Thursday, September 21, 2006

This Pot Is Not Melting

There's been a slew of articles over the past week in Gulf News and Al Bayan (AB is GN's Arabic sister paper) dealing with racism in the UAE. I won't argue with the general point that the UAE is racist, indeed, the racism is institutionalised at all levels, and there is a strong tendency towards ghettoisation. Today Gulf News published an English translation of two Al Bayan articles by Ms Maya Rashid Ghadeer, a UAE national.

The general gist is that nationals account for only 21% of the population and they feel that their culture and livelihood is at risk. I won't go into the pros and cons of that here, but I was struck by this comment:

Furthermore, if nationals were to complain against the expatriates, who have more privileges than they do, they would be branded as racist.

I would love to know in what sense expats have more privileges than locals. The only thing I can think of is that non-Muslim expats can get a booze licence and buy pork.

If there are any other privileges we're entitled to, somebody please tell me!

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Blogger Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

I'd like to know that too!

2:45 am  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Well, I can think of a few besides eating pork and drinking beer.

1) Expats can choose to follow any religion they like, and change if they so desire. If an expat wants to be Jewish, it's off with his foreskin and away he goes. Not so easy for a local, who is fortunate enough to skip the first bit, but from there on after its trouble all the way.

2) Expat couples are not forbidden from marrying their non-muslim spouse in a church. Locals are not allowed to marry their, say Russian, bride in church in the UAE.

3) Expats are able to visit the wonderful beaches of Tel Aviv.

4) Expats are able to tolerate cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. Ditto speeches by the Pope (PBUH).

5) Expats will in the future be able to laugh long and loud at the clusterfuck which will become of Dubai's mega-projects.

6) An expat is able to announce his family that he's going to marry a Chinese woman he met last week in the York International Hotel.

7) Expats can be gay without their government giving them drugs to "cure" them.

8) Expats have a good chance of being able to enjoy watching a game of cricket.

9) Expats can bugger off to Sakhalin Island just before Ramadan and laugh as his former colleagues have to starve all day in silence.

8:19 am  
Blogger Dubai@Random said...

I read the article. All the ex-pats who move here can immediately get a place to live, either from their employer, or by buying a place, or by paying rent.

Citizens, on the other hand, have to wait many years for the government to give them their own house.

This is not fair to the Citizens.

5:39 pm  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

@ Random: Beyond belief! What's to stop a young local buying / renting / or getting an employer to provide? I don't know of any country outside the GCC that GIVES land and houses to their citizens. Mind is boggled.

5:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You realise that ex-pats have to pay for these apartments. You transaction. They aren't given to ex-pats free of charge by the government you know.

Are there laws stopping a UAE National from renting or buying an apartment?

If there are, I should perhaps report the UAE nationals who are living in my building!

9:13 am  

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