The latest news stories tell us that wealthy Dubai is now in financial straits. That brings a new focus upon that magical land within the Arab world.
As usual, there’s always more to the story.
Dubai has been promoted as a luxurious mid-east miracle, with gleaming structures, man-made islands and a virtual adult Disneyworld of indoor ski slopes, golf courses and shopping plazas second to none. This is a Muslim nation of wealth, generosity, liberal tolerance, love and acceptability, not to mention wildly industrious.
Just makes you want to go there, doesn’t it?
Bill Clinton has received over one million dollars in speaking fees in Dubai not to mention another cool million from a Dubai Emir for his presidential library. Former G.H. W. Bush is another beneficiary of the Dubai phenomenon. Then there are regular celebrity patrons like Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Andre Agassi, to name a few. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie bought an island there. Others celeb names form a huge list, Donald Trump, Armani and Hilary Swank included.
But you won’t find Alan Dershowitz among the travelers. Neither Stephen Spielberg, Ruth Bader Ginsberg or Senator Joe Lieberman. Why?
NO JEWS ALLOWED.
No kidding. Here’s a link to the Dubai web site which provides information on travel. Quoted from the final paragraph, this:
Read it yourself.
Doesn’t that warm the heart? Pitt and Jolie have made themselves international icons promoting tolerance and fighting for human rights, yet they found no problem sucking up to the lavish surroundings of first class bigotry. Same with the ex-presidents, and other hot shots. Money talks. That’s when human rights and tolerance takes a back seat.
Dubai has routinely banned Jews from tennis and golf tournaments, yet the mega-dollar industries are magnets which lure the biggest names in their field, so long as they are not Jews.
Then there is the myth that Dubai natives are made up of highly industrious people who worked hard to make the fantasy land into reality.
Not quite. Try slavery.
Yes, official slavery was banned by Dubai forty-six years ago (during most of our lifetimes) but there’s more than one way to skin a proverbial cat. In his book, A Crime So Monstrous, author E. Benjamin Skinner points out how domestic workers and young girls are lured into the country, then taken virtually hostage, forced into prostitution, all with passports discarded and threats to kill family members if they did not perform. Women workers are utterly powerless to prevent rapes and beatings, barely paid and given mere food and shelter for their earnings.
Luxury hotels and apartment buildings where celebrities reside were built by Indian and Paki laborers paid paltry wages and kept in fear of beatings. According to writer, Johann Hari, who visited Dubai, “the people who really built the city can be seen in long chain-gangs by the side of the road, or toiling all day at the top of the tallest buildings in the world, in heat that westerners are told not to stay in for more than 10 minutes. They were conned into coming, and trapped into staying.“
How about those little babies who grow into child slaves. Outside the city, there are thousands of small boys who are used as jockeys in camel races, where they are fed little so their weight is kept to a minimum.
These are things we know, thanks to some courageous writers. I shutter to learn what we don’t know.
High level politicians certainly know about these abuses. So do the movie stars, real estate moguls, athletes, and the rest of the greedy world who turn a blind eye. When we hear condemnation of human rights by any world leader, you know it’s just a bunch of empty, boiler-plate words. Unless, of course, they are willing to take action. They don’t. And neither do we.
By being aware of the virulent anti-Semitism that prevails and the abhorrent human rights conditions that exist behind the scenes in Dubai, all these patrons (and we ) are giving tacit approval by spending a single dollar in their restaurants, or accepting a single dollar for giving speeches.
Shame on them all. Shame on us.
Some related links. Check them out: