06 April, 2009

BBC One airs Slumdogs and Millionaires tonight

BBC:
The branding of Dubai has to be one of the greatest PR triumphs of the past 20 years.

It works out incredibly well for the developers - they can charge first world fortunes for the dream villas and apartments, but pay third world salaries to the men actually building them.

Many in Dubai say that this is just globalisation working, and that while the lives of the workers, and the salaries they are paid, look bad to us, to them, where they come from, it's good.

This excuse doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

The story of Dubai's immigrant construction workers shocks and depresses in several different stages. The poor and often illiterate men, who come here in their millions from the Indian sub-continent, are getting exploited from so many different angles that it's sometimes hard to know who to be angry at.
The program airs in the UK on Panorama: Slumdogs and Millionaires, BBC One, Monday 6 April at 8.30pm.

Yes, there are abuses and the downturn in the economy has played a role. But on the whole these workers are here because it's better than the alternative of being home. Why else are they upset when there is talk of limiting the amount of time an expat can work in the country? And when considering how poorly they live consider that most are sending home a large portion of what they earn.

54 comments:

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Why else are they upset when there is talk of limiting the amount of time an expat can work in the country?

Exactly. And I'm sorry, but this is globalization. And it is the best crutch does live up to scrutiny.

No worse than nike making balls in Vietnam, or workers dismantling old western ships in Bangladesh, or Mercedes parts being manufactured in Iran. (yeah, I was as surprised as you probably are)

I find it funny that this kind of annoyance comes from a nation that basically enslaved the whole world at one point. Very very funny.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff by BBC, the plight of workers needs to be addressed. As for the poster’s points …

QUOTE on the whole these workers are here because it's better than the alternative of being home.

Or they have been DUPED into thinking it would be better than home and into paying a fortune in illegal fees to come here and now cannot afford to leave?

QUOTE Why else are they upset when there is talk of limiting the amount of time an expat can work in the country?

Do you really think they even know about this discussion or care!

QUOTE And when considering how poorly they live consider that most are sending home a large portion of what they earn.

Do you have a family? doesn't a large portion of your income go towards them - even if they were not living with you? Should you need to starve to try to provide for your family? Do you have sewage leaking all over your poorly equipped "labour camp"? Are you forced to share a cramped overcrowded room? Is your employer underpaying your agreed wage? Is your passport kept from you? Are you terrified of complaining if you are treated badly and don’t even know who to complain too?

There is NO excuse for even a single worker to suffer the above. The government needs to crack down hard on companies that are not looking after their employees properly and amend any weak laws. Globalization should be for the benefit of the less fortunate not their exploitation!

Mathan said...

i have noticed your comments on response to BBC panarama programme. The media which you know showing Dubai not as iran or vietnam. are they? never. it always dragged up to sky to attract westerners or investors to invest money to make your market bigger . such a shame dubai like a growing ecconomy treated its workers like this. this is not the first time i have heard of it. thank you to bbc for your most courageous work indeed.


i think you never seen any developed country before except dubai. there are countries they are still treating people equally and providing food and medical support sufficiently as they needed.

another global financial crisis waiting for you dubai!!!

Rose in Dubai said...

>>from a nation that basically enslaved the whole world at one point<<

Get over it. Stop whining about stuff that was done over a hundred years ago by people who haven't been alive for at least a couple of generations. And maybe the UK knows better than anyone what the long terms costs of slavery are and are well placed to advise others.

"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it"

nick said...

Managed to find a way to watch this, but you need to have Apple Quicktime installed or a suitable player to watch the downloaded file.

1) Visit http://po-ru.com/diary/iplayer-downloads-for-the-masses/ and download the 'ipdl.exe' file
2) Run the program and in the Programme ID path put in "http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00jqgww/b00jqgpc/Panorama_Slumdogs_and_Millionaires/" (without quotes) and click 'Download'. The video will then be downloaded for you to watch offline.

Mods can remove this post if it infringes any rules.

One World Travels said...

A Blessing in Tragedy is right. The 'Western' can usually be found on the contributing end of these issues.
I know for a fact that a lot of folks in India are happy for the considerable monies that trickle into the home coffers thanks to their sons and daughters working as 'labourers' in Dubai.
These guys just don't get the currency difference, do they.

- Casey Andrews

Anonymous said...

Hi Nick,
I tried it but doesn't download? it says file is currently unavailable!

Any other advise?

thanks

Media Junkie said...

@nic:
it doesn't accept the download, saying it's not available.

nick said...

Try again later? Fairly new program so might not be available just yet - worked without a hitch for me...strange!

Media Junkie said...

i'll try it again from home. perhaps its not able to from office.

Omar said...

nick it won't let me download it also, I'm at home it says same error as Media Junkie describe =(

Lirun said...

i thought they were upset because they were charged an enormous upfront amount to get there on the belief that they would make more once they arrived and then they discover that their return on investment is much slower than anticipated and need time to repay the debt they generated just to get there.. but i may be wrong..

Anonymous said...

@nick ... care to upload it to megashare or something similar so everyone can watch?>

Anonymous said...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-dark-side-of-dubai-1664368.html

nick said...

Sorry if you guys are facing problems with the download! Will try to ferret it online somewhere for download - stay tuned!

Bob, NY said...

John Chilton,

since you find their working conditions quite acceptable, I'm sure you would have no problem if your son or daughter worked and lived like these workers do, true?

Or is it fine only for South Asians to work under these conditions, and not caucasians?

You write like the colonialist you are.

BuJassem said...

typical crap churned by some "journalists".. when the going is good, you wanna piece of the piece.. but when they finish the cake, you start to badmouth the chef.

Anonymous said...

BuJassem said...
typical crap churned by some "journalists".. when the going is good, you wanna piece of the piece.. but when they finish the cake, you start to badmouth the chef.

LOL. So true. As we do at wedding, now?

Emirati said...

Its all Dubai's fault.

The responsibility of the visa agents is never discussed. These are the idiots charging the visa fees and lying to the workers about their salaries.

WRT setting a minimum wage, thats not going to happen.

I'll be very happy when Britain truly pays for the 600 years of bloodshed at its hands and still being spilt (Iraq 2003). You dont get to lecture others when youve done so much and killed so many people.

Especially to a more peaceful, more civilized country like the UAE which does not participate in your murderous savage warfare.

Mathan said...

"I'll be very happy when Britain truly pays for the 600 years of bloodshed at its hands and still being spilt (Iraq 2003). You dont get to lecture others when youve done so much and killed so many people."


back to 600 years..that was the time of colonisation or time of exploring new places or discovering new ideas from nothing.those days all the countries divided part by part whole world.britian was the dominant power since roamns in the past.nobody could blame britain and dare to question them " why did you do tht". hw come india became english colony? french invaded india . even portugese did. why ppl making fuzz against britain. that was the time nations and kings fighting face to face to get their reputation. that days over... i am indian who lived in britain almost 5 years.from my experience i would like to say the country which treating its people equally and supporting their old colonies especially third world countries..thts britain..and also nothing to do with BBC wht britian had done in the past .its a free telecommunication channel always stood alone for truth and values i believe....not like your corrupted emirates..

BuJassem said...

typo oops! i meant "piece of the pie"...

BuJassem said...

Emirati.. true.. but as I was telling a friend yesterday all big empires in history relied on slave labour starting from the Egyptians to the Romans to the Portugese, the Spanish, the Brits of course, etc..

I believe the Pope apologised to the slaves a few years back!

Also front page of GN.. seems the British government is taking these reports seriously and distancing themselves from it! very unusual, usually it's no comment.

http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/General/10302242.html

BuJassem said...

the point of the slave labour was that other more established powers shouldn't be so quick to criticise.. rather than say we have a slave market.. when in fact we're trying to be transparent and give workers their rights. however it's difficult for the uae to govern what goes on in countries where the labour come from.

Anonymous said...

http://www.zerosec.ws/panorama-s57e14-ws-pdtv-xvid-aaf/

Anonymous said...

600 years? There is a country much closer to Britain/England than India that has had a much longer history...but let us not go there.

What surprises me about all of this is that people seem surprised - all countries have their problems, I will not deny that Dubai has many, many problems but what country doesn't? Yes, there is a lot that needs to be done but that is the same in every country. Does anyone remember the Morecambe Bay cocklers? Or the problems courts have faced with corporate manslaughter cases in the west?

Yes, there are abuses and these should be exposed - and it would be good to see the prosecutors/ courts take an active role in this and have signifant penalties in place for abuses but where does the blame rest? It would be good to see investigative journalism about these matters coming from UAE based organisations - I look forward to the day that we see this coming from the UAE (happy also to see UAE investigative journalims of other countries).

With those of us who choose to live here (and who in our own countries choose to turn a blind eye to those less fortunate), the state/rulers, the countries from which the non-nationals have all come (or the more recent ones as I'm not sure what you do if you a 2nd generation ex-pat living here) for lacking something (or else we would still be there - even if we are here just because of wanderlust).

nick said...

I've uploaded it to Youtube, but it's under process..will post the link soon or you can do a search in a couple of hours for it.

Emirati said...

"back to 600 years..that was the time of colonisation or time of exploring new places or discovering new ideas from nothing.those days all the countries divided part by part whole world.britian was the dominant power since roamns in the past.nobody could blame britain and dare to question them " why did you do tht". hw come india became english colony? french invaded india . even portugese did. why ppl making fuzz against britain. that was the time nations and kings fighting face to face to get their reputation. that days over... i am indian who lived in britain almost 5 years.from my experience i would like to say the country which treating its people equally and supporting their old colonies especially third world countries..thts britain..and also nothing to do with BBC wht britian had done in the past .its a free telecommunication channel always stood alone for truth and values i believe....not like your corrupted emirates.."

First of all, learn to speak English properly so I can have an easier time answering you. Secondly, kindly stop worshipping your Imperial masters who subjugated and Humiliated your populace for several hundred years.

And dont talk about corruption my Indian friend, the UAE, a far more lawful country than yours, has laws and regulations that will be carried out in force, and which exist to protect all of its workers. The government will clamp down on any companies which violate human labour laws, if complaints are forwarded to the ministry of labour, and if it is within our jurisdiction to carry out something, we will do that.

It is in addition a much more peaceful country which does not spill blood (again, like your stratified highly unequal country and society).

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

First of all, learn to speak English properly so I can have an easier time answering you.

Let him learn to speak Arabic 1st. Last I checked this wasnt the Uniter English Emirates.

Anonymous said...

Nick,

By any chance, did you manage to upload on youtube? Please post the link

Thanks

Anonymous said...

And dont talk about corruption my Indian friend, the UAE, a far more lawful country than yours, has laws and regulations that will be carried out in force, and which exist to protect all of its workers. The government will clamp down on any companies which violate human labour laws, if complaints are forwarded to the ministry of labour, and if it is within our jurisdiction to carry out something, we will do that.

Emirati: when you refer to workers you refer to your countrymen right! The only group of people whose rights the government does anything to protect are a bunch of lazy nincompoops who want to get paid just for showing up to work and can't be fired regardless of whatever they do or don't.

Also before you point your fingers at corruption in other countries please open any newspaper today and refer to the article on the ex-minister in the dock for embezzlement/corruption.

Anonymous said...

Well the whole worker part is sad and nothing justify it. Irrespective of how there situation is back home. If they treated badly back home it does not give the right to people here to treat them this way.
However this is the problem with all big cities from london to mumbai to tokya. As for slave trade and claim it does not exist in the uk is all bull shit the nike shoes you wear are made at sweatshops in china. Mayabe not in uk but abetting a crime as good as doing it.
As for the emarati crticising india and talking about law. UAE is rules by the royals here india is a democracy. so the law can do anything here which not be right and people have to accept it. atleast in india you can protest. as for corruption in uae corruption is legal. so no one is called corrupt its just called deals.

Emirati said...

Blessing,

يا ريت والله بس محد يبى يتعلم اللغة

BuJassem said...

لول يا امارتي

ينفعلك تكون مستبد / دكتاتور محترف :P

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Emirati said...
Blessing,

يا ريت والله بس محد يبى يتعلم اللغة

Change ALL signs in the UAE to be Arabic only. That would be a great 1st start Imagine people trying to get from Jebel Ali to Dubai Festival City with only Arabic street signs!

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Bob, NY said...
John Chilton,

since you find their working conditions quite acceptable, I'm sure you would have no problem if your son or daughter worked and lived like these workers do, true?

Or is it fine only for South Asians to work under these conditions, and not caucasians?

You write like the colonialist you are.

And so what if he is a colonialist? what if he were a Nazi? God forbid someone not agree with you and have his opposing argument make sense.

No, of course he doesnt want his kids in those conditions. That is why he probably has worked long and hard to invest in their future so that they dont have to.

Its simple really, not everyone can be a king, and a few can be princes, and a bit more can be GMs or MDs, and a bit more (enter job titles here)

In the end, if you can hardly speak your OWN language, have no real skills, and have no real plans for development, yes, then these conditions are the best you will get.

And they are, As a few have stated, their pay and/or conditions here are MUCH better than they would make at home.

So basically, in your hippy speak, you want us NOT to give workers jobs. So that this country doent get things built, and those workers and their families die of starvation.

Trust me, I know people who make 200K a month, and people who make 900 AED. Everything is relative, and the guy making 900 is very thankful for that 900, because his only other alternative was $4 a month at home.

Now if the very ideas of globalization and the capitalist state annoy you... more to China. lol. I "hear" all are treated there with perfect equality.

If that isnt an option... you're only left with the cool-aid my friend.

Al-ain Rose said...

they don't have to learn Arabic coz simply they don't need it.
بدون فلسفه لو سمحتوا

Mathan said...

@mirati..

go and watch the documentary first. now save your words for your country;i will get you answer when come back.

i think there isnt any possible way to watch other channels in your country..yea even websites too..

:) go to india where there is no media regulations and come back to dubai to speak.lol

Anonymous said...

If it hadn't been for the British only 50 years ago most of the local emirates would still be illeterate, with no schools and not to much of a life. This nation struck Oil 50 years back and has been exploiting people since. This is modern day slavery.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Al-ain Rose said...
they don't have to learn Arabic coz simply they don't need it.

BUt I like Falsafa!

Actually no one learns Arabic here because the govt has made it way too easy to function without it. The street signs should only be in Arabic, the shop signs, public departments... Everything. if you are going to move to an ARAB country, you should be able to speak ARABIC.

It isnt rocket science.

CY said...

ABIT - couldn't agree more on the use of Arabic. Quite frustrating trying to learn Arabic in Dubai - I've used more Arabic in the last four days in Bahrain than I have in a year in Dubai.

BuJassem said...

ABT, you're very right about Arabic, but I learnt that in the UK until very recently people were getting british passports without actually speaking the english language!

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

BuJassem said...
ABT, you're very right about Arabic, but I learnt that in the UK until very recently people were getting british passports without actually speaking the english language!

Oh I saw Mexicans in Arizona who were given citizenship without knowing a single word of English... So I believe that.

Sad.

nick said...

Wonderful - after an eternity waiting for a 300MB video to upload to Boobtube, it's been rejected because it's longer than 10 minutes - ARGH!! Does anyone know any GOOD video streaming service that doesn't have these ridiculous restrictions? I'd prefer to have the video stream from somewhere rather than having people download a 300MB video on crappy internet lines...

nzm said...

Nick:

Try Vimeo or Kontain.

Vimeo has a weekly limit of 500mb per customer, so you should be ok there.

Not sure if there's limits with Kontain - I couldn't see any info on this after a quick glance at their site.

nick said...

Vimeo: video deleted...they asked me if I was part of the BBC crew who produced the video!!

Kontain: file size limit of 150MB

Stuff this - I'm just going to upload it somewhere and post the link in a new post - bah!

Al-ain Rose said...

BUt I like Falsafa!

Actually no one learns Arabic here because the govt has made it way too easy to function without it. The street signs should only be in Arabic, the shop signs, public departments... Everything. if you are going to move to an ARAB country, you should be able to speak ARABIC.
...
yeah it's clear that u love falsefa.
english is an international lang. Arabic is NOT, they don't have to learn it just cuz of the fact that they leave in our country + they are here to work & get money not to learn. ok, imagine that all signs are changed into Aurdo, would u be able to deal with it? lol,no, then,, that's it.. once again, ما في داعي للفلسفه :)

samuraisam said...

Part 1

Part 2

samuraisam said...

Part3

Part 4

Anonymous said...

Blood is split every day in the UAE becuase the law is not upheld. The AD police advising that cameras on the Abu Dhabi - Dubai roadare set at 160, so its ok to speedup to tht, rediculous. The lazy police do nothing to enforce traffic laws and emiratis routinely get their fines quashed in any case - thanks to phone-a-friend option. The emirati would got a joke sentance for running over a scottish lady just shows this. In UK even cheifs of police and the royal family have been done for speeding. Would NEVER happen here.

You are 7x more likely to die on the roads here than the UK. And call this place civilised? Many people are too imature an selfish here to handle anything faster than a camel.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Al-ain Rose said...
BUt I like Falsafa!

Actually no one learns Arabic here because the govt has made it way too easy to function without it. The street signs should only be in Arabic, the shop signs, public departments... Everything. if you are going to move to an ARAB country, you should be able to speak ARABIC.
...
yeah it's clear that u love falsefa.
english is an international lang. Arabic is NOT, they don't have to learn it just cuz of the fact that they leave in our country + they are here to work & get money not to learn. ok, imagine that all signs are changed into Aurdo, would u be able to deal with it? lol,no, then,, that's it.. once again, ما في داعي للفلسفه :)

Im sure signs in India are not in Arabic. Your logic is flawed. You never studied falsafa did you? I will loan you a few books if you'd like! (Im serious btw)

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Anonymous said...
Blood is split every day in the UAE becuase the law is not upheld. The AD police advising that cameras on the Abu Dhabi - Dubai roadare set at 160, so its ok to speedup to tht, rediculous. The lazy police do nothing to enforce traffic laws and emiratis routinely get their fines quashed in any case - thanks to phone-a-friend option. The emirati would got a joke sentance for running over a scottish lady just shows this. In UK even cheifs of police and the royal family have been done for speeding. Would NEVER happen here.

You are 7x more likely to die on the roads here than the UK. And call this place civilised? Many people are too imature an selfish here to handle anything faster than a camel.

The speed limit is 85- 95 in northern texas. That is 150ish. So your whole its the speed thing is flawed.

You are much more likely to be in an accident in Arizona than in the UAE. So that one goes out the window as well. (also more likely to get mugged, stabbed, shot, and a car is stollen there every 11 minutes)

Oh thank God that I am one of those Emaratis that can make a call and not have his car taken. I was clocked doing 242 once. and 220 again, and 161. The 161 really annoyed me. REALLY. Why? Because the M3 I was racing DIDNT get caught! GRRR!

BTW, ANYONE has a right to have a judge review tickets. If you didnt know that, not my Broblem!

"Many people are too imature an selfish here to handle anything faster than a camel."

Seing as how 90% of the people here arent from here, Yes I agree, the Indians and Pakistanis and Syrians and British form little towns in godknowswhere-shire do need their cars impounded. You can have a few of the yemeni emaratis from bani yas as well.

"The emirati would got a joke sentance for running over a scottish lady just shows this."

Actually he wouldnt even be sentenced. I think its a month in jail and 200K. And not being muslim (the scottish lady) would her family even be eligible for the 200K? I'm not sure.

Cheers!

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

As for the emarati crticising india and talking about law. UAE is rules by the royals here india is a democracy. so the law can do anything here which not be right and people have to accept it. atleast in india you can protest. as for corruption in uae corruption is legal. so no one is called corrupt its just called deals.

Yes, India is a (kind of) democracy. And democracy is the MOST flawed form of government. You basically force 49% of the population to accept the wishes of the other 51%. Nice.

I would slight my wrists (again) if the UAE ever were to be a democracy. I dont need that. The UAE doesnt need choices being made by stupid average people. Right now choices are made by people who are born and groomed for the position of making choices.

So who would (logically) you trust more? the average man, 1/2 of which are dumber than you, 1/2 of which are smarter (and given the % of error... 2 or 3% who are down right insane)

Or someone who has been trained since 15 or so to be a leader?

Not willing to leave my country's fate in the hand of Abood and Jassoom from bani yas in their Nissan patrols and 900 tires. Sorry.

I'll take my chances with the born leader.

Your push for democracy is FLAWED.

In the UAE corruption is legal? Can you please cite the UAE federal law that legalizes corruption?

Think before you speak. DO NOT answer unless you can supply me with this law. The whole text. DO NOT make a fool of yourself.

Also, lets say (on the off chance) that corruption was 100% legal in the UAE. then there is No issue. It is merely a function under the law and permitted by law.

In India, you claim that corruption is illegal, so the corruption taking part is illegal.

So basically your own argument is flawed. In the UAE you are bitching that LEGAL functions or "deals" are made when in India... ILLEGAL ones are!

Brush up on your logic, because what you said made hardly any (if any) sense.

Susan said...

You may also be interested in my blog posts on this topic at these links:
http://www.amazingwomenrock.com/myblog/an-open-letter-to-johann-hari-of-the-independent.html

http://www.amazingwomenrock.com/myblog/perfect-metaphor-for-love-to-hate-dubai-debate.html

http://www.amazingwomenrock.com/myblog/stick-to-the-facts.-leave-out-the-fiction.html

Susan said...

There's also an article in Kippreport today quoting this blog. You can find it at this link: http://www.kippreport.com/kipp/2009/04/09/fighting-the-dark-side/

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