Bahraini swaps places with South Asian migrant for a day

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Mar 3 2015

Feeling uneasy about the rude treatment dished out to the South Asian employee at his local grocery store, a Bahraini national decided to swap places with him for a day to see what would happen.

"I always feel bad for that worker. Going and coming back, going and coming back, and people aren't treating him respectfully, as if he were a slave working for them" says Y Almadani in this two-minute YouTube video he made about his experience.

The results of the experiment were a shock for the young Bahraini. He spent a day taking orders from customers, who summoned him by honking their car horns, and then carrying their shopping back out to them. Customers were shocked to see a Bahraini carrying out such a job, and some even refused to let him serve them.

The clip has been on YouTube since Feb. 18 and has clocked up over 580,000 views. This is the second viral internet video in which Gulf nationals take a stand against abuses of migrant workers that we have picked up in the past few days:  a Saudi rap video poking fun at local attitudes towards blue-collar Pakistani migrants proved to be an internet hit last week, and has notched up nearly 1 million views since it was uploaded on Feb. 24.

This is not to say that these videos are unique: the treatment of migrant workers has been something of emerging theme in clips and sketches created by local artists and film-makers in recent years. One example is this Nov. 2013 clip about racism and migrant workers, in which a Saudi poet makes a powerful appeal to the viewer show empathy and to respect their fellow humans whatever their racial background.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East