EP: Dubai – In an unusual turn of events, a rural farmer from a village 200 km north of Dhaka has donated $500 in “aid” to the city state of Dubai to help its struggling economy through the worst financial crisis in its history. Enayatul Bungawalla, who is 44 and married with 4 children, announced the decision after he became aware of the massive debt crisis currently plaguing the Arab Emirate. “I worked in Dubai for 10 years starting in the late 90’s” said Mr. Bungawalla who was interviewed by a local TV station from his porch yesterday afternoon, “and while the Emiratis treated me like a slave, I have fond memories of the place.”
Deutsche Bank, who is currently overseeing payments for Dubai’s massive debt burden, believes that Mr Bungawalla, who owns 12 cows and an acre of land which he inherited from his father, may actually have a greater net worth than the entire city-state. “Given the rapid fall in real-estate values and extreme abuse of leveraged finance that took place in Dubai over the last several years, it seems Mr. Bungawalla may be wealthier than the government of Dubai” commented Anders Fisher, a senior associate at the firm.
Mr. Bungawalla went on to explain that he was able to save enough money working in Dubai to purchase his first two cows and start a small dairy farm business, which he then grew overtime. He described how he felt terrible that Dubai was now going through such difficulty and thought it would be appropriate for him to “give back” to the place where he made his start.
“I am a blessed person, I have a very comfortable living now in my village and can’t help but think that Dubai played a big role in getting me to this point. I feel it is my responsibility to help however I can.”
The office of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, said that the Sheikh was not available for comment, explaining that he “is currently skiiing at the indoor ski slope at the Mall of the Emirates and has not had time to review the offer.”
Many are waiting to see how Maktoum will respond to the offer, as accepting the money from Mr. Bungawalla will also tacitly recognize him as a human being. “The United Arab Emirates was built largely on the backs of immigrant slave labor” explains Tariq Masood, an economist at the University of Dubai, “and part of the justification for allowing workers to live in such poor conditions was a systematic campaign to dehumanize them.” Masood went on to clarify how “accepting the foreign aid would have strong repercussions for Dubai’s political establishment as this means accepting help from people that were generally spit upon by the ruling class.”
When asked to respond to the controversy, Mr. Bungawalla shook his head and responded “I have an uncle who is constantly getting drunk, wasting all his money on useless junk and ending up on the street with nothing. Even if he is ungrateful for my help and sometimes rejects it purely out of arrogance, stupidity or both, is he not still my uncle? Should I not still help him?”