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Racist Cartoon: Gulf Times Publishes Complaint Letters

On November 26, 2009

Qatari Paper The Gulf Times has published a selection of complaint letters on yesterday's Opinion page about a racist cartoon depicting an Asian maid as a 'child killer' in Tuesday's edition.

Here is what concerned readers and migrant rights activists had to say:

Human rights abuses of migrant women are a serious problem in the Middle East and thousands each year are subjected to horrendous physical and psychological abuse by their employers. Many have payments withheld and are not given a day off. Many have their documents confiscated and are never allowed to leave their employer’s premises.

I felt that this cartoon really belittled the issue of abuses of domestic workers, and served further to de-humanise these women.

Sophia Furber, Editor-in-Chief, Migrant Rights

You must be aware that such derogatory cartoons can only serve to exacerbate the already tense and unhappy situation for migrants, who, as the innocent victims of impoverishment, become subject to unfounded abuse.

Anna Bowsher

While I believe you may not have done this on purpose, it is only my duty and right to express my discontent and disappointment to you. I hope you will take necessary measures to portray South Asians in a positive light and not in a biased manner as was done today in your newspaper.

Swapnil Dongre

Migrant Rights would like to thank all those who answered our call to email Gulf Times with complaints about the cartoon. We hope that this has given a strong message to the media in Qatar that such blatantly racist depictions of migrant labourers are irresponsible and unacceptable. We are are heartened to see that writing letters and emails really can make a difference, and are relieved to see that the Gulf Times has taken note of our concerns.