As a reminder, he wrote the words ‘Human Rights’ in red ink on the palm of his hand. They were there when he showed his passport; there when he pressed the flesh; there when he clinked crystal glassware; there when he lifted a knife during dinner; there when he signed the lucrative contracts, there when the fighter jets and bombs were received; there when he waved goodbye; there when he pocketed the money. In every wash room in every hotel suite, conference facility, sales floor and banqueting hall, he scrubbed his hands hard. The damned words would not wash out.
The skies shudder in the midday heat as fighter jets screech overhead. Desert sands are crushed and churned by the caterpillar tracks of tanks. Localised conversations centre on canisters of teargas – security solutions, experts say, or ‘battlefield management’. Elsewhere we see stun grenades, fragmentation bombs, rubber ball shot… armoured personnel carriers rumble along while drones hover.
There is a soundtrack too: blaring global hip-hop blasts through the air. And a uniform: dark suits, darker sunglasses.
Everybody is smiling.
We have an ethical policy in place, says the UK spokesperson for the arms manufacturer at the Abu Dhabi arms fair.