My friend and NYU Abu Dhabi senior Mohammed Omer left this comment on my Facebook in response to my post about NYUAD. Good stuff from a very smart guy:
This is well written and emotive. Big respect for being so honest.
There is social fractionalisation for sure but that’s the product of capitalism my man. That and poverty in the countries where labourers come from.
Heck the country is only 40 years old and is sprinting to reach the levels of development in the traditionally developed countries that look down on it.
Maybe we should judge with the perspective of the centuries of slavery and colonial rape that built the United States, The United Kingdom and the other places at the top of the food chain that are home to the people condemning some admittedly poor working conditions in the Emirates.
It’s companies from Western nations that act as the architects, contractors and consultants to projects in the UAE and often they are just given a budget of $X Billion and told to get it done. They then cut corners to save profits for those at the top at the expense of their labor. So blame isn’t as square as it seems.
As a senior at NYUAD, sure the place is different to my home in the UK and to my family homes in the States, but as somebody with close friends amongst emiratis, I have enjoyed their culture and been hosted by them outside of NYUAD. The imports are mainly for the expats and to secure the country’s status as a centre for business and global culture in the region.
Conditions must improve in many cases but nobody has the right to any kind of moral high ground.