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The Emirates in 1976 – An evening at the Ministry of Information

This article follows on from the previous article: The Emirates in 1976 – arriving in Abu Dhabi.

The day after we arrived in Abu Dhabi, Peter Hellyer, our researcher and scriptwriter, had a meeting with The Ministry of Information.

By five minutes to seven, in the evening, Peter Hellyer and I were in the office of a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Information.  The place was packed with people seeking an audience with the man.

One after the other people were invited in. Some came out of the office after a few minutes while others did not seem to leave at all.  I thought there might be another exit.

AD2The outer door opened and in came several teenage girls, dressed in black from head to toe.  They were accompanied by a Douenna, that it to say, an older lady, also dressed in black from head to toe, who was the guardian of the girls.  Peter Hellyer said that the girls were staying at our hotel and, then, I was able to put two and two together.

Peter said that as many as ten girls had been brought in from Kuwait and Iraq as call girls, to be put at the disposal of some of the local gentlemen of Abu Dhabi.

Eight o’clock came and went, nine o’clock, ten o’clock, and, during that time, having seen thirty or more people who came in after us go into the inner office. The girls even went in. I said to Peter, “I think he is taking the piss”.  He agreed, but said that we could not leave.  It was one o’clock in the morning before we got into the office.

I was not an encouraging sight to see the situation inside the office.  His entourage and acolytes were flopped out on an array of settees.  The girls were also deployed in various settees and were the centre of attention.

AD1He did not even acknowledge us for ten minutes.  He finally picked up a copy of the contract and started to go through it.  In typical fashions, I had not been provided with a copy from Coyte, our Vice-President, or Yasar.  I had to rely entirely on what the official said.   He queried almost everything.  Where I could, I gave an explanation to what the contract said, although this was fairly difficult having never seen it.

The contract was being made redundant as item after item was removed.  I finally said to him “I don’t know whether a contract is necessary” I went on “You want films, I will make you films”.  He tore up the contact and we left him to enjoy the rest of his evening.

© Terence Gallacher and, 2013.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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