The prince and the pauper

21 May, '07

Street sweeper Sulaiman overjoyed at meeting the prince

Ahhhh, this is so sweet.

Shaikh Mohammed of Dubai has bestowed the “excellence in performance in government” prize on a street sweeper – Sulaiman – in Dubai who is diligent in his work. Shaikh Mohammed, one of the richest people in the world, had a little chat with Sulaiman and asked if he could take a picture with him. Sulaiman obliged of course and was overjoyed at the prospect.

He was also very happy to receive a special “thank you” from the Shaikh to the tune of DH50,000 (approx US$13,600) which he will use to marry off his second daughter, pay for a son’s education and build a small house in his country.

Well done Dubai!

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Comments (26)

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  1. MoClippa says:

    Hope they gave him a promotion too.

  2. MoClippa says:

    ^^ Or at least something better then a Broom and Box to sweep with.

  3. eyeless says:

    the article says that a promotion is included as well.

  4. MoClippa says:

    Okay…. but seriously, a broom and a box? come on.

    Thats also one of those sub 600fils brooms that you can find at any cheap dime store in Bahrain. I wouldn’t be surprised if all these workers are meant to purchase their utilities on their own.

    Instead of commending one worker and giving him a bunch of money (which is fantastic in its own right), the government, with its multitude of major projects that range well into the billions, needs to give their most basic workers better tools.

    It’s disgusting how these migrant workers have to live in our region, and its a shame on all of us that this continues with barely any credence given to their plight. This image right here is just one of countless examples.

  5. Anon- 4 ever says:

    Shaikh Mohameed is well known of stuff like this, he comes up with things that we never thought about! but im wondering Mahmood, you werent happy/pissed off the other day about the relatively the same issue! 💡

  6. mahmood says:

    keep wondering!

  7. MoClippa says:

    ^^ Surprised he even has to wonder?

  8. Esra'a says:

    That is just one guy out of hundreds of thousands.Really there are more effective ways to help by enforcing better employment laws and improving their current unacceptable living conditions. Dubai, and this whole region for that matter, would be absolutely nothing had it not been for these migrant workers. I say we seriously start campaigning for their basic rights. We should be doing much more than just expressing our disgust at this. And while it’s great to help these workers individually, the goal should be doing something the majority could benefit from.

  9. Esra'a says:

    Mahmood your flag thing is weird… I’m in Bahrain!

  10. 123 says:

    TOO suh-weeeet

  11. exclamation mark says:

    Is the prize refundable ? 🙂

  12. Moclippa says:

    Agreed Esra’a, there need to be domestic campaigns for legislation that positively protects these individuals, and re-enforces their rights as human beings. Can we effectively solicit politicians to do something yet? Or are the majority of them still all schmoozing off parliamentary privileges and only applying legislation that addresses their narrow views of the way the world should be?

    Where is the party that runs on a platform of protecting the environment, establishing basic universal human rights and standards applicable to migrant workers as well as domestic, furthering the cause of women, protecting individuals from tribalism, enhancing public education and welfare services, and enaballing disenfranchised people to mobilize and achieve? All this without the overtones of religion.

    I think SOME of the parties may mention some of this, some individuals may have even at times proposed legislation in that regard…. but there is no cohesive and legitimate party that has been able to make a concrete stand on all these policies. Another issue is that these types of parties typically receive the largest portion of their votes from the middle class… and as of yet in Bahrain, the middle class (where it exists) is largley disenfranchised, split, does not have a high relative voting rate (from what I’ve personally observed, but maybe I’m wrong) and finds few people that they find representative of their interests that are actually competitive in a parliamentary race.

  13. LuLu says:

    I like the concept– but this one sounds like a promotional item for Dubai 😎

  14. I’m not sure, but I think Human Rights Watch (one of these groups) has been keeping an eye on the situation in the U.A.E. with respect to these workers. Several articles have featured their plight and a few blogs have also focused attention on them. On the other hand, it’s amazing what that amount of money can do for that man and his family. An amount we think is a drop in the bucket, is like winning the lottery to some of these guys. Still, it doesn’t make up for the way they’re treated and their living conditions.

  15. Sos says:

    There is a reason why the human rights group in Bahrain dissolved (or was forced to close). Greedy business men 👿 don’t like other people telling them how to deal with their employees. They don’t want people in this country telling them to increase wages, provide better living standards and treat their employees respectfully. This could potentially put a huge dent in their pockets if all of those squabeling human rights activists actually got their way and some human rights laws were actually enforced. These greedy business have a lot pull in say of law making and enforcement.

    All the proposals and talk that goes about in the government in favor of implementing any laws that pertain to wage increases, safe transport of workers, clean accomodation and minimum wages, in my opinion, is just a show. I don’t think they are serious. Why would they “suggest” a minimum wage in the private sector for Bahraini knowing damn well that many of these greedy business men will not follow? Why can’t they enforce a minimum wage like other countries do for all workers, not just Bahraini but for foreigners as well? They need to come to an agreement about the minimum wage (not BD 200) and enforce it! Companies’ payroll records need to be audited, there should be an agency to report deviations from the law by employers and finally they need to be fined when a violation occurs with the threat of having their CR revoked for multiple violations.

    This scheme would dramatically reduce the amount of cheap foreign labor as it would no longer be cheap! This would leave them with the simple option of hiring Bahrainis!

  16. Esra'a says:

    Vega, I think this is exactly why it’s being publicized… international organizations are quickly gaining awareness on what’s going on in the UAE. The country is growing so fast at the expense of these migrant workers who are not only grossly underpaid but also lack the basic appreciation for their work, most go home to rooms with no electricity. There is a Pakistani photographer who photographed their experiences, you wouldn’t call it Dubai, I thought it was Angola. It’s so alarming.

    The fact that this made its way to the papers is so people can say, “oh hey, the situation is Dubai is getting much better!” why else would he really pose for a picture with this worker, so he can frame it for his office?! I really find this questionable. If it was truly a gift of honor don’t you think he would keep it to himself perhaps, or does the entire world needs to know? And how many millions are now going to say, “but what about me, what about my family?” Feed one guy every once in a while and keep the rest all starving? It doesn’t make sense. The whole system in this field is corrupt.

    In my opinion, the story above is just cheap PR. And it’s to divert attention from the REAL big problems that exist there. Instead of doing something effective (i.e, eliminating slavery and unfair labor) they are rewarding individuals every once in a while (and rarely I must add) thinking it has the power to divert the attention. I think, if anything, this should only make us more aware of what’s going on. Stories like this shouldn’t and won’t hide the reality of these workers in the Gulf.

  17. Mike says:

    How about forming a union?

  18. Esra'a says:

    We have both mideast-migrants.org and migrant-rights.org, I am thinking we can at the very least start a petition with this. So far we are just using it for awareness purposes only, but if someone has an idea to initiate an actual campaign, I really suggest that we start collaborating and get things going.

  19. Moclippa says:

    Agreed Esra’a, I would be willing to help in any sort of collaboration as best I can. Might I suggest starting some sort of forum or meeting point that allows for interested parties to consult on ideas and develop a unified platform to work on.

  20. Why doesn’t he give every street sweeper a cheque? He’s rich enough for it… but that’s only reigning with a stick and a carrot – money to the masses instead of power to the masses…

    And, sure, the one street sweeper can be proud and happy – but it’s one of thousands, who cares?

  21. Silver says:

    well i think its a good gesture, we need to do more of that here
    http://www.silverbahrain.blogspot.com

  22. National Geographic:http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0701/feature3/index.html, had an article in January, with photos of labor camps, and then there’s http://www.mafiwasta.com/, mafiwasta for worker’s rights in the U.A.E. A couple of things I’ve seen, but there were some articles in either WaPo or NYT about the UAE workers. I just can’t seem to remember when they were published.

  23. Esra'a says:

    Moclippa, great idea, I will work on that tonight.

  24. Esra'a says:

    Alright Mo, I created it – it would be geat if you can send me an e-mail so we can collaborate further and not hijack Mahmood’s thread.

  25. mahmood says:

    Good luck with this and you have my full support.

  26. MoClippa says:

    Hey Esra’a, your contact link is not working so I’m having trouble getting in touch with you.

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