Tag Archives: public process


I’ve just been done for parking in a disabled spot. In the carpark of my own apartment block. At 2:30am on a Saturday.

None of this was evident from the piece of paper stuck on my windscreen. As you’ll see it’s entirely in Arabic. Sure, I live in an Arabic country, but every single thing I do, every procedure, phone call or form I fill out, is in English.

Fine? Fine.

So I saw the slip under my wiper and guessed it was a fine and was already reeling that my own building’s carpark was subject to municipal fines. I spoke with the guard and he said it was worth 1000 dirhams (that’s about 180 GBP or 330 AUD). I reeled again but knew already I couldn’t do anything but accept it.

I looked online and discovered it was the maximum fine that could be issued. More than speeding. More than reckless driving. If I killed someone I wouldn’t be charged a bigger fine (though I would have to pay blood money to the family of the person I killed – 750,000 dirhams / 140,000 GBP / 250,000 AUD).

I just gritted my teeth and paid it. You can’t argue. A girl I work with recently had a minor traffic accident. The other driver drifted into her lane at relatively low speed. The law here states that cars can’t be moved until the police arrive and hand you a form. Red means culpable. Green means innocent. Justice on the spot, no easy recourse. No mechanic will fix panel damage without a slip. Supposedly.

When the police officer turned up, the other party, the at-fault party, started conversing with the officer in Arabic, my colleague couldn’t understand what they were talking about. Lo and behold, she is given the red slip. But not knowing what the red slip meant, she says the cheeky officer even had the hide to reassure her she wasn’t considered to be at fault. She only found out she had been listed as the guilty party when she went to get the car fixed.

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