Recently I travelled to the United Arab Emirates to see my best friend. Travelling to Dubai is a choice to see the girl I love, her husband and her beautiful, delicious baby. There is a lot to be said for the city of Dubai, it’s very presence is an assault on the senses, “bright lights, big city” doesn’t even start to cover it. From the thousands of restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world, to the noisy fountains, and dramatic buildings. I love a lot of it, I’m not afraid to say I’m dazzled by the beauty, and awe inspired by the maginututed at which everything grows and changes. I’m the type of person who loves shiny new things. Magpieitis.
However, every time I travel there I’m deeply concerned about the stories concerning human rights, workers rights and basically the threatment of anyone who isn’t a rich westerner or from a Gulf State. Being involved in politics you just have to check in at DBX airport and you’re being battered by the left for not having your moral compass set accurately. I just can’t imagine this is unique to the holiday town of Dubai, most tourist attractions are a magnet for those from poorer cultures who seek to gain employment in an ever hurtful economy. So is it right to travel there and enjoy the pleasures of the Middle East as long as we look after those, who look after us? I think so. The laws in the UAE are changing all the time, international travellers put pressure on the union governments to really think about their migrant workers. This happens not just in Dubai but all over the world; Mexico, resorts in Spain, Egypt…. I could continue. Even Blackpool businesses have had raids on the accommodation of seasonal workers and that’s three hours down the road from cassa Zambo!
So what about the men? It’s the joke I’ve heard a thousand times. “Oh Rosa you’ll come back with a rich Arab” and “think of the fabulous life”. Maybe it’s even a joke I’ve made myself, but the cold hard fact is that many of the “tourists” in Dubai come from all over the world and that makes it the most beautiful, cultural melting pot; but also the spark of a fuse which would ignite many a crossed wire. I was followed in the biggest mall in the world for over an hour by an Arab male. My daughter was frightened and I was alaramed, but mostly pissed off at having to evade him in my very painful but gorgeous Valentino Rock Studs. When we finally asked security to do something about it the opinion was very much “you can’t blame a guy for trying and you look Russian…. you know?”. No I don’t know. I’m not frightened to lie and say while I was seriously angry I text a male Muslim friend and asked him “would this have happened to me if I was in hijab? I think not”. Boy did that open a can of worms, he very quickly, rightly and swiftly reminded me that this was man problem, a feminism issue and absolutely nothing to do with being in a Muslim country. You see I’ve been followed by a man in a mall before, I was with my bae of the time in Manchester and a young man decided following me around till he saw my boyfriend was a “grand idea”. That happened at “home”, just a feckless man thinking a blonde would drop at his feet. Religion? Nothing to do with it. His penis replacing his brain? Maybe so. It’s easy to blame religion, culture or upbringing for being a wanker but actually the truth of the matter is we just have to push on for equality globally.
Equality, the magic word eh? So where’s wee Charlie? Why didn’t she go? The answer is simple. I cannot risk taking a transgender girl with a male passport through the immigration of a country like the UAE. This Gauls me. It burdens my soul. Every man and their dug keeps telling me I must be utterly infuriated at the very thought of it, and yes I am; but what about the UK? You see we want to blame the Muslims, that be easy, but what about the country I live in that won’t give my daughter the passport she deserves. The passport that would allow her to go to any country, a little book of freedom. I’m only one woman, so yes I think LGBTI rights are shot to shit in these countries but we’re still not there in the U.K. either….. and while I’m on it she couldn’t live in Australia because she would never be able to get married and that’s meant to be one of the most “laid back countries on earth”. It’s just another global fight.
This has been a long rambling type blog but I felt it needed to be out of my system. In this world every single human needs these things to survive: water, food, shelter, love and human rights. It’s not my job to boycott every country in the world because I don’t like their governments treanent of the vulnerable, because to be frank I’d have to live on the moon. It is our job to continue to highlight inequality when we see it. Even to write about it, notice it and address it if and and when we can.
I’ll be going back to Dubai. I’ll be going back to my second family. I’ll travel the world but I promise in my mind I will always be thinking that “some” men are just wankers (watch for the stampede of woman are too brigade) and I will always be thinking that we could do more…. Inequality isn’t a “Muslim” problem it’s a human issue.
PS did not find husband rich or otherwise much to mammy Zambonini’s upset