Click (Dubai Inc) to see a snippet of the article which brought the emotion behind the following words…
I have never been to Dubai and to be honest I never intend to go. I’ve never really desired to be apart of that social scene, or even contribute (in anyway) to a country which has more wealth than a large percentage of the world nations combined, but still holds no consideration for the people who manufactured it, it’s ‘foreign underclass’.
I want you to think of Dubai as a large corporation, and its oil as cash facilitating the production of its merchandise, its infrastructure. At the top you have the sheiks, the “directors” of the company. They own the joint, but (lets face it) they have no idea what’s really going on underneath them. Then you have the foreign investors. They throw a small percentage of cash into the pot and in return receive money at the end of each year. As a stakeholder they also have a small say in the decisions being made at the board of directors meetings. These meetings tackle the important issues such as corporate social responsibility and staff wages, therefore fundamentally undermining the importance of these issues with bias judgments; judgements that are impaired by financial agenda’s. As you can probably imagine, this doesn’t bode well for the underpaid supply-chain workers, or the Earth to which we are all born.
[Photo’s by Ben Stirton, illustrating the issue]
After the investors we have the expats. They manage the place and get paid bloody well to do so; after all, they’re experts in their field. These expats can be spilt into two type of manager; the supervising manager (the real expat expert), and the conducting manager (most likely a family member of said supervisor). The ‘supervisors’ oversee the ‘conductors’, and the ‘conductors’ oversee the ‘foreign underclass’; the labourers, cleaners, street sweepers etc. You know the types, the underpaid minority who’s hard work built the city into (and maintain its position as) the superpower it is today.
These people are treated like third class citizens and are paid fractionally proportionate wages compared to the conductors. These workers are approached by employment agents commissioned by the UAE, agents who trick these young men and women into immigrating to Dubai from countries such as India and Bangladesh. They’re promised a better lifestyle with higher wages and a place to live. They (of course) accept the offer with the hope of sending money back to their families. The harsh reality is that they arrive into situations no more fortunate than there own. If anything the conditions in which they live are worse.*
In their own country these people are generally farmers and can live on a lower wage because they have the skills and facilities to sustain themselves and their community through agriculture. Whereas in the wastelands of the deserts (where they now live, not in the glamorous lights of the city) it’s not possible to farm and these people are pushed into a consumerist economy. They’re forced to buy their provisions with the very little money they earn, and with no way of returning home these people are trapped in what is essentially modern day slavery.
Human welfare is not the only issue that ‘Dubai inc’ is facing. Per capita Dubai tops the global charts in carbon waste emissions. In 2008 they held an average 9.5 global hectares (GH is a measurement of carbon emissions) against a global average of 2.1 GH’s. That seems like a lot of carbon waste for a city situated in one of the world biggest deserts.
Think about it, a country with a desert that size, 365 days of sun, and bank balance similar to that of king Midas, could easily provide solar power to the whole of the middle east and beyond indefinitely. However, investment into socially responsible projects would cause dramatic short term losses for the directors and investors of the company, so there’s no chance this could ever happen. But ask yourself, should long term socially responsible investments really be that far out of the question?
All in all I guess when your wealth doesn’t come from talent or hard work there’s always an underlying insecurity that it might not last forever, so self gratification and narcissism might just be your only options. There’s a running trend in our modern western culture and it’s the admiration of these valueless entities. For example, if Dubai was a person they’d be best friends with the Kim Kardashian’s and the Steve Aoki’s of this world. Basically talentless drones dominating the media and our minds, stopping us from focusing on the important issues that surround us**.
I guess the point of this whole article is to open peoples minds to their options. Why choose to visit this type of place and contribute to its economy? These places are endorsing modern-day slavery, whilst recklessly using global resources just because it’s so convenient to do so. Why not take your money to places that need it? Meet amazing people, people who only have love to give. By doing so you will be rewarded with compassion, spiritually, and learn more than you ever knew you could.
There’s an argument which calls the above suggestion a selfish and unethical display of our own wealth in the countries we visit. This argument may hold small truths in some cases. However, I know from experience that my presence in countries such as India or Sri Lanka was not resented by its people, and the heightened sense of awareness I came to have whilst visiting these countries meant that I now give more of my time, and direct my more of my thoughts towards the important issues which surround me.***
Visiting these places show us how lucky we really are and help us to find happiness through compassion rather than material possessions, or acts of self gratification; using our memories to guide us on our way.
Try to remember that financial support is not our only option and shouldn’t be our priority. Offering humanitarian and spiritual support is equally (if not more) powerful and can help to change the quality of peoples lives around the world.
The best place to start is right on our door steps. We must lead the way and reach out to the people who need us most. We must listen to our heart and let our intuition lead the way. It was Einstein who said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift”. When we’re walking the streets, or we are busy at work, look forward, give more, take less, and remember you can make a difference!
“Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion”, Deepak Chopra.
*For the harsh reality of what they receive, please read the attached article.
**By “surround us” I do not necessarily mean global catastrophes (although these are obviously important), I mean looking into our own minds to see what power we hold within, and how we (as individuals or as a group) can make change.
***Looking around me and being aware of how we can have a positive effect in our local, national and international communities inclusive of earth preservation.