Without Images

I do not post a lot of pictures here on this blog, and with good reason.

Looks can be deceiving. The UAE looks like a normal, Western nation, but it is not. While you can see scantily-clad women everywhere in Dubai and you can buy alcohol in most establishments in any city, and even though it is low, there is crime in this country, and oh my goodness! There are sexual scandals everywhere that make even this old woman blush. But do not be misled by the images: this is a Muslim country where Sharia law can be implemented at any moment.

Here is a recent story in the news, and exactly why I don’t post pictures.

A taxi driver in Sharjah (Emirate) took a customer to Dubai (a different Emirate, therefore a separate jurisdiction). After the Sharjah customer paid and got out, the driver was flagged down by another customer. Note that it is only acceptable to pick up a customer in your own jurisdiction.

The taxi driver knew that he shouldn’t stop for the customer, but he also knew that he was struggling to make his monthly quota and the manifestations of that deficiency would be devastating: his salary is lower than his monthly expenses because petrol prices have risen, and when drivers don’t make their quotas, they are fined. Daily. And once they get in the red with their company, it is nearly impossible to recover. Like sharecropping in the US back when slaves were first “freed”, the taxi drivers are forever in debt to their “masters” (i.e., their company).

So, the driver picked up the customer in Dubai and hoped he wouldn’t be caught.

Well, he was. A policeman in Dubai saw him and took down his plate number and reported him. The next day when he went to his company to pay his daily quota, he was arrested and told that his fine would be 20,0000 AED (translated to dollars, the fine was $5, 445.00). Keep in mind that his monthly income is around $600.00. The man was devastated.

He began crying and another taxi driver in the building at the time began recording the man’s lamentations on his cell phone. On the video, you see the man draped over a desk, head in his arms, whole body quivering with his sobs. The cries of the man are haunting. Sobbing, wailing, screaming. A grown man. My heart shuddered when I heard it and it continues to echo in my every moment.

Eventually two officers take the man by the arms and drag him to another room while a third officer spits angry assaults at him.

The man who filmed this tragedy immediately put it out on social media and video went viral in the region.

And then, he too was arrested for filming people.

 

Yes, filming people in the UAE is against the law. The man with the cell phone video was sent to jail and fined 500,000 AED (and that translates to USD$ 136,120.00). Yes. I’m not kidding. That man is now in jail, and will probably be there for the rest of his life because he will never be able to pay such an exorbitant fine.

And that is just one case study to explain why this blog is void of images.

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