Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cultural Truths

I came across a newspaper article today that really broke my heart. The rest of this post is going to be a reflection on the cultural truths of Dubai (heavily influenced by my opinion).

Those of you unfamiliar of the Middle East, I'll give you some background information. When a woman is going to have a baby in Dubai, she has to provide concrete evidence that she is married. If she can't provide the hospital with proper documentation, then the baby's custody will be given to the hospital and the woman will be sent to jail. This is standard procedure for all, in fact we had to do the same when Iman was born.

Cruel or harsh as it may seem, it's Dubai's way of preventing unmarried women from getting pregnant (a contraceptive method if you may...)

My heartbreaking story is about a poor Indian house maid who worked at several houses. She "accidentally" became pregnant, and when she couldn’t provide the hospital with a marriage certificate, they took her child and shipped her to jail. Lucky for her, their was an organization, which does social work, who bailed her out of the mess, reunited her with her child and sent her back to her home country.

I can't imagine what the woman must have been through. Having to leave her first born after birth and spend many nights in a jail cell, her future so uncertain. In this part of the world, if you aren't part of the financially secure elite, there is very little that you can do if you have a run in with the law. Fortunately for her, there was escape, but there are so many others... hired maids who are victim to household prostitution and abused by several men. We can choose to ignore this violent reality, but the truth is that maids in Dubai lead very insecure lives. Most of them work for less than minumum wage (actually there is no minimum wage here) and most of them will be victim to regular sexual abuse, not by one, but many men. And when innocent women get impregnated, and choose to give life to their child, they will sentence themselves to imprisonment.

To read the article, please click here.
And also... read this... "My Torture Hell"


At 12:12 AM, Blogger Dariush Alavi said...

Ahh yes, the 'joys' of living in the Middle East. Needless to say, each and every part of the planet has its own share of 'joys', but this was precisely the kind of thing which made me desperate to leave Dubai and live somewhere else.

Thanks for the link to the article, I'll definitely have a look at it.

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous O said...

Ahhh the wonderful benefits of alcahol.


At 4:08 PM, Blogger Dariush Alavi said...

Umm... okay, I've read both articles to which Hina provided links, and I don't get O's alcohol reference. Anyone care to clarify?

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous O said...

The second article "My Torture Hell".

If you take a look at all the weird or unusual things that happen in Dubai ususaly it starts with or contains "the couple while drinkinh alcahaol...", "...the local man was drinking...", etc.

In the article "My Torture Hell" the couple started abusing the maid after drinking.


At 3:41 PM, Blogger Dariush Alavi said...

Ahhh, okay, thanks, I missed that... 'cause I did read the second article very quickly.

But as for the actual point that alcohol leads to abusive behaviour... ummm... that's quite a sweeping generalisation to make, isn't it? It's also very typical of the UAE media to pin abusive behaviour onto 'easy targets' like drugs and booze. Sure, there are plenty of people whose behaviour becomes questionable - to say the least - when they consume alcohol, but, as you know, there are also plenty of people who are able to enjoy a drink without turning into torturers.

At 4:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like i say fuckin Dubai! there's something to be said about a place where the laws (esp regarding women and the powerless) are even worse than in Pakistan.

At 8:07 AM, Anonymous O said...

Actually I wasn't just thinking about torturing, but just that the majority of the crimes reported do involve alcohol; here that is. Again none of the article go out of their way to make alcohol the reason the crime was committed.

Again I am not saying that that alcohol is some evil tonic drink which turns people into Mr. /Mrs. Hyde, just that it does not help. Alcohol removes peoples inhibitions, it allows people to do things which they “may” not do if they were in their senses. In the case of the sick / twisted people mentioned in the article, it brought out the worse.


At 1:48 PM, Anonymous y2kmicrochick said...

I toally agree with O


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