‘We need slaves to build monuments’
By Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
It is already home to the world’s glitziest buildings, man-made islands and mega-malls – now Dubai plans to build the tallest tower. But behind the dizzying construction boom is an army of migrant labourers lured into a life of squalor and exploitation. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports
The sun is setting and its dying rays cast triangles of light on to the bodies of the Indian workers. Two are washing themselves, scooping water from tubs in a small yard next to the labour camp’s toilets. Others queue for their turn. One man stands stamping his feet in a bucket, turned into a human washing machine. The heat is suffocating and the sandy wind whips our faces. The sprinkles of water from men drying their clothes fall like welcome summer rain.