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The NY Times this morning carries the following headline:

Dubai’s Hotel Boom Has Designer Labels

The air-conditioning vents in the Palazzo Versace hotel here zigzag like the Versace design. Every piece of the giant, colorful mosaics that decorate the bathtubs is handmade and imported from Italy. Staff uniforms will be designed by the House of Versace.

With new luxury, five-star hotels opening in Dubai each month, some operators are hoping that brand loyalty and a dose of fashion will set them apart in this crowded hospitality market.

“Each room has a different color theme — there’s lilac, blue, white, green — done elegantly,” said Raza Jafar, chief executive of Enshaa, a real estate company in the United Arab Emirates that is developing this Palazzo Versace hotel. “And the mosaics are by Fantini Mosaici, the Italian company that has done up Gianni Versace’s own homes, as well as major projects for Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and even the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.”

How those hotels got built is a vastly different story as you will learn below the orange kerfluffle

Compare the Times coverage of all that glorious luxury and global brand names with this chilling tale from The Independent:

The dark side of Dubai

Once the manic burst of building has stopped and the whirlwind has slowed, the secrets of Dubai are slowly seeping out. This is a city built from nothing in just a few wild decades on credit and ecocide, suppression and slavery. Dubai is a living metal metaphor for the neo-liberal globalised world that may be crashing – at last – into history.
The article goes on to chronicle the lives of expatriates and workers who find themselves truly trapped inside Dubai as captives of the system.
Sahinal Monir, a slim 24-year-old from the deltas of Bangladesh. "To get you here, they tell you Dubai is heaven. Then you get here and realise it is hell," he says. Four years ago, an employment agent arrived in Sahinal's village in Southern Bangladesh. He told the men of the village that there was a place where they could earn 40,000 takka a month (£400) just for working nine-to-five on construction projects. It was a place where they would be given great accommodation, great food, and treated well. All they had to do was pay an up-front fee of 220,000 takka (£2,300) for the work visa – a fee they'd pay off in the first six months, easy. So Sahinal sold his family land, and took out a loan from the local lender, to head to this paradise.

As soon as he arrived at Dubai airport, his passport was taken from him by his construction company. He has not seen it since. He was told brusquely that from now on he would be working 14-hour days in the desert heat – where western tourists are advised not to stay outside for even five minutes in summer, when it hits 55 degrees – for 500 dirhams a month (£90), less than a quarter of the wage he was promised. If you don't like it, the company told him, go home. "But how can I go home? You have my passport, and I have no money for the ticket," he said. "Well, then you'd better get to work," they replied.

What is it like to work in Dubai?  Let Sahinal describe it for you:
The work is "the worst in the world," he says. "You have to carry 50kg bricks and blocks of cement in the worst heat imaginable ... This heat – it is like nothing else. You sweat so much you can't pee, not for days or weeks. It's like all the liquid comes out through your skin and you stink. You become dizzy and sick but you aren't allowed to stop, except for an hour in the afternoon. You know if you drop anything or slip, you could die. If you take time off sick, your wages are docked, and you are trapped here even longer."
He is currently working on the 67th floor of a shiny new tower, where he builds upwards, into the sky, into the heat. He doesn't know its name. In his four years here, he has never seen the Dubai of tourist-fame, except as he constructs it floor-by-floor.
Planning a trip to enjoy the "luxury" of Dubai soon?  Better be sure you have enough to get back out again.  And spend at least a moment or two thinking about how your hotel or office building was built and the "invisible" people out there in the desert haze now working on the next ones.  And think about Mr. Versace and the people who buy Versace and stay in his decorated rooms and never think about questions like these.

BTW....don't forget that much the same sort of thing is happening in Qtar as preparations continue for the future World Cup there.  FIFA will no doubt give in to mounting world pressure that they address this kind of thing......bwahahahahaha!

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