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Re: Brain Burp--Camel Endurance
Note: I sent this earlier in the day, but it didn't go through because
it was too big formatted with HTML. This, then, is the post to which
my previous "Camel Endurance" post was a postscript.
"Steph Teeter" <email@example.com> said:
>The jockeys are small children - usally Pakistani. When we were there
>in March for the World Cup, we drove through a camel racing and
>training facility just outside of Dubai - mornings and evenings, on the
>way to and from the stables. Often had to stop on the highway while
>large groups of camels crossed - being ponied, or ridden by children
>or adult trainers. The kids always waved, looked like they were having
>a good time...
Well, not according to the PBS series _Frontline_. According to
the documentary I saw, the kids are little better than slaves, kept
in servitude, uneducated, until they grow too large, then returned to
their homeland with no more than they started with, such gain as was
to be had largely in the hands of a labor broker.
The Persian Gulf has a long history of slavery. Until the advent
of oil, the main industries (according to the same _The Economic
History of the Middle East 1800-1914_ book) in the Persian
Gulf were piracy, pearls, and the slave trade (markets for
transhipping slaves from Africa to the rest of Persian Gulf,
the interior of Arabia, the Ottoman sultanates of Iraq and
Syria, and Asia).
The primacy the area had had as THE crossroads for "regular"
trade between the Far East and Europe during the middle ages
had been put to an end when first the Portuguese, then the Spanish,
Dutch, and finally British took over the trade routes with India,
SE Asia, and China between the 1400's and the 1900's.
The only reason the British were in the Persian Gulf (which, from the
19th century descriptions was one of the most poverty-stricken
backwaters on earth) was to protect the left flank of the British trade
routes to India via the Suez Canal from the from the Persian Gulf
pirates. Hence "Trucial States," the old name for the chain north-facing
small city-states that lined the Persian Gulf from Qatar to the
Straights of Hormuz. To clarify:
From _Focus on the Middle East_, ed. by Alice Taylor,
Praeger Publishers, c. 1971, the essay titled "Eastern
Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain" by Alexander Melamid:
"At one time, piracy was a major occupation of the inhabitants
of the region now known as the Trucial States, so much so
that the region acquired the name "Pirate Coast." Because the
violence and robbery occurred mainly on the seas, Great Britain
in 1820 and 1935 made treaties with the Arab leaders
that were folllowed by a succession of truces outlawing
sea battles. Thus, naval piracy gradually came to an end,
the old name of the region was forgotten, and the "Pirate
Coast" became "Trucial Coast.
"The British truces did not, however, outlaw fighting on land,
and, as recently as 18 years ago [writing in 1971] prolonged
inland conflicts took place among the Bedouin tribes attached
to various shiekdhoms. In the course of this fighting, vague
boundaries changed frequently and some sheikhdoms disappeared,
while others emerged. There were six sheikhdoms in 1835,
five in 1914, six again by 1919, and seven by 1937. During
1957, one shiekhdom was eliminated and another appeared.
Today the Trucial States include seven divisions, but only
a few points of the boundaries between these sheikhdoms
have been demarcated, and changes continue to result in
minor skirmishes. There are now several disputed territories
and at least one area in which rights are shared between
"Traveling from west to east along the Trucial Coast, we find
Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi), ...Dubayy, center of commerce ande
banking, whose yet airport is serviced by international
carriers; Ash Shariq, Ujman, Umm al Qaywayn, Ras al
Kahmah, and Alfujayrah...Each sheikhdom is centered around
its capital city, which bears the same name as the sheikhdom.
"Disputes and fighting have decreased considerably in recent
years and peace is being enforced by a regional army staffed
by local Arabs and British personnel. The latter are scheduled
to be withdrawn by the end of 1971. The sheikhs meet
occasionally to discuss matters of common interest..."
"According to treaties with Great Britiain, all permits and
concessions given to foreign nationals or corporations by
the sheikh require British approval [HAH! Gotta love those
British, What *gall*! You can bet THIS is no longer true!]
Under these conditions, oil concessions have been granted
to international and American companies, and permits
for the establishment of banks have been issued to British,
Indian, Pakistani, Iranian, and Lebanese nationals..."
So, just to clarify, the former "Pirate Coast" sheikhs made
treaties under duress with Great Britain in the 1820's, became
the "Trucial Coast" in western parlance, and eventually the
United Arab Emirates.
Well, you can't accuse the region of not being colorful!
Linda B. Merims
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