the truth behind the prosperity of dubai: the blood, sweat and tears of
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Subject: Dubai censor cuts scenes of labour abuse from 'Syriana'
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 20:18:10 +0100 (BST)
21 April 2006 20:10
Dubai censor cuts scenes of labour abuse from 'Syriana'
By Jerome Taylor
Published: 21 April 2006
It may try to market itself as one of the more tolerant Gulf states, but
authorities in the United Arab Emirates have cut a number of scenes from
Syriana over fears that the Oscar-winning film starring George Clooney
is too realistic in its depiction of Arab states mistreating poor
When the film opened last week, two minutes of footage showing Asian oil
workers in an unspecified Arab country being fired and later beaten by
police as they queued for work were noticeably absent from cinemas in Dubai.
Both scenes revolve around a key character, Wassim, a young Pakistani
migrant worker who, angered by the way workers from the Indian
subcontinent are treated, joins an Islamic terrorist group and becomes a
suicide bomber. References to the Bin Laden family and the late Saudi
King Fahd were also cut.
Aleem Jumaa, head of the Dubai censorship office, said: "We would never
allow anything that is disrespectful to the country or the president,
causes security problems, insults religions, exhibits immorality like
nudity or promotes vices like alcohol and drugs."
Human rights groups have frequently condemned the authorities in Dubai
and neighbouring Arab states for the poor conditions migrant workers
live in. "One of the world's largest construction booms is feeding off
workers in Dubai, but they're treated as less than human," said Sarah
Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
The censorship comes at a sensitive time for the authorities in Dubai,
where violent illegal strikes by construction workers last month
revealed the less glitzy side of the country's booming economy.
The Gulf states regularly censor or ban books and films deemed too
socially or politically sensitive. This week the distributor for
Brokeback Mountain, the Oscar-winning film depicting a love affair
between two cowboys, said it had shelved plans to show the film in the
Gulf, where homosexuality remains illegal.
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