Monday, January 01, 2007

Race, Theft, Scam & the UAE

This morning over coffee with my parents we were discussing multiple changes in the UAE that have taken place over the last decade. With them going for good, they can reflect on the good and the bad with a rather objective eye. One of the major changes, due to increased living expenses and general lower quality of life I’d guess, is increased crime rates.

My father informed me that ‘Smily’ a man whose name we can’t pronounce, who works here with my father’s birds and always has a huge smile on his face, was robbed last week.

Smily was walking to the bus stop to catch a bus to the souq. He had on him 1500Dhs, two months worth of his salary and though I’m not sure, I’m guessing he was intending to buy gifts for Eid for his family back home. I’m going to stop you right there and tell you not to bother giving me or my family shit about his shitty salary as the fact is, we don’t condone it, it’s not up to us and if it were, he’d be paid more. In fact, my father often does give him and all the other workers bonuses strait from his pocket though he’s not in any way responsible for their salaries.

Anyway, he was approached by two Egyptian guys in a car, who offered to drive the literally poor man to the souq. Smily agreed happily. I bet he was thinking he'd saved a bit of transportation money, and came across truly kind-hearted people. Once in the car, the men took Smily to a deserted road, where with the threat of violence they demanded he give them all his money. Two months worth of salary gone. They let him go, but he failed to take the license plate number and has refused to make an official police complaint on the bases that he believes nothing will be done about it because Smily is an Indian.

I think a couple of things about this. To start with, the police’s incompetence has less to do with race than most here would like to presume. Just last year my father and a Canadian business colleague who was here on a short business trip, were sitting in busy restaurant when a couple of Indian scam artists approached, one diverting the whole table’s attention while the second crept up from behind swiping my father’s colleagues bag, which happened to be literally full of cash for a pending falcon purchase. My father caught on quick, chased the thief until he dropped the bag, but never actually caught either of them. The restaurant owner then informed my father’s table that the same thing had happened two days earlier when a German woman’s purse was snatched there. They’d called the police but the police never bothered to show up. This time, the Asian national was the thief and European/Western tourists the victims. Nothing was done.

The second thing I think is that Smily, failing to make an official complaint is just another example of the reasons why Asians are most often the target of such crimes, and even alternative types of abuse. Smily is far from the only Asian I’ve ever come across who refuses to officially stand up for their rights because of a prenotion that nothing will be done. In fact, a huge percentage of Asians I know tend to think and act like this. And the widespread knowledge of this attitude is why they’re often the target of thieves like this, I’m sure.

What happened to Smily and his final reaction to this all is incredibly sad. This morning, one of the workers is intending to make a complaint to the Sheikh who he officially works for, not for the sake of catching the thieves but because he hopes the Sheikh will show mercy and offer him the money he was ripped of. Personally, if I were the Sheikh I wouldn’t dare – for the simple reason that UAE is famous for scams and without an official complaint, how in the world can I verify that this robbery actually took place? And who is to say that next week, another complaint won’t be made by one of the many, many other workers I have, again without any actual proof, and I’d be expected to show the same sort of mercy? I’d be counting on a single act of mercy shown towards one man, one incident, turning into a deceitful bonus for all my employees before I could count on it actually being appreciated.

You can argue that all you'd like. But I'm betting the Sheikh agrees with that concept, because he himself has gone through it before in the past. And I'm also betting Smily had a larger chance of getting anything in return if he'd only made an official complaint - whether it be the police actually catching the thieves or the Sheikh showing financial mercy.


Blogger LocalExpat said...

i couldn't have said it better

11:36 AM, January 02, 2007  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

lol thank you... but this has got to be the worse written piece I've even created. LOL! It must not have read well, cause I got bored just reading it today! The story has a point, but the writing is atrocious!

1:27 PM, January 02, 2007  
Blogger Hot Lemon& Honey said...

l don't have anything to say about the post, but I am a fan of your dad now :)

6:00 PM, January 03, 2007  

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