Thursday, April 15, 2010

Qatar taking the Lead

It may come as a suprise to you, but the world is not only a vampire, as the Smashing Pumpkins put it, the world is also racist. And a super charged racist at that.

Allow me to illustrate.

A few months ago the world was shocked with the scandal of the political assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai. It was dubbed as Tom Clancy's novel come-to-life, or a Robert Ludlum story.

The bare facts are though, Dubai allowed it to happen, by giving preferential treatment at its airports to "Westerners". Meaning a Western national can simply walk into Dubai, and mostly all other Arab states, scotch free, with nothing but a passport, a smile and some spending money. You need not apply for a visa before hand, or waste incredible amounts of time choking in red-tape at Consulates, getting certain papers attested, drawing blood samples, undergoing physical examinations, only to have to go through the same hassle upon coming to said GCC country if you are pursuing a career there, like most Arab nationals have to.

The fact is racism is a huge topic in the Gulf Region. The most reported crimes on this side of the globe are hate related; maids and laborers committing suicide to escape the toils of their everyday life, abuse at the hands of their sponsors, rape of previously mentioned maids and laborers, vehicular deaths, drugs, assault etc.

On the one hand, you can understand their point of view; some Arab nationals would enter a country legally, and then remain after the expiration of their visa to work odd jobs and make money. Its human nature and is common-place all over the world. Look at the USA. I am not sure of the policies they have there regarding vacationers from Mexico and Canada, but I do believe in the words EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. They are not here because they enjoy it, but because they have to. And when was the last time you saw a GCC national cleaning the streets or washing windows? Everything is outsourced! And to some less economically developed countries (politically correct term), their greatest export is LABOR.

You cannot come to Kuwait, as an Arab national, without having a first-degree relationship to someone there; meaning you can only see your parents and your siblings. And you have to apply for a visa for said relative before hand. You can never have your cousins come over for a visit. As long as you are employed by a "kafeel" (sponsor) you remain in the country, the minute you are terminated, you must pack up and go or find employment elsewhere.

Now, however, one country is standing up and saying, No. And that is Qatar. Gone are the days that Westerners can just Waltz in. Do not misunderstand me, I have no qualms with foreigners, I love them, I just hate the way the rest of the people are treated.

So now, you have to pay the piper.

About damn time, now lets hope for some more basic human rights in the region, such as the ability to actually have relatives over for a holiday!

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