Sunday, July 21, 2013

 

What A Wonderful World!:The perils of globalism are illustrated by a rape case in Dubai.

What A Wonderful World!: Get Raped In Dubai And You'll Serve16 Months In Prison

The perils of globalism are illustrated by a rape case in Dubai in which a visiting Norwegian woman has bizarrely been sentenced to jail for making allegations against a male colleague.

A court in Dubai has sentenced a young Norwegian woman, Marte Deborah Dalelv, to 16 months in jail after she brought charges of rape against a colleague.
 Dismissing her allegations, the court saw fit instead to find her guilty of drinking alcohol and wanting the sex that she alleged was forced upon her. 
Meanwhile she was fired by her Qatar-born employer, the interior designer Wissam al Mana, who is otherwise known as Janet Jackson’s latest husband. (See postscript below for a statement from al Mana’s company.)

Janet Jackson with new husband Wissam al Mana: he fired alleged rape victim Marte Deborah Dalelv. (Image credit: Getty Images for Sergio Rossi via @daylife)

The circumstances are complicated but, from listening to an interview Dalelv has given to Ritula Shah of the BBC’s World Service, I haven’t the slightest doubt she is the victim of a grotesque miscarriage of justice:not only is she telling the truth but the Dubai court knows it. 
Her colleague, probably a local man though he seems not to have been named in English-language accounts, is the real guilty party. 
You can listen to the podcast here (the interview is about 9 minutes into the program). Here and here are some other useful links.
Why would the victim of a terrible crime receive a jail sentence? Welcome to the Asian experience. 
For me, as someone who has spent 27 years watching the world from a vantage point in East Asia, the episode illustrates in microcosm an obvious and profoundly troubling fact: globalism is a one-word  oxymoron. It has never made sense and probably never will. 
Cultures are different and, in their attitude to truth and human rights, the many brands of Asian culture are particularly remote from Western expectations.
Certainly, all American wishful thinking to the contrary, the world is NOT converging to American values. 
Yes, of course, more and more consumers around the world are drinking Coca-Cola and eating Big Macs. But this is a superficial observation that says nothing about any values worth the name.
Of course, Dubai, which is the most populous constituent of the United Arab Emirates, seems on a superficial view to be highly Westernized. 
A more accurate description is that Dubai is highlyeconomically advanced. It is home, for instance, to major regional operations of such U.S. corporations as Hewlett-Packard, EMC Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Microsoft, and IBM. It also boasts the world’s tallest building, the 163-floor Burj Khalifa. 
Meanwhile the Emirates airline, which is based in Dubai, counts, on some measures, not only as the world’s largest international carrier but the world’s best (it was so designated a few months ago by the British consultancy, Skytrax).
But Dubai’s official religion is Islam — and not a particularly liberal brand. This means that Westerners are tolerated only under sufferance. Western women in particular are not always welcome. 
This despite the fact that Dubai features one of the most disturbingly imbalanced male-female ratios in world history: in the overall population, males outnumber females more than three to one. 
The ratio for adults is probably even more imbalanced. 
The only foreign women who seem to be welcome are prostitutes, particularly Russian and Indian ones. Other foreign women enter Dubai at their own risk and woe betide them if they rock the boat. 
The status of ordinary decent local women in Dubai is powerfully symbolized by the fact that wives can be beaten with impunity so long as no marks are left.
Justice in an American sense does not exist. For me the characteristically Asian aspect of Marte Deborah Dalelv’s fate is that she has been indicted on a “crime” – drinking alcohol – that is widely tolerated among other foreign residents of Dubai. Basically she is a victim of a principle I call “selective enforcement.” It is a principle that is observable in many parts of Asia (see my books on Japan and China for a fuller account). 
The idea is that though a lot of things are nominally illegal, they are widely tolerated – provided only you don’t rock the boat on issues that matter more to the authorities. 
The tax system in many East Asian nations provides an example. 
Although tax rates are ostensibly high, the authorities turn a blind eye to many types of evasion – provided only taxpayers show “discretion” on what really matters. One example that can be succinctly described is the South Korean government’s policy (one learned from Japan in a previous era) on foreign cars. 
There are no import barriers – absolutely none, except that the tax authorities make a policy of auditing of anyone who buys a foreign car. In a nation where much of the tax code is considerable “optional,” this elegantly end-runs American pressure to open the car market.
The larger point here is that Eastern and Western cultures are mutually incompatible. Rudyard Kipling made the point more than a century ago: “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”
My bet is that, on appeal, Marte Deborah Dalelv will be shown some leniency. 
But for globalism, the Asians will never cut much slack. 
This applies in spades to the na├»ve American view that globalization and Americanization are somehow the same thing (thank you George H. W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, and, of course, Thomas L. Friedman). 
Asians are incandescent with rage at such casual cultural imperialsm but, being Asians, rarely give any explicit indication of their anger. 
They expect you be able to read between the lines.

Postscript
I have now received an official statement from Al Mana’s company. 
See below.
(July 20, 2013) – “We are sympathetic to Marte Dalelv during this very difficult situation. 
Al Mana Interiors has repeatedly offered Marte support and company representatives were by her side throughout the initial investigation and police interviews, and spent days at both the police station and the prosecutor’s office to help win her release.
“Company representatives have been supportive and in communication with Marte throughout her ordeal. 
Only when Ms. Dalelv declined to have positive and constructive discussions about her employment status, and ceased communication with her employer, was the company forced to end our relationship with her. 
The decision had nothing to do with the rape allegation, and unfortunately neither Ms. Dalelv nor her attorneys have chosen to contact the company to discuss her employment status.
“We continue to be open to helping Ms. Dalelv and extending her resources during the Dubai legal process. 
We are hopeful that we can resume a positive discussion about the assistance she needs during this difficult time.” sourc

(file)Norwegian alleges rape,fights Dubai jail sentence.


The case of a Norwegian woman who was sentenced to jail in Dubai for having sex outside marriage after she reported an alleged rape has drawn outrage from rights groups.


Dubai Norway rape case: Marte Deborah Dalelv
Marte Deborah Dalelv from Norway, 24, talks to the AP in Dubai on July 19, 2013, after she was sentenced to jail for having sex outside of marriage after she reported an alleged rape.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Norwegian woman sentenced to 16 months in jail in Dubai for having sex outside marriage after she reported an alleged rape said Friday she decided to speak out in hopes of drawing attention to the risks of outsiders misunderstanding the Islamic-influenced legal codes in this cosmopolitan city.


The case has drawn outrage from rights groups and others in the West since the 24-year-old interior designer was sentenced Wednesday. It also highlights the increasingly frequent tensions between the United Arab Emirates' international atmosphere and its legal system, which is strongly influenced by Islamic traditions in a nation where foreign workers and visitors greatly outnumber locals.

"I have to spread the word. ... After my sentence we thought, 'How can it get worse?'" Marte Deborah Dalelv told The Associated Press in an interview at a Norwegian aid compound in Dubai where she is preparing her appeal scheduled for early September.

Dalelv, who worked for an interior design firm in Qatar since 2011, claims she was sexually assaulted by a co-worker in March while she was attending a business meeting in Dubai.

She said she fled to the hotel lobby and asked for the police to be called. The hotel staff asked if she was sure she wanted to involve the police, Dalelv said.

"Of course I want to call the police," she said. "That is the natural reaction where I am from."

Dalelv said she was given a medical examination seeking evidence of the alleged rape and underwent a blood test for alcohol. Such tests are commonly given in the UAE for alleged assaults and in other cases. Alcohol is sold widely across Dubai, but public intoxication can bring charges.

The AP does not identity the names of alleged sexual assault victims, but Dalelv went public voluntarily to talk to media.

Dalelv was detained for four days after being accused of having sex outside marriage, which is outlawed in the UAE although the law is not actively enforced for tourists as well as hundreds of thousands of Westerners and others on resident visas.

She managed to reach her stepfather in Norway after being loaned a phone card by another woman in custody.

"My stepdad, he answered the phone, so I said, that I had been raped, I am in prison ... please call the embassy," she recounted.

"And then I went back and I ... just had a breakdown," she continued. "It was very emotional, to call my dad and tell him what happened."

Norwegian diplomats later secured her release and she has been allowed to remain at the Norwegian Seamen's Center in central Dubai. She said her alleged attacker received a 13-month sentence for out-of-wedlock sex and alcohol consumption.

Dubai authorities did not respond to calls for comment, but the case has brought strong criticism from Norwegian officials and activists.

"This verdict flies in the face of our notion of justice," Norway's foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide, told the NTB news agency, calling it "highly problematic from a human rights perspective."

Previous cases in the UAE have raised similar questions, with alleged sexual assault victims facing charges for sex-related offenses. Other legal codes also have been criticized for being at odds with the Western-style openness promoted by Dubai.

On Thursday, Dubai police said they arrested a man who posted an Internet video of an Emirati beating a South Asian van driver after an apparent traffic altercation. Police said they took the action because images of a potential crime were "shared."

In London, a spokesman for the Emirates Center for Human Rights, a group monitoring UAE affairs, said the Dalelv case points out the need for the UAE to expand its legal protections for alleged rape victims.


"We urge authorities to reform the laws governing incidents of rape in the country," said Rori Donaghy, "to ensure women are protected against sexual violence and do not become the targets of prosecution when reporting crimes."AP

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