When we started the Gazette, our primary goal was to create conversation among students about the realities of life at university. And although I believe that through the work we publish, we enable a dialogue within the student body that goes beyond the academic and delves into the personal, which is an aspect of life that is just as important, I feel like we can do more and do better.
Migrant labour welfare is something I am deeply passionate about. I grew up in Oman, a country which, like Qatar, houses a large immigrant population. Living and growing up in Oman not only enabled me to reflect on my inherent privilege from a very early age, but also allowed me to interact with people who were not as privileged as I was. People who held concerns, opinions and outlooks on life similar to mine. Last Sunday, I had a conversation with my Uber driver who was from Morocco, who missed his mother and his friends, who now despise him for moving away, and his favorite café that is only two blocks away from his house. Although these are very generic feelings that almost all immigrants share, they do make us realise that the world truly is small, and our lives run parallel to each other’s. I digress, I really do. But what I’m trying to say is that my enthusiasm for migrant labour welfare stems from a place of recognition of privilege, but also one that recognises that “other” people are just like us and that their concerns hold deep value and deserve to be talked about.
Qatar is now working with the International Labour Organisation to better their laws and institutions to provide better working conditions for the migrant labour in the country, which is a commendable step forward. And I know that not everyone is capable of large scale institutional reform, especially on an individual level, but start small— think of the ways in which you interact with the people who work for you, at home and at university, have a conversation with them, talk to them about the issues they face, work with people you know on doing better for them. A degree in foreign service is redundant if you refuse to help the people right here, on the home turf.
I hope reading the articles we share this week change the way you think about migrant labour. As always, write to us if you wish to respond to anything we post, or send us an anonymous letter through the link on our website.
Co-Editor in Chief
The Georgetown Gazette
Articles in this series