ME/NA/SA FUTURISMS MENASA FUTURISMS :: 1 - Page 29

watch their bid video for the World Cup. In it, Qatar appeals to the emotions of the viewer, and seems to say, ‘if you allow us to show the world how modern we are, that we can successfully host a major international sporting event, it will do wonders for the future of the region and for the world.’ This twisted need for acceptance on an international level is being measured by a country’s ability to quickly construct some very futuristic looking stadiums. These projects are incredibly ambitious considering that Doha didn’t even have a skyline twenty years ago. Today, it’s all high-rise glass and “space-age shapes.” 14 In time, these stadiums and skyscrapers will eclipse their human cost and will serve as evidence of Qatar’s modernity. Human rights abuses are not limited to construction, migrants working in hospitality, customer service and sanitation are also affected. Living conditions for workers are inhumane, often cramped, infested with vermin, and lack adequate sanitation. As far as the work itself, long hours are common, as are long periods with little to no pay. The workers are unable to return home, either because of confiscated passports, or fear of losing their back pay. To get around this, labourers will frequently set up after-hour barber shops or outdoor food counters to generate enough income to survive. Most workers have families living in impoverished conditions abroad, and send as much income home as possible, leaving them little to live on while “employed.” Understanding the regional perspective on the rights of migrant workers working on grand futuristic constructions, and the process of kafala, which enables the residence of those migrant workers in the Gulf, is imperative to understanding the rise of slave-like labor conditions in the Middle East. The system of kafala allows employers to sponsor migrant workers and remain responsible for their legal status. Since workers’ capacity to remain in the country is in the hands of their sponsors, employers are able to exploit workers with threats of deportation and replacement with little resistance from authorities. 16,17 Though the conditions faced by bonded workers is somewhat common knowledge, the absence of opposition against the mistreatment of migrant workers perpetuates it. It’s almost as if they are seen as being an u f'GVFPV6W76Gb6FƗ6B6FW&R26VG&ƗVBVff'BFF6RFP77VRFR6b&v旦VB7Fg&FRv&W'2FV6VfW22GVRFFRf'GVW7FV6Rb6V7FfR&&vr&vG2gW'FW&&R66&FrF&F'FV&vG2&W6V&6W"Bf&W