Releasing Karabus: What took them so long?

"Will Cyril Karabus ever be released?" This was the question on everyone's lips during the last few harrowing weeks this man spent being held without any logical reason in the United Arab Emirates after being arrested on Dubai airport seemingly an eternity ago.

I can only imagine what this man had to go through, day after day, week after week, as his hopes of getting home safely to his home and family were dashed time and time again by the bungling of incompetent and (no doubt) sadistic officials.

One thing is certain: Many people who had been thinking of touring the UAE, or going there for work, are probably having second thoughts by now. There was a time when many of us looked upon Dubai as an ideal tourist destination, a fascinating place of glitz and glamour.

Lately, more and more unsavoury stories of abuse, impotence and prejudice have surfaced. A young girl called Alicia Gali had to endure eight months in jail over there. The reason? She was gang-raped by a group of men in 2008. Her alleged crime? Having sex out of marriage! Read her agonising story here.

How is it possible that these guys can charge innocent peope like Gali and Karabus for what they perceive as heinous crimes, but they let Justin Bieber go after running through several red lights in a sport car? Okay, I cannot vouch for the truth of this story, but wow, if I was a passport official in Dubai I would've arrested Justin Bieber on the spot for no reason other than his irritating voice and ghastly taste in outfits. Now THAT should be a crime in the UAE.

Jokes aside; I, for one, would hesitate strongly before setting foot in that country. I would hesitate even more before I agreed to do a show for the small Afrikaans community over there, though some of them have, at times, expressed the wish that I visit them with my guitar.

Who knows when I inadvertently break one of those incomprehensible laws? Fondle my wife in public? Worse even, get drunk on a street corner? These are the kinds of things that would just happen, and could very well happen to me, given my luck and my accident-prone personality!

Of course, then again, one should never say never. A few years ago, after being thrown into jail in Walvisbaai for a crime I did not commit, I vowed never to perform music in Namibia ever again. Now, I have been invited back, this time, by people who seem to have real work visas instead of fake ones (or ones with the wrong date, or any of the insignificant little details sadistic border officials love to pounce on).

So, because I need the money (firstly), and because I really love Namibia (it's, in fact, the only country I have ever seriously considered emigrating to), it looks as if I am set to brave Windhoek's customs officials one more time.

And this time, I hope they give me the right stamp so that I won’t get into all sorts of inexplicable trouble on my way out.

As for those blokes in the Middle East; no way. Not before they don't get their act together, stop harrassing tourists, and prove it by issuing an official apology to our man Karabus.
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