This is to say that, in a theoretical
regard, ethnic prejudices and religious hatred may not even enter into some
of the broader economic patterns. Instead, in such instances, this is a
form of economic opportunism which, not unlike America's categorical
exploitation of Mexican labor, has manifested as a devastating form of
The results are indeed quite damaging, evidence suggests, to the
Indian population of the Emirates, which has not experienced the type of
wholesale economic elevation that has marked the nation as a whole. This
is especially true today, as global recession leaves this oft-mistreated
group to bear the brunt of negative trends such as low wages, poor labor
conditions and unemployment. As a result, "Indians and other expatriates
in the UAE are increasingly becoming susceptible to the scourge of
depression, research has shown. The prime causes are discrimination at the
workplace, longer working hours, home-sickness, and the chaotic state of
peak-hour traffic." (INP, 1) These conditions are part of a pattern that
relates to a relative absence of political representation, community
orientation or economic opportunity for the disenfranchised Indian National
This is a condition which has even in some instances yielded evidence
of the repressive tactics to which the UAE will resort when faced with
resistance. The untenable working conditions facing many Indian laborers
have produced murmurings of worker discontent that are infrequently allowed
in the Middle East. A regional culture of strong-armed and deeply
centralized governance makes unionization, striking and a pursuit of worker
rights at the labor class level frequently unlikely. However, the
heightened level of industrialization and growth is changing things in the
Emirates, where in 2007, "the Dubai police used force on 4,000-odd striking
construction workers protesting against poor wages and living conditions.
Most of them were Indians. Such protests in UAE are rare as strikes are
banned and workers are not allowed to form unions." (Mahapatra, 1) The use
of violent and repressive force against the striking Indian laborers
underscores the odds which are facing Indian expatriates as a whole, with
the Emirates only manifesting diversity at the most surface level.
Evidence suggests that though previously rare, resistance to these
conditions is surfacing more and more frequently, and simultaneously, is
revealing with greater intensity the degree to which the UAE government is
willing to engage in aggressive authoritarian measures. In July of 2008,
"around 3,000 Indian workers were detained at an undisclosed location on
the outskirts of the UAE capital on charges of arson and rioting. The
workers of a large ceramics manufacturing unit in the emirate of Ras Al-
Khaimah were rounded up by security agencies after they went on a rampage
at their labor camp on Friday night to protest the poor living conditions
and low wages." (Makkah, 1) The 'work camp' context in which many of the
laborers persist denote something of a ghettoization of the Indian labor
population and the response of detainment with the threats of imprisonment
and deportation promised both illustrate a political willingness to
reinforce populist hostility toward the minority population. Proposed
The literature here above denotes that there are several distinct
areas in which the United Arab Emirates has enabled and even helped to
reinforce a cultural prejudice against the Indian population. As the
research compiled here above seems to illustrate a decisive pattern which
in general promotes segregation across lines of ethnicity, nationality and
religion for economic purposes, a more refined study is here proposed
whereby a broad qualitative survey of labor experiences...
Based on the
literature review above, one area which seems to imply room for
consideration is information technology (IT), where there are significant
sample populations available amongst Arab, European and Indian populations.
A survey method would be an appropriate way to gather data first on
such biographical factors as age, region of residence, position in an
organization, level of education, income and familial status. Subsequently
a survey instrument comprised of open-ended questions regarding such
matters as labor conditions, experiences relating to ethnicity and social
experiences would be intended to yield insights regarding the respective
working and living conditions of the demographics considered.
The survey is expected to yield immediate evidence of a clear
differential resulting from available background information.
Particularly, all evidence from the literature review suggests that
patterns will denote a clear economic hierarchy in terms of wage and living
conditions which is set according to ethnicity. It is anticipated that the
separation will denote that Europeans earn the highest wages, Arabs the
second highest and Indians and other such minority populations on the
bottom earning tier.
The open-ended question survey is expected to yield evidence as to the
relationship between this wage and housing hierarchy and the generally
negative experiences greeting Indian populations in the social, cultural,
economic and political regards.
The account conducted here and the broader study proposed are both
motivated by the argument that the UAE is a nation on the cusp of modernity
that is nonetheless steeped in obsolete prejudices. These are especially
manifested in the experience of the Indian population, which for reasons of
racial, religious and economic distinction, is on the bottom rung of the
social ladder in the Emirates. This is part of a willful and untenable
culture of discrimination that is counterintuitive to the current path of
progress there. Ultimately, the policy and economic future of the United
Arab Emirates will be determined according to its willingness to draw a
more direct parallel between its global economic ambitions, its cultural
vagaries and its ethnic tensions. At present, the UAE suffers for no want
of foreign investors. Interest and speculation remain high, with plans for
developmental projects in emirates such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi suggesting
opportunities are only now on the threshold of realization in this most
receptive of Gulf states. However, its social orientation is still at odds
with that of many of its trade partners, and with the perspective of many
who transplant there for the purposes of business.
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But domestic violence has not been eliminated. Nor have other discriminatory traditions, such as polygamy. "Although the practice of polygamy is declining, it continues to be a threat to women, as it undermines a woman's dignity, perpetuates notions of male dominance, and above all creates domestic environments where women become vulnerable to abuse because they are in the difficult position of agreeing to their husbands' marriage or asking for
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