22 April, 2006

Syriana - fact or fiction?

Independent Online Edition
Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have cut a number of scenes from Syriana over fears that the Oscar-winning film starring George Clooney is too realistic in its depiction of Arab states mistreating poor migrant workers.

When the film opened last week, two minutes of footage showing Asian oil workers in an unspecified Arab country being fired and later beaten by police as they queued for work were noticeably absent from cinemas in Dubai.
"Too realistic?" When have you ever read about workers in the UAE being fired? Or beaten by police?

The reality is that the labor abuse in the UAE takes a much more subtle form: Firms that fail to pay their workers and yet do not give them a release so that they pursue a new job. And enforcement agencies that never beat workers, but do consistently fail to have the resources or resolve to enforce the worker's rights to be paid as promised. This is going on everyday, and it frequently makes the news.

But that doesn't make for a gripping story. So you make stuff up. I guess when you are trying to draw the world's attention to the treatment of low income workers in the UAE, lying is acceptable.

Meanwhile, the only audiences that won't see those censored scenes are the ones who would most likely recognize them as bogus.


Anonymous said...

dvd? pirate or original.

John B. Chilton said...

Anonymous - There's another irony. The pirated version is available here, and uncensored of course.

trailingspouse said...

Of course by cutting the scenes of firing and beating workers, it will only confirm the suspicions of those outside the UAE that this sort of thing goes on. A case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't." What would have been more accurate is a scene of some poor soul stringing himself up because he can't pay his debts.

Anonymous said...

JBC, no i didn't know that, i saw the pirated version that some1 got me from malaysia.
thanks for the output.

Doubleletter said...

Sure, so that sort of injustice doesn't happen, but _the other sort_ does. Oh wait, its not injustice. It is ... how it is :)

(note the sarcasm)

farrukh: copywriter & journalist said...

Good point, John.

The damage will be done around the world, and we in Dubai will not evven know what people are talking about, because we didn;t see those scenes, in reel life or real life.

But I like the portrayal of Arabs in the movie, specially the main Sheikh - very good handling I think. Some parts of the movie are cryptic I feel though.

archer14 said...

Pirates have reaped a windfall in profits. People have heir mind numbed by the kaleidescopic editing. Anyway, it's a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Except for the editor, that is.

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