Randomness

September 19, 2010 at 12:46 pm (Diary, Just a thought ...)

1-      I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that you were an hour away and I couldn’t see you because of that stupid exam I had to take. I was shopping in Tescos when my sister told me that you have left us. But how did this happen? I just spoke to Auntie and she said you were all right. You left in few moments. I wanted to come and see your face one last time. But you took the first plane back home.

2-      Sometimes I think that dates look like cockroaches. Very tasty ones!

3-      I made my little sister eat chalk when she was 3 years old. I really wanted to know how it tastes like but did not have the guts to try it. As she was crunching it I felt jealous that it was in her mouth and not mine. She said ‘It’s crunchy’.

4-      I can’t help but think that marriage is somehow a public humiliation. Everyone knows that you are going to ‘have some action’ that night. And everyone assumes that it’s the night where you ‘finally open your window of love’. I bet all the guests would think of this at least once. How do you face his or her family the following morning without any feeling of embarrassment?  So if marriage is public humiliation then having children is the ultimate humiliation because then people know for sure that you ‘did it’. LOL

5-      How come all the lesbian Qataris get married before the straight ones. And they actually have babies and are still lesbians and everyone knows and its ok!

6-      Every time I watch  Khalejee series I can’t stop laughing. The actors keep walking in circles with their backs to each other just to face the camera. Who talks like this in real life? And who wakes up with full makeup and accessories on?

7-      Why do women have period pain? Sex pain? Pregnancy pain? Birth pain? Nursing pain? Even when you breasts grow it hurts! Men have pleasure growing up; pleasure in sex; the baby comes after a pleasure; the just watch as the baby grows up.  And after all this pain we don’t have the same rights and authority that men have in a real world.

8-      I noticed that every time I say ‘I could never do such a thing’. I end up doing it years later. Do we secretly envy those who live their lives to the fullest? When I see someone doing something that I secretly want to do but can’t for whatever reason, this is what I say ‘I can’t believe she did that; I could never do such a thing’.

9-      If things were different, you and I would have been together right now. If only we lived in a different world were names didn’t matter. They are committing a sin against us and if we were to err it would be them to blame.

10-   What a strange feeling to have accomplished a dream. Still it doesn’t feel as great as I thought. I honestly think that it was exaggerated and not worth the trouble at all. But what else would I have done.

11-   I don’t know what happened but I think we are growing apart. Maybe it is because we have gone on different paths and want different things in life. I love you dearly but keeping you in my life like before puts me down. You bring so much negativity and I can see you do not like my words or my actions. I tried to help you so many times but the more I try the more you resent me. So my dear I cannot continue this relationship before you start helping yourself.

12-   It is very scary to live a dream.

13-   Slice of Rye bread + Turkey breast + peanut butter = Delicious!

Shall we continue our random thoughts?

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Yes I am tough

July 31, 2010 at 12:54 pm (Diary, Everyday life situations, gender discrimination, Just a thought ..., women, work)

You should be more like a lady he said. You became a little .. how should I say this .. a little rough and too bold for a woman.

Am I less feminine really? Maybe it is true. I see it too. I started putting less makeup and only buying comfortable cloths.  I didn’t do my hair for ages. I can see some violence in my speech and behaviour. It is like I am fighting with the whole world all the time. I shout at anyone who flirts or harasses me. I am ready to hit anyone who approaches me. I almost hit my friend once thinking she was a stranger who wanted to grab my bag.  I am always on alert for any danger; physical or emotional. I am always ready to defend myself from any kind of attack; physical or verbal. I became too honest in what I say that it might hurt others some time.  But why would you blame me because I am only the modern woman of today.

How do you expect me to wear nice dresses and high heels with hair and makeup done when I don’t have time to cook a proper meal for myself? How do you expect me to be gentle and kind when I have to work from morning till night everyday and squeeze myself  between people in buses and trains like a sardine, someone pushing me here and another shoving me there? How do you expect me to be a lady like when I have to deal with nasty people all the time? It is a fight everyday and I am fighting every day. I am tired and I feel a part of me has gone. People around me are taking a bite of me every day and I have to keep on going with whatever I have left. How do you expect me to be lady like when I cannot afford the luxury of staying at home and doing nothing but pampering myself? I am sorry baby but I don’t even have the option of waiting for you at home and welcoming you back with a passionate kiss.

I don’t want to hustle like this every day, but I can’t afford not to. Because men are not men these days. I have to do it all myself and I know I can never depend on a father, a brother or a husband. Maybe men were ‘gawamoon’ but not today baby, not today. Maybe it made sense that men inherit more than women but it doesn’t make sense today baby it doesn’t.

I have to do it all by myself and even better than you so that you don’t point the finger and tell me ‘emotional’. I pay for my rent, my food, my cloths, my tickets, my makeup, my shampoo, my lattes and even the water I drink. After all of this, how would you expect that I won’t become a little bit masculine? How do you expect me to give you all the care and attention you need when I am lacking so much? There isn’t any tenderness left in me. You drained it all out, the world has drained it all out.

I am stronger than you and a hundred man like you. I work twice as hard as you, and then I come back home to take care of the kids, I cook and clean and even wash your cloths. And you really expect me to put on something nice at the end of the day and squeeze the last bit of energy and emotions I have left to give you few seconds of pleasure? oh and not only you ask me to put something nice on, but you actually ask me to buy it. You actually want me to spend the little money I have left to buy something for you to enjoy!

And what do I get back from all of this? All I hear is you comparing me with other more feminine women, how I should take more care of you and give you more time and attention, how I have my priorities wrong, how I became cold. Who is the selfish one here? Who is the cold one here? who is the man here? who is loosing the respect here? I am a human, but I am a super human.

So yes I am tough, I am strong and I will keep fighting. For my education, for my freedom for respect. so just be quiet!

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Before Bed Time Thoughts

April 4, 2010 at 10:15 pm (Diary, Just a thought ...)

Sometimes I wonder if it’s us or life that has changed. They say there is nothing new under the sun. And I wonder, was Eid really boring for all grownups, and was only exciting for us kids because we were simply kids. Or was it really much nicer and better than now? The joy is different. Sometimes it feels like a burden, to find something new to wear and to visit the 200 relatives you have. Why was it much enjoyable few years back and not now? Why do everyone stay in their Abaya and don’t even bother taking it off inside my grandmother’s house?

I wish I was a kid again sometimes. Everything was less complicated and easy. No responsibilities, no one expecting anything from you but to eat well, play and sleep. Was it because children’s life is simple? Was it because I did not have to cover and watch how I behave and what I say? Was it that the only thing that was not allowed is to draw on the walls or taste sand?

I wonder if we really get more liberated as we grow up. Sometimes I feel that the older I get, the more rules I have to follow. Or the more strains are put upon me. It seems that everything is not allowed, it’s just complicated. If grownups do a mistake, people won’t think it’s cute or funny anymore.

I wish I can just dress up like a little princess, and eat so many cupcakes and extra cheese burgers and play on the streets with girls and boys every day.

This stage of life is difficult. You are not a child, and not fully grownup. You don’t get to play, and you don’t have your full freedom. Once you are too old to enjoy life, people will leave you alone. and so half of your life is wasted trying to follow rules, to please others, and meet their expectations. You must study something smart, like medicine, engineering, law, business, politics. You must get a respectful job. You must get married, you must have kids straight away …. etc! When do we enjoy life? or life should be enjoyed by following these rules … and suddenly you are old!

Who said we have to study these things? What if I wanted to be a pianist, or a makeup artist? An air hostess, a cleaner, a cook? Or nothing at all! What if I didn’t work and spent few years travelling and doing pointless things? Why does it have to be some fancy job at some fancy organization?

We must worry about exams, and then more exams. Then we must worry about the wedding. Then worry about buying a house, then worry about the kids! Hey wait .. I was a kid few years ago, how do I have one now! What did just happen! what are these new feelings? jealousy!

Maybe the only good thing from being a grownup is the pleasure of sex. But is it worth all the trouble really?

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A very Honest Question

March 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm (Just a thought ...)

When Muslims conquered Europe, one thing that changed so dramatically and still influenced people till today was the concept of bathing, or what is known as Hammam. The only known Hammams other than the Arabic one was the Turkish and Romanian. Somewhere along history Europeans used to think that bathing would bring them diseases and so avoided it. Queen Elizabeth the first declared that she was the cleanest person in Europe as she bathed once every three months. Versailles which had 1500 rooms had only one bathroom. After Islamic conquer this has changed. 300 Hamamm were created only in Cordoba and the trend started to spread all around Europe.

With time, the west has taken the science they were taught by Arabs and other civilizations and developed themselves. Europeans were going forward and Arabs were going backward. However, one thing that Europeans did not take from Arab was to use water to wash ‘down there’ after doing number 1 and number 2. How come despite all the technology, science and knowledge they have it never occurred to them to use water? I am sure that few people do, but most don’t. To have a water hose next to the toilet could be as uncommon and odd as not having one in any Muslim country.

Something that surprised me was on Operah show when she said that she discovered something amazing while travelling, and that amazing thing was a water hose that is used to wash ‘down there’. She said it is refreshing and hygienic! Really! You think! How could you do number 2, or worse have you period and do not use water to wash! Is a toilet paper enough? Doesn’t it stink and itch if you do not wash properly?  I think it is already disgusting that it is not common to shave down there (both men and women). In Islam it is a must to shave the whole pubic area and arm pit every 40 days, of course women prefer to wax or lazer.

Every time I go to the ladies dressing room at the gym, spa, swimming pool or yoga studio, I am welcomed with several huge bushes on several women’s privates of all colors and shapes! I did not know that hair could grow that long. No wonder some people get lice!

Apparently, a bidet is a luxury in Europe and North America. I don’t know about other countries. I have been to Malaysia and Singapore and they both had water available to wash.

Why am I making a big deal out of this? Because I think it’s disgusting not to use water and people need to know of the harms of not using water. I can never go out without my bottle of water here in Europe. And the funny thing is that people think what I do is weird.

(Water cleansing of perineum area after relieving or defecating is very efficient at reducing any chances of infection due to presence of bacteria in the area. Dry toilet paper cannot cleanse your perineum areas effectively and thoroughly. Rather, it spreads bacteria round the year causing urinary tract infections and hemorrhoids. Regular cleaning of these sensitive areas with dry paper increases irritation. Prolonged usage could cause itching and bleeding. Most infectious diseases spread through human contact. Insufficient cleansing of hands after urination or defecation spreads virus. Using water reduces chances of such infection and provides increased hygiene)

Try to use water. If you do not have a water spray or bidet, simply use a bottle and you will see the difference yourself.

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Diary

March 10, 2010 at 12:56 am (1, Diary, Everyday life situations, Just a thought ...)

It’s late at night and I can’t fall asleep. I was very tired today and slept for 2 hours during the afternoon. I am frightened from this apartment I am living in; I keep having nightmares about people breaking in. I wake up not knowing if these dreams were true or not, it takes me few minutes to calm down and realize it was a dream. The mailman buzzed the other day and I didn’t answer. He buzzed again and I thought ‘Who would visit me now, it must be a mistake’. When he buzzed for the third time I answered ‘ who is it’. He said ‘mailman’. I buzzed him in, but how would I know he was the mailman, he could be someone pretending to be the mailman and once I open the door he will force himself in. So I go to the kitchen and look for that big Ikea knife, the sharpest I have. For some reason I clean it! I hold it in my left hand and hide it behind my back, I answer the door and the mailman delivers a parcel and leaves. My heart is still beating fast, and I do not comprehend that there is a parcel between my hands. I take few minutes to calm down, to realize that I am still alive and that the mailman didn’t kill me. ‘What is this?’ I wonder. I open it and it’s a gift!

The boiler is making noises and I jump every time I hear something. I stare at the kitchen window which is very big and think it would be very easy to break in through it. I check behind the sofas, under the bed before I sleep. There isn’t enough space for a killer to hide anyway! Double check that everything is safe, and fall again into my nightmares. I don’t know if these are dreams, I swear they are so real. I wake up feeling confused and continue dreaming but with my eyes open. I feel like I am floating, not really living, I do things without being aware that I am doing them. My mind is not with me, it’s like my soul is in another world and my body is functioning here by itself. And that music makes me float even more. And I like not being here. I like that I am somehow in my own world, no one knows where my soul really is. I only come to my senses when I eat, because I truly enjoy the taste of delicious food in my mouth. Only during these moments that my mind comes back to reality. The day ends and I continue dreaming with my eyes shut. The only constant thing between the dream, the food and the dream is the thought of you, and your perfume on the teddy bear.

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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?

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Dialogue Distress: The Gap Between Qataris and Foreigners

January 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm (1, Just a thought ..., Opinion, Qatari culture, Society, Women Today Magazine Articles)

First published in Women Today, January issue 2010



There seem to be a lot of misunderstanding and gaps in communication between Qataris and foreigners; many misconceptions and hasty judgment. I have wondered where these feelings and ideas stem from. I’ve been discussing this with people around town, and I am drawing some interesting conclusions. These are just opinions, it is not a study. Moreover, I am only talking about concerns and issues – there is brighter side that I will save for my future columns.

We hear many Qataris say “They don’t respect our traditions; They have more privileges than us; How come they have higher salaries than Qataris? Crime and disease spread because of the large number of foreigners! Qatar has become too crowded …” While foreigner say “Qataris are lazy they never work; They take everything for granted; Qataris are aggressive and not friendly at all; They are all spoilt, rich people; They are so closed minded and difficult to deal with”.

WE

Arabian gulf culture in general is very unique; yes people are Arabs and Muslims but the way they live is different from Arabs in Lebanon, Egypt or Morocco. The kind of society in Qatar is more akin to a tribal one, because of its small number and strongly shared values and traditions. People are raised to respect traditions and honour them. Qataris tend to be conservative; formal and shy even with each other. Hanging out in public places is very new to Qataris. Till a few years ago, going out only meant camping in the desert, going to the beach, visiting friends and relatives, or an evening at the Al Muntazah park. Girls would be with their families and boys would be in ‘almajlis’ or at the camp. It was not acceptable for groups of girls and boys to hang out in the malls; there weren’t many in any case. Imagine being a minority in your own country?

Not being able to speak your language freely; And on top of that, being judged by foreigners! Imagine being criticised by foreigners on your lifestyle, traditions or even clothes?

Work

Qataris believe that foreigners enjoy the privileges that really matter. For example; they get paid for accommodation, car, annual travel tickets, put their kids in the best and most expensive schools and earn double or triple of what Qataris get. An example is a friend of mine who applied to one of the largest employers in town; he was offered QR15,000 to start with and after one year training an increment of QR2,000. While a French friend of his, with the similar qualifications, with little Englishspeaking skills received this: QR35,000 per month + house + car + cell phone + travelling costs + health insurance for him and his family + education at schools of choice for his children + finding a job for his wife ASA P. There are examples dime a dozen, in this tone.

Why do foreigners with similar or lesser qualifications as us, get paid more?

The frustrations reach another level when the boss at work is a foreigner who refuses to guide or train them properly, because he/she knows that one day this Qatari person will take his place.

And Life

And, NO , not ALL Qataris are rich. There are some poor Qataris living in small old houses with no jobs. Sometimes, when I go to certain events where I am the only Qatari lady, I am stared at. I don’t know if they are curious or surprised. Once when I said it was too hot to walk in an Abaya during summer, an expat replied “Oh! I always wondered how you feel in that thing, now I know, not comfortable!” That was offensive.

I also get offended when I am asked: “Can you go out clubbing? Do you have a boyfriend?” And if I answer “NO ”, they give me a ‘sympathetic’ look and say “Oh! so you don’t have freedom.” How ignorant is that? Is freedom only about clubbing or having boyfriends? Is this what life is all about? Imagine if I were to ask an American, “Do you visit your grandmother’s every week”. I would probably receive a ‘No’ as an answer. Would it make sense to this person if I said “Oh! poor you, you don’t have strong family ties.” Another thing that bothers me is when some assume that we are lazy. I bet if they had servants and drivers, they wouldn’t bother with cleaning and driving, would they?

YOU

After speaking to several expats to fairly present their point of view; I honestly can say they cannot be blamed for these misconceptions. The first disappointment they face is the difficulty of meeting Qataris and socialising with them. “We’re accustomed to a different type of social structure and don’t take the Qatari structure into account. I’ve been here seven years and during these years, I’ve been invited to one Qatari farm (with the men, but not the women). Because those of us who are from the US and Canada are accustomed to interacting with people from many different ethnic backgrounds and different religions, we are highly disappointed to be in a place where we can’t interact with the people who live here. Most westerners really do want to know Qataris. After a while, we sort of give up and assume that Qataris would prefer not to know us at all”

However, the number one idea they have of Qataris is that they are lazy and that is because of several reasons. At work, a large number of Qataris are always late at work and do not show any regret or care about their tardiness. While people from other nationalities have more respect for time. On top of that, they see many Qataris spending more time on their mobiles than doing actual work.

At schools, expats see maids carrying children’s bags and in some cases feeding them. Children are used to throwing their garbage on the floor, expecting someone else to pick up after them. At public places they see women with their maids carrying their purses and shopping bags. And they know that the maids do all the cooking and cleaning

for most households. They also see children being taken care of by maids instead of their mothers in playgrounds or schools; and usually there is one maid for each child. Whenever they make eye contact with a Qatari, the Qatari either looks away or returns a suspicious look. Hardly anyone smiles which makes Qataris look a little intimidating. An expat explains, “In the west, I’ve become accustomed to receiving a ‘thank you’ when I hold a door open for someone or a ‘you’re welcome’ if I say ‘thank you’ for someone holding a door for me. This interaction rarely, if ever, happens here in Qatar and when it does, it’s usually with another expatriate. In fact, it’s more likely that if I hold a door open for someone, I’ll just be ignored, not even as much as a glance in my direction. Or, if I’m walking in behind someone else, they’ll just let the door slam in my face. Is absence of this interaction lazy, rude, or inconsiderate or is it just a difference in cultural behaviours?”.

US?

I believe that because of this reason; and the fact that it’s hard to meet Qataris, many might assume that we are not friendly. Then, they also get the overall impression that we can buy anything. If we think about it, it’s not their fault that they are getting paid more; these are decisions made by different organisations in the country. At the same time, it is not fair to say that a whole nation is lazy or rude because of a few individuals. I believe that people are the same where ever you go. We are all humans and share the same feelings, aspirations and needs. There are kind and rude people every wherein the world, and passing random judgment blinds us from the truth and the beautiful things we can learn from each other.

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Are you really that racist?

November 6, 2009 at 8:24 pm (arranged marriage, Ethics, Just a thought ..., Opinion, Qatari culture, Society)

A question crossed my mind few weeks ago, while I was chatting with my sister. She was telling my a story about one of her friends. I don’t know why I decided to write about this now, but I just want to get your opinion.  The issue might be sensitive, and might bother some, but it is real and exists in our society. It is actually two main issues. Here is the story, and after reading it, you can understand which issue I am referring to. I won’t make any comments, I will just tell you the story.

Sarah is a beautiful young Qatari woman; she is an engineer and is very successful at work. She comes from a very good family, moderately rich, educated and open minded. She lives her life to the full, but she has a secret that was tormenting her for the past few months. A new guy came to work at her department and she fell in love with him. She was observing how he behaved with his colleagues, how he spoke, how he took good care of his image and health. How rare, she thought, he is so different.  Sarah is very confident, yet shy. She never dared to approach him, or show her feelings. However, with time, she noticed that he was noticing her too. Her heart would flutter like a bird whenever he spoke to her. The thing is, Sarah did not know that Ahmed, the one who she is in love with, is also in love with her. He had butterflies in his stomach every time he sees her or smells her perfume. Sarah wants to marry and settle and so does Ahmed. And finally, the day came when Ahmed told her that he would like to come and propose to her. Of course, Sarah did not show that she was about to faint as she heard him utter these words. She just said that she will think about it, and that he should speak to her family if he was serious.

Sarah flew home, everything was light, everyone seemed nice, even the heat of Doha seemed so easy to handle. How would she tell her father though? She can’t tell him that the guy spoke to her directly, so she decided to say that a friend of hers tld her about him. So, she sat both her parents in the living room and told them the good news. “My friend called me today and said that there is a man , works in our company, is interested and wants to propose to me. He saw me several times and asked about me”. Her parents couldn’t be happier; they asked her “really? That is good news, what is his name?”. “Ahmed al-****” answered Sarah. Her parents suddenly were dead silent. Sarah did not like this reaction. She looked at them as they were looking at each other looking surprised,  and asked “What is wrong?”. Her dad said “he is not suitable for us”. Sarah was confused, us? “Why isn’t he suitable, you did not even know what his job is, whether he was educated or not, rich or not”. Her dad said firmly, “his name is enough, he is not from a family that we would consider for affinity”.  Sarah then realized the reality she lived in, how discriminatory her society is, even against each other. Her mother said “They have Persian blood mixed in them, they are not pure Arab”. Sarah felt furious, she said irritated “That was hundreds of years ago, aren’t they Arab who went to Persia and came back? Didn’t they live here for a long time, didn’t they grow up here, worked and ate on this land, what makes them so different or not suitable for marriage, and what are we, created from a different material? Aren’t we all Muslims? What does this matter? I thought that you would ask about his morals, his reputation, his education, not how many races he has in his blood?” . Her dad said “well my dear, society doesn’t work this way, what would we tell people?”. Sarah got up at this point and said firmly “society are not going to live my life, it’s me who is going to live it”. As she was leaving the room, her dad said “ok, let’s ask about him, he might be a good man”. Sarah said “what is the point, you rejected him before you even know anything about him, how prejudice”, she then said “it’s funny how everyone interfere in this decision, how everyone must give his blessings and approval for my marriage, while it’s me, only me and the person I will marry who will be in this marriage, who will live this life together”.

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Random thoughts in London

October 9, 2009 at 12:33 am (Diary, Everyday life situations, Just a thought ...)

One:

Ok, so how to reassemble this table? Where is the screwdriver? Oh damn! They didn’t include one. Ok let me just try to do it with a knife. Hmmm. This looks easy, wait. No its not. The nail doesn’t go all the way through. Ouch, I just cut myself. Ouch, i cut myself again. Ok this is not working, i better go find a hardwear store or something.

Two:

I am not sure if I have enough credit on my Oyster card. I should remember and apply for the student one. Here is the bus. In the name of God, in the name of God, please don’t beep red, common its late and I want to go home. Oh, no its red. Hmm the bus driver doesn’t seem to notice let me just go in. Thank you god

Three:

Why is this old man doing this! I feel sorry for him. Someone in his age should be enjoying life with his family not having a student job. I wonder if he feels humiliated carrying this sign that dangles all over his body about a souvenir shop. Oh god, he is also holding flyers. He looks 70 years old. Why didn’t they give him a more respectful job? Poor man, he is not even looking up, his eyes are on the floor the whole time.

Four:

What is that? Oh no, did someone die here and police is surrounding the place. No wait, what is that noise. Let me ask that police man “excuse me sir, what is going on here?”, “ its a premier of a movie and all the celebrities are coming” hahahahah and I thought it was a murder, I better not tell him what was on my mind. Oh, cool, let me call the girls and tell them about it.

Five:

This man is still standing in front of the museum handing out flyers. It hurts me to see him. I wish that he finds someone to take care of him.

Six:

Oh nice, pomegranate. The fruit from heaven. I should get some. What? 2 pieces of pomegranate is for 4 pounds! That is 24 QR! I can buy a whole Kilo of pomegranate in Doha. Maybe I should look for a Sunday market and buy my food from there.

Seven:

Oh gosh, I hope they do not know that I am Muslim, now they will force me to be part of their activities. Thank god my place is nearby and I don’t have to go to the prayer room here. I had enough of those people lecturing everyone about everything. They should lecture themselves first. Why is this girl looking at me? “hello there, do you know about the fresher’s dinner?”. “no”. “well, you should come, its going to be fun, we also give the money we collect to orphan charity”. “ok, how much is the ticket?” “3 pounds”, “alright I will buy one but I don’t think I will come”. “oh you really should, we will have the Imam of Finsbury park”. Hmmm isn’t that the mosque where all the extremist came from? “ok, I will try but don’t promise”.

Eight:

I really don’t feel like reading this book for our book club.  The printing is bad and it hurts my eyes. Plus I hardly have time to finish reading for school. Maybe I should just watch the movie. Who will know? I hope Tuga wont be upset with me. Maybe I should give it a try this weekend.

Nine:

– Hi where are you from? – Qatar -Oh Qatar, yes yes – Do you know Qatar – I know about the race – Why did you ask? – Your eyes look different – What is your name? – Carlos – Where are you from? – Brazil – Here give me your pen – Wow this is nice, what is that? – Your name in Arabic – Wow! This is amazing, wait a minute – What is that? – Can you write it down here in this note book – Ok – This is Hebrew, is it the same as Arabic? – No its different, wow you have different phrases from different languages in this page – Yes I gathered this from people I met – Ok Carlos, this is my stop, nice meeting you – Nice meeting you too have a nice day.

Ten:

– I just saw a girl holding a Qatari passport leaving the police station – Oh, lucky here she is done, we still have two more hours to wait. – – Hello, are you from Doha? – (oh no, here we start) yes – Did you hear about what happened? – What happened? – They estimated 2 million cases of swine flu – (we don’t have 2 million people in Qatar) so? – Yes it is serious – Ok, I don’t really care – You don’t, I do …. so what is the procedure here? What are we supposed to do? – So you want to tell me that you have been waiting here for 4 hours in the cold and have no clue what is going on? – No I don’t – (shall I say, me neither?) …. you only need passport and 34 pounds – Ok thank you

Eleven:

– See, I did all of this myself. I built two chairs, a lamp and a dressing table that has three drawers and a mirror – This is a really bad job! It is loose. Look at this, it will fall on you. You have to do it again – Again! You know it took me 7 hours to do it. And now you are telling me to do it again – You probably used the wrong tools. Which screw drivers you used – These – Hmmm, these are very bad ones. See, they do not fix the nails properly – No way, I wont do it again. If you want me to take every piece off, then you do it – Ok I will just get me the right tools. We will do it tomorrow

Twelve:

Yeah right fix it with me tomorrow. Here I am building this all again myself. But I have to admit that it’s much better now using the correct screwdriver.

And many more to come.

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Torture days are over

September 16, 2009 at 9:08 pm (Diary, Human Rights, Just a thought ..., Qatari culture, Society, women, work)

Today is my last day at work. I would like to say that it feels like I just started yesterday and that time has passed really quickly, but that’s not the case. Yes, time passed by, but very painfully and unbelievably slow and boring! I had so much enthusiasm and energy when I started, but it was all crushed by the “great” mentalities of the  “Big Bosses” and the very “effective and efficient” bureaucratic  system. There is no place for creativity, no place for development! How many young talents that started their lives after graduation with high hopes to give back to this country but were eventually crushed! Crushed so bad and so hard! Crushed everyday! Every second of the day!

I spent two years of my life in this job! Two years wasted! Two years that I wont get back. I tried to make the most of this experience, but there is really no chance to get anywhere in this place. The first year I worked here, was by far the worst in my life. I got seriously depressed, I lost my appetite, I lost 8 KG in less than two months! I looked like a ghost. I was shocked at first by how unequal women are treated. We have a different entrance, a different elevator and are shoved into one floor. All the guys who graduated with us got promoted in less than a year. And we, the girls, finished two years and might need to finish ten more to get one promotion! I went down to see the manager and requested work, requested to attend meetings, requested to be working with my male colleagues to learn, to just do something for God’s sake!  Month passed by and I wasn’t given any work. I speak with the manager every two days requesting work. He wants me to be with them at the department, he wants me to attend meetings, he wants to give me as much work as possible. But because women are not allowed to attend meetings or work with men he can’t help it. And even if I was given work, it takes forever to go from the men’s floor to the female’s floor. And many times it gets lost! Very disorganized! Very retarded! After months of nagging, I was able to prove myself, that I was capable of doing some real work! So I was given few things to do! I got so excited. Then I realized that I am too quick. Whatever takes two days, takes two hours with me. They didn’t know what to give me anymore. I also realized that the kind of work I was given doest require a degree! It only requires simple basic reading and writing abilities. It got dull, nothing is challenging nothing is new. And on top of that. Women are not allowed to have training courses abroad! Even some of the training courses in Doha are strictly for men! Is this Qatar! I cant believe it. I feel suffocated. Two years wasted. I don’t even have work experience because there was simply no work. The only thing I have learnt is how to deal with frustration and get over myself and stop feeling sorry for myself for being in such disappointing place. !

I feel like a layer of mud has covered my brain. I panicked! I seriously stopped thinking! Holly S***. This place has the ability to turn you into a vegetable! I started bringing books, loads of books. They started to pile on my desk and in my room. Too many books I have read because I don’t have anything to do. I started skipping work or leaving early. I didn’t respect it anymore. I didn’t even care about the image of my desk. Pens and papers are scattered around, showing no personality or reflection of who sets behind it. Even the chair I am siting on has someone else’s name and i don’t care. The second year got better. Or I got used to the situation. The amount of work I do does not exceed two hours a week. I am really not exaggerating. I am supposed to be a researcher, and in those two years, I have only done two researches. And guess what! It was my idea! I started to stop hoping that work will get better or that I will have equal opportunities as my male colleagues. I shifted my focus on myself and my life outside working hours. I focused on improving the languages I speak and my writing skills. I  started going to events and meeting new people. I started doing different projects and occupying myself with books and gym. I started growing out of my shell and became a happier more positive person. I didn’t care about work anymore. I decided that I will leave. But I will fight one more time, I will give this place a chance one more time. And if I was not allowed to be given an opportunity. I will leave. And no one can blame me then! I don’t understand why young talented people are not being used to their full potential here. Even if we wanted to improve things and be creative, the bureaucratic system stops us. We keep fighting and fighting, but at the end we are humans. We give up, we resent this place, we hate it. We try to prove ourselves, show that we are capable professionals, but while we suffer from the system, foreigners are being brought to work as “professionals” “! and we leave!

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