Lets Imagine …

February 1, 2010 at 1:23 pm (Just a thought ..., Qatari culture, Society)

My sister was wondering the other day

What if, each Arab country had a different language and different cultural heritage. What if there was no entity that is called the Arab world. What if Qatar spoke another language. What if Qatar was like France, or Greece, or Japan. with separate language and heritage? What would happen?

In a nutshell

Scenario one:

 Qatar is an importer of ideas, technology and even art. We are heavily dependent on other countries. We watch Egyptian and Kuwaiti shows, we use Japanese machines and cars, and we wear French cloths and sleep on Egyptian cotton. We eat Lebanese fruits and vegetables, and shower with soap imported from Saudi and India. We even import people to work!  We are also a very small nation with limited resources and do not have human capital to fully develop. We would be a poor underdeveloped nation, even more underdeveloped that what we are now.

Scenario two:

The fact that we have a distinctive language and identity, we would depend on ourselves to survive and develop. We will have more diversified labour and have a bigger variety of market. We will also have a developed literature and art heritage and develop new technologies to use the oil.  Our seclusion from the world will motivate us to innovate and be exporters of ideas and technology instead of importers. We would be a nation similar to Japan or France with strong sense of identity.

What do you think?

26 Comments

  1. Angie Nader said,

    each country does have a different culture and kind of a different language. i have trouble understanding those from the gulf..(im lebanese…and the only proper arabic i hear in Leba)…and the culture in Lebanon is very different than so many of other countries surounding it.

    i think each country in the middle east is unique. each has their own customs that make each country unique.

  2. I CARE said,

    I don’t think language has anything to do with all this. Japan is not developed because they speak Japanese.

    We’re not only poor when it comes to heritage. we’re poor geographically! the climate, the land, the resources aren’t available.

    and who said we don’t have an identity? our people jump around with swords in every occasion, how far did we get with that?

    • Ashlee said,

      very well-said!

  3. mrZ said,

    very interesting blog! There’s not many qatari bloggers around. I have so many questionz.

    By the way, could you translate me a short arabic song I found on youtube?

  4. B said,

    “We would be a poor underdeveloped nation, even more underdeveloped that what we are now.”

    If I may interject my (humble) opinion in response to that statement. I think you made some valid points, but I disagree with that particular statement. I don’t perceive Qatar as underdeveloped. Sure, there are a few things that could do with a little improvement, which country doesn’t? but if you look at the bigger picture, if you look at what Qatar achieved in the last decade or so, in terms of infrastructure, education, politics, journalism…etc in contrast to the previous 3 or 4 decades, it truly is mind blogging. Bear in mind, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and as frustrated as we can get from certain aspects or issues in our society, we have to look perceptively and reflect on – I reiterate- the bigger picture. As a self-admitted travel junkie, I travelled extensively to places far and wide such as China to Canada (and a lot of places in between!) and when I look at my own country from a global viewpoint, what we’ve achieved so far, where we are compared to where we were, the pace at which we’re evolving is mind boggling. Although we as a country, and a relatively young one at that, are heavily reliant on natural resources to fuel our economy, I think that the money is being spent wisely and there is a concerted and mass effort to develop Qatar. Some of these accomplishment within the last decade include Education City (it’s not easy trying to draw some of the world’s best American universities halfway across the world in the middle of a desert, and as far as I know, no one has done it yet!) Qatar Airways (whether we like it or not, it’s one of the leading Airlines in the world, using some of the best planes), Al-Jazeera TV station (I’m pretty sure most people are aware of this network :P) the many international conferences, sports events, cultural events…etc
    Sure, we still have a long way to go, but I don’t think it’s as bad as to render us as an “underdeveloped nation”.

  5. B said,

    “We’re not only poor when it comes to heritage. we’re poor geographically! the climate, the land, the resources aren’t available.”

    I beg to differ. I think we have a very rich heritage. However, I think in our present day and age, especially with my generation, as well as the younger ones, our heritage is gradually dissipating. I think in our era of media exposure, technological advances and globalized world the truly difficult thing that remains to be seen is, how will we reconcile our ‘unique’ cultural identity in the present age of globalization; where we as citizens of the world are essentially becoming more like each other? I think the mere fact that we as Qatari’s have our own traditional attire, own dialect, traditional lingo, cultural practices, special occasions, strong famil ties…etc is proof enough that we do have our own heritage, and for the sake of it’s survival, I hope that fellow Qatari’s choose to continue to hold on to our values, principles and culture.

    “and who said we don’t have an identity? our people jump around with swords in every occasion, how far did we get with that?”

    I fail to see the parallel between the two! sword dancing is a cultural practice, one that goes back for many generations, and one that many choose to carry on to this day. I don’t think the purpose of those that do so is to achieve anything other than staying true to our customs! Japan, and other countries, have their own customs, traditions, practices..etc and yet we don’t nitpick on these things and make judgements on an entire country based on their heritage! in fact, it is precisely why they hold on to/ preserve their ‘identity’ that they are respected, admired and even celebrated by people from all over the world.

    Just my two cents worth…

  6. mimizwords said,

    I guess people misunderstood the point.
    Language has many implication, it is not simply something you use to express yourself and communicate, it is a whole different world. So when Japanese developed of course it was not because they spoke Japanese, but the idea that they had their own language and culture that is separated and different from those countries near them. Same thing with European countries, each country has its different language and traditions. What I am trying to say is that having a unique language makes you develop and innovate because you cannot depend on other countries if you do not speak their language. Back then, English was not the international language and each nation stuck to its to language.
    Qatar is underdeveloped whether we want to admit it or not. But the term underdeveloped does not mean the same state as in Sub Saharan Africa were people do not have access to clean water. Underdevelopment, or rather developing countries vary from poor to middle to high income countries. And Qatar is in the last category. We do have wealth but we do not have development. I could give you a whole lecture on that because it is my dissertation. But in a nutshell, most of what we have is imported, those American universities that were mentioned, and even before them, we used to import Egyptian books and teachers. Journalism and media, who are we kidding! Democracy, please! We are a nation of importation and consumption not the opposite. Even our cultural heritage, of course we have few things of our own, but many of what we have was influenced by other civilizations. The black Abaya and battoula are from Iran, the sowrd from Japan, the thob elnashil from India. Even our food, most of it influenced by Indian spices and methods of cooking. Heritage could also include art and literature, and we don’t have any special Qatari literature or Art! We have Arab literature and Art but not Qatari.
    But this is not the point, if Qatar is developed or not. I am not being with or against what is going on. What I wanted you to imagine is how different things would be if we spoke a different language.

    p.s: would elaborate more but got lectures!

  7. Lisa Clayton said,

    Maryam,

    I really like your response here in terms of what defines development, as I think that all the glitz and glamour hides the reality that Qatar is an underdeveloped nation. I personally feel real development can only occur in a society that encourages intellectual development (which itself can only occur where there is academic freedom and reasonable freedom of speech). Hosting international events and building tall buildings do not constitute development in my view.

    Ironically, I felt Qatar was on the road to becoming a developed nation in the early 2000s. Money was being put into education and some basic infrastructure improvements to accommodate the smaller population at that time; a decent standard of living was affordable for most; and the material excessiveness we see today was not nearly so wide-spread and confined to a few super-rich. With the successful bid for the 2006 Asian Games, Qatar changed and the road to unbridled greed and materialism paved the way for what now masquerades as “development”. In the meantime, education still suffers greatly at the primary and secondary levels which affects what university one is accepted in. The divide is further exacerbated by the perception of “elite” graduates of Education City universities competing with those of the lesser prestigious Qatar University or CNA-Q. Add Qatarisation to the mix and you have an under-motivated population (many of them not well educated) which in turn delays the country’s intellectual development. It’s a vicious cycle.

    Salaam,
    Lisa

  8. Qatari said,

    I dislike your negativity toward your country, I think you should be more thankful for being Qatari, many people envy us for being so. I hope that life will eventually show you how privileged you have always been, a fact that you are totally denying at the moment. Even if what you are saying is true (which is not exactly, by the way), you shouldn’t post it in the internet for everyone to see and probably make fun of. You should at least appreciate the tremendous effort our leaders are putting on improving the country. If you are interested in negative stuff, at least also say the positive ones too, i am a regular reader to your blog and i can’t remember seeing a single post giving a thump up to Qatar or anything related to Qatar, all you are interested in is criticism, which is becoming annoying to be honest.

    I am sorry for the tune, but truth to be said..

    • mimizwords said,

      well, my dear Qatari. It doesnt make a difference whether you like or dislike my words. I do see things from a different perspective, and my blog is a platform for me to express my perspective, its a shame that you do not like it. There is not just some truth, but a lot of truth in what I say because it comes from true experience and the biggest proof is the comments of those who share their own thoughts and agree with me. Do you want to tell me that there is no racism, discrimination, stealing … etc in Qatar!

      I do not see a point of praising Qatar or speaking of what is good in it, I did do that few times but I do not like ass kissing or hypocracy or saying how great and wonderful thigns are while they are not that great! if there are things that are good, then of course I will mention it, but I will not put a mask on things and pretend that everything is fuzzy and pink!

      and the reason I criticize is because I care about this country and want to see things improve, I can only complain and point out problems at this point in my life. If I didnt care about it, I wouldnt even bother write about it. I think there are enough people who are praising Qatar, so let me criticize. I know that I am privilidged in certain things, but these privilidges do not blind my eyes from the truth of how wrong some things are.

      but, I did defend Qatar and wrote some good stuff about it when I saw that it needed to: (not one, but three thumps)

      https://mimizwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/response-to-%e2%80%9ctrying-to-lift-the-veil-on-qatar%e2%80%9d/

      https://mimizwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/07/language-dilemma-in-qatar/

      https://mimizwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/the-last-generation-of-battoolah/

      and do not forget all my announcement about different projects and events that is happening in Qatar! and my writing about other stuff that has nothing to do with Qatar as well.

      and if you are annoyed … do not read😉

  9. Qatari said,

    Thanks, but you will need to improve your language, @$$ kissing is a totally inappropriate expression

    • mimizwords said,

      hahahha Qatari .. you need to chill man .. ass kissing does not mean an actual ass being kissed! hahahhahaha .. thank you for your contributions and I would like to still have you as a reader and will always appreciate your different opinion ..

      • Qatari said,

        Come on, i know that this doesn’t mean the actual physical act of kissing an @$$, but still i think it is inappropriate among many other expressions, you’ll one day be an ambassador, so you better start practicing to talk like one!
        Thanks, although i don’t agree with a few bits, I have to admit, i find your blog interesting..

  10. flying dreamer said,

    It makes me feel proud that Qatar’s identity is part of a larger one.. yes, it’s more complicated this way.. but it, ironically, gives me some defined boundaries of who i am, who are we, and who are they.

    But i like your sister’s reality twist approach.. yeah. what if.. !
    well.. we’ll be speaking the “Qataries” language.. teaching it in schools.. I doubt that there will be syntax or grammar rules in the language itself.. we’ll probably have better political relationships with other countries..
    we’ll have a different flag..
    Different type of food..
    i don’t wanna make it long.. so , i think its time to stop🙂

    btw.. I loved you blog.. keep following the truth no matter what..

    • mimizwords said,

      Finally …. someone who understood the question! thank you

  11. dreamer qatar said,

    “Qatar is underdeveloped “..
    I totally agree, “at least” in terms of essential needs.
    more than 70% of population intake of food and drink is imported !!

    i really like your blog. maybe i disagree with you in some points but i think you are one of very few qataries that are looking for a good/positive change in life of qataries

  12. Sho_Sho said,

    Hum lets see .. we will have our own architectural style that will be taught in international schools of art, and we will have our own cuisines, Qatari delight lol, we will have our own fashion line and not just that international designer will be influenced by Qatari fashion I mean how cool would that be, we will have our own car companies I mean next to Lamborghini and Bentley you will find a QATARI car brand something that indicates speed and high quality
    I swear just thinking about these things made me proud, this is the kind of thinking we need I swear the ability to imagine and maybe someday act upon it, thank Mimi for asking us to imagine a better us

    As for Mr. Qatari, I am so sorry to see a well educated Qatari guy as I can see *from your good English* with such a narrow sight, I mean open your eyes to the reality around you, we are all privileged and very grateful for the opportunities that were given to us by our country but It is never a bad thing to dream of a better tomorrow, where we are self dependant that we don’t even need anyone, how powerful is that, don’t concentrate on the small details
    Look at the big picture

    Thanks Mimi for this post .. love it

  13. Alberuni said,

    I don’t think language is a barrier since English didn’t stop US and Australia to emerge culturally independent of its former master, the UK. In Europe, culture started flourishing to its glory only after renaissance when art, literature and science was able to move out of state and religious control. Works of art considered blasphemous till then became masterpieces for future generations. It will take a while for it happen in this part of the world where people will get judged based on whether works and deeds fits to norms rather than the work itself. As manifested in the comments here, there is long way to go for being critical not being regarded as dislike, and people focusing on the message rather than the words being appropriate.

  14. L. said,

    Hello,

    I gather from your two scenarios that you do not see a third option. There are *only*, apparently, two scenarios. That promotes your narrow-mindedness. It stamps Qatari women as simple-minded and unimaginative, pitifully enough.

    You do not see a third option… One that is, perhaps, quite relative to what Qatar is today: a moderate, neutral middle-ground of a nation: gripping on its essentials, whether that is traditions, religion, or language. And simultaneously enriching itself with the development that is coming toward it from the west, at this era of time.

    Look at it this way, if it suits you best: Qatari women that wear Chanel dresses, because they’re modernised and trendy, yet go to women’s only weddings. They speak English, because they’re worldly and sophisticated, but greet in Arabic, because there’s too much air emitted in “Hi.” They, however, also leave the wedding with an abaya, and hit their foreheads in an attempt to remember a word in English that they have forgotten. These women are the representation of a larger scale of the integration of multi-culturism and globalisation in Qatari society.

    Take my word for it… The people you know aren’t the ideal representation of a Qatari personality. There are flakey cases of generalisations, between your lines.

    I appreciate your ‘adventurous’ writing, however. Good luck!

  15. mimizwords said,

    It seems that my simple post was too complicated to understand for many people, It was just a thought, a short conversation I had with my sister and wanted to see what other thoughts there were, not that there are only two scenarios. You gave a third option which was great but it didn’t answer the question anyway.

    And what does the people I know have to do with anything here, do you know them by any chance to judge that they are not ideal representation of Qatari? what is ideal representation of Qatari then? isn’t it enough to be Qatari? or do you have to behave a certain way, come from a certain tribe, or be educated in certain universities, or maybe speak with a certain manner and dress within a code? or is it enough to have the passport? or do they have to know you to be ideal representation of Qatari?

    maybe ‘ only’ the people you know are the ideal representation of a Qatari personality🙂

  16. L. said,

    The problem with the global village, is the global village idiots.

    • mimizwords said,

      Listen Mr or Ms L, everyone is welcome to comment on my blog, and I never delete people’s comment whether I like them or not. This stupid comment of yours is completely unnecessary whatever you meant with it. There is a difference between calling an opinion idiot and calling people idiots. Who do you think yourself pretending to know the real ideal Qataris and calling other idiots of the global village!

  17. M said,

    بما انج خلصتي تدرسين بكالوريوس وبديتي تدرسين ماجستير وبما انج عطيتينا خلفيه عن (ثقافتج اللامحدوده)ابيج تعطيني أو تعطين غيري معلومه وحده عن تاريخ قطر أو تاريخ العرب بشكل عام …خليني ابدا معاج من نقطة الاستيراد..أولا مثل ماحنا نستورد اشياء من خارج قطر فأحنا قاعدين ننقذ حياة ناس من الممكن انها كانت تموت لولا مساعدة دولة قطر من بد دول العالم كلها (عندج هايتي،تشيلي حاليا ،وكارثة كاترينا وغزة وقطر اللي قامت بحل النزاع بين لبنان واسرائيل والخ)انتي المفروض تكونين ادرى بهذا كله دام ان محد يقدر يتحدى آبحاثج وعلمج ولو كان علمج محدود فوجهة نظري بس في اللغه الانجليزيه بينما اعتبرج شبه متخلفه فاللغة العربية اللي قمتي بالاستهتار فيها مع انها لغه محفوظه سواء رضيتي ولا مارضيتي ومافي حد أعلم من خالق الكون (ياللي تدعين نفسج فاهمه كل شي)مع احترامي لج مثل مابحثتي فسلبيات قطر روحي ابحثي في آسباب تراثها انتي وغيرج اللي قاموا بتتآييدج وضرب الآمثلة وهم مالهم أصل من الأساس ولولا قطر كانوا فبلادهم (شحاتين )مثل مايقولونها المصريين، سواء كان ضرب الأمثلة في الرزيف أو غيره (لأن سبب أستخدامهم للسيوف في الاحتفالات ه، دليل على ماقاموا به آباءنا فالماضي من معركة العديد ،والزبارة)وابحثي فاللي خلا قطر دولة مستقلة(الشيخ جاسم بن محمد بن ثاني) واللي هي لها فضل كبير عليج من كل النواحي سواء من الناحية التعليمية أو ..الخ،للأسف ٌان هذا طبع الانسان مهما يحصل من مال أو علم يتمادى علي رب العباد لأن لو كنتي بترجعين لدينج كنتي بتعرفين ان نكران المعروف حرام سواء لشخص أو لوطن رفعج وعززج وكرمج ،ماخلاج مثل الفقراء اللي تحصلينهم فأمريكا أو الدول الثانية وماخلاج متشتتة وضايعه وبتم اقول واقول لاتحكمين عالمظهر ولكن ابحثي على الجوهر الفاسد وليس العكس صحيح فالدول الثانية اللي من الممكن ان السلبيات اللي ذكرتيها عن قطر ماتتجي ربع فساد وتشتت شعوب الدو ل الاخرى .
    عندي لج طلب أخير تخيلي نفسج لو ماكنتي قطريه لو بس كنتي أفريقية أو هندية أو أمريكية وين بتكونين وبتعيشين فالعز اللي انتي عايشه فيه فبلادج ؟تخيلي وضعج بس؟صدقيني لو وعيتي بس فلحظة كنتي بتعرفين انج غافلة عن النعم اللي انتي عايشه فيها وبتكتشفين انج ماتعرفين من العلم الا القليل وانج تبين تعلمين أكثر وآكثر من بعد معرفتج بالتخلف اللي انت فيه الحين ،واللي هو(التخلف الفكري) …وإذا ماوعيتي وعرفتي هذا كله فبيكون السؤال اللي يطرح نفسه عندي وعند غيري شنو حاجتج فجنسيتج واسم عيلتج؟(لأن لا قطر ولا الشعب القطري يفتخر فوحده تتدعي انها ماتحب تنافق ونست ان النفاق بعينه لما تذكر سلبيات بلادها ،وهي تشرب وتاكل من هالبلاد ..تاخذ ولا تعطي..ولاتنسين ان احنا بشر والدنيا آخذ وعطا )

  18. mimizwords said,

    رداً على تعليقك المضحك :

    من الواضح أنك لم تفهم السؤال و لم تقرأ بقية المواضيع في هذا الموقع. لأنك لو فهمت السؤال لما أعطيت إجابة ليس لها أي دخل في الموضوع و لا تحتوي إلى على اسلوب بذيئ في الكتابة. و سترى أنني قد ذكرت عدة أشياء جيدة عن قطر بالإضافة إلى أنني دائما اشجع على مشاركة القطريين في نشاطات تنموية مختلفة في الدولة و أعلن عنها في الموقع.
    هدفي من المواضيع التي أطرحها ليست المديح و التفاخر بقطر, بل ذكر الأمور السلبية من وجهة نظري و اقتراح حلول لها. و لولا اهتمامي و حبي لوطني لما قمت بهذا الأمر من البداية. لا أنكر فضل أنني قطرية, ولكن هذا لا يعني أن أغض النظر عن ما يدور حولي, فما فائدة دراستي و عملي (الذي من الواضخ أنه سبب لك أزمة) إن لم أنظر للأمور بانتقاد. هذه إحدى طرق التطور, أن نبحث عن مشكلة, نناقشها و نقترح لها حلول. و لو كنت هندية أو أمريكية لانتقد الهند أو أمريكا و قمت بفعل نفس شيء اندفاعاً من حبي لوطني.
    ولكن, يبدو أن وجهة نظرك الضيقة أعمتك عن أساس أو محتوى هذا الموضوع. متى قلت أنه لا يوجد من يتحدى علمي؟ أو أنني استهتزء باللغة العربية؟ و متى أدعيت أنني أفهم كل الأمور؟ هل إبداء الرأي يعني الإدعاء بالعلم و فهم الأمور؟ و على أي أساس افترضت كل هذا ؟ الموضوع لا يخص اللغة العربية أبداً و لو أننا كنا نتحدث الفارسية مثلاً, لقلت “افترضوا أننا لا نتحدث الفارسية”. كان الهدف هو اكتشاف تأثير اللغة على الأفراد لا غير و ليس الاستهزاء بها! ولو قرأت مواضيع أخرى لرأيت أنني أدافع عن اللغة العربية و أرفض أن يضطر القطريين التحدث بالانجليزية في بلادهم. و لأزيدك من الشعر بيت, فإنني قمت بتدريس ورش عمل كتابة باللغة العربية للتأكيد على أهميتها, و أعمل على كتابة قصص للأطفال مستوحاه من ثقافة الخليج العربي.
    أما ما ذكرت من باقي الأمور فأرى أنه مجرد كلام يدل على ضعف الحجة و نظرة ملقنة للتاريخ.
    شكراً على مشاركتك المنفعلة

  19. S B K said,

    Seriously this is the fourth time I have read this topic, trying to find what that commenter’s are talking about. Start some reading lessons maybe it will help, we know we all have different opinion but you have to get what is she trying to deliver to you. If you do not know how to read, or critique so please stop attacking the girl personally, I am not saying as if I am defending but this topic was one of my best that I read in her blog and had nothing to offense Qatar. It is really a push to be more independants not dependent.

    And please stop this weird attitude, we know that we are Qataris and we all are proud of that but it does not mean that we cannot talk about what we feel if its wrong or right. We have everything that could make us better, better does not mean we are “bad”.

    Regards,
    S B K

  20. Sho_Sho said,

    اولا : الاخوة و الاخوات اللي تعنوا و قروا و علقوا على الموضوع .. كل واحد حر في وجهه نظره و لمجرد اقتناعي بشي معين و غيري له وجهه نظره مختلفة عني .. هاي مب معناته انه انا صح و الكل غلط و العكس صحيح .. كل وجهه نظر قابلة للصحة و الخطأ

    بس تظل في النهاية وجهه نظر .. المفروض و الاصح اني اعلق على الكلام و مب الكاتب .. لو الكاتب كان يبي وجهه نظر القراء فيه كان كتب عن سيرة حياته .. بس ما اظن ان الموضوع يتطرق للسيرة الذاتيه للكاتبه
    و ثانيا : الموضوع كان واضح و صريح و مافيه اي نوع من انواع الغموض .. و المطلوب مجرد التفكير و محاولة تصور قطر بشكل مختلف بشكل افضل من الوضع الحالي, و هالكلام ما يعني ان الوضع الحالي سيء ولكن الواحد يطمح للأفضل و ينتقد السلبيات في محاولة لتحسين الوضع و ليس للذم و التشهير, و بهالطريقة ممكن نتطور

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