Guilty Until Proven Innocent – by Dorje Gurung

dorje-medium“On May 2 they paraded me, in handcuffs, in front of five different prosecutors  in different rooms at the Public Prosecution office. I don’t know what the first four prosecutors and the guy taking me around exchanged between them – everything  was in Arabic. But, with the fifth one, they provided an English interpreter on my insistence. Otherwise it would have been Hindi or Urdu.

“The second trip to the Public Prosecution office on Sunday, May 5, I faced a prosecutor who spoke English. Again we had the same exchanges I had had the previous visit but with one important difference. I would have to produce witnesses in court to prove my innocence, he informed me. In other words, I was guilty unless I proved myself innocent.” Read more

10 thoughts on “Guilty Until Proven Innocent – by Dorje Gurung

  1. I am not so sure if this the school or Qatari culture. I accepted a job in Qatar but after I found them lying about an e-ticket, I have very little confidence.
    I checked with the airlines and this pre-booked ticket was cancelled by the airlines because the school never paid them. I realize that they had to pre-book while my visa is in progress but please, do not tell me that it was confirmed. I called the airlines and they told me that they only hold a ticket for five days. The ticket was cancelled last week, yet yesterday, the school told me that they confirmed the ticket and should be emailed to me soon. ( With the wrong name, which I told them to change too)

    Plus, the contract I sent them via FedEx was rejected. I called them to ask why and they pretended that they did not know why. I had to call FedEx again and it was delivered finally.
    In Qatar, nothing surprises me.


  2. Why is it that people do not understand that the Arab World is a dark and dangerous place. The Middle East except for one country is mired in the 7th or 8th century and the people there are some of the worst racists in the world. They treat almost everyone as, if they are servants or at worst slaves. How can anyone go and work in a country where you boss controls whether you can leave the country or not. I think people should take a cold hard look at the Middle East and see, it for what it is a place to make money, but very dangerous especially for women. Is the chance of being, put in jail on false charges and the chance you will lose your freedom worth the money. I VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!


  3. That’s an easy one. FIFA is one of the most corrupt organizations in the world and everyone involved in the decision-making about where to locate the world cups is on the take. Qatar spent millions in bribes in order to get the world cup – in summer, when it will be 45C in the shade and they still haven’t worked out whether people will be able to have a beer when they want. Now Sepp Blather is trying to change the timing to winter. Good luck with that.


  4. While teaching in Qatar, I had a colleague who was fired by the owner of the school and not allowed to leave the country. It took four months working with an attorney to get her out of the country. Another colleague at a different school was falsely accused of murder with two of her colleagues and imprisoned. In both cases, they were guilty until proven innocent and the only reason they were released is because their accuser dropped the charges. BE VERY CAREFUL teaching in Qatar. In Kuwait, they fire you for no reason — in Qatar they fire you and then put you in jail.


  5. As a former colleague of Dorge, I’m so glad he wrote his story for ISR, which I’ve been a member of for years. Look up his new project and support him. His story is a lesson for all on many different levels. The power of social media is amazing as well as being careful in where you choose to work knowing who you are and what you believe in. New international teachers take note and do your homework here before accepting a contract. These reviews are not sour teachers with a chip on their shoulders, they have alot of truth behind them. I have been a veteran for 24 years.

    Good writing Dorge!


  6. I had a very bad experience regarding a private school in Doha, and since reading different posts here and hearing from other professional teachers having worked or “nearly” worked in Qatar, I would say stay away from Qatar until the government begins to really regulate and follow all the private schools which have mushroomed up in the last ten years. Qatar is very new in this “English teaching” business, and has not real idea of how to treat internatially qualified teachers, whether English or other fields.


  7. From my experience in ME countries the people certainly know their rights but unfortunately can not handle the responsibility that goes with them. Even if you are in the right the fragile laws become irrelevant once someone deals the Wasta card.

    I read a report recently suggesting that the worst kind of people are rich and poorly educated. Decide for yourself. My own country is far from being perfect but the cultural structure of these countries are a long way behind the western world. Having said that, how can we expect any different? Sixty to seventy years ago the majority of locals were roaming around the desert on camels. Nothing wrong with that in any way but how can we honestly expect ingrained tribal cultures to dissipate in such a short period?

    I have had some great times working in the Middle East and met some wonderful people but the administration and bureaucracy are a nightmare. It doesn’t depend on whether your paperwork is in order so much as the emblem on your passport that gets things done. The perception back home is that people from this region simply cannot be trusted on their word. From my experience of dealing with people in authority they certainly have a fair point.
    Now before someone jumps down my throat I also know that is not too dissimilar to the way my own country treated immigrants so disgracefully during the 1950s. However that was over 50 years ago and the rest of the world has moved a long way forward since then.

    The ME is a great place to work as long as you stay under the radar as much as you can. If you do have problems then don’t expect a fair deal.


  8. Hey, OMGArsenal! Go Northside!

    You are absolutely correct. I was a golden child, if you will. Parents and students were very supportive of me. I saw what they did to those they did not like. Attempts to discuss this with parents were frustrating. They would simply compliment me, excoriate perfectly good teachers they did not like, and then change the subject. Over and over. After five years, I could no longer stomach the abusive behavior toward my colleagues nor could I accept my tacit acceptance. I teach far from there and plan never to return.


  9. This story is a classic example of the surreal and Arab Disneyworld atmosphere that exists in many middle Eastern countries. The rule of Law is basically suspended once someone with wasta (or their kids) decide to make life hard for a foreigner or a hire. These countries are in denial about anyone else’s rights but paranoid about their own….provided you are a member of the elite.
    Anyone contemplating working in the ME had better be prepared on occasion,for totally random and unjust treatment, without warning, from the authorities, the school management and certainly the parents IF they have the temerity to try and apply common sense and established best practices in discipline or student management.
    Working in the ME is usually a very rewarding and satisfying experience BUT it is subject to the whims of politically motivated owner-managers, idle-rich parents, spoilt-entitled children and a racism that, as Dorje correctly points out, is tied into ones value in their society and their religious prejudices as well.
    Caveat emptor!


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