Writing in Arab News, this Saudi columnist is having a hard time finding any difference between the way many Saudis treat their domestic workers and the chattel slavery that reigned in the American South before the Civil War. And no, there’s no hyperbole here…
Cotton fields in Saudi Arabia
Homemade and homebred: Our cotton fields are no fig of fiction but real!
Take a peek with “thine own eyes”! There is a whole variety of them in each of our own vicinities! Or even better, meet those whose stubbed, scarred and scabbed fingers are the “proof of the cotton-picking pudding”!
Take Zakir and Bilal for example, who have come all the way from Bangladesh for the pleasure of cleaning our street cotton fields. So loyal they are, that they work round the clock (according to my honest-to-God 16-hour stake out – until sleep ran me over. When and where were they dropped off or picked up from? God knows).
So content, healthy, fulfilled, well-fed, well-housed, well-clothed etc., they are, that they can go months without their SR700 salaries (yes, I admit the sum most likely is exaggerated here) unneeded by their families back home who are also so content, healthy, fulfilled, well-fed, well-housed, well-clothed!
They are super beings (possible Superman descendants? Fictional fig or not!) feeding on scraps (so affordable even without the exaggerated SR700!) lest they outgrow their cotton field purple gowns costing us to inconveniently accommodate their grand bodies!