Here are the links to all of my posts dealing with expat life in Bahrain and the Gulf. This includes all of the posts about maid abuse and worker mistreatment, along with other less sinister stories about expat life.
- 24-Apr-05: More labour rage
From the BBC: "More than 700 Bangladeshi workers have stormed their country's embassy in Kuwait, causing damage inside. [...] Mr Islam [the ambassador] told the BBC Bengali service that the motive for the attack was linked to wages not being paid."
- 10-Apr-05: News roundup
The Philippines is considering a ban on sending its citizens to work as maids in Bahrain and the Gulf, after a rise in complaints of abuse. This follows similar bans by the Indonesian and Bangladeshi government last month.
- 27-Mar-05: Labour rage
From today's GDN: "MANAMA: Workers of a top garment factory went on a rampage last night following the death of a colleague. More than 500 Asians working for the MRS Fashions, which makes trousers for J C Penny, started damaging the factory's East Riffa premises after their colleague, who was kept in isolation for 15 days due to chicken pox, committed suicide."
- 23-Mar-05: Maid tied up for a month
Sickening. More maid abuse from across the causeway (via Arab News): JEDDAH, 23 March 2005 — A 25-year-old Indonesian woman who came to Saudi Arabia as a guest worker will have several of her fingers, toes and part of her right foot amputated because of gangrene after being tied up for a month in a bathroom by her Saudi sponsor, who also apparently beat her severely, injuring her eye and knocking several of her teeth out.
- 18-Mar-05: Power to the people
Earlier this month the GDN reported: "More than 100 garment factory workers staged a demonstration yesterday, claiming they had not been paid. Some of Garment International's Sri Lankan employees' homes were destroyed in the tsunami disaster and they say their families are desperate for cash. The workers, mostly women, massed outside the factory in Sitra, demanding to be paid.
- 13-Mar-5: Court delays and rape
Despite my many complaints about the GDN, I do commend it for giving giving a good amount of attention to the abuse of migrant workers on the island. A worrying article in last Wedensday's paper tells us: Alleged rapists are escaping prosecution because Bahrain's legal system is too slow, say human rights workers.
- 06-Feb-05: Fix the judiciary (part 2)
As SBG noted in a comment here and a post on her own blog, the Women's Petition Committee (in co-ordination with the BCHR) held a protest in front of the Ministry of Justice demanding the resignation of the Public Prosecutor Shaikh Abdul Rahman Bin Jaber Al Khalifa as well as some Sharia court judges.
- 19-Dec-04: Maid abuse: part umpteen
Another horrific story about abused maids in Bahrain. When will it end? The woman, who was brought to the country in May, claims that the man took sadistic pleasure in beating women and raping them.
- 29-Nov-04: More about maids
Reading these harrowing stories in the papers on a daily basis, it may seem as though the situation is terribly bad and getting worse. However the mere fact that these accounts are now being reported in the Press is a very positive sign.
- 27-Nov-04: Rubbing salt in the wound
Why is it that some legal cases in Bahrain get a hearing and verdict within a few weeks, while others take several months or years? Why should maids who are the victims of rape and abuse be made to suffer more?
- 11-Nov-04: Time to wake up
This issue about a draft law to "regulate" protest demonstrations is really quite concerning. You can read some of the penalties under the proposed law by clicking here. Also, the GDN has finally got its act together and published a good report about this issue, which you can read by clicking here (Good on ya, GDN!).
- 8-Nov-04: Officer, arrest that rape victim!
Ugh... this stuff makes me sick. From today's GDN: A maid who claims she was raped three times in 48 hours by two members of the same family was released yesterday after spending Saturday night in police custody.
- 6-Nov-04: Natural(ized) changes
The ever-intermittent Homer of Bahraini Blog has at last re-emerged once again. He has a very interesting post today about the possible future of expats in Bahrain and the Gulf. He says: conjecture: what if all of the foreign workers [in Bahrain], perhaps maybe on direction from their governments, were to hold a massive strike, demanding better wages, better living conditions, and most of all citizenship?
- 15-Oct-04: Keep reporting GDN
Well done to the GDN for their continuous reporting on stories about maid abuse. Apparently, they have been getting some flak from the recruiting agents for their coverage of abuse cases.
- 14-Oct-04: Faceless workers
I've tried on a few occasions to take some good photos of the expat labourers in Bahrain who can be seen building this country's roads and houses. But no matter what I do the pictures never come out right. The problem is that it is very hard to capture the details of their faces.
- 13-Oct-04: Maid abuse in the UAE
Here's something to add to the maid abuse files. I know there have been many other cases in the papers, but this one really gave me a chill. This is from Monday's Khaleej Times: DUBAI — A 35-year old, mother of three, Sri Lankan housemaid is a victim of her employers physical and mental abuse, resulting in her losing out a finger, and left distraught without any money and hopes of returning home.
- 29-Sep-04: Willing slaves
After the terrible accident at Dubai Airport yesterday in which five Asian labourers were killed, the BBC has come out with an article worth reading that highlights the main reasons for the plight of expat workers in the Gulf.
- 26-Sep-04: Expat rapprochement?
Here are some welcome words from a Bahraini politician: Mr Redha said councillors should aim to represent all of Bahrain society - including expats. "Expats are the majority in Bahrain and they are the ones paying most of the municipal taxes," he said. "Municipal councillors should meet with them and discuss their needs and requirements, because in the end they are a part of the community whether they are able to vote or not."
- 16-Sep-04: Advice for US sailors in Bahrain
So US Navy service(wo)men have been getting in to trouble on the streets of Bahrain lately. Here are two reports from yesterday's GDN. In that fine tradition of all sailors, both of the Americans in the two reports were allegedly drunk.
- 30-July-04: Relocating "the help"
Not all of the Asian migrant workers in Bahrain are behaving liking angels, so it has been suggested that we ship them away out of sight of the Bahraini communities. Why do these people think that every problem can be solved through collective punishment and segregation?
- 27-Jul-04: More on maid abuse
Unfortunately, the issue of maid abuse will be a recurring theme on my blog. Maids in Bahrain seem to get the worst of it since they are not protected by the same labour laws as all the other migrant workers. For some reason Bahraini law regards maids as sub-human, and not worthy of the same rights as others.
- 18-Jul-04: Taking steps for migrant worker's rights
Although I don't think it occurs on the same scale as it does across the causeway in Saudi, the abuse of foreign workers in Bahrain is certainly a huge problem that we have to contend with if we ever want to claim any moral authority in the face of others. But I am quite pleased to see that the necessary steps are gradually being taken in Bahrain as the country progresses.
- 18-Jul-04: Newsflash: Saudi system abuses foreigners!
Sorry for the sarcasm. I was just slightly amused by the headline of the report on the BBC website: Saudi system 'abuses foreigners', as though they've discovered the missing WMDs or something. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I am referring to the report published by Human Rights Watch a few days ago: "Bad Dreams:" Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Workers in Saudi Arabia.
- 5-Jul-04: Raising awareness of maid abuse
If any of you have seen Lukas Moodysson's recent film Lilja 4-ever, then you will definitely recognize this story, which occurs all too frequently in Bahrain and around the Gulf. Says the GDN: An Indian housemaid was raped by her sponsor, locked up and beaten by her employment agency and then put on a plane before she could complain to the police, according to human rights volunteers.
- 3-Jul-04: More on expat life
Like before, Kuwaiti resident David Olivier has another great post on his blog. This time he details the way in which business is conducted in our part of the world. Here is a short excerpt: More than this however I've enjoyed experiencing the process of negotiation which has involved many delayed or canceled meetings on both ends and Mafioso-like arbitration through suggestion and ambiguous implication.
- 27-Jun-04: The Gulf expat experience
David Olivier perfectly sums up the Gulf Expat Experience: An ex-pat in the Gulf probably more so than anywhere else east of the Suez, west of the Sea of Japan lives a life of limited empowerment. Our fat wallets mean nothing here. Here the locals drive better cars than we do and live in bigger homes.
- 9-Jun-04: BCHR takes up case against Bahraini employer
Kudos to the Migrant Workers Group of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights for taking up this case with the authorities. Unfortunately, incidents like this happen far too frequently for it to be feasible for the MWG to take up each and every case. Nonetheless, making sure that at least a few of the employers are brought to justice helps raise awareness of such issues in the public eye.
- 7-Jun-04: Sale!! Only BD300 for Bahraini torture!
This is just ridiculous. According to the GDN: A Bahraini man was jailed for three months yesterday after being convicted of torturing a Bangladeshi employee. The sentence will be suspended if the 26-year-old fish trap maker pays a BD300 fine.
- 28-May-04: What does it mean to be Bahraini?
Anyways, with all the talk about illegal naturalizations and immigration and stuff these days, I thought I would discuss what it means to be Bahraini for me, as an expatriate "Asian" on the island.