In the light of recent suicide of one Emirates cabin crew, I got several emails about depression of cabin crew (I will publish some articles on that in the next few days). It seems to be much bigger problem than any of us suspect, though. And I believe that it is only a tip of an iceberg as I heard stories about alcohol and drug abuse among Emirates staff. This article is dedicated to all of the EK’s staff struggling to live and work in abnormal and stressful EK working conditions.
I had several turning points in my life. My work with Emirates was the latest one. Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful that I have worked there and gained much experience and many friends. The only healthy way to survive this life is to see its best lights and to fight against its dark ones.
Of course, you can always, as most of the people, choose not to see the darkness and not to act on it, because you want to keep your job, or because you want to have a secure life, or because you want to be rich and powerful, or because you want to believe that you are better than others, or because you have to feed your family, or because you are afraid that darkness will overwhelm you.
World problems are not your problems specifically, but we are all part of those problems. We all have our part of responsibility in it. And if you are not happy, the only person to blame is you. Reality is yours to create it. There are no other people. Others have their own realities. Your reality is yours to make something of it and whatever you decide it to be, it will be. For sure. Just decide.
By my experience, the most usual thing that people do is denying their part of the responsibility. Emirates Airline managers made their realities by lying to themselves, They are not evil people per se. At least most of them. They are not bad people per se. They just choose not to see. And when they do see, they are lying to themselves that they can’t do anything about it, that problem is bigger than them, that “This is Dubai” and that their hands are tied by local culture and laws. But they forget that they choose to be where they are and that those chosen positions influence thousands of lives. I guess the most painless way to live a life is by living it in oblivion and selfishness. Mr. Mattar, Senior Vice President of Airport Services, probably still thinks that his staff is happy and that they can have lunch for 2AED. Now he can go home and have a lunch for 200AED. But this is how lie works.
So, EK managers have no problem to post photos on Facebook from their expensive vacations, and photos of their houses and cars/motorcycles while people they are responsible for suffer. And don’t be naive – most of the people who are abused now if given a chance to become managers, would continue the circle of abuse. They convinced themselves that they earned it. Of course, people who don’t have feelings while abusing others are not happy or satisfied people. But system is made that way. Either adjust, keep quiet, keep your head down and believe in it (and be a manager or be abused for someone else’s profit – it’s all the same at the end of the day), either be an outcast, “crazy”, unfit and outlaw.
Of course, it takes a lot of strength to be an outcast. It often hurts. Mob will always attack you because you are the reminder how bad they are.
Why would, then, someone choose to be an outcast? By my opinion it’s the only way to a personal happiness. And I don’t think that an outcast has to live outside the system. I believe that outcast can be a manager in Emirates Airline. The common thing for all outcasts is that they don’t lie to themselves and they do the best they can to make their immediate surrounding a better place.
For example, an outcast EK manager would help a depressed staff to get a proper care. An outcast EK manager would smile to their staff, would appreciate their work with small rewards or even with words of appreciation only, they don’t cost. But EK managers don’t do this even if it doesn’t cost. Why? Because then they have to be honest to themselves and to admit their responsibility for someone else’s misery. They have to be aware of themselves and the consequences of their acts. And it hurts to know that you are the part of something that hurts so many people. And it hurts even more if you admit to yourself that you do it just for the money and personal gain. It hurts less to just tell yourself this is the way it goes and to go with the flow – convince yourself that you are better than others and be an arrogant bastard.
But you know what? Everything is forgiveable because you stop being a hypocrite the moment you admit that you are one.
For example, many people asked me if I would take the money for stop writing this blog. My answer was always: depends on my mood. If I am angry – no. If I am in need for money – yes. But you know what? I am not perfect. I am not a saint. But I would always tell you that I took the money to stop writing the blog and that my fight is over and that I did what was in my power and in my hands as a mortal human being to do. I think it’s honest. You can think that I betrayed my and your ideals and fight, but I TOLD YOU THE TRUTH. What’s more important: I TOLD THE TRUTH TO MYSELF. And I am not a hypocrite then. I did my best which is much more than someone else did (don’t worry, nobody offered me money. EK cherishes money more than their image. This was just an example based on my possible moral struggle).
So, no one has to change fundamentally and to be a better person in order for world to be a better place. You don’t have to change. You just have to tell the truth. To yourself first and then to others. It would be a good start. There is nothing wrong in admitting that you are wrong. You may even continue to do wrong, but don’t pretend it’s not wrong or that you are doing good. Have the courage to be an honest bastard, at least. And at least sometimes if not always.
Finally, we came to the title of this post. My fight “against” Emirates is not a fight against Emirates. “Do not fly Emirates” doesn’t mean a call to not fly with Emirates. Emirates is just a metaphor for lies and deceptions. And the whole world is established on deceptions and oblivion. EK managers are often comforting themselves with this fact: “it’s like this in every company”. I’ve heard this phrase so many times and whenever someone said it to me I knew that I am looking at the person who is walking the easier path of self deception. And I don’t mind people lying to themselves, I mind that they hurt others. This is why I started this blog and this is why I am still writing it. Do not fly Emirates means – do not lie to yourselves.
I got over my termination even before I was terminated. Maybe even before I was employed in EK. But Emirates Airline is the first company which gave me the profound knowledge on how every false system works. Most companies hide behind human and labour rights. Some of those rights are implemented and working, some of them are violated or even not implemented. But at least these rights stand as an ideal principle which is to be pursued by human rights activists and courts of law.
Emirates Airline (as a bunch of other companies all around the world as well) is the most outrageous lie I ever encountered to. And the most inhumane one. And besides the effects on my health (thyroid gland malfunction and disturbed peace of my mind) it left a deeper trail. It left a vision of future whose contributor I don’t want to be. I am taking my part of the responsibility in building that selfish, oblivious and inhumane future. I am not frustrated (at least not that much), I am not a rebel, I am not an anarchist (primarily). I just took the responsibility for my part of reality. And now when I am a hypocrite (and we all sometimes are) I can say it out loud and by doing so – clear myself of any further hypocrisy. That is what inner peace and happiness are for me.
Fight your fights people. Don’t be afraid to stand for yourselves. Love and respect yourselves. Forgive yourselves. Take the responsibility for your lives. Enjoy the ride. No one said it’s an easy ride, but if you overcome some difficult bumps I can promise that it won’t get less bumpy, but you will start to overcome the obstacles much easier. And then you will have the time to look around you and enjoy the ride.
Writing this blog is part of my ride.