An Argentine in Dubai


Oct 25, 2005
Just saw this in the Guardian and thought I'd paste an excerpt here:,,1708395,00.html
Eduardo Ferrari, an Argentinian cameraman who has lived in Dubai for the last eight years, says he couldn't "give a damn for democracy. I live here in the most democratic country in the world. Why? Because the economy is taking you by the tip of your head and pulling you up. Every year I have more and more. In Argentina, every year I have less and less."
I suspect he DOES care about democracy but is expressing his frustration at not being able to make a decent living in Argentina despite having a valuable skill to offer. Yesterday's Herald reports new statistics indicating that a monthly income of $1,800 us dollars places one in the top ten percent of the Argentine economy. I'm sure the cameraman in Dubai is making a lot more than $1,800 dollars.
This particular Argentine will probably come back, homesick, after a while. Or he'll migrate to another Spanish-speaking country where he'll feel culturally more at home. The Middle East isn't a long term proposition. First of all, workers there -- Asian or white -- are permanent outsiders and socially ostracised. The societies are closed and oligarchic in nature. Permanent immigration isn't on offer. The cultural and political atmosphere is claustrophobic.
I've lived in and around the region for some years -- Kuwait, Iraq, Iran. Iran was the place I felt most at home in, but this was during the Shah's time. I suppose each person has to calculate the trade-offs according to his or her scheme of values. I'd rather be (relatively!) poor and care-free in Argentina than rich and suffocated in the moslem world (besides, there isn't that much to spend one's money on there anyway).