Sunday, 27 July 2008
Satwa: Seen with a local eye
I've posted quite a few updates on the demolition of the Satwa area of Dubai. I'm so glad to have received this email from a local lady in response to my February '08 post, "Satwa: The End is Nigh". As many people won't have read her comments on the older post I am putting her email here as a separate entry because I think its very important to hear all sides of the story and hers is a particularly powerful and relevant comment:
"This is beyond horrifying.
Expats and emirati nationals alike were told that their investments were safe in Dubai, and to this day the city attracts investors on that premise - yet go online and one finds that it is all a farce.
I am part local, residing in Abu Dhabi, my father had purchased a property in satwa some years ago.
Just last year, out of the blue, the government banned buying/selling of property in satwa. We were stuck.
Well, I received that letter that you mentioned, and promptly went to the compensation department.
But surprise, they had no system in order, in fact the chaos was bordering on extreme. No one had any idea what was going on.
I was worried, but convinced myself into thinking that my own government would take care of me!
I expected to get at least the MARKET VALUE OF MY PROPERTY!
Today, however, I was told that we were being offered 3.5 million for a property that is worth twice that amount. Moreover, the last offer we got for the house two years ago was 4.5 million!
I could NOT BELIEVE MY EARS!
And its not just me, its everyone. I have hired a lawyer, but it does not seem to be making any difference.
IT IS UNBELIEVABLE THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS CAPABLE OF CHEATING HUNDREDS OF LANDOWNERS LIKE THIS!
My father was not originally emirati... he was not born rich, he worked himself to the bone.
Had we taken out our money two years ago, and invested it elsewhere, we would have been sitting on a pretty penny instead of worrying about the rent which is our only source of income.
I cannot buy another villa with that sum, not with the current real estate boom. How am I to make ends meet?
I do not know what to do, I am not fluent in Arabic and am not aware of how I can contact the other residents.
I wish to persuade them to rally behind the cause of fighting for justice and claiming their rights.
I NEVER COULD HAVE THOUGHT THIS WOULD HAPPEN HERE!
Being a woman, I am not allowed to fight my own battles here, and my reception at government institutions is at best cold at worst shocking.
PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW!
SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!"