when i was in dubai a few years ago, i had an amazing time – such a mind-opener for me. the excess and excessive development was fascinating. and the polarity between rich and poor, ruling minority and voiceless majority was powerful.
on the way to visit the sharjah biennale, my friend and i drove past some of the labour camps and the workers walking home in 50º heat (no public transport there, darling). their accommodation was abysmal – fibro, prefab saunas dumped in the desert. you could see from the number of coveralls hanging on the rails how many people were crammed in.
it was desolate.
i was super sad and angry to read this article on al-jazeera english that speaks of the decreasing conditions for these people in the financial crumble. the rich developer skips out, no problem, of course.
it’s all very well to speak of the amazing creative output of dubai architecture and the boom of the architects’ playground, but it disgusts me to see an industry treating their labour workers as ‘collateral damage’.
policy that protects the most vulnerable in any system is exactly for this purpose – not to spoil the fun and excitement of business risk and entrepreneurship. but to account for the reality of life when shit hits the fan and the oxygen masks drop down.