United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a state to the east of Saudi Arabia. The country is another resource-rich Gulf Arab monarchy with massive amount of wealth but a human rights shithole at the same time. UAE consists of seven emirates, but Dubai and its capital
discount Dubai Abu Dhabi are mostly all that's relevant. Dubai is a symbol of authoritarian regimes thriving on the neoliberal world system and globalization, much like Singapore. Barely 20 years ago Dubai was a middle of nowhere, and now it houses the tallest building in the world. The UAE is Saudi Arabia's bitch, and Qatar is its arch nemesis.
"The Notorious U.A.E." is known for having no concept whatsoever of human rights and humanism. It actively conducts modern-day slavery and human trafficking, by importing helpless workers from South and Southeast Asia, and its poor Arab neighbors. Of a population around 9 million, 58% is from South Asia and around 16% is from other parts of Asia, leaving only around 16% of native Emiratis who live off cheap labor of the migrant workers. Migrants have no rights of collective action to demand better working conditions. If workers cause trouble, they will be easily deported and human traffickers from each of the sending countries will prepare the replacement out of the endless pool of low skilled workers. There's also notorious child slavery, conducted by trafficking young boys from impoverished neighbors and forcing them to work as camel jockeys. The UAE also has strict censorship of the media, and human rights activism will land you in jail or detention centers in no time. Activist Iyad El-Baghdadi was deported for tweeting.
Wahhabism is prominent in the UAE, and the country has legislation based on strict interpretations of Sharia. It implements the hudud penal code which enables corporal punishments such as flogging and stoning. Homosexuals and apostasy are punishable by the death penalty, and adultery (if found out) is considered a grave sin which is applicable for non-Muslims as well. Many Western migrants are convicted for being raped.
The UAE, unlike its big boss Saudi Arabia or rival Qatar, is known for attracting the fanfare of neocons and neoliberals alike,
because of in spite of the aforementioned human rights violations. Westerners are especially attracted to Dubai, and the city is among the top 10 most visited cities on earth. This is most likely due to their cunning PR strategy in full effect, and not supporting overseas Jihadism led to much less negative coverage among the Western media, which is obsessed with terrorism. Ayaan Hirsi Ali seems to think of the UAE as a role model for Muslim countries in the region, which is just appalling.
Dubai, an emirate/city in the UAE, has lots of money and so has tried to bootstrap itself from medieval theocracy to respected first-world-quality world citizen. This has been less than convincing in many cases.
Dubai has the highest per-capita income in the world, if you don't count all the poor people shipped in to do the actual work, and is currently home to the tallest building in the world.
- Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - archives of articles related to modern-day slavery in UAE.
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- As it was called on Air America back in the day
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- Detained In Dubai: Cat Le-Huy
- The Burj Khalifa
- Dubai: the new Iceland? (Eirikur Bergmann, Guardian, 2009-11-27)