Are Protests Merely a Useless Focus Group?

Human Rights Watch is urging the UAE government to address the rights of laborers who are helping turn the desert into a modern-day oasis. Apparently, the UAE is taking heed. After all, there just might be some important free trade agreements with the US, the EU, and Australia hanging in the balance now. In a previous article, the UAE firm embroiled in this scandalous sea of malaise and irresponsibility claimed that there were measures in place for workers to lodge complaints with the appropriate authorities, and as such, these people had no right to protest and riot. Well, rioting and causing damage usually wins little sympathy, but apparently it worked this time, because Human Rights Watch sat up and took notice.
So what exactly do these workers want? An Interior Ministry official who investigates labor issues, Lt. Col. Rashid Bakhit Al Jumairi, said the workers were petitioning Al Naboodah, one of the Emirates’ biggest construction conglomerates, for overtime pay, better medical care and humane treatment by foremen. “They are asking for small things,” Al Jumairi said. “I promised them I would sit with them until everything is settled.” OK, very interesting…this list of needs are very small things indeed–so what has taken these wealthy corporations so long to wake up to the realization that these “small thing” should be delivered? Before you build tall buildings reaching the heavens, see what conditions you are providing for your lowly slaves on the ground!

And my God, I should not be amazed, but call it naivete: here is the Indian government leaving their own citizens out to dry! They actually have the nerve to say the workers were rioting not because of low/unpaid wages and poor working conditions; rather it “was a fallout of workers becoming restive after “standing in the long queue for punching time-cards”.” Thank goodness for Human Rights Watch! Rant over…I promise…for now…


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