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Hanging in Qatar's museum of modern art are several works by Faraj Daham – nature scenes painted on the circular steel lids of oil drums.Thus it was a huge surprise last week to learn of a new museum dedicated to a deeply sensitive topic: slavery in the Gulf. The slavery museum, one of four heritage museums built as part of Doha's massive Msheirib Downtown project, had been kept under wraps and is not yet open to the public.The museum's second wing narrows from the broader Gulf to slavery in Qatar.Unlike many postindustrial nations where unappealing aspects of the global economy are farmed out overseas, in Qatar – a country where rapid development is omnipresent, where 94 percent of the workforce is foreign and where the World Cup has drawn extra scrutiny – brute aspects of global capitalism sit closer to the surface.This is not to say that Qatar does not maintain egregious, systemic faults.
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