Category Archives: Labor

Middle East Focus: Asian Dreams and Labor Nightmares on an Asian Gulf………

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“He could hardly wait to leave Qatar. Ganesh has promised himself to never again set foot in the desert. On this spring evening, though, Ganesh’s trip back home still lies before him. He is sprawled out exhausted on his bed on the outskirts of Doha after finishing his shift. The room is just 16 square meters (172 square feet) — and provides shelter to 10 workers. With the fan broken and the window sealed shut with aluminum foil, the air is thick and stuffy…………. On the map, the area is simply labeled “industrial zone.” But it is home to the thousands of faceless workers, the place where they eat and sleep. In Ganesh’s building, 100 workers are housed on three floors, far away from the glittery hotels in the city center. They live on the edge of a dream that the sheikhs want to make reality……………….”

The same also applies to laborers from other places, like Egypt and the Sub-continent and East Africa. Temporary foreign laborers form about 90% of Qatar’s population: almost the same percentage that they form of the population of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). So you see why they are indispensable to these countries. Not only do these foreigners work on creating buildings and roads, on the supply side: they are also needed to create the demand for the goods and services. They are needed to buy much of the consumer goods the local merchants import, they are needed to transfer in remittances billions of dollars that keep the local banks operating, and foreigners are needed to fill these buildings that are owned by the princes and potentates and their business allies. Otherwise the newly erected towns between Doha and Abu Dhabi will look like ghost towns; they did not exist a couple of decades ago.



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