19 July 2007

I am your slave

I am your slave.

I work in the streets; I build your houses, buildings, and towers. I pave your roads. I pick up the trash off the side of the street in the morning. I clean your sewage systems. I work in your homes; I watch your children while you are away. I watch your children while you are here. I clean your houses, tidy your beds, pick up after you. I serve your food. I clean your garden, wash your cars. I work in your supermarkets, work in your shops; I come out to serve you while you sit in your car. I bring your what you want, and you don't need to lift a finger. I work in your banks, your ministries, your companies; I serve your tea and coffee in the morning, I clean up after you leave in the evening.

I am far away from home; a stranger in a strange land. I leave my family and friends, wife and children, all to come to you, to serve you, to be your slave. To earn a little, a modest income to send to my family; enough for them to survive, to make it through the day. I do this for my family, yet I do all of this with your best interest at heart. I work long hours, I work hard. I try my best to please you, yet you are never pleased. You shout at me, you punish me, and you expect me to do more work. I work from the early hours of the morning, till the late hours of the evening. If I am lucky, I have a few hours to work a second job; I have to, because the money you pay me is hardly enough. I earn a little, not enough to live a good life, not enough to even live a lousy life, nevertheless, you pay me. But sometimes you don't. Sometimes I work for months, and you don't pay me. And I can't complain. I can't retaliate, I can't object. Yet, I make a living, and whatever I make, I send to my family. I try to survive on inexpensive food, I try to save as much as I can. Not much, but I try.

You look at me, yet you don't look at me. You don't see me; I am not there. You pass me by like I do not exist, you do not care. I am packed with other slaves like me, like sardines in a can, in the back of a truck. Your car stops right behind me; I see you, comfortable in your air conditioned luxury vehicle, while I sweat out in the heat, yet you avoid looking into my eyes. Does it embarress you? Why do you turn away? I am on the side of the road, working in the heat, and you pass by me, drinking your cold beverage. You avoid me. You don't acknowledge me. When you do acknowledge me, its with looks of disgust, you detest me. You say i'm dirty; I work your filthy jobs. You dislike my strong odor; I work in the sun all day for you. You are the one who sends me to do these jobs, then you look at me in disgust from what it has produced. I am the result of your actions. You take me out to a restaurant, to watch and take care of your children while you eat. You make me sit on another table, you give me inferior food. I am not your equal. I am your slave.

I built your society, I made it what it is today. Without me, your children would have no one to take care of them, your buildings would have no one to build them, your mess would have no one to clean it. No one to do the dirty work you despise. The dirty work we take, so you can continue living in your lazy, luxurious existence.

I am your slave.

Yet without me you are nothing.

------------
For more post on slave labour, maids etc, click here

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your a tit!

Ammar456 said...

I'm glad you feel that way

June said...

Anon, wtf? And it's You're not Your. Honestly, grammar.

Ammar this is brilliant, it really is. Very poignant. Extremely touching and really captures the sad situation of foreign labourers. It's appalling and I have had many fights, many arguments over this issue. Unfortunately not a lot of people in Bahrain see eye to eye.

flymenian said...

Ammar you are right, those people deserve more from us at least we should treat them like human beings.

But yet you have to consider that the people over here you have to social status which are rich and poor no mid class so the poor in Bahrain are actually living worse than lots of the people packed in the back of any truck, I feel sorry for these people but yet they are not our problem.

their poverty wasn't caused by us plus I guess that poor Bahrainis deserve jobs better than poor indians ( in Bahrain ).

But this just showed me how humane you are and i respect that alot.

can we talk said...

i do agree there is a problem, but i have several bones to pick:

1) it is not the same people who are working in the street and taking care of home/children, work as shop staff so your piece isnt valid.

2) i dont know what percentage of the population actually do treat their employees this way, but you are generalizing and that also is not valid. many of us bring up our own children and pick up our own stuff.

3)"I come out to serve you while you sit in your car. I bring your what you want, and you don't need to lift a finger."
they dont have to!

4) "I am far away from home; a stranger in a strange land."
that is not an unusual thing in the world today, not is it necessarily a bad thing . many people migrate to study or to work in other countries where education is better or pay is more. it is a choice made freely by the individual. they were not dragged to our country kicking and screaming!

5)"To earn a little, a modest income to send to my family; enough for them to survive, to make it through the day."
when was the last time you checked currency exchange rates? our family housemaid has built a big house for her gamily and married off her daughter and provided them a very good standard of living. and brought other members of her family here. she is considered well off by her friends and relatives back home, which she is envied for, poor thing.

6)"I do all of this with your best interest at heart."
get real

7)"I work long hours, I work hard. I try my best to please you, yet you are never pleased. You shout at me, you punish me, and you expect me to do more work. I work from the early hours of the morning, till the late hours of the evening. If I am lucky, I have a few hours to work a second job; I have to, because the money you pay me is hardly enough. I earn a little, not enough to live a good life, not enough to even live a lousy life, nevertheless, you pay me. But sometimes you don't. Sometimes I work for months, and you don't pay me. And I can't complain. I can't retaliate, I can't object. Yet, I make a living, and whatever I make, I send to my family."
well there you go generalizing again. there might be some rogue employers but yoru words do not describe everyone.

8)"I try to survive on inexpensive food, I try to save as much as I can. Not much, but I try."
the last time i checked, the house help were actually being provided food by their employers. and they dont spend any of their money locally, so their whole salary is sent abroad. those that have to pay a sponsor every couple of years so they can work freely (free visas) are actually breaking the law, and shouldnt even be there in the first place, and so should not be a consideration.

9)"I am packed with other slaves like me, like sardines in a can, in the back of a truck. Your car stops right behind me; I see you, comfortable in your air conditioned luxury vehicle, while I sweat out in the heat, yet you avoid looking into my eyes. Does it embarress you? Why do you turn away?
"now we arae back talking about the labourers again. i turn away because i dont wish to be stared at and i dont wish to stare back. i would do the same thing no matter who they are, nothing to do with embarassment.

10)"You take me out to a restaurant, to watch and take care of your children while you eat. You make me sit on another table, you give me inferior food."
now we are back talking about the maids again, wow you are all over the place!
i have seen this happen and it disgusts me as well.i think it is a sign of low class and ignorance. if people had class, they would not take their maids with them to restaurants in the first place.

11) "I am not your equal."
you know what, though? that's life. when you go to a big event at work, everybody doesnt all sit together and they dont all get paid the same, they dont have the same houses, they dont wear the same clothes and they dont all mingle. fact of life. we are not communist, there are class differences. that's why i cant afford to buy designer clothes and go to uber-expensive holiday resorts and travel first class while some of my friends do and while my bosses do, and that's ok. as human beings, we may be equally human, but as people going about their business, we are not! if we were, we wouldnt have employers and employees.

12) "The dirty work we take, so you can continue living in your lazy, luxurious existence."
that just sounds like a case of extreme jealousy.

13) "Yet without me you are nothing."
give me a break

14) very touching words, sensitively written, but they misrepresent the facts for what i hope is the majority of us. i would agree that some of us do treat their employees as slaves, but i would argue it is a minority being blown out of proportion by your piece, giving the impression this is how things are. if it was so bad, why would so many of them work for the same family for more than one contract? or like one of my previous housekeepers, actually come back to work for us again years later.

i am all for rules to protect workers, give them days off and working hours. provide basics. honour contracts, and provide advice. but lets not make out that we are all monsters, ├žoz we are not.

Ammar456 said...

Can We Talk;

Thanks for your reply. As for some of your points; this post isn't about one person, its not a single person talking. It's a metaphor for a group of people (probably why you got confused, its a form of literature).

Anyhow; I agree that not all of them are treated like this, and I realize not everyone is cruel to them, but many are treated this way. This thread isn't a generalization of every single foreigner working in our country; I know some foreigners who are treated very well, I even know some who have come here and built an empire for themselves. This post isn't about them. This post is about those who are living in a cruel, slave-like existence, and can't do a damn thing about it.

Anyhow, you seem to be taking this piece a little personally, and seem to be getting pretty defensive. Is something bothering you? Do you not like the truth exposed to you, or do you just feel some sort of guilt here?

I wrote this to magnify a truth which exists but most of us turn a blind eye to; I hope some will open their eyes to it and hopefully make a change. You choose whether to make a difference or not.

ehsanbros said...

yah that's right
they work very hard
but we gave them salary in charge...

ehsanbros said...

yah that's right
they work very hard
but we gave them salary in charge...

can we talk said...

1) actually, what you wrote wasnt a metaphor, a metaphor is when you talk about one thing to symbolize another, like a teacher in a classroom explaining a difficult concept by using a parallel situation that is easier for the students to understand.

2)" I know some foreigners who are treated very well, I even know some who have come here and built an empire for themselves. This post isn't about them."

great, as long as it's clear that hese people do exist too and may be more in number.

3) "you seem to be taking this piece a little personally, and seem to be getting pretty defensive. Is something bothering you? Do you not like the truth exposed to you, or do you just feel some sort of guilt here?"

please allow me to explain.
my writing did sound defensive, i do agree but that is because what you write may be read by many, and may create the impression that that is how all foreigners are treated in our country. i love my country and am well aware that there are those among us who do not appreciate nor respect and even abuse their employees. but i would not like anyone to think that that is the norm, that we all are inhumane people, who commit what i genuinely consider to be criminal behaviour against others. our country is full of decent people, but like every other country, there are criminals among us who out of cruelness or out of ignorance treat others unfairly. it is out of love for your and my country that i do not like the bad things that happen in it to be blown out of proportion.
i would like the laws to change to afford more rights to workers, and i would like the education system to change its portrayal of manual labour as if it were something inferior, so that our country will be an even better place, but i also think we can sometimes be overcritical of ourselves and make our country sound like a horrible place and that bothers me because it isnt. if i am guilty of anything, it is of being protective of my country and i am not asheamed of that. hands up, i'll be the first to admit it.

4) "You choose whether to make a difference or not."
well, amen to that.

p.s. btw, accusing people of being defensive and asking them if they are guilty are not ways of having a debate about any topic

ammaro.com said...

I don't think I blew the situation out of proportion. It's one of the problems that exists and believe a few small things that take little effort from a few people can help make these peoples' lives a lot better.

I love my country as well, and I speak of it as fairly as I can; you have to take the good with the bad. I'm not here to cover up what's wrong about it, because they are problems that need to be fixed, whether people like to admit them or not.

Anyhow, thanks for your comments, they make for interesting discussion. Oh, and yes, that was a metaphor by the way ;)

(a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable, ie, symbolising a group of people as one person)

:)

Pelkor said...

"I built your society, I made it what it is today."


Haha, I love that type of attitude. This kind of reverse-elitism is going to get you nowhere.

My great-grandfathers were poor indentured farmers, my grandfathers wanted better, so they worked to become free farmers, my parents wanted better, so they worked to become a schoolteacher and a cabdriver. I wanted better, so now i'm a software engineer.

I pray my children will inherit this urge to excel my accomplishments, and maybe become successful doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, stock traders.


To quote the movie "Terminator 2": There is no fate but what we make.

ammaro.com said...

pelkor; very true. thats great; keep at it, and built yourself to the best you can be, and encourage your children to do the same. wish you all the best

Alex said...

This is stolen, just watch fight club!

BritMan said...

Stolen or not, it's on the money, and that is from an unbiased frequent foreign traveler.

ammaro said...

Alex; allow me to prove that you're an idiot. i'm not trying to be obnoxious, but if you want to say something, maybe you should think about it before you write it down:

Ahem. Fight Club:

"I am Jack's smirking revenge."
"I am Jack's cold sweat"
"I am Jack's raging bile duct"
"I am Jack's broken heart"
"I am Jack's complete lack of surprise"
~Narrator~

Now go read my post again. What did I steal exactly? The words "I am"?

Dumass.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it is fact in the Gulf Area treating people (not locals) inferior and no respect, however, this will not be for long, now with all eyes on the Gulf and Human Rights, it will be no more Stupid "Kafeel".
Jamie,

Blue Ice Envy said...

You should write a book about this.

frankies movie babes said...

if everyone in the world that has an total desire to be ones slaves
by walking around brainwashed and deeply hypnotised and souless and repeating i am a slave and i obey
over and over again then this world willbe depressing to be in.


frankie smales

(hypnosis guru)