Louvre, Guggenheim and NYU accept millions from Abu Dhabi but remain silent on human rights
By Nina Burleigh 2/20 4:11pm
Three of the Western world’s premier cultural institutions—New York University, the Guggenheim and the Louvre—are in various stages of setting up shop on Sa’adiyat (“Happiness”) Island in Abu Dhabi, forming what has been described as a “highbrow cultural theme park” in the desert city-state. The deals that the Guggenheim and NYU cut with the emir are not news. Petro-potentates started collecting liberal institutions as the latest Western must-have a decade ago.
What is news is the silence around last month’s 2013 Human Rights Watch report claiming that the human rights situation in the United Arab Emirates (of which Abu Dhabi is a city-state) “deteriorated rapidly” in 2012.
So far, none of the bastions of Western tolerance have had much to say about that, or, for that matter, the previous annual reports detailing how laborers in the UAE are indentured servants, women have barely more rights than farm animals and political dissent leads directly to jail, sometimes by way of torture.
The details are disturbing.