Dubai: The Mecca of Capitalism In The Middle East

TT IS PRETTY TOUGH TO FIND any material from the mainstream media shedding a bad light on the United Arab Emirates (UAE,) but it is out there, you just have to really search for it. The UAE is experiencing exponential growth but it’s pretending to be something that it isn’t. The entire country caters to the global elite tourist industry that floods in from the developed (wealthier western) countries first. All of the super tall 5-star hotels, humongous malls and immaculate apartment towers are made just for the global elites to buy and enjoy; turning it into a gated theme park for the rich and famous. The people who built those landmarks, the construction workers (the expats) are shuffled under the million dollar rug and their existence in the Oasis is completely expunged from the news.

The authoritarian government of the UAE tries really hard to hide the bad press and they intentionally multiply the “good stuff” to keep all the tourist money flowing in. The Sheikh’s office tries to ban all of the controversial stories about the UAE. (If you’re there now, you wouldn’t be able to find anything negative or controversial on the internet… Just like in Saudi Arabia, China or North Korea, the access to the internet is very limited and censored.) With all of this happening, the bad press gets washed out by the storm of state-sponsored tourist related publications. The government wants to keep its seemingly perfect reputation exactly how it is and the #1 reason you wont find anything negative is because it’s about the sacred Mecca of Capitalism. Of course I’m talking about the city of Dubai.

The Emirate of Dubai to be more specific. A grandiose safe haven for corporate tax cuts. The reputation of the entire country, as well as the city’s, is protected by multi-billionaires who have some influential control over what’s put into print and what isn’t. Anything negative about Dubai and its partners is not printed. The UAE is a traditional society that financially relies entirely on Western values (money) and tourism. Dubai is a failed mix of Shari’a law traditionalism and Western capitalist individualism and has left the destination which is now known, incorrectly, as the “Center of the Universe.”

“[Dubai] has become a real… Mecca.”

–Richard Branson, Owner of Virgin

We all want the same things, we all aspire to be somebody.

–Mohamed Alabbar, Owner of Emaar Properties

It’s illegal in Dubai to be part of a union or to strike at all. This is detrimental to the expatriate (expat) population because once they arrive there for work, they automatically have no rights. They’re stuck with “less than a dollar an hour… living on virtual slave wages… 500,000 foreign workers are being systematically abused and cheated.” They have their “passports withheld.” They are “not free to leave the job, they need employer consent… just to go back to their home country.” There’s so much “prostitution, camel jockeys, over-crowded labor camps and underground gay nightclubs…”

At the end of this video the crew gets searched and their possessions are confiscated by Emarati officials. Is this Nazi Germany or Dubai? Prostitution is such a major taboo in Dubai. So much so that the whole industry is limited to virtual (online) interactions or illegal underground night clubs. Observers of Shari’a law seem to just turn a “blind eye” towards the unjustified saturation of the Western civilization in their country. A seemingly tolerant society, like the UAE, must paint itself as free and easy living otherwise people will start to question authority. They should either accept Western values for what they are because that’s what made them so rich, or they should revert back to traditionalist ways and don’t try to pretend like you’re something that you’re not.

I found a website for a gay Arabic escort who does work in Dubai, Australia and Europe. I met him on Instagram. One of his blogs goes over the differences between Prostitution and Escorting. It’s very interesting. In his blog he notes that being a prostitute in many countries is illegal and therefor if you intend to get paid for your sex-work, you must be an escort. Simple as that.

Next I want to mention Alicia Gali. She was raped while working in the UAE — an act that is becoming more and more commonplace — as an expat and when she went to her Australian consulate, she didn’t(or couldn’t) get any help. It’s a pretty emotional story compared to the previous videos but I think everyone should hear her story. She was in prison for 8 months before getting deported back to Australia for being raped.

Here is a Human Rights Watch report from 2015 about the UAE. As you’ll see, nothing has changed there. It is still relativley a dangerous place to be.

In January 2014, authorities denied entry to a Human Rights Watch staff member and placed two others on the blacklist as they left the country in the immediate aftermath of the release of Human Rights Watch’s 2014 World Report. According to UAE immigration law, the blacklist includes the names of individuals prohibited to enter the country “for being dangerous to public security.”

–Human Rights Watch

Canada is the #1 destination for Emirati nationals looking to expatriate… I wonder why? Maybe it’s because of Canada’s devotion to multiculturalism and its acceptance of all people, regardless of their religion or sexuality or maybe it’s because Canada is also a mirrored safe haven for corporate tax cuts just like the UAE is? If the latter is the case then the transition between the two countries isn’t as tough, you know, financially? Right? That’s just the one speculation I have. The rest I have shared with you is 100% fact based.

Whatever the reason may be and as glitzy as Dubai tries to be, with all its super tall buildings and its naturally occurring immaculate weather, it does not make up for the fact that it is still a barbaric and dreadfully wicked place to be. Packed full of absurdly selfish billionaires which don’t do any good for the rest of world.

Header credit: Getty Images

Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s