To think that no-one should go to Dubai

(250 Posts)
Sallyingforth Sat 20-Jul-13 14:42:05

while they treat women like this...

Jailed for being raped.

FreudiansSlipper Sat 20-Jul-13 14:44:16

sadly this does not surprise me

also the way they treat migrant workers is terrible

i went there hated the place and would never go back

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 20-Jul-13 14:45:10


There are so many reasons why I would rather shoot myself with a bolt gun than visit that place,the above being one of them.

coco87 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:46:37

Why would anyone want to go anyway. It's like an even more artificial Las Vegas made with oil money in a country where women and many "guest" workers are treated like shit. I would never go there, even if they paid me!

SuperiorCat Sat 20-Jul-13 14:48:10

YANBU, that news item is shocking

Arisbottle Sat 20-Jul-13 14:48:16

I once went with DH for something to do with his job, it struck me as a completely soulless place.

hermioneweasley Sat 20-Jul-13 14:50:23

YANBU. For that reason and many others, as others have said

Hassled Sat 20-Jul-13 14:50:58

YANBU. It beats the hell out of me why anyone goes there - I get all the impressive luxury and fun-filled heat, etc, but how you can enjoy that knowing the appalling record on worker's rights and everything else just baffles me. It's a city built by slavery.

Damnautocorrect Sat 20-Jul-13 14:52:57

I've friends and family over there, everyone looks very confused when I say I don't want to go.

kim147 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:53:42

Witnessed by 4 men or a confession. sad

How fucking backward is such a place with laws like that?

I feel so sorry for people living under such laws.

NumTumDeDum Sat 20-Jul-13 14:56:36

Yadnbu. I cannot understand the lure. You couldn't pay me to go. Dreadful country, stupid laws.

squoosh Sat 20-Jul-13 15:00:15


Awful place, built on slave labour. Do not get the appeal one little bit. And as for ex pats living there who proudly boast that they have servants. Ugh.

Plus, you might bump into Wayne Rooney.

ZillionChocolate Sat 20-Jul-13 15:12:48

It's horrific.

Saw this on Fb just as I was reading this thread. Shocking.
I will never ever go to Dubai

dolcelatte Sat 20-Jul-13 15:25:08

'A confession or 4 male witnesses'

In other words, a conviction is virtually impossible and it is horrific to imagine how many such crimes go unreported. The authorities clearly don't see the violation of women as a crime at all - far worse, in their eyes, to consume a cocktail!

Actually, I don't get the drinking offence at all - we stopped off in Dubai for a day earlier in the year (which was quite enough!), and most places served alcohol for tourists, otherwise nobody would go there.

I agree that it's a hideous place lacking any soul or beauty - at least, I didn't see any, but I was only there for a day.

pianodoodle Sat 20-Jul-13 15:29:49

I have a friend who lives and teaches there and seems to love it.

I'm not xenophobic but going to a place with Sharia law and so many rules to remember would just give me an anxiety attack.

I don't think I'd be happy in a place where I'd feel like a second class citizen once I stepped off the plane.

Maybe that's not how it actually feels but I don't know - I'd be nervous rightly or wrongly.

squoosh Sat 20-Jul-13 15:31:31

I think you'd be right to be nervous piano.

pianodoodle Sat 20-Jul-13 15:35:34

Plus I don't think they allow codeine. If I got a migraine out there it'd be a nightmare...

I didn't read the story in the link as it looks upsetting (pregnant hormones/slight depression)

Sometimes I read these things and think it must be an exaggeration or misreporting but no I think this stuff really does happen to women and it's just horrific sad

Twirlyhot Sat 20-Jul-13 15:37:05

I won't set foot there. DH has refused to go for work.

Shakey1500 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:37:35

Yanbu. It's utterly vile.

I'm always amazed at a "Should we live in Dubai" thread when posters pitch up extollling it's virtues and blatantly choosing to overlook the despicable ways. But that it's ok because the shops are great and the wages ridiculously high.

dolcelatte Sat 20-Jul-13 15:38:36

Actually, in the scheme of things, Dubai is comparatively 'liberal' and women there have infinitely more freedom than in the other Gulf states, although it still falls way short of the standards of justice which we expect. Imagine being a woman in Saudi......

HollyBerryBush Sat 20-Jul-13 15:39:09

And as for ex pats living there who proudly boast that they have servants

Bit like people here all excited because they have a nanny/au pair/cleaner or even window cleaner. All paid employees.

oohdaddypig Sat 20-Jul-13 15:39:27


What hassled said. Gets me every time.

scripsi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:40:05

yanbu, I have refused to go there. I have friends who seem to think it is the best place on earth: it seems like a paradise until something goes wrong (and as long as you can completely turn a blind eye to how so many are treated there).

Twirlyhot Sat 20-Jul-13 15:40:08

Yes. Who are paid a living wage, have employment rights, limits to working hours, the freedom to quit etc

Daydream007 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:40:26

I've heard lots of horror stories about how things can turn from being very good to very bad in Dubai. But saying that it's supposed to be a great place to splash the cash and party.

Tee2072 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:44:51

Well, technically, most cities have been built by slave labour.

But I agree you couldn't pay me to go to Dubai.

squoosh Sat 20-Jul-13 15:45:23

Umm, what a silly thing to say HollyBerryBush. You clearly have no clue how domestic servants in Dubai are paid or the treatment that many of them are supposed to accept.

justanuthermanicmumsday Sat 20-Jul-13 15:48:49

The article mentions an alledged rape not adultery, so you cannot relate this rule about 4 witnesses to the case, since this relates to adultery, or sex outside marriage. the whole point is to prevent the woman or man from easily being lablled as an adulterer. what are the odds of 4 witnesses for this crime extremely low. in islam adultery is up there second to murder.

I find it odd that DNA evidence was not mentioned in a country like Dubai which claims to be so advanced in architecture, and wealth on show.

I've always found it odd that any practicing muslims would wish to go there but many often double it up on their way back from the haj pilgrimage to Mecca. I think that's hypocritical but to each their own. i find it a disgusting place. It's a rich mans playground and bereft of any morality, money is the language they speak. so called muslims ruling that country have sold their religion for the dollar, and compete to build the tallest buildings for notoriety, whilst their own citizens are living in slums behind these skyscrapers.citizens aren't allowd to drink but tourists and high government officials who are apparently muslim can, and cavort with women whom they're not supposed to mingle ith unless married. The double standards stink i wold never go there. Like someone said its akin to Vegas.

Parker231 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:50:51

We go every year for an amazing holiday and have done so for years. The staff in most of the big hotels are well looked after now.

Shakey1500 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:51:04

Isn't it true that a woman needs written permission to obtain a driving licence/drive?

shufflehopstep Sat 20-Jul-13 15:52:16

You're not being unreasonable to be shocked, but it's a strict Arab state and although it's got a big tourist trade, you should learn a little bit about the culture of a place before you visit. My sister lived in the Middle East, including Dubai, for several years and when I visited her, she was very careful to tell me everything you can and can't do as a woman.

You've got to remember as well, that it isn't a democracy. The sheik is the ruler and will pass on the power to his son. Nobody is going to vote them out if they disagree with them so they can pretty much make any rules they like. They have little concept of and / or respect for our values and you need to be prepared to accept that before you go and try not to put yourself in a vulnerable position. And I'm not doing a Serena Williams with that comment before I get flamed - I know women should be allowed to get drunk and spend time with men without the fear of getting raped, but in reality, particularly in somewhere like Dubai, they can't.

Shakey1500 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:52:18

*from her husband

hermioneweasley Sat 20-Jul-13 15:54:48

Parker231, as long as you're having an amazing holiday, that's all that matters. Your argument has won me over completely. I'm off to book my ticket!

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 20-Jul-13 15:55:29



Tee2072 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:57:54

Yes, what Hermione said!

Parker231 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:58:04

Hermione - have you been to Dubai, stayed in hotels there and got to know the staff or visited people who live and work there ?

Shakey1500 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:59:16

Parker,what's your view on the subject from the OP? Or the appalling way they treat women? Or is it ok because of the fantastic holiday?

BlingBang Sat 20-Jul-13 15:59:18

I've lived the expat life with maids etc, never heard anyone boast about it. Didn't like some attitudes but no boasting or is saying you have a maid etc now classed as boasting?

EatYourCrusts Sat 20-Jul-13 16:00:05

Yanbu and I am glad that others think this way. You couldn't pay me to holiday there.

Tee2072 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:00:27

Parker I don't need to do any of that to know the laws of Dubai are barbaric and they treat women like 100th class citizens.

But enjoy your holiday. I hope you don't need to report anything to the police.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 20-Jul-13 16:01:55

Someone on this thread is missing the point in a big way...

Abra1d Sat 20-Jul-13 16:02:00

It has never appealed to me at all. Even in the depths of the most ghastly British weather I have never been tempted.

FreudiansSlipper Sat 20-Jul-13 16:04:49

yes i have been to dubia

yes i have seen people working like slaves in the scorching heat and then have to line up to drink water from a tank that they all shared the same pipe to drink from

yes i have seen the small shanty towns these workers live in

yes i have seen how the locals treat the staff in the hotel

and i have a cousin who worked there thankfully at least in the hotels and money was sent to get her out of her contract. sadly not all migrant workers have family that can help out like this and of course they will tell you they are treated well they fear losing their job

Meglet Sat 20-Jul-13 16:04:50

yanbu. There are plenty of other sun drenched countries to visit that don't have slave labour.

FreudiansSlipper Sat 20-Jul-13 16:05:24

dubai ....

Heartbrokenmum73 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:06:59

But Freudian did you have an amazing time? Because that's all that matters, apparently...

BlingBang Sat 20-Jul-13 16:07:04

True, never been and have no real desire to go. Husband was offered the choice of a job in Dubai or another country - we swung for the other country. Husband was in a hotel bar in Dubai and one of the locals got into a argument with the European barman and leaned over and just slapped him. barman said if he wanted to keep his job he had to just put up and shut up as locals are always in the right and have carte Blanche to do as they please.

Parker231 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:09:04

As a women I had more difficulties working in the US than the Middle East and more help from the police inDubai than in Copenhagen. No country is perfect and don't believe everything you read in the press !

JenaiMorris Sat 20-Jul-13 16:10:45

I have friends - successful, intelligent, independent women - there who love it. When I meet up with them they praise it to the heavens but even the "good" stuff they talk about (the bling, primarily) sounds horrible. It seems like a real cultural <ahem> desert to me confused

Tee2072 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:11:26

FFS! You can't be that ignorant, Parker!

JenaiMorris Sat 20-Jul-13 16:13:26

I suppose it depends on what you're reporting, Parker, and against whom your complaint is hmm

FreudiansSlipper Sat 20-Jul-13 16:15:13

no i did not have an amazing time

i can not understand why when i was staying in a suite in a 5* hotel and everything was so bling

something obviously very wrong with me

FannyMcNally Sat 20-Jul-13 16:16:52

But I've never heard or read anything anywhere that portrays Dubai in a good light apart from holidaymakers in their sealed, air-conditioned bubbles spouting holiday brochure wonderment. Surely ALL second-hand info can't be wrong?

FannyMcNally Sat 20-Jul-13 16:17:42

That was to Parker at 16.09...

Yanbu of course but I'm encouraged by threads like this that I'm not the only one who finds Dubai quite a disturbing concept hmm
I have no wish to go there. It's extreme capitalism with an extreme human price hmm

PerilsAsinger Sat 20-Jul-13 16:20:01

Daydream - can you not "splash the cash and party" most other places?

If shopping is your thing then perhaps a holiday in Edinburgh or Manchester or London. Dubai has no better a shopping experience than any major city.

Party? I don't think so - unless you count expat parties and you can have them anywhere.

chillybits Sat 20-Jul-13 16:20:49

YANBU. Obviously.

Full of expats who can't afford a lifestyle here so think its ok to get at immense human cost to others.

justanuthermanicmumsday Sat 20-Jul-13 16:26:54

Another thing about Arab states if you have white skin or ethnic and very fair like some Arabs are they love you easy to get a job. If you hav dark skin and an academic background harder to get work. Even today in Dubai and other Arab countries local ads i. Papers will say no blacks. I had an Africa Arabic teacher he lectures in uk universities he told me this as e experienced it.

TidyDancer Sat 20-Jul-13 16:27:38

Wouldn't set foot in the place. Morally corrupt, and that's a nice way of putting it.

Whothefuckfarted Sat 20-Jul-13 16:28:03


Add the Maldives to the boycott list for still giving women lashings in public.

justanuthermanicmumsday Sat 20-Jul-13 16:29:07

Have you not noticed workers who do the apparently lowly jobs are often south Asian, philipinos etc? How many white skinned workers do you see in Dubai or Saudi? They are seen as a lower class of people because of the jobs they're willing to do and their colour sad sad world

hermioneweasley Sat 20-Jul-13 16:41:02

I interviewed a woman who had worked there. People are paid according to their gender and race. Literally - different specified, published pay scales for exactly the same work/jobs.

And, obviously, that's not the worst of it.

TheRealFellatio Sat 20-Jul-13 16:41:16

These threads always make me laugh - so many people spouting off about stuff they have no real knowledge or understanding of.

But yes, OP I agree the story about the rape is very disturbing.

MrsHoarder Sat 20-Jul-13 16:46:52

shuffle that's why I wouldn't go. I'm not going to suggest drastic regime change, just that as a woman I wouldn't feel the laws protected what I consider to be reasonable behaviour and protect me from harm.

Of course people are free to go there, but it is going to a city which is currently using slavery (as opposed to one which used it 200+ years ago) and that's also something I don't want to support.

But its mostly about my own safety and liberty.

motownmover Sat 20-Jul-13 16:50:09

hermioneweasley - there is still a female pay gap in the uk too.

I'm not sure I would judge others for not going or going.

A friend of ours who is gay and works for a UK company refused a transfer to Dubai (I thought it was pretty obvious) but his firm got really narcy about it and eventually made him redundant.

MrsKeithRichards Sat 20-Jul-13 16:55:43

Awful story. Fascinating place. I only spent a few days three en route to SE Asia. The local papers are interesting, jib adverts specifically for German receptionists under 25 for example.

Certainly doesn't have to be a splash the cash kind of place. We spent a lot of our time there in the souks and backstreets, eating in obscure little places which were delicious. Never set for in a mall or anything blingy. It's an old, interesting place, way before the malls and theme parks and sky scrapers.

MrsKeithRichards Sat 20-Jul-13 16:57:00

Female, not GermAn

Notcontent Sat 20-Jul-13 17:00:25

I was there recently for a short holiday (not my choice by the way).

I didn't like it because everything is so artificial. I thought the shopping was a bit disappointing actually - none of the shops/labels that I like.

But more importantly it's all a bit morally repugnant - the whole place has been made possible only through the blood and sweat of workers from some of the poorest nations in the world.

BlingBang Sat 20-Jul-13 17:00:34

I will probably visit one day, don't think it's totally fair to base all your views on others opinions (many haven't been either) and what you read in the papers.

CircassianLeyla Sat 20-Jul-13 17:02:26

I have been to Dubai and wouldn't bother going back. I found it soulless and air conditioned.

hermioneweasley Sat 20-Jul-13 17:04:04

Motownmover, thanks for explaining that there's a gender pay gap in the UK. I am aware of that, but it's not caused by there being different gender specific pay scales. And there is legal protection for equal pay and discrimination based on protected characteristics.

Dubai, is somewhat different,I find it extraordinary that you would try and compare the 2 situations.

MrsKeithRichards Sat 20-Jul-13 17:07:15

Felt anything but soulless at sundown near a mosque with the call to prayer booming through the narrow streets of the spice market with all the aromas surrounding us. Was magical.

I've never understood why people bother going on holiday just to walk around she conditioned malls.

BlingBang Sat 20-Jul-13 17:17:36

I'd think if you looked beyond the shopping malls and expat bars it could be quite interesting.

Parker231 Sat 20-Jul-13 17:19:51

MrsKeithRichards - we took our kids down to the creek to watch the cargo being loaded - they loved spotting the labels for different countries. Then pile onto the little boats to go to the souks with the locals travelling home from work.

MrsKeithRichards Sat 20-Jul-13 17:22:01

We were on those boats! Sweltering hot, perched on a plank of wood and covered in diesel fumes but much more of an experience than the air con ones further up the creek.

LastTangoInDevonshire Sat 20-Jul-13 17:22:21

Channel 4 Racing is sponsored by Dubai. I shudder each time I see that advert. The worst place in the world (supposedly civilised) for women.

loveinthemist Sat 20-Jul-13 17:29:35

YANBU - I wouldn't set foot there either. It's strange how many 'Westerners' are happy to move out there to earn a quick buck. It seems that they are prepared to turn a blind eye to the appalling way certain sectors of society are treated. Very odd behaviour but I guess money/greed/entitlement is all some people care about.

japonicabumsplatt Sat 20-Jul-13 17:31:32

Hurrah for all the Dubai supporters. Just wonder how you would feel at the thoughts of having to try and live there in the conditions that are commonl knowledge as being shit for women.
Ah, the bazzar at Picture postcard. Very nice, aren't you the great adventurers. The reality is appalling, but if you want to think the shop front is the whole story..feel free

dolcelatte Sat 20-Jul-13 17:32:26

It's incredible the way it's moved from sand to cement and from poverty to wealth in such a short time scale, but the city inevitably lacks much in the way of history or culture. The spice market has a certain charm and yes, the gold souk has some amazing prices,although the styles are mostly rather ornate for Western taste.

We went there after Oman and the contrast was startling. Oman is stunningly beautiful and natural. Dubai is unashamedly capitalist and flaunts its wealth and appears as ugly and 'vulgar' in comparison.

But that's a different issue from the one raised by the OP. The reported case is shocking. However, the fact that Dubai is now so dependent on tourism - it only has a fraction of the oil of Abu Dhabi - means that it can't afford to upset its customers, so hopefully this case will have a positive outcome on appeal.

Parker231 Sat 20-Jul-13 17:32:46

We went from the creek (did have a conversation with DH regarding health and safety when I saw how many people got on each boat and how low they lie in the water - he laughed at me and questioned how many years people had been travelling that way !) and went to watch the fountain show - the kids certainly got an education in seeing one extreme to another !

japonicabumsplatt Sat 20-Jul-13 17:33:03

Sorry if that was a narky comment. DH has been offered work there but I have said no for the reasons everyone above has mentioned. A friends wife was amazed that we didn't leap at it. What with the servants and all...
Got a chest infection, feeling narky. sorry

MrsKeithRichards Sat 20-Jul-13 17:35:22

Japon has got a nark on.

japonicabumsplatt Sat 20-Jul-13 17:36:13

She has indeed got quite the nark on MrsR, forgive the testy note in my comment.

MrsKeithRichards Sat 20-Jul-13 17:46:13

I do get what you're saying, I wouldn't choose to live there, or many other countries. I've been an expat briefly, not in Dubai but in Malaysia, and hard it. Amazing, beautiful, fascinating country but the expat mentality is not nice. The live in help, almost believing your own hype really because a lot of little native to these countries believe westerners are fantastic, aspirational, and they literally bite to you at times. Some people seem to start to think they are worthy of the adulations.

MrsKeithRichards Sat 20-Jul-13 17:47:51

People, not little

BOW not bite lol

NadiaWadia Sat 20-Jul-13 17:49:52

Vile place. Hope the Norwegian government can get that poor girl out of there.

Doesn't Lisa Scott-Lee (ex-Steps) live there?

scottishmummy Sat 20-Jul-13 17:53:15

Awful story,prior to going to Dubai be clear it's different to uk and hierarchical
a lot of Folks go for the money,ESP in recession.
Whilst the Norwegian woman treatment is awful I'm not surprised

nooka Sat 20-Jul-13 18:04:25

I really dislike the way the BBC is reporting this case with raped in inverted commas, so it's not an alleged rape but 'rape'.

japonicabumsplatt Sat 20-Jul-13 18:07:01

Yet, it still makes me wonder why the hell anyone would want to even visit the place. I get that there is a layer of something that is original to the place, though it cannot compete with all the razzmatazz going on around it?
Scottish, young couple next door to us are off to Saudi to work in September, they have 3 kids and are going for the money as you say. In my heart of hearts, i think they are going to struggle with the differences but will have to simply forge on because there will be no way out of it without a lot of hassle from employers and so on. Have to admit I am a bit worried for them

springperennial Sat 20-Jul-13 18:21:14

Dubai is full of surveyors who all think they're Donald Fucking Trump because they have a plunge pool in their yard and employ some poor sod from Asia on slave wages to bow and scrape before them. And yes I've bloody been there and shudder at the thought of ever returning.

That is a heartbreaking article and here's another one.

scottishmummy Sat 20-Jul-13 18:28:21

Full of surveyors,hell indeed

Sallyingforth Sat 20-Jul-13 18:47:02

OP back again.
Many thanks for all the comments. I've seen other reports before about women being disgracefully treated there, but this one really made me angry. Glad to hear I'm not the only one.

Dubai doesn't appeal to me at all, anymore than living in, say, Surrey and having an au pair would. All exploiters of cheap foreign labour bring out the rage in me. Yes, my oh so right-on Guardian-reading middle-class "leftie" colleague who pays her Filipina cleaner a whopping 100 roubles for a whole morning's work, I'm looking at you.

Badvoc Sat 20-Jul-13 18:55:23

I would never visit most of the Middle East for reasons like this.
Their treatment of women and children is medieval.
Their treatment of migrant workers is awful (although some European countries dint do too well either).
It seems a soulless money driven desert of a place to me.

BlingBang Sat 20-Jul-13 18:59:06

"Arab countries have among the lowest rates of reported rape in the world. Once you start jailing women who report it, you dramatically improve your statistics."

Read this comment and thought it an interesting way to not have to deal with the issue and make sure your women toe the line.

As soon as anyone says they love holidaying in Dubai (and they say it a lot here in Essex) I think, nah, we're not going to get on.

scottishmummy Sat 20-Jul-13 19:06:35

I agree

Lifeisforlivingkatie Sat 20-Jul-13 19:19:22

Go to Mauritius or somewhere in Europe skip Dubai

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Sat 20-Jul-13 19:24:42

Dunno about Dubai - never been there.

Will never be going there either, purely based upon hearing the victim interviewed on Radio Four this evening.

mummytime Sat 20-Jul-13 19:29:15

"Dubai doesn't appeal to me at all, anymore than living in, say, Surrey and having an au pair would."
How to undermine a cause when seeming to support it.
The conditions that Au Pairs live in in Surrey is vastly superior to migrant workers in Dubai. They have their own room, food provided, wages paid to them (not with-held to pay a debt), and have full rights within the law.

The only exploited "maid" I have known was brought with her family when they moved from the ME, I did have a few issues with them to be honest.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 20-Jul-13 19:32:05

To be honest the whole idea of Dubai has never appealed and that was before I found out about the slave labour,horrendous attitude to rape.

It's an utterly superficial shallow place. A friend goes there regularly on work,he really enjoys it but everything he tells me,every time he goes, makes me less rather than more keen.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 20-Jul-13 19:34:32

I've been a few times and will go again, well Abu Dhabi really but we visit Dubai each time. We have family there.

It's a different world alright, there's a local paper delivered each day translated into English for the expats benefit and the daily occurrences reported in there and the acceptance that this is how it is shocking. Last time I was there Malaysia had put a blanket ban on its citizens working there after yet another murder of a Malaysian maid at the hands of their employers.

It's a strange feeling there. In every day life YOU are totally a second class citizen. One thing I would say is whites are treated no different to other ethnicities. My family member is a manager there but to his Arab employers he's still just a servant. There is this undercurrent of fear as well eg a taxi driver became very shouty and aggressive towards us when we queried the route he took, we had had it drummed into us by family who live there to never argue back if you come into conflict because you cannot win. You do feel very aware of the limitations to fair treatment you can expect. It feels vaguely threatening all the time.

Saying all that though I do love it there. I have learned a lot about the culture there and do find it fascinating. One thing that is strange is how American it is. American sweets and snacks in the garages and the malls full of American restaurants and shops.

It's not as plastic and false as you think it will be before you go, you do have to immerse yourself in it though. And the Abra's (water taxis) in Dubai are flipping terrifying!

stopgap Sat 20-Jul-13 19:37:36

I remember the scandal with child jockeys (some of whom were toddlers) and camel racing. I swore then that I would never set foot in Dubai, and have yet to change my mind.

Mosschops30 Sat 20-Jul-13 19:38:25

Horrified by that story but I loved Dubai.
It was the best holiday I've ever had, felt very safe there walking round as 2 women in a city on Saturday night which we would never do in the UK.

People we met, both local and migrant workers were lovely and I can't wait to go again

cantdoalgebra Sat 20-Jul-13 19:43:45

I lived in the middle east for many years. I remember Dubai when it was a small port with one (not very good) hotel. Ethical tourism is a whole different debate. Where WOULD you approve of to visit? Capitalism is not the reason women are second class citizens in Dubai.

MacaYoniandCheese Sat 20-Jul-13 19:53:09

We're moving there in the New Year...I think forewarned is forearmed. You have to know about the laws of any country you are going to visit or inhabit. The girl's story is heartbreaking but going to the Middle East to drink and party is a very risky proposition indeed; it's not Ibiza. This has happened to other women and I believe the man in this case was jailed too?

FWIW I am appalled at the idea of having a maid or live-in of any sort and malls make me want to poke my eyes out. DH has the opportunity to work for a mentor in his field and my children will have the opportunity to experience another part of the world and attend excellent schools. Plus, if I have to endure another Canadian winter I may lose the plot. I hope to do a lot of swimming there smile.

BlingBang Sat 20-Jul-13 20:00:57

Why are you appalled at a maid or live in nanny?

MacaYoniandCheese Sat 20-Jul-13 20:07:46

I can't imagine having someone else living in my house...I like privacy and not talking to anyone for long stretches of time (total takes me 6 hours to recharge my batteries for when my three chatterboxes come home from school) and I feel it would be awkward having to make small talk all the time and wondering whether they had everything they needed, whether they were happy, whether you were taking care of them properly. HUGE responsibility.

BlingBang Sat 20-Jul-13 20:12:32

Well they are all perfectly good reasons I guess!

Shrugged Sat 20-Jul-13 20:45:07

I lived there for a year and worked as a journalist until I discovered the extent to which the press is still censored, despite noises being made about greater openness. I also did some volunteering with the charity Adopt a Camp, and saw the appalling conditions in which the labourers are housed in desert camps, and how frequently their pay was withheld by dubious property companies. Maids are not protected by even the same minimal labour laws as other employees, and are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

Under a veneer of Westernness and tourist-friendliness, the place is a dictatorship, with all important government posts held by the same royal family members. Corruption is rife, and there us a strict racial hierarchy in terms of types of employment. Residence is linked to employment, which makes all non-citizens (nine tenths of the population) very vulnerable.

I loathe hot weather and shopping malls, but it was an interesting place to live, for all the wrong reasons. The inner workings of a dictatorship trying to balance Sharia law with being tourist friendly involves all kinds of the most torturous double-speak, with new laws being declared and sometimes rescinded in a week. Emiratis are outnumbered by foreigners ten to one in Dubai, and as the discovery of oil meant they went from nomadic camel herders to extraordinary wealth in a generation, it's a very confused society with huge obesity problems and a massive identity crisis.

oohdaddypig Sat 20-Jul-13 20:52:10

That's really interesting shrugged.

The more I read, the more I never ever want to go. I still recall an article in the observer a few years back about African labourers brought into Dubai who harms their passports confiscated. Working for essentially nothing, living rough and they couldn't even leave the country. It was so sad.

I could never relax on holiday knowing such misery underpinned my pleasure.

oohdaddypig Sat 20-Jul-13 20:52:56

Had, not harms... Stupid iPhone...

MacaYoniandCheese Sat 20-Jul-13 21:54:37

Great post, Shrugged. Adopt-a-camp was already on my list of things to do after I get the kids settled in. Anyone know of any women's aid organizations, charities? I know there are lots of MNetters in the ME!

TraceyTrickster Sun 21-Jul-13 01:49:21

Sadly Qantas have changed their Australia-UK routing to go through Dubai, hence boosting the region.

Well we will not be using Qantas and adding to tourist revenue going into Duabi. Singapore or Malaysian only.

squoosh Sun 21-Jul-13 02:38:48

Had no idea that only 10% of Dubai's population had citizenship status.

manicinsomniac Sun 21-Jul-13 02:55:04

It's a shocking story but your conclusion that noone should therefore go to Dubai is a bit crazy.

I have been spending most of my spare time in Brazil for years - a country where, when I first started going, you could pay a policeman to shoot a street child for you. A country where children who have been sexually abused by their fathers or brothers are the ones who are removed from their homes and put in shelters because the mothers can't cope without the men. A country where people live in favelas and children, often addicted to glue or crack cocaine, work on the streets all day for a few centavos while people just a few streets away live in beautiful masions.

I have been to India where the caste system and prejudice against Dalits is alive and well. Where teenagers can be forcibly married off to men twice their age and where the conditions for street children are potentially even worse than those in Brazil.

I have been to Lesotho where men in rural areas believe that having sex with a baby cures AIDS and where it is widely accepted that men who have to work in South Africa for a month at a time can't possibly be expected not to sleep around and bring yet more HIV back with them.

I have been to Egypt where the vast majority of women and young girls are subjected to female circumcision.

Oh yes, and I live in England where we belittle women who are raped by saying they asked for it by wearing a short skirt or by drinking. And where we take more and more from the poor, sick and disabled while the wealthy get richer.

The world is a fucked up place but we're in it and we can't avoid evil wherever we go.

sashh Sun 21-Jul-13 02:55:07


The family will probably be fine. I've worked with people who previously worked in Saudi and lived on 'compounds' where they drove to work (women allowed to drive on compounds) and basically lived as they would here.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 07:17:48

I have lived in Dubai for several years and do not recognise the place from some of these descriptions! The latest in the press here is that the woman is no longer under the protection of the Norwegian embassy, is not wanted by the police, and will appeal her conviction. Her rapist is in jail.

I find the UAE law that has been used against this poor woman abhorrent, but frankly, if the UAE government wants to base a system on Sharia law then it's their business. It really is up to people who choose to visit to educate themselves about what is expected of them (e.g. it's risky to drink without a licence here). That applies to the Middle East and anywhere else. Those who criticise Dubai are often the same supposedly liberal individuals who support a culturally relativist view in the UK.

FWIW - I have a maid, and she is paid more than the agency "asks" of me simply because I want to keep her happy and ensure she has what she needs. Most of my friends do the same. We are all mindful of the conditions in labour camps and there are many volunteer programs for donations and collections, particularly at this time of year (Ramadan). Conditions have also improved somewhat in recent years. Whilst I am here, I will do what I can to improve the lives of people at a comparative educational/financial disadvantage. Boycotting the place will not change their situation - unfortunately most people are not lucky enough to enjoy the advantages that we often take for granted.

And yes, I am here for mainly selfish reasons - paying no income tax for several years will make a massive difference to my quality of life when I return to the UK and it has enabled me to start paying off the mortgage and debts. I could never, ever have done so whilst paying the punitive tax rates in the UK.

oohdaddypig Sun 21-Jul-13 07:53:19

If its up to people to "educate" themselves we really must advise more women not to be raped whilst visiting, then eh?
How silly of them.

I'm delighted you are pleased with your financial planning and put money in collecting tins. That's everyone's consciences soothed.

BlingBang Sun 21-Jul-13 07:59:19

But many folk are hypocritical. Many folk would jump at the chance to make good money, live in a different culture for a while, send their kids to good schools if it was offered. We chose another country over Dubai as the other country sat better with my outlook on life. If Dubai had been the only choice then we would have took it.

LessMissAbs Sun 21-Jul-13 08:01:30

No desire to spend my money visiting a concrete hole in the desert or indeed any country which oppresses women.

Its sad for these countries, as many of them have in recent history been far more open to travellers and traders in the past.

CadleCrap Sun 21-Jul-13 08:04:48

whilst their own citizens are living in slums behind these skyscrapers

This is not true. The Emiratis are few in number and are treated very well. It is the migrant workers that live in poorly.

Doesn't make it right but just trying to be factually correct.

oohdaddypig Sun 21-Jul-13 08:06:32

Bling bang, I don't know many people who have actively chosen to move there. It's usually out of absolute financial necessity. DH and I could, with our jobs, move there tomorrow. And we, like everyone else, are not in a good state financially.

No bloody way.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 08:48:26

daddypig - I would advise them not to go out and drink/get drunk without a licence, yes. That is illegal here. It doesn't make what happened to this lady any more palatable but the UAE is a sovereign state that can create laws based on Sharia as it sees fit. Nobody is forced to come here.

Personally, I am happy to relinquish my right to get intoxicated in public and dress immodestly (not that I am suggesting the Norwegian lady did this) in return for living in a spotlessly clean country with excellent healthcare for the majority with little or no crime.

And you have totally missed the point of my post. The way in which migrant workers are treated will not change simply because a few people boycott the place. At least I am actually doing something to help - only on Mumsnet could that be turned into an insult!

And FWIW, the comparative financial advantages I enjoy here have changed my life and my family's for the better and I am grateful. As someone upthread said, not many people would turn down that kind of opportunity, particualrly when turning it down makes little or no practical difference to the people on whose behalf you are protesting.

DeepPurple Sun 21-Jul-13 08:57:50

Their own people live in slums??? You really need to get your facts straight! Emeratis are given a plot of land when they turn 18, they get the money to build a house and they receive money each year if they choose not to work. Government jobs are filled with emeratis and they are incredibly well paid.

The ones that are badly treated are migrant workers. This has been changing in recent years.

Learning what is right and wrong and to ensure you don't get in trouble is simple. Be respectful. It is a Muslim country and this fact should be respected. Cover your knees and shoulders when out in public, do not swear, do not argue, do not get pissed and act like a total idiot in the street, no sexual contact in public including cuddling - especially if you are not married. Basically, behave responsibly.

The main issue with reporting rape is that if it is rape within a relationship eg - you have a partner who then rapes you. To report this you would have to reveal that you have has consensual sex outside of marriage in the past. This is illegal so admitting this would land you in prison. It's not fair but it is the law in the Middle East.

DeepPurple Sun 21-Jul-13 09:01:05

I'm choosing to move there hmm DH has already gone and DD and I will be joining him in August. DH grew up out there.

oohdaddypig Sun 21-Jul-13 09:06:42

On the contrary, beagle, boycotting is one of the most powerful weapons we have.

If tourism stopped tomorrow to Dubai I wonder how quickly policies might change.

But boycotting depends on enough people giving a shit!

SirChenjin Sun 21-Jul-13 09:14:21


There is nothing on earth that would persuade me to pay into an economy that supports this type of atrocity for the sake of a holiday.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 09:17:41

That's the point daddypig - they won't ever give enough of a shit. Treating workers badly is "normal" in many countries other than the UAE, sadly. Even if every person in Blighty took the moral high ground, the place is full of Australians, Canadians, Europeans, Turks, Sudanese, Lebanese, Arabs, Iranians, Russians. The Saudi's love it because it's close and they view Dubai as a place of decadent values since they live in a country without music or cinema! Think of the size of a country like Saudi and compare it to Blighty and you realise that nothing our little island does is going to make a blind bit of difference. Charitable organisations in the UAE do, however, make a difference and they will do significantly better if they are supported by the - generally wealthier - Western expats who are here and are likely to remain here while Western economies continue to tank.

JassyRadlett Sun 21-Jul-13 09:23:42

Thank you to this thread for reminding me to write to Qantas telling them why I'll no longer be flying long-haul with them.

Utterly awful.

Mosschops30 Sun 21-Jul-13 09:24:53

This thread is making me laugh, you're so self righteous

The kind of people who think they love and respect culture but want countries to change their way of thinking because its not like ours.

Say they'd 'never go' but only because your Dh works in the local council and would never be ooffered a job there

Wise up, it's not perfect but then neither is the UK. The way we treat our asylum seekers is appalling, migrant workers too!
Dubai is lovely, virtually no crime, a pleasure to walk round without some pissed arsehole letching at your breasts!

Like another poster said almost every country in the world has issues! It's going to be a very ignorant life if you choose not to travel and stay home reading the daily mail instead

MrsKeithRichards Sun 21-Jul-13 09:26:29

Someone asked earlier but I see no one answered, where do you all holiday that is ethically sound?

I love the irony in the comment from whoever is bypassing dubai on the way to malaysia or singapore, you happy with their human rights record are you?

SirChenjin Sun 21-Jul-13 09:28:05

Countries with appalling human rights records never give a shit - especially if combined with the lure of big grubby bucks - but it's still vital that people are made aware, as so many are completely oblivious, and can then make an informed decision as to whether they want to holiday in a country like this.

MrsKeithRichards Sun 21-Jul-13 09:29:42

Where is your final destination with quantas? Not oz by any chance? Happy with their recent stance on immigration?

SirChenjin Sun 21-Jul-13 09:32:58

Has Oz jailed anyone for being raped?

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 09:34:33

She was not jailed for being raped - she has not been jailed at all!

We should all go admire there to admire its colorful history, its outstanding natural beauty, its cuisine and its charm.

KittensoftPuppydog Sun 21-Jul-13 09:37:32

Sounds absolutely vile. And about as wasteful and unsustainable as you can get.

manicinsomniac Sun 21-Jul-13 09:40:03

oohdaddypig - how many other countries would we need to boycott in order not to support immorality or corruption? All the countries I listed above and many many more for sure.

It's impractical. We can do what we can to change things, either from here, 'on location' or financially but to stop travelling is ridiculous.

amessageforyouYoni Sun 21-Jul-13 09:41:50

Awareness raising of the appalling treatment of women and generally shit human rights records of countries like this, I absolutely agree with.

I wouldn't boycott visiting a country because of this, though. How presposterous! So you only travel to nice, safe, squeaky clean countries? How lovely for you.

I find Dubai fascinating. We have friends there and have been several times. It isnt just the 'Las Vegas' of the middle East....its the New York. Its the financial hub. And it offers such interesting insights in to the Arab world, how its developing (or not, as the case may be) and the juxtaposition between East and West, rich and poor.

Yes, it can be scary. Yes, the treatment of migrant workers is brutal (and more importantly, its in your face - not hidden away in a sweatshop thousands of miles away making your clothes or packaging your food where you dont have to see it). Yes, its a patriarchal society, with some truly barmy laws and customs.

But turning your nose up at a whole country is such a snotty and frankly, dim, way of dealing with these things. And it doesnt help the women you wish to defend ONE BIT.

Mosschops30 Sun 21-Jul-13 09:42:49

Wish some of you could see how my asylum seeker clients live!
You could come down off that moral high ground then

Why is it preposterous to chose not to go somewhere on holiday? How odd.
There's a whole world out there and for many reasons Dubai is somewhere I don't fancy visiting. Surely that's good for you Dubai- lovers.

manicinsomniac Sun 21-Jul-13 09:55:43

Of course it is euphemism I don't want to go there either, it would too hot and too urban for me. But that's personal taste, it isn't about politics, religion or social issues.

What places do you like to visit? The chances are some of them are guilty of worse or equal atrocities, even if you like to stay in the UK!

myfirstkitchen Sun 21-Jul-13 09:59:13


I know people who've gone and said it was amazing. The hotels are so luxurious the staff do everything for you etc etc.

You can't leave the complex!

I'd rather go for a rainy weekend camping in Bognor than be somewhere with such disregard for human rights.

I saw a picture of Amy child's from the only way is Essex and her gay cousin there. Why would you go there when you're gay?

MrsKeithRichards Sun 21-Jul-13 10:04:59

What complex? Of course you can wander about!

sashh Sun 21-Jul-13 10:07:02

with little or no crime.

If the UK had a law that meant you needed a confession or 4 male witnesses before it became a crime I'm sure the crime rate would diminish.

BlingBang Sun 21-Jul-13 10:07:11

Fist I've heard you can't leave the complex - admittedly haven't been other than to refuel at airport.

I wouldn't rule out going to any countries unless I felt it would be dangerous.

Eddiethehorse Sun 21-Jul-13 10:08:58

I live there and I agree the way in which this lady (and others) has been treated is abhorrent. If you asked many Emiratis/Arab ex-pats they would also agree.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 10:09:27

Myfirstkitchen - that post proves that - in common with many others on this thread - you really don't know anything about Dubai. There are no complexes herre. In Riyadh, yes - but Dubai?!

Many tourist destinations have as little or less respect for human rights compared to the UAE. I suppose you never shop in Primark either?

There are gay people here, and gay bars too.

PerilsAsinger Sun 21-Jul-13 10:11:41

Mosschops "Dubai is lovely, virtually no crime, a pleasure to walk round without some pissed arsehole letching at your breasts!"

From that statement Mosschops, I assume you've never lived there. I have.

I wonder what your definition of "lovely" is. It's obviously not mine.
How can you say it's a pleasure to walk round ?? There is nowhere to walk. There is no nature, no greenery and of course it's absolutely stinking hot and humid most of the time.

"Pissed arseholes" - they are there too. Often in their dishdash. On another thread recently I spoke of witnessing an Arab masturbating in his car as I walked by him. I couldn't report him as I would have been scared to.

We used to go to the beach for a swim at 7am and the letches were out at that time. Not pissed but I've never been so uncomfortable walking on a beach.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 10:16:09

If the UK had a law that meant you needed a confession or 4 male witnesses before it became a crime I'm sure the crime rate would diminish.

That only applies to adultery - see the very helpful explanation someone upthread posted about this. There is no crime in the UAE, in the sense that theft, murder, mugging, drunk people fighting, vandalism etc is not a part of everyone's life in the way it is in the UK. Children of ex pats go back to the UK and are not "street smart" at all and are vulnerable to muggings etc. I think that is sad.

It is a crime here to drink alcohol without a licence and to have sex outside marriage. And let's not forget that the rapist is in prison, and she is not.

SnakeSkinCharly Sun 21-Jul-13 10:16:36

I am not a 'Dubai-lover'...I just cannot justify writing off visiting a whole country or experiencing a culture so casually.

I have been to South Africa, China, all over the the Middle East, the Caribbean, eastern Europe - to places with really shit aspects to their laws and customs.

How do you ever really engage with people - and the world - if you sit in your nice suburban semi in England tut-tut-tutting at the rest of the world? Its bullshit, sorry.

So the answer is to spend two weeks in a hotel in Dubai buying shoes and enjoying the air con?
I've been to a lot of countries with dubious issues sure, I'm going to the filthy, appeasing south of France this summer, but nah, no interest in ever going to the woman hating, materialistic, exploitative gulf states.

NB hope it's not really filthy.

SnakeSkinCharly Sun 21-Jul-13 10:27:51

My husband is black.

At least in Dubai we don't experience the vile racism we have been subjected to every time we step foot on French soil grin


Well, Yes, it's the south Asians who are discriminated against in Dubai.

I'm intrigued with how holiday makers in Dubai are engaging with the world. The people I know who go there seem to go with the intention of engaging less with the world.

EeTraceyluv Sun 21-Jul-13 10:41:00

I really don't think I would want to live near anyone who says 'just because your dh has a job in the local council and would never offered get a job there' Superior much?

PlatinumStart Sun 21-Jul-13 10:56:04

I've worked there.

It has it's problems like many places in the world, but as a woman it's certainly not anywhere near the worst country I've lived/worked.

You have a lot of freedom, it is relatively safe, career opportunities are great and if you cared to step outside the malls the culture and heritage is fascinating.

The problem is that the UAE is rich. Richer than you can possibly imagine and therefore a target. The fact that it has existed for little more than 40 years, has had to build an infrastructure from nothing and carve out rules and a judicial system in that very short time, inevitably making mistakes on the way seems to be lost on people.

I'd be really interested to hear where, broadly, is more ethically appropriate?

oohdaddypig Sun 21-Jul-13 11:09:10

Moss chops, it does amuse me on mumsnet that the ultimate put down is that you must be a daily mail reader.

Whereas in reality you have no idea about the preferences of posters on this thread who choose not to holiday in Dubai. Is that the best put down you can offer? (alongside council employed DHs)

Oh dear.

Everything on this thread has just reinforced my desire never to visit the place. We all gain different things from holiday and travel, good luck to those who think they can find that in Dubai.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 11:23:20

oohdaddypig - and the anti-Dubai folks on this thread put those of us in the ME down on the basis that we are all mall-dwelling Jumeirah Jane's with leather faces and no culture or moral fibre ;-)

The UAE is not just Dubai either - the other Emirates are much less brash and brassy, and have fewer tonnnes of concrete per square mile. I have travelled a fair bit and the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi at sunset is one of the mose beautiful sights I have ever seen. I don't think you should dismiss the whole country on the basis of one (admittedly rather OTT) part.

BridgetBidet Sun 21-Jul-13 12:49:50

Snakeskincharly my mother was an anti-apartheid campaigner in the 80s. They campaigned against any business being done with South Africa and supported sanctions. I think it's fairly obvious these days that it was the correct thing to do and we should never have supported a racist state.

But many Islamic countries treat women far, far worse than South Africa treated the blacks. They are denied all their civil rights, the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to their own bodies. Yet there is nowhere near the outrage because it's seen as acceptable to treat people in this way because they are women despite the fact that we would not accept it if the people they were treating this way were black.

All of the people on here singing Dubai's praises remind me of the people in the 80s who used to demand that we supported the Apartheid regime, they're using almost the same arguments.

oohdaddypig Sun 21-Jul-13 12:53:33

Bridget, your post is excellent and expresses the point better than mine. For me the issue is also the treatment of workers farmed in to provide cheap - free - labour combined with the vile displays of excess at the same time.

JassyRadlett Sun 21-Jul-13 13:29:59

MrsK, I'm Australian, so yes it's Australia, to visit my family. Loathe Kevin Rudd's recent move, I think it's misguided and hideous. And I certainly don't think there are many countries with perfect human rights records (and I certainly include the UK on that list, with policies at least equal to the recent announcement on boat-arriving asylum seekers. And I can kind of see the reasoning behind part if the Australian decision, trying to remove the power of the traffickers, though I think this is a nonsense and appalling way of trying to achieve that).

I'm sure if my family all lived in Dubai, my position on visiting would be different.

However, the systemic intentional subjugation of vulnerable groups is something I disagree with, and I can send the message to those I do business with - such as Qantas - that their business choices will affect my shopping habits. And Qantas's decision to change its partner airline to Emirates and its hub to Dubai is directly supporting a government whose central platform and ethos I find abhorrent.

I'm by no means perfect, but I do try to consume ethically where I can, although I fail a lot. That includes travel. Most countries in the world treat women like shit on some level, so I've had to decide where I draw my own personal line.

Ok by you?

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 14:03:17

"Vile displays of excess" - oh pur-lease!

The labourers are not unpaid slaves. They are people from generally poor, rather grim parts of the world for whom accepting a job in the ME might mean that their kids eat properly or their mother gets to see a doctor. Unfortunately that is a hideous economic reality for the majority of people on this planet and no amount of sneering and name-calling from Guardianistas in their ivory towers will change that.

I have actually been to a labour camp here in the UAE last Eid - I talked to lots of labourers. Yes conditions were cramped and basic but they were all grateful to have work.

Since you are so concerned about how exploited these people are, tell me what you have done to improve their lives?

squoosh Sun 21-Jul-13 14:07:46

'The labourers are not unpaid slaves. They are people from generally poor, rather grim parts of the world for whom accepting a job in the ME might mean that their kids eat properly or their mother gets to see a doctor.'

And therefore all the more ripe for exploiting.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 14:12:07

So what's the alternative, squoosh? Leave them and their families to rot in poverty with no chance of employment? Yep, that'll work. hmm

oohdaddypig Sun 21-Jul-13 14:14:46

Lurking - your arguments always seem to centre on a resigned "well that's the way it is" argument that I find depressing.

I vote with my feet. Yes I am fairly powerless in an incredibly unfair world but I try my best to choose, shop and travel as ethically as I can. I guess its the butterfly wings theory. I often get it wrong. But I won't ever give up, put on the sun shades and travel to a five star hotel in Dubai. (Not that I could afford to)

Ps glad I've been upgraded from daily mail to guardian grin

PerilsAsinger Sun 21-Jul-13 14:15:24

LurkingBeagle - what can we do to improve their lives? What is the answer?

I didn't feel I could do much however I did feel sick watching the men sweating and toiling outside our luxury block of flats and then spend their cash on sugary treats in the little shop next door. I felt gutted knowing what they spent on a bottle of coke and imagining how much of their budget that was.

The only thing I felt I could do was buy a big bag of cokes and sweets and biscuits and suchlike and hand it to a group of them to share. I don't think anything I could do would make their lives/conditions any better but I felt so sad watching them work around the area we lived.

I imagine from your "pur-lease" that you are American and perhaps were a bit naive when you met the labourers who were "grateful" to have work in the UAE. Sorry to be blunt about that.

whataboutbob Sun 21-Jul-13 14:24:03

It also strikes me that most of the labourers in the UAE are from poor Muslim countries, and yet so often exploited by their co religionists. Come here, work in unsafe, exhausting conditions and when we don't need you , you are out. There is also exploitation in the domestic sphere, of nannies, cleaning ladies etc. Yet when these same muslim nationalities come to (non muslim) european countries, human rights are expected to be upheld. Some double standard.

PlatinumStart Sun 21-Jul-13 14:25:52

bridgetbidet interesting that you choose to lump the ME into one homogenous lump. I think perhaps more than any other region in the world the spectrum of religious  tolerances, political ideologies and approach to life generally is vast and it is the sort of uneducated diatribe that lumps Turkey in with Saudi and Lebanon in with Kuwait that is so frustrating for so many of us who are very familiar with the region.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 14:26:01

daddy pig - I totally agree that it's depressing! But that is the way it is, and it is likely to remain so as power and influence shifts to the East. It doesn't mean that I don't wish the world was different, but (imo) it's better to offer practical help today and hope for a better world tomorrow iykwim.

Perils - I am not American. I grew up on a council estate in the UK and I also know what it's like to be on the bones of your arse. (The pur-lease was meant to be ironic... wink)

I think that if everyone did the same as you then it would make a difference and at least make people think more carefully about the consequences of their lifestyle. People here donate clothes and toiletries at Ramadan that are boxed and distributed. There was also a drive to donate lots of second-hand swimming trunks so that the migrant workers could go to the beach on days off. Sounds ridiculous but many are lacking in absolute basics - the places they come from are horribly poor. I know it sounds like nothing, but if every ex pat/tourist did the same then it would make a difference to their daily lives and raise awareness of their treatment - both of which can only be a good thing!

MrsKeithRichards Sun 21-Jul-13 14:32:22

Has anyone as shared their ethical destination of choice yet?

PlatinumStart Sun 21-Jul-13 14:40:40

mrskeithrichards I hear Thailand is drug trade or sex tourism....USA fab and of course they never use the death penalty...Italy has yummy ice cream and no mafioso or corruption to speak of....China of course have really cleaned up their act.....

BridgetBidet Sun 21-Jul-13 14:40:48

PlatinumStart where did I lump the middle east together? I referred to many Muslim countries, not all of them and not necessarily only those in the middle east. And regardless, the fact that Turkey is quite a progressive society doesn't diminish the fact that many Muslim countries deny women basic human rights.

We wouldn't deal with country that openly discriminated in this way on the grounds of race. Why is it okay to deal with countries that behave this way towards women?

PlatinumStart Sun 21-Jul-13 14:42:41

Genuine question - those of you who would never travel to Dubai on ethical grounds do you boycot other countries?

My experience is that those who loathe Dubai all seem to have a thing for the slightly hippy-esque India trail. The irony seems to escape them.

foreverondiet Sun 21-Jul-13 14:43:00

YANBU - would never go.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 14:44:06

Bridget - of course it's not okay, but good luck managing without oil.

SnakeSkinCharly Sun 21-Jul-13 14:45:37


China, India - fine.
Dubai - not.

A little bit of snobbery in there, I think.

Its fine to trail around Cambodia, doing the whole 'good for the soul' SE Asia trail, despite the child sex slave trade. But the 'excesses' of Dubai are just toooooo much.

PlatinumStart Sun 21-Jul-13 14:56:16

Apologies Bridget I misread.

JassyRadlett Sun 21-Jul-13 15:03:36

Mrs K, if you're actually serious there's a lot of information around on how to visit countries and support local communities without supporting regimes one finds abhorrent.

But I suspect you were going for the rhetorical flourish.

MrsKeithRichards Sun 21-Jul-13 15:05:33

Genuinely interested in where people go.

I would never go.

I made this decision about 8 years ago when I read an article about how the big towers were being built by men bussed in from neighbouring countries and being kept as slaves.

I agree some other cities may well have been built by slave labour....but this is 2013, not 1813! This article is just the final nail in the coffin for me.

My ethical destination of choice would be Watford, which is the only holiday I we have had for the past 5 years grin.

BrainSurgeon Sun 21-Jul-13 15:17:25

I'm with Fell and LurkingBeagle.
Sooo many people here have no idea what they are talking about hmm

ExcuseTypos Sun 21-Jul-13 15:20:09

Vile place. I don't understand why anyone would want to holiday, never mind live in such a place.

I heard the poor woman who was jailed for being raped, talking on the radio yesterday. Horrendous experience for her from start to finish.
The hotel manager tried to talk her out of phoning the police because he knew what would happen. She obviously didn't quite believe him. She really wants to raise awareness of what the place is like, so thank you for starting this thread OP.

SHarri13 Sun 21-Jul-13 15:20:36

Why do people go there? What's the appeal other than £££?

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 15:25:15

She has not been jailed, she is appealing her conviction, the police are not looking for her and have no intention of making her serve a custodial sentence - probably mindful of the media shitstorm. Her rapist is in jail.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 15:27:52

SHarri - what's the appeal? Sunshine 365 days a year, beautiful beaches, no income tax, comparative freedom, higher standard of living than the UK and no crime to speak of. And the recession is over here (insh'allah).

What's the appeal of living in the UK these days? hmm

ExcuseTypos Sun 21-Jul-13 15:34:30

Lurking she WAS in jail for 4 days. She was told by the police that they knew what kind of girl she was- a slag who slept with men when she was drunk. If it wasn't for the intervention of her Embassy I expect she'd still be there. Stop trying to minimise what has happened to her.

squoosh Sun 21-Jul-13 15:35:10

What's the appeal of living in the UK?

The fact it isn't a dictatorship is good enough for me.


ExcuseTypos Sun 21-Jul-13 15:39:03

Indeed Squosh and I'd like to add, a place where you aren't jailed when you have been raped.

Did someone also point out that for a rape to have happened in Dubai, you have to be married and you need 4 male witnessessad angry

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 15:42:52

UAE law makes it an offence to drink without a licence. She was arrested for being drunk and not producing an alcohol licence so in the eyes of the law she had committed a crime. I have no idea whether or not she was intoxicated, but if she was, then yes, I expect there were inferences drawn about whether the sex was consensual. That IS a cultural issue, but it also happens in the UK. In a place where alcohol is banned for everyone except tourists and ex pats with a licence then I expect those inferences would be 10 times worse.

I think that what happened to this lady was abhorrent, as I have said many, many times on this thread. However, nobody is forced here at gunpoint. The UAE legal system is based on Sharia which as any fule kno takes a rather harsh view of these things. If you choose to come here then I think it's reasonable to educate yourself about these things, and yes, that is particularly important if you are a woman, and yes, it stinks.

DeepPurple Sun 21-Jul-13 15:43:52

Woman are respected in Dubai, they just don't have the same level of equality that we have in Britain. Women often have separate queues so they are served first! They are seen as the backbone of the family.

Maids are "owned" by families to the extent that they are not in possession of their own passport. The reason for this is that they are being sponsored by the family and if the maid was to do anything wrong the sponsor can be fined, imprisoned or thrown out of the country. Most maids make around £300-£600 per month. They also have their visa costs paid, a month holiday each year which most use in one block to visit their home country. Flights to and from their home country are paid by the sponsor and they are also provided accommodation and a food allowance. £300 a month doesn't sound that bad when you consider the overall package really. What do we pay au pairs in the uk? Considering a three bed house costs around £30k a year to rent, a private room in a house is good value. Many maids own several properties in their own countries as working in Dubai gives them enough money to do that.

The conditions that the workers you see around aren't great but they given a wage, accommodation and health care as part of their package. I'm not saying that living in camped conditions is good for them but many are very greatful that they have a job. They come from countries where they would struggle to find work to feed their families.

Service workers in hotels are often given accommodation within the hotel.

Someone mentioned using children for camel racing. This is not true anymore and hasn't been for some time. The camels are now ridden by robots.

The cost of a can of coca cola is regulated to ensure that everyone can afford it. The price (in a shop) is fixed at 1.5 dhs which is around 30p.

It is illegal to have sex outside of marriage in Dubai. It is also illegal to live with your partner. These things are generally ignored as long as you do not get in to trouble for anything else.

Being gay is also illegal. Again, a blind eye is turned providing you aren't being obvious about it.

Saudi has far worse conditions for women than Dubai. If a single woman falls pregnant whilst in Saudi then she will be imprisioned, given lashes and then deported with "prostitiute" stamped on her passport.

There are many things that can improve in Dubai but things have been improving over time. The country is relatively new and they are still working out the kinks.

Someone mentioned not being able to leave your hotel? Absolute rubbish! You can go wherever you choose! There is plenty to do and many places to see. It is safe to go where ever you want to with little crime happening. Theft, assaults, murder, robbery etc are all very rare.

The education system is entirely private. This can be costly but you are assured a high standard of education with a maximum of 22 children in a class and a teacher and teaching assistant in each class.

The healthcare is private but of a very high standard. There is also a hospital that will see migrant workers that have not got medical insurance. This treatment is free.

There is still a lot that can be improved but sitting in Britain, clutching pearls and saying you'll boycott the place won't help.

DeepPurple Sun 21-Jul-13 15:46:06

And to echo what has already been said, she wasn't jailed for being raped, she was jailed for being drunk without a licence. Her rapist is in prison, she is not.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 15:46:37

Excuse Typos - your understandning of the law is wrong. Please RTFT.

Yanbu, how can they use the word 'sex' it was rape!!!

skylerwhite Sun 21-Jul-13 15:55:48

Boycotting is not simply clutching pearls, DeepPurple - it's one of the few ways that ordinary individuals can make informed choices to effect socio-political change.

I wouldn't dream of going there. And I wonder how those who go off to Dubai in order to live tax-free for a few years and build up a nest egg are able to live with the knowledge that they are directly profiting from the misery, poverty and inequality of their fellow human beings.

Arcticspill Sun 21-Jul-13 16:04:06

There have been huge improvements in Dubai's social/ human rights issues. Why? Because of international scrutiny. The emirate wants to be recognised as one of the World's financial centres and as a desirable location. So slowly it has responded to pressure from expats, visiting statesmen (Blair, Clinton etc etc) and to adverse publicity. Hence the outlawing of child jockeys some years ago.

This soft diplomacy is considered by World leaders to be far more effective than simply leaving them to their own devices, ignored by more developed nations. There are still many issues there, but there is a huge amount of ignorance on this thread.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 16:06:06

Poverty, misery and inequality are everywhere. I do what I can to help and will continue to do so while I am lucky enough to be living here, which means my conscience is clear and I live with it comfortably. Surely it's better to be doing something to enhance other people's lives, rather than simply making snide comments on a forum whilst kidding yourself that you have the moral high ground?

skylerwhite Sun 21-Jul-13 16:12:45

Er, you know nothing about what I do to support other people's lives, Lurking hmm. But thanks for the condescension all the same.

As for the assertion, repeated a few times, that things in Dubai and UAE are improving, it's worth noting that Human Rights Watch has reported for the last four years that conditions are worsening.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 16:12:52

Absolutely Arcticspill - places like Saudi are, frankly, much more deserving of some of the hyperbole in this thread. Saudi has no desire to be attractive to inward investors or tourists and vast supplies of natural resources and wealth. Worrying indeed.

ExcuseTypos Sun 21-Jul-13 16:16:30

I remember white people living in South Africa during Apartheid, said the same kind of thing as you Lurking.

It doesn't wash with me and many other people.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 16:16:32

Skyler - you asked how people living in Dubai for selfish reasons could live with "profiting from the misery of others" and I live here so I answered your question. hmm

Saying that, I would be really interested in hearing how you support the oppressed migrant workers of the UAE - do tell! Or perhaps you do just prefer making snide remarks on faceless forums while crowing about how morally reprehensible everyone else is.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 16:17:55

Sorry ExcuseTypo's - I don't know which comment you mean?

skylerwhite Sun 21-Jul-13 16:24:29

Well, for some people the chance to make a bit of money trumps everything, I suppose. sad

BridgetBidet Sun 21-Jul-13 16:31:54

I know LurkingBeagle that the reason we put up with it is because we need oil for the Middle East. However that doesn't mean that I have to spend my money in these countries when I have a choice not to do so.

Incidentally I thought that Dubai had comparatively little oil which is why it has set itself up as a tourist playground instead?

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 16:31:54

In some ways yes it does. Being tax-free is life-changing for me because my own background is poor as I explained up thread. Whilst I had read about poor treatment of workers here it, the moral aspect was not uppermost in my mind when I moved here. Now I am here, I want to, and am able to, help in a practical way.

thebody Sun 21-Jul-13 16:32:00

when in Rome! have friends in Dubai and have visited them. it's an amazing spectacle and defiantly worth seeing.

you do however have to abide by their laws.

the alcohol laws are strict as Is public decency so I didn't French kiss dh in public and quite frankly wouldn't here.

westerners can in general wear what they like, drink in restaurants and in home but not outwardly be drunk, pity not more like it here on most Saturday nights.

me and teen dds felt absolutely safe anywhere at any time.

no country is perfect and if you visit / live there then you need to respect their laws.

plenty of human rights violations in most countries including European ones.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 16:36:30

Bridget - of course you don't. So don't! But others on this thread are assuming that those of us who do live here have no concern for migrant workers or domestic workers, and that is simply untrue.

Dubai does have very little oil - tourism and financial and professional services are the mainstays now. The oil is in the other Emirates.

PlatinumStart Sun 21-Jul-13 16:40:30

skyler much of the criticism surrounding worsening opression centers on the prosecution of 93 persons who human rights watch describe as "government critics".

The prosecution rested on evidence that those critics were in fact hard line islamisists with links to terrorist organisations and were planning a violent coup.

Human rights watch (rightly) objected to the fact that a number of defendants were held incommunicado, in undisclosed locations and that parts of the pre trial process were held in private, all things that routinely happen in the UK and USA when dealing with those who would seek to violently seize power. Whilst I am not for one moment arguing that two wrongs make a right it is important to understand why the current stance is being taken by human rights watch.

Eddiethehorse Sun 21-Jul-13 16:50:20

LurkingBeagle I agree with your last comment. I sleep well knowing I support a family in the Philippines, knowing we pay our nanny over 4 times what she could earn back home, that her 3 kids are in the best school they can be, that she has built a house for them, that we insist she flies home once a year despite her not always wanting to. I am happy in the knowledge that I treat everyone I come into contact with here with the upmost respect and help where I can. I am here not earning a huge tax free salary, in fact for most people here the living costs outweighs any tax free benefits, I am here due to the job market in the UK and the opportunity to develop my career in a way which would not have been possible elsewhere....but I don't have to justify this to anyone.

LurkingBeagle Sun 21-Jul-13 16:59:04

Exactly, Eddiethehorse. Life is rarely black and white and the economic situation in the UK has left some people with fewer choices. It is what it is, and I believe in making the best of things which is why I pay more than my maid asks for (!) and volunteer locally. So many people treat their maid as another member of the family, in exactly the way you have described. I don't know anyone as ruthlessly exploitative as people on this thread seem to think.

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 22-Jul-13 02:07:45

Sorry, but all those talking about "Muslim countries" as if they are some kind of homogenous mass aren't really impressing me.

At least Lurking actually knows the place and it's people rather then demonizing them from afar, which I find to be far more sinister.

Also, there are human rights groups active in the UAE and there certainly are plenty of women's rights groups (and yes, there are Emerati people leading these groups, not Westerners). So things are changing slowly for the better.

If we're boycotting over a legal case, is anyone avoiding the US over the Trayvon Martin cade, or is that different?

Mimishimi Mon 22-Jul-13 02:28:13

I think the circumstances of this case are understandably a bit murky though. I listened to an interview with the victim on the radio yesterday. She said the police were nothing but professional in their treatment of her, getting statements and the like. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a case of her word against his. She agreed that she was drunk, she agreed that she let him take her to his room instead of hers, she agreed that she allowed him to persuade her that she would be safer inside his room than walking back to hers because she could be taken advantage of. She said she was so out of it that she blacked out and only when she woke up did she realise what had happened - it wasn't clear whether that was during what he was accused of or after.

I don't agree with their extramarital relations laws but it's important to note that the man accused, who said it was consensual, received 13 months. Not sure why his sentence was three months shorter though. I have been to Dubai - I think it's imperative that expats in any country know the laws of the land they plan to stay in. Getting so inebriated that you pass out is never a good idea even in your own country, let alone one where you are not familiar wth the culture.

It wouldn't stop me from going there and I don't think they are barbaric - crass and nouveau riche with oil money maybe though grin.

Morloth Mon 22-Jul-13 05:41:07

We turned down Dubai.

I just didn't want to risk it. Crazy laws. No thanks.

Eddiethehorse Mon 22-Jul-13 06:50:11

The laws are different and from a Western perspective some are archaic but the vast, vast majority of people live here with no problems at all - that includes petty crimes to major crime - its safe.
Check out the work that Lola Lopez is doing here (and many more like her) with a lot of support from shock, horror… Emiratis and Muslims too! Look at the Emirati (ok non elected government) and there are women in it….how did that happen?! Things are changing here, albeit slowly but there is change.
I think there is a huge degree of ignorance on this thread, I hope those same people that are boycotting the Middle East and specifically Dubai, pay the same level of scrutiny to their everyday lives, from where their food and clothes come from to who manufacturers their goods etc etc

Morloth Mon 22-Jul-13 07:12:50

Nope Eddie I am honest enough to admit it was all about risk to myself/family.

I did not wish to submit to the laws of that country, I didn't have to go there. So I didn't.

They can have any laws they want, not my business actually, but I don't have to go live there.

"At least Lurking actually knows the place and it's people rather then demonizing them from afar, which I find to be far more sinister."

Well, Perilsasinger and Shrugged, to name just a couple, actually have lived and worked there too and they describe Dubai in a very different way.

There is a huge degree of ignorance on this thread? Yeah, yeah, look you're happy to live/holiday under a dictatorship. That's fine. A lot of us don't.

PerilsAsinger Mon 22-Jul-13 09:03:34

I would add that we didn't have a maid but we did employ a lovely Nepalese lady to clean for us, once a week.

I met her when I was sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting for some innoculation ( I think).

The stories she told us that horrified us were when these women had to work for the locals there. The woman of the female would often abuse mentally and physically the poor maid/worker. The workers hated, without exception, to have to work for an Arab family.

Our cleaner at work also spoke of the same horrors which befell some of her friends working in Arab families.

I know this is a generalisation and of course there must be some decent ones - but I only heard the horror stories. Apparently the Arab women also had really bad personal hygiene (I know, that's another story, but I was told that again and again).

We were lucky to be able to find one of our neighbours to employ our cleaner when we left - the cleaners always wanted to be employed by Westerners.

LurkingBeagle Mon 22-Jul-13 09:26:59

I have heard the same as Perils - if you read the UAE press most of the horror stories seem to happen in Arab families.

I guess everyone forms views based on their own experiences but I have been exceptionally well-treated here, without exception, including by the police after a car accident even though at the time I spoke no Arabic. I feel 100% safe coming home alone at night and have friends of many religions and nationalities (another huge bonus - to me at least - of living here). Then again I have never got so drunk I passed out or gone anywhere without my alcohol licence!

I was thinking about this thread on the way into work this morning - I was delayed because of building work being carried out to Dubai mall. According to their advertising, once the work is completed they are expecting 100 million visitors every year. That's just to the mall, not the city as a whole. I imagine only a tiny proportion of that will be visitors from the UK, so the authorities are probably not too worried about being boycotted by a few huffy MN'ers. wink

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 22-Jul-13 09:29:55

This - nice asuumption. I've never actually been to Dubai.

However I did indeed used to holiday in a dictatorship - Syria, as I have family there. Obviously no holidaying there, over 100,000 people are dead - while the world does precisely nothing, so you can possibly see why I'm a bit touchy about the stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims, because it has very hideous consequences (and is where the comparisons to SA fall flat).

You're quoting Peril as some kind of knowledgeable source when she's happy to repeat racist filth like "I heard the Arab women have terrible personal hygiene" hmm

Sorry, the second part of that para was in response to Eddie t he horse. - re. Ignorance.

There are lots of different views and yeah I agree with lurking millions of people love to visit Dubai- the dictators aren't worried about huffy mumsnetters not going - so why we're being persuaded that we are wrong or missing out I don't know.

Sparklysilversequins Mon 22-Jul-13 10:32:56

I don't think anyone is trying to persuade you that you're wrong or missing out. More of an explanation as to why we DO choose to go in response to the OP and subsequent posts saying that we shouldn't.

Eddiethehorse Mon 22-Jul-13 10:41:42

Ignorance: we are all here for the money, all migriant workers are oppressed, people live in compounds or stay in hotels they cant leave, no heritage, culture etc etc etc
The great news is that she has been pardoned:

cory Mon 22-Jul-13 10:53:14

DeepPurple Sun 21-Jul-13 15:43:52

"*Maids are "owned" by families to the extent that they are not in possession of their own passport.* The reason for this is that they are being sponsored by the family and if the maid was to do anything wrong the sponsor can be fined, imprisoned or thrown out of the country. Most maids make around £300-£600 per month. They also have their visa costs paid, a month holiday each year which most use in one block to visit their home country. Flights to and from their home country are paid by the sponsor and they are also provided accommodation and a food allowance. £300 a month doesn't sound that bad when you consider the overall package really. What do we pay au pairs in the uk? Considering a three bed house costs around £30k a year to rent, a private room in a house is good value. Many maids own several properties in their own countries as working in Dubai gives them enough money to do that."

Can't you see that it is your first sentence here that makes the whole difference?

If you are an au pair in the UK and discover that your employer expects you to go to bed with him as part of your au pair duties, you can get out and go home. If you are a maid in Dubai, he has your passport.

Ditto if you find he expects you to do twice as many hours as your contract or beats you if the coffee isn't just right.

Most of my friends were au-pairs when I was young. If a family seemed at all dodgy, they got out.

SugarMiceInTheRain Mon 22-Jul-13 10:53:25

YANBU, one of my oldest friends is imminently moving out there with her DH (for his work, though she plans to work there too). I think it'll be much more stressful than she realises and I wouldn't be at all surprised if she comes back with her DS before her DH's minimum 3 year stint is up. She's already on at me to visit her while she's living there and I keep making non-committal noises and thinking to myself hmm

Eddiethehorse Mon 22-Jul-13 10:57:37

I dont keep my nanny's passport......

BlingBang Mon 22-Jul-13 12:01:40

Sugar, what do you think will make it more stressful?

Sallyingforth Mon 22-Jul-13 13:33:34

The great news is that she has been pardoned

So after all the negative international publicity, the victim has been 'pardoned' - which means she was guilty but let off.

"The man she accused of raping her - a colleague - has also been pardoned, a Norwegian official has said."

Is that justice?

PlatinumStart Mon 22-Jul-13 14:55:52

cory it is illegal to hold an employees passport. Some break that law, many do not.

PlatinumStart Mon 22-Jul-13 15:13:30

And I'm still interested to know where people do holiday. thisisaeupamism what about you? Dubai the dictatorship is obviously off limits but where is acceptable?

Are (were) Syria, Egypt, china, Tunisia, Vietnam, Cambodia all also off the list? Or what about countries with significant human rights issues?

I'm genuinely interested to know where those who extol the vitriol for the UAE deam to be an acceptabie destination.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the cast majority of the haters gave little to say...

squoosh Mon 22-Jul-13 15:28:32

Well I was in West Cork a few weeks ago and will be heading to France for 10 days in August.

The civil rights issue isn't the only thing that puts me off Dubai. I think it looks like a boring holiday destination, too new, too hot, too shopping focussed, too full of footballers.

skylerwhite Mon 22-Jul-13 15:30:27

Do you have a problem with ethical tourism, Platinum?

FreudiansSlipper Mon 22-Jul-13 15:44:54

i have been to Tunisia (lived and worked there), Vietnam and Cambodia. Tunisia is a very different culture a poorer country that does not have the same mentality of having people work under them. Vietnam and Cambodia are both very poor countries again you do not see people treated the same way

i am not saying that these countries do not have governments that are corrupt and other problems with the way people are treated (Cambodia has a terrible problem with men who abuse children going there to take advantage of very poor and often desperate people) but the attitude that money can by people is not cultural sadly in many very wealthy countries it has become that way. it is common in many parts of asia to have servants or maids/cooks even if you are not that wealthy but you do not buy these people they work for you

I said where I was going on holiday some pages/days back.

do you believe all countries are equal on human rights - or that some are worse than others?

I believe some states are worse than others. Some are really bad. Some don't fit in with my way of thinking especially on women's issues. I don't want to go to these places for a holiday. Work - maybe? Campaigning - maybe, but to sit in their luxury hotels, no. Does that sound so bizarre to you?

And, as Squoosh said, not just that, I can honestly say, hand on heart, even if Dubai were the most liberal democratic state in the world, I still wouldn't fancy it.

PlatinumStart Tue 23-Jul-13 10:22:33

Skylar why on earth would I have a problem with ethical tourism? what a bizarre question. I am however generally confused as to the level if vitriol towards the UAE and "other Islamic" countries.

thisis apologies I missed that - the answers to the question that a few people asked were few and far between, but thank you for answering - I will try and find your answer. But no I don't think it's weird that you don't want to visit places with a poor record on women's rights but what I personally do find strange is the number of people who will denigrate the UAE but happily holiday in other places that are on many views equally as bad.

So for example Egypt has an appalling record of treatment of women, domestic abuse and rape is commonplace and having worked in both UAE and Egypt, the latter is far more dangerous for and hostile to women, yet it's an incredibly popular tourist destination.

Equally, HR abuses, including use of death penalty, in US is at least as bad as the abuses in UAE.

Someone mentioned Vietnam, which has an appalling record relating to their poor, displacement and the "slave trade" is alive and well.

I am fortunate enough (or not - if you take the common view) to have lived and worked in all these places and it never ceases to amaze me how people appear determined to overlook the worst kinds of abuses if there is a "cultural trade off". It comes across as the worst type of judgementsl hypocrisy which is why I am genuinely interested to know - on that scale of bad - worse where people draw the line.

skylerwhite Tue 23-Jul-13 16:01:53

I haven't said anything about "other Islamic" countries. I personally draw the line on a system where people are classified according to their "nationality" or colour of their skin.

digerd Tue 23-Jul-13 16:33:56

As far as Codeine is concerned, a girl had hers confiscated by customs in Greece. In Germany it cannot be bought over the counter, only on Drs prescription.hmm

Sallyingforth Tue 23-Jul-13 17:15:18

skylerwhite You won't be going to Israel then.

skylerwhite Tue 23-Jul-13 18:05:27

Israel would not be a holiday destination for me, no.

PlatinumStart Tue 23-Jul-13 18:47:30

Skylar I wasn't attributing comments about other Islamic countries to you.

I am confused as to what you mean by classifying people due to nationality, though. Virtually every country does this, treating its own nationals better than visitors and non national residents.

If your referring to active discrimination of minority groups of nationals within a country then I guess you can rule out Thailand, Egypt (again), Turkey and India to name a few, with both Australia and the US having a fairly potted history when it comes to treatment of their indigenous populations.

Anyway whilst I am interested in the concept of ethical tourism this thread I get the impression that this thread is simply about Dubai bashing.

jeniferroselyn Wed 14-Aug-13 13:20:30

that was very bad news. but if you see every coin has two is nice place for tourists and for adventure like camping, sky diving and living in Dubai..

celticclan Wed 14-Aug-13 13:38:58

I don't intend to visit Dubai. I
don't want to line the pockets of a country that treats women like this.

It never makes sense to me when women are treated as criminals when they are raped. What do they think women should do? It makes me think that perhaps they believe women have some kind of supernatural power that can fend off attackers.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Wed 14-Aug-13 19:01:44

I refuse to visit a country that has the death penalty. (So no - I have never been to the USA.) That is a line in the sand for me that I have not and am determined to never cross. So UAE is a country I am unlikely to see.

All countries have human rights abuses but there are degrees of this and I try to ensure that I do not visit those that have significant institutionalised abuses. (For example I refused to go on the really lovely holiday to Turkey that dh once found.)

It's not much but it is something.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Wed 14-Aug-13 19:05:14

Oh - and slightly amused at the local council comment. My dad worked for his local council for over 40 years. He was regularly contacted by firms trying to get him to work in the ME.

Muschima1 Tue 15-Oct-13 17:15:39

Sorry to have different view than most of you. My daughter lives and works in Dubai. It is a much safer place than London or any other big city in the UK. No drunks, no druggies, no public violence, no aggression - yes - stern laws, but it is a civilised society where a single woman feels safe.

LayMizzRarb Tue 15-Oct-13 18:18:57

I assume that none of you buy clothes in Primark, Next, and a hundred other uk shops? Are you aware of the conditions that factory workers face? And I hope you are all posting on British made laptops/phones; have you seen the suicide rates in the factory that makes iPhones?
If you are, then you are in a position to make a judgement.
In my mind, Thailand is far worse than Dubai. They have a government that refuse to do anything about the sex trade because it brings in so much in tourism revenue.
We were out there for quite a while about 20 years ago, and went back about 4 years ago. It was shocking how in-your-face the sex industry is. The number of times children (quote " I sixteen reely mister...") approached my husband in bars and restaurants if I went to the loo or disappeared for 5 minutes. 2 young girls even approached us on the beach offering sex.
Beautiful country, vile lax laws.

kim147 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:42:47


Well I hope your daughter isn't gay or trans as they'll soon be banned from working over there if this proposal goes through

FrogsGoWhat Tue 15-Oct-13 19:41:48

Zombie thread

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