While sexual abuse and rape cases are usually brushed under the carpet in Arab countries and hidden from the prying eyes of local and global media, a recent case to grab the international headlines is making its way back to the UAE blogosphere.
It is the unsettling story of a 15-year-old French boy, Alexandre Robert, who was kidnapped and gang raped in Dubai. What is more alarming is that one of the three suspected rapists tested positive for the deadly HIV Aids virus in 2003.
The UAE Community Blog linked to the story and published excerpts from it, generating criticism from readers.
“Dubai looks good on the outside but still living in the dark ages on the inside.
Westerners should stay out of there until they modernize their justice system. That poor boy was brutalized and the doctor acted like a savage, too. What most people don't know is that to those dark age Muslims, kafir (infidel), like women, are fair game,” comments reader Criminals in Dubai.
Another reader, who signed off as Anonymous, shrugged off the case, saying justice would not be met. He writes:
If there was such thing as justice, then alcoholics and drug dealers should be the 1st ones in line to be executed for causing alot more trouble on the streets and night clubs.
– Indians/Asians will be the 1st target followed by east Europeans/Africans then comes the other trash (White/Local etc…)
This case will be dismissed like any other, why even bother to post this story while we all know nothing's gonna happen.
Another anonymous reader sends a wake up call for Dubai, saying:
Wake up Dubai, if the UAE want to be on the top or the best in everything; it should start with the basics first (education, health, justice)…then it may consider building the highest towers and the biggest malls.
On the other hand, Bahraini blogger Ammaro said the case shouldn't be used to tarnish Dubai's reputation.
“As much as it is a horrible act,this incident should not be used as a stereotype or a generality to describe Dubai, because the local culture is very respectfull and descent. However, people are very angry at this incident,including me and something should be done to those criminals.Don't forget UAE is still concidered one of the safest places in the world,” he said.
Rosh echoes similar sentiments. He writes:
“It's very unfortunate this has happened. Please don't confuse Dubai or UAE with actions of 3 perverts.
All said , it is amongst the safest places on earth – and whatever people say of human rights – safety is it's most valued commodity. It's not perfect however, it's much better than many places and have miles to go to achieve equality, transparency and justice for all (which I personally don't think exist in any nation today, in it's truest form)
I pray the 15yr old does not develop HIV. Please say a prayer for him, and let justice take it's course.”
Alexandre's mother is also taking her son's struggle online and has launched a site dedicated for the case, in English and French.
In her introduction to the site, Veronique Robert, writes:
I dedicate this website to all the children of the world whose wounds were never recognized, their words never heard and their suffering never known.
I dedicate this web site to all the mothers of the world even the ones of my son's aggressors.
To all the Pakistani, Filipino, and Indian mothers who were expelled from Dubai to their countries of origin with their little children, wounded in their hearts, flesh and minds.
This web site is open to all the mothers of the world united in the same Combat.
Tears have no identity, no religion. We must unite so when tears run, it will no longer be in loneliness but in front of the whole world’s eyes , with many hands to wipe them.
Ms Robert also calls upon the authorities in Dubai to immediately implement the following procedures to protect children caught up in similar situations:
We therefore request from the authorities of Dubai the creation of:
* Reception facilities within the police force for minors victims of rape, be they boys or girls.
* Recognition of their status of victims
* The immediate taking of precautionary measures, after a rape, against all types of infectious illness and sexually transmissible diseases (AIDS, Hepatitis, MST) with adequate means such as trithérapy, etc…
* Psychological Follow-up for as long as it is needed.
Otherwise, she is encouraging readers to boycott Dubai.
Until these elementary measures have become law in the super rich
Emirate of Dubai, we kindly request you to join the support group called www. boycottdubai.com
With your determination and your support, the children victims of rape shall learn again to live a normal life, restructuring themselves physically and morally. Hopefully to smile at life again,” notes Ms Robert.
The site's support page has had more than 4,300 comments on it so far.
The case is currently being heard in a Dubai court, where Alexandre testified earlier today.