The PGA Men’s tour is in Doha, Qatar this week for the 54-hole Qatar Masters. I asked hubby if he could imagine the LPGA playing in either Qatar or Dubai. How would a woman play golf on the Arabian Peninsula in an abaya, the traditional dress for women there. After some research, I see that the LPGA 2013 tour does indeed include a tournament in Dubai, and no, they will not play in the traditional Emirates garb. However, while Western women may walk the streets in western clothing, exposing skin (as in shorts, including golf shorts) it is greatly frowned upon. You are expected to dress conservatively, but if you are a Western women playing on the European Tour, supported by the PGA, with international television cameras, not the least of which are major US networks and the Golf Channel, you are a part of the big lie. Westerners, both men and women playing golf on the dazzling, lushly green gems lying serenely in the Arabian desert, are part of the fiction – the glittering face shown to the world, hiding the reality of life for women living under Sharia law – countries which place little value on human life, and especially the lives of young girls. Shame on the PGA and the LPGA for allowing their profession to be used as a beautiful visual to trick the mind and hide the Islamic lie. So, how did Dubai and Doha build their blindingly beautiful cities – who built the soaring buildings?
After my conversation with hubby, I visited Always on Watch and stumbled onto a video of a BBC report showing how Dubai was built on the backs of so-called bonded laborers. Poor men from India, Pakistan, Bengal and elsewhere, thought they were coming to Dubai to work for pre-arranged and decent wages, enabling them to send money to their families back home. When they arrive, according to the BBC report, their passports are taken, their wages are far less than promised, and they have no way to get back home, or out of their contract. They live in squalor, filthy huts, one toilet and two showers for 48 workers, while locals sweep through the sparkling streets in their flowing white robes and at least one of their wives strolling along (probably 10 paces behind, depending on the benevolence of the husband). The video linked above could easily be the story of Qatar:
The 146-page report, “Building a Better World Cup: Protecting Migrant Workers in Qatar Ahead of FIFA 2022,” examines a recruitment and employment system that effectively traps many migrant workers in their jobs. The problems they face include exorbitant recruitment fees, which can take years to pay off, employers’ routine confiscation of worker passports, and Qatar’s restrictive sponsorship system that gives employers inordinate control over their employees. Workers’ high debts and the restrictions they face if they want to change employers often effectively force them to accept jobs or working conditions they did not agree to in their home countries, or to continue work under conditions of abuse, Human Rights Watch found. Workers face obstacles to reporting complaints or seeking redress, and the abuses often go undetected by government authorities.
“Workers building stadiums won’t benefit from Qatar’s general promise to end the sponsorship system: they need a deadline for this to happen before their work for the FIFA games starts,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The government needs to ensure that the cutting edge, high-tech stadiums it’s planning to build for World Cup fans are not built on the backs of abused and exploited workers.”
Human Rights Watch found that Qatar has one of the most restrictive sponsorship laws in the Gulf region, as workers cannot change jobs without their employer’s permission, regardless of whether they have worked two years or 20, and all workers must get their sponsoring employer to sign an “exit permit” before they can leave the country. Saudi Arabia is the only other Gulf country that retains the problematic exit permit system, while other countries now allow workers to change jobs after serving out their contract or after a two-to-three-year period with their first employer. In May, Deputy Labor Minister Hussein al-Mulla announced that Qatar may replace the sponsorship system with contracts between employers and employees, but failed to specify how these contracts could replace current immigration laws or whether workers would be entitled to switch jobs. Source
There is something deeply sinister about Dubai luxury, even more so since the local economy went into spectacular decline with the sovereign debt default in 2009. Fawning staff (almost exclusively expatriate) encircle you from the moment you arrive. From handler to driver to receptionist to concierge, the over-the-top attention is underpinned not by a dedication to a superlative service, but by fear.
If there is a problem, grovelling apologies are proffered and olive branches extended – all to prevent a complaint that in today’s economic climate almost certainly means dismissal or extreme chastisement. People, nationalities and jobs exist in silos, isolated from each other. You can be in Dubai for days and not interact with a local.
It seems to me a place where the worst of western capitalism and the worst of Gulf Arab racism meet in a horrible vortex. The most pervasive feeling is of a lack of compassion, where the commoditisation of everything and the disdain for certain nationalities thickens the skin to the tragic plight of fellow human beings.
Psychologically, these workers are isolated and alienated; practically, they are trapped by draconian sponsorship laws in the UAE, and in debt to agents back home. This is exacerbated by the fact that there is such little enforceable employment law in these markets. Such economies have developed so rapidly that social and civic attitudes have not kept pace, and the sponsorship system is open to abuse and still victimises migrant workers throughout the Gulf
Hello! The World Cup is paying attention, although I doubt it matters, and note that I do not hold them up as a exemplary example of anything, but this is the right thing to do. Something is very wrong within the PGA and the LPGA. Find another desert, one without caste-conscience bedouins and Sharia Law, please. Source.