Saturday, February 19, 2011

Doha Diaries, no. 11: Another Body in the Road

I haven't been here two years, yet I have already seen 3 dead or injured bodies in the middle of the road in Doha. First, there was last year's accident, at which I stopped to help. Last night may have been just as bad.


Everyone who lives here knows that the face of Qatar is a dark-skinned man--from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, or one of several other South Asian countries--usually clad in a blue jumpsuit with a scarf around his fact to protect him from the sand and sun. This man has most likely left his family, any wife or children he may have, to come here and do the very hard manual labor that the citizens of this country are not willing to do. They work for barely nothing, are housed in labor camps, where they are sometimes abused and often live on nothing but rice and some fruit. God only knows how long they go without seeing their families, or if some of them ever get to. These men make up a good 50% of the population in Doha (nationals only make up approximately 30%). The rest of us, myself included, are the hired help.

As Hubby and I were driving to another compound where we were meeting friends for a double date, we went through one of the busier roundabouts close to our compound, and about half a mile down the road, I suddenly looked to my left and saw a man's body lying in the middle of the road. Three lanes of traffic were still driving past him. Nobody was standing next to him trying to help him or divert traffic. Nothing! Hubby pulled a u-turn at the stop light, and I called 999 (the equivalent of 911 here). They had already gotten the report and the ambulance was on its way. By the time we made it back to the scene, a group of workers in another vehicle had stopped to try and divert traffic, as did one young Qatari man. For all we know, it could have been the same man that hit him, but I doubt it.

As we passed the body, I looked at him, praying to see open eyes, no blood, some movement--any movement. There was nothing. A small pool of blood. One bare foot. Face down on the concrete. A white pool of foam near his mouth. No movement.

I felt like I needed to puke. I couldn't help but burst into tears and sob for this man, this loss of his precious human life. I wondered how long he'd been lying there? How many cars drove over him, not even realizing it was a human body? How many simply drove by, without a care, unwilling to stop and try to help him or prevent him from being run over again? Did he have a family? Kids? How long would it take before they would get the news? Would his body be returned to them? Would anyone be there at the hospital to identify him? Will there be an obituary for him? Who will remember his life and how? Who will mourn for him?

I can only remember his face in death, and I'm so tired of seeing it here. This isn't right, it isn't fair, it isn't normal....I want to scream at everyone on the road and ask them "WHY DON'T YOU FUCKING CARE?!" I don't understand it, and I probablly never will. I can't shake the image of his body lying there, and I'm pissed that nobody here seemed to give a shit that there was a dead fucking body in the road!! They won't have nightmares, they won't reflect on this loss, and they won't wonder what this says about their culture or they're way of life.

This is the part they don't tell you about on the recruitment visit.

1 comment:

intlxpatr said...

It's the hardest part about living in the Gulf, the disregard for any residents but the native. Even when good laws are on the books, they are ignored, or enforced only when it is politically expedient. Islam says that a man should be paid for his work before the sweat is dried on his back. Yeh. Right. So many of them are tricked and betrayed, coming with hope for providing for their families and left with little or even nothing at the end. Or . . . a sad death in a roundabout. . .

It makes me want to throw up, too.