The Stone Age didn’t end for lack of stone” (which has as obscure an origin as Dubai itself) points out, new technologies will significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels in the future. All these potential changes do not bode well for the future of Dubai’s reliance on tourism, oil and gold trade. If, as some believe, Dubai is ultimately an unsustainable vanity project instigated by a very small group of ultra-rich, then the city is (in multiple ways) abandoned. , Dubai itself could become the world’s largest open-air museum. world.
DissidentVoice.org, 10 March. Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist, lecturer and writer. His work consists of paintings based on contemporary geopolitical themes, as well as Irish history and the Dublin cityscape.