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    Technorati: graph / links

    “We don’t like these brown people…”

    by Sunny on 6th July, 2006 at 1:54 am    

    An economically booming city; lots of immigrants workers who do the crap jobs and get paid a pittance; the residents don’t really want to hang around them and start re-locating to the suburbs. Sound familiar? We’ve been here before of course. But this is not a western city - this is Dubai:

    Suhail al-Awadhi, 37, a senior municipal official, says he “was living three years ago in Hamria, but it was invaded by Indians, Pakistanis and bachelors, so I moved out”.

    Dubai, the commercial centre and fastest growing member of the seven-member United Arab Emirates (UAE), has a population of 1.4 million with locals accounting for only about 10%, according to semi-official estimates.

    The entire UAE has a population of more than four million, with locals making up less than 20%, according to the last official estimate in 2004. Indians and Pakistanis account for nearly half of the population.

    Al-Awadhi, who is married with four children, said he felt more comfortable and secure living among Emiratis. “I like the fact that my children play with other Emirati children,” he said.

    In his new book My Vision, Sheikh Mohammed explains his aim to develop Dubai as a fusion of Middle Eastern and Western values and a melting pot of creeds and nationalities, comparing the city to Cordoba, the seat of the Islamic caliphate in Spain in the 10th century. But areas like Mizher are proof the fusion is not there yet. Plus, some Emiratis do not share the vision.

    Other ways in which the government preserves national identity include a marriage fund with an annual budget of almost $70 million that offers UAE men financial incentives to wed local women.

    Arab racism against South Asians. Where have we heard that before? [via PasstheRoti]

    Print this page and comments   |     |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Race politics, Middle East

    22 Comments below   |  

    1. Desi Italiana — on 6th July, 2006 at 2:19 am  


      I too did a blog on this very article and subject last week:


    2. Desi Italiana — on 6th July, 2006 at 2:31 am  

      Not implying that you copied me or anything, just that my blog takes a slightly different angle, and so I want to share it… you know, spread knowledge and differing viewpoints, that’s all…..

      Hmmmm….or maybe you ARE a copy cat?????

      Copyright infringement! I’m suing PP!

      Just kidding ;)

    3. Bikhair aka Taqiyyah — on 6th July, 2006 at 2:31 am  

      Equivalent to white flight here in the America after the civil rights movement. Dam Arabs. Tell them to come to my hood.

    4. Leon — on 6th July, 2006 at 2:32 am  

      Very nice looking style sheet you got there Desi, where did you get it?

    5. Sunny — on 6th July, 2006 at 2:58 am  

      Ahh yes. Now I remember where I got that link from. Thanks Desi Italiana, the link has been duly added.

    6. Desi Italiana — on 6th July, 2006 at 3:09 am  

      Sunny, don’t get nervous and anxious :), I was only teasing you ;)

      Leon: What is a “style sheet”?

      If it’s the style of the website’s format that you are referring to, you’ll have to give props to the “Admin” of Pass the Roti.He is the boss of those things. Me, I only write, I don’t tinker with the web logistics of it. Don’t know much about that stuff.

    7. Leon — on 6th July, 2006 at 3:28 am  

      Ic, it’s very cool Sonia has it also on one of her (many!) blogs. Think I might have to get my hands on it, very elegant.:)

    8. vivek — on 6th July, 2006 at 4:34 am  

      It’s a wordpress theme, “blog.txt,” available here. Enjoy!

    9. Desi Italiana — on 6th July, 2006 at 8:18 am  

      I’m not so sure about the title, “We don’t like these brown people” because Arabs can be brown, too. In fact, Arabs are extremely hybrid and diverse, colorwise.

      Also, I don’t think it’s fair to say “Arab racism”. Arabs are not the only ones to look down upon South Asians. There are rich Desis who harbor distaste for poorer Desis as well. Furthermore, these same Arabs may very well look down on other Arabs, such as the Egyptians and Palestinians, including in the Gulf States.

      Finally, there is more than just racism involved here - local and global economies, “construction and development”, class, etc.

    10. Desi Italiana — on 6th July, 2006 at 8:32 am  

      Also, Filippinos and other Southeast Asians suffer ugly treatment as well.

      If you ask me, it is not racism based on skin color ie because they are “brown” but rather, because they come from another geographic location and are migrant workers.

    11. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 6th July, 2006 at 10:14 am  

      When I was in Dubai last year I travelled in a cab driven by an Arab chap. He muttered as we past some Indian workers and when he saw a lone Indian he said to me “look at this crazy Indian”, then leaned out the window and shouted abuse at him as we past. The Indian chap watched him past completely unfazed. He found this highly amusing and appeared to want me to join in laughing about the circumstance.

      Personally it reminded me of a gag that Marcos Brigstock does: “People coming over here doing our jobs. Note I didn’t say ‘taking’ our jobs, I said ‘doing’ our jobs. We aren’t bloody doing them.” I believe the same applies to Arabs in Dubai …



    12. Jagdeep — on 6th July, 2006 at 10:29 am  

      Just finishing a six month stint working out in Dubai, and whilst it would be inaccurate to use words such as “Arab Racism”, there is definitely a “these Indians/Pakistanis/Philipinos are inferior” attitude amongst the Emiratis I worked with.

      I wouldn’t solely blame the Emiratis for the plight of the migrant workers though (most of the labourers work for about £90-100/month) - the Indian/Pakistani/Philipino agents who ’sell’ their fellow countrymen into these poor paying jobs in return for commision are equally culpable.

    13. funkg — on 6th July, 2006 at 10:52 am  

      a Muslim friend of mine once told me when he was in saudi, he got talking to fellow Muslim sudanese in a petrol station, they were so happy that someone actually acknowledged them and spoke to them!

    14. Manpreet — on 6th July, 2006 at 10:53 am  

      I have been to Dubai a few times on stopover for a few nights on the way back from India and enjoyed it. Great for shopping, nightlife, relatively cheap. In 15/20 years when the bulk of the construction is finished most of the Indians/Pakistanis will be gone and only the prosperous will remain. The Emiratis have to be the most spoilt people on Earth.

      Definitely worth a visit if you can get there. With the boom of the Indian economy it is going to be a major hub for business and culture and tourism between India, Middle East and Europe. India especially already sees it as its own glitzy backyard, playground for the rich. Like a mad combination of Hong Kong, Las Vegas in the Arabian Desert. The nightclubs we went to were packed out with Russian girls working as escorts. Fascinating and fun place.

      One thing I worry about though is how long it can exist slap bang in the Middle East, this relatively liberal, decadent, hedonistic city-state without drawing the attention of the jihadis, whose blood must be boiling to see an Arab land turn into a holiday home for infidels…..

    15. Manpreet — on 6th July, 2006 at 10:56 am  

      I have heard a lot about Arab racism towards Indians but all the Arab people I have met have been really friendly in fact I would say they had a special affection for Indians, mind you they were Egyptian and Lebanese, apparently the Saudis are the ones who are really ignorant.

    16. Vladimir — on 6th July, 2006 at 11:00 am  

      It seems this is more of a fear of change, than actual racism, not saying there aren’t elements of racism in any society though. But the idea of a fear of changing, is something quite different and I understand this, as I fear change sometimes too. The worst kind of racism is based on genetic grounds or one based on the ethnic origin of people.

      I remember being at Delhi International airport a couple of years back, the number of men in there 20’s who were not able to fill out the documentation to board, and yet were all headed for the Middle East was quite shocking. And that is perhaps another reason for the dislike of people from the Asian sub continent.

    17. Sunny — on 6th July, 2006 at 2:33 pm  

      I have labelled it racism based on the previous article too. I appreciate that a lot of Asians do end up going there on holiday and have a perfectly good time, but that does not explain the extremely rubbish way the migrant workers are treated.

    18. Vikrant — on 6th July, 2006 at 3:05 pm  

      Its not just Arab countries, racism against South Asians even in “moderate” Muslim countries like Malaysia is also quite brazen. Tough not quite to the likes of KSA. My familys two-year-stint in KSA has left me strongly prejudiced against Arabs… The single thought ecohed by Indians,Pakistani in the gulf is that “Arabs are a harami koum“… The stress of living in KSA arguably broke apart my parent’s marriage.

    19. Ravi Naik — on 6th July, 2006 at 3:33 pm  

      “f you ask me, it is not racism based on skin color ie because they are “brown” but rather, because they come from another geographic location and are migrant workers.”

      I agree with that. I remember reading about this saudi who brutalised an Indian migrant, and his justification was that he did it not because of hate, but because they are easy targets and don’t defend themselves. I am sure you also heard about a large number of rape cases of filipino maids. Saudis do it because they can get away with it.

      The fact is that most Asian countries have a bad record when it comes with their minorities. The West has indeed come a long way.

    20. viva la calle — on 6th July, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

      “But this is not a western city - this is Dubai”

      By all means you’re right on that one-this is not a city in “the West,” but Dubai often markets itself as the “Westernized oasis of the Middle East”-they aim to have it all: nightlife, wining (maybe?) and dining (definitely), high rise apartment buildings, immense pristine shopping malls…that’s how they’re ending up with so many europeans and americans moving there (and many arabs from other middle eastern nations move there instead of the west!)

      So maybe this is a signifier that they just dont want the “brown” people that go with the geographic territory (anf brown is such an encompassing word, i dont know if i feel comfortable positioning it in opposition to the arab folks…but i disgress)

    21. Antichrist — on 6th July, 2006 at 4:49 pm  

      You know to be fair - I don’t suppose it’s actually any different to how Indians in the SubContinent treat their servants - after all historically they were a different ‘caste’ and weren’t even let into their houses etc. Nowadays you only have to go to Pakistan or somewhere see how they treat their servants - no one actually imagines they are ‘human beings’ in the same way their children are. No doubt there is a lot of racism in the Arab World - again similar I’m sure to how a lot of Indians perceive ‘Western’ as superior. Of course they have a lot of money and designer clothing so that might encourage them a little. Individual Arabs, are I’m sure - the ones I have met - lovely people. Of course that is like saying ‘Black people are this way - but all the black people i’ve met are nice..’

    22. Desi Italiana — on 6th July, 2006 at 6:45 pm  


      -”Great for shopping, nightlife, relatively cheap. In 15/20 years when the bulk of the construction is finished most of the Indians/Pakistanis will be gone and only the prosperous will remain.”

      That’s good to hear that finally, when most poor Indians and Pakistanis are done with the construction, they’ll take their sorry poor asses back to the Desh and leave Dubai as the playground for the wealthy. Who said migrants can’t be treated like disposable waste when their purpose is over with?

      -”The nightclubs we went to were packed out with Russian girls working as escorts. Fascinating and fun place.”

      I’m happy to know you’re enjoying all that Dubai has to offer.

      Moreover, you sound like a very profound, thoughtful person. Those Indian and Pakistani migrants who are ruining the facade of Dubai with their poverty are just party poopers. There needs to be more Indians like you who enjoy and appreciate wealth, luxury, and know how to have a good time, preferably with Russian escorts in glitzy and glamorous Dubai.


      “the Indian/Pakistani/Philipino agents who ’sell’ their fellow countrymen into these poor paying jobs in return for commision are equally culpable.”

      Exactly. They are often the middlemen when it comes to the human trafficking of South Asians.

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