Taken from their home in Pakistan to work in the Persian Gulf, eight-year-old Rashid and his little brother Shari cling to each other.
Then they are separated and forced to become jockeys in the lucrative camel-racing business.
Rashid is starved and worked to exhaustion by harsh supervisors - but he has a talent for racing and quickly becomes his stable's star jockey.
Soon he begins to forget what life was like when he had a proper home.
He almost begins to forget about Shari.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 304 pages, maps
- Publisher: Pan Macmillan
- Publication Date: 01/05/2009
- Category: General
- ISBN: 9780330452090
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by sirfurboy
This is a somewhat harrowing story of camel racing in Dubai, and the exploitation of the children who were used as jockeys. Rashid and his brother, Shari, are taken from their poor family in Pakistan against the promise of becoming playmates to the son of a wealthy family in Dubai. But as is the way of such international arrangements so often, the reality is a far cry from the dream. Rashid is separated from his brother and forced to learn to become a camel jocky. To preserve his slight stature, he is fed a starvation diet and the conditions he lives in are poor and squalid as he is driven by hard task masters to perform well. And yet rashid is one of the lucky ones. Talented and taken to one of the better stables, he excels at the racing and manages to avoid major injury. Many of his friends and acquaintances will be less lucky.This book is gritty and realistic and describes sevents in the very recent past. It will be hard to believe that in a rich and advanced country such as Dubai there was a form of slavery persisting into this decade. Worse still to think that in many places slavery of one kind or another is not something now in the past but persists still.A book to make you think. Blind condemnation would be the wrong response though. Better to think what we can do about modern day slaves elsewhere (an application for Amnesty International was not included in the book but perhaps would have been appropriate!)
Review by JRlibrary
Rashid is eight years old when his uncle convinces his mother to let him take he and his little brother to Dubai where they can be child companions to the children of very rich people, and play cars and eat lots of good food all day. In reality, Rashid and his brother have been sold into slavery as camel jockeys. Rashid is separated from his brother, and actually ends up at a nicer camel farm than his little brother, who ends up at a place where they frequently use electric shocks to punish the children who don't try hard enough. According to the author, the practice of using small children for camel jockeys has been outlawed, but the book still provided a really interesting look into a practice that I never knew existed. Heart breaking at times, I was stunned by what Rashid had to endure, and found myself hoping desperately that someone would save him and his brother. Definitely worth reading.