الشرقي البطل

December 15, 2010 at 11:50 pm (Diary, Society)

ذهبت شراء لحم حلال من محل عربي قريب من المنزل. بالطبع، إن لم يكن البائع عربي الجنسية سيكون مسلم. طلبت منه كيلو لحم. سألني بالانجليزية “هل تريدين الشحم؟” أجبت كلا. ثم نظر إلي و ضحك، وهز رأسة يميناً و يساراً و قال “توقعت أن هذه ستكون إجابتك. أنتي لا تعرفين أن هذا الشحم هو ألذ شيء في هذه القطعة” لم أجب عليه و اكتفيت بالابتسام. ثم سألني “هل تريدين أن أقطع اللحم كذلك؟” أجبت نعم من فضلك. ثم نظر إلي نظرة سخرية و أومأ بيدة و قال بالانجليزية “بنات هذة الايام لا يعرفون و لا يستطيعون عمل شيء،  رحم الله نساء زمان”. قلت له “هل انت عربي؟” قال نعم. قلت “الرجل العربي هو فقط الذي ينظر للمرأة في حدود قدرتها على تقطيع اللحم. بدل أن أقضي وقت تعليمي في المطبخ قضيته في الجامعة لكي انتج جيل متعلم بحق”. لم يرد على كلامي. قطع اللحم بهدوء ثم انصرف.

قمت بعد ذلك بطبخ عدة أطباق لحفلة اليوم. دجاج بالكريمة، كفتة باللبن، وكبسة و خنفروش (طبقي المفضل). سنوات الغربة علمتني الطبخ بسرعة و سهولة و اكتشفت انه عمل ممتع جداً خاصة إذا كان هناك من يشاركني الطعام. فكرت ببائع اللحم و قلت لنفسي، قد لا أعرف كيف أقطع اللحم و لكنني أعرف كيف أطهو الطعام جيداً. كانت الحفلة أكثر من رائعة و استمتعنا جميعاً بحق.

في اليوم التالي أخبرت أحد معارفي-  كان رجلاً من جنسية عربية – عن حفلة الأمس. أخبرته أن والدتي اندهشت من قدرتي على الطبخ و التنظيف و خدمة الضيوف بسرعة و انسيابية. سألني “ليش انتي ما تطبخي في بلادك؟” قلت لا. ثم سأل “شو شو شو ؟ يعني من بيطبخ لك؟” قلت ” الطباخ” انقلب وجهه فجأة و عليه علامات الإشمئزاز و التقرف. ثم سأل “و مين هاي الطباخ” قلت له “الطباخ اللي يطبخ الأكل!” ثم سأل و علامات الإشمئزاز لا تزال واضحة على وجهه “أيوا مين هيدا الطباخ من وين يعني؟” قلت “الفلبين”. ثم سأل “و مين بينضف” قلت ” الخدامة بتنضف و السواق بيسوق.. شو في شي؟”  فاجأني بكلامة التالي “أنا بعرف ان انتو الخليجيين هيك حياتكو، خدم و فشخرة لكن ما توقعت انك انتي هيك كمان. أحنا عندنا النسوان هني ياليي بيطبخو و ينضفوا و يعملو كل شي”. ضحكت و قلت “يعني باب الحارة صحيح؟ النسوان يخدمون الرجال الأبضاي”. قال “ايه هيك الحكي، المرة لازم عليها تطبخ و تنضف”. ثم تذكرت إحدى حلقات عمر خالد قال فيها أن أعمال المنزل هو فضل من المرأة و ليس واجب عليها. و تذكرت في درس ديني عن واجبات و حقوق الزوجة أن الزوج يجب أن يدفع لزوجته ثمن إرضاعها أطفاله.

و قلت له، لكنك تعرف أن في الإسلام الطبخ و التنظيف ليس واجب من واجبات المرأة. حتى عندما تقوم برضاعة الطفل فيجب على الزوج ان يدفع لها مقابل هذا العمل. غلى كالبركان وكأنني انتهكت حقاً من حقوقة و قال “انتي ما تحكي عن الاسلام انتي شو عرفك أصلاً؟” قلت له أن هذا ليس رأيي الشخصي و إنما هذا كلام سمعته من مصادر موثوقة.  ثم قال ” لأ هيدي حكي الشيعة عندكم في الخليج هيدا كلام مو صحيح. أنا بقرى القرأن و بعرف، المره لازم تطبخ وتنضف لجوزا”. سألته إذا كان قد درس تفسير القرأن، و بالطبع كانت إجابتة بالنفي. ولكن قال أن لديه عقل و يستطيع أن يفسر الكلام و يفهمة و لا يحتاج لشخص أن يفسر له القران. قلت له أن في هذا الزمن الرجل و المرأة يعملان معاً ليسدا تكاليف الحياة، فليس من العدل أن تضظر المرأة للعمل خارج البيت و داخله. يجب أن يكون هناك تفاهم و تقسيم للواجبات. لو كانت المرأة لا تعمل لربما كان واجبأ عليها الاهتمام بالطبخ و التنظيف. ثار ثوره و لم يعجبة كلامي. قلت له، لا توجد مرأة لا تحب أن تطبخ لعائلتها و تهتم بزوجها. واجباً كان أو لا، هذا الإهتمام هو من طبيعة المرأة و حبها لعائلتها. ثم سألني “يعني هلا جوزك ما يقدر يوفر كل شي؟” قلت له أن الحياة هذه الأيام صعبة و يجب أن نعمل سويا لتوفير منزل و سيارة و مستقبل واعد للأطفال. قال أنه سيصدقني فقط لأنه لم يزر الخليج من قبل بالرغم أن كلامي عكس ما يراه و يسمعة عن الخليجيين في لندن..

عندما تركتة قال “هلا أنا راجع البيت و الأكل جاهز شفتي شلون هيك الحكي” ضحكت وقلت له “عليك بالعافية”. المضحك في الأمر أن التي كانت قد جهزت له الطعام هي صديقتة الروسية التي يتشارك معها في غرفة النوم! – لا تعليق على قدراته في تفسير القران بشكل صحيح – أو قدراتي.

ناقشت إحدى صديقاتي هذا الموضوع مع أحد المسلمين الغرب فقال “المشكلة في الدول العربية هي أن العرب يترجمون القران بما يناسب عاداتهم و ليس بما هو حق لذلك لا نرى هذه التفرقة بين الرجل و المراة بين المسلمين الغرب”

هل هذا صحيح؟ أنا اسألك أيها الرجل الشرقي الذي أعشقه، هل فعلاً انك لا ترضى بدور غير أدوار البطولة؟

الأدلة:

.

http://www.sunnah.org/msaec/articles/responsibilities_husband.htm

“10. If she works outside the house, it is praiseworthy for the husband to hire house help to relieve her from too heavy a burden. The wife’s duties do not require her to feed her child, nor even to nurse it, nor to clean nor cook. It is the husband’s duty to provide a nursemaid, food for older children, and servants to clean and cook. However, if the wife does those things out of mercy and love, it is a gift to the husband on her part.”

http://www.islamicfinder.org/articles/article.php?id=112&lang=

“Helping one’s wife with the housework:
Many men think that housework is beneath them, and some of them think that it will undermine their status and position if they help their wives with this work. The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.), however, used to sew his own clothes, mend his own shoes and do whatever other workmen do in their homes. (Reported by Imam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 6/121; Sahih al-Jami, 4927).
This was said by his wife Aishah (RA), when she was asked about what the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) used to do in his house; her response described what she herself had seen. According to another report, she said:
“He was like any other human being: he would clean his clothes, milk his ewe and serve himself.” (Reported by Imam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 6/256; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 671)
She (RA) was also asked about what the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) used to do in his house, and she said, “He used to serve his family, then when the time for prayer came, he would go out to pray.” (Reported by al-Bukhari, al-Fath, 2/162).

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غريبٌ في بلادي

November 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm (Prose Poems, Qatari culture, Society)

غريبٌ في بلادي

أرى أناس لا يفهمون كلامي

ملابسهم لا تخفي عيوبهم

و نظراتهم تلاحقني كالطاعونِ

أحدثهم بالعربية

و يرُدُّون علي بالافرنجية

و يضحك من حولي ويقول: غير متعلمة

ولكن .. ألستُ في بلاد عربية؟

بلاد ذات أعلى مُعدل دخل في العالم؟

كيف؟ و أبٌ لا يملك لعائلتة مكيف في هذا الحر القاتل

بينما أطفال مايكل

مستمتعسن مجاناً بين الأكاديمية .. و الدرجة الأولى .. وأساباير

أهلي انفسهم ليسوا هم

القيل و القال أهم من الحلال  الحرام

انت قطري و انا قطرية

ولكنك هولي و انا قبيلية

و انت أسود و أنتي شيعية

يصرخون الدين  .. الدين .. الإسلام

ولكن

أين العدل؟ أين الحق؟ أين الإكرام؟

العبائة فوق الرأس

واللسان أحد من الفأس

و اللحية إلى السرة

و العين على فتاة تلعب بالكُرة

إلى من الجأ؟

إلى الغريب الذي يراني متخلفة

أم إلى الناس التي تراني متمردة

إلى من .. إلى أين يا بلادي؟

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The Brookings Doha Center 2010 Essay Contest

October 26, 2010 at 8:33 pm (education, Qatari culture, Society, writing) (, )

 

 

The Brookings Doha Center is pleased to announce the launch of its 2010 essay contest.

Established in 2007, the Brookings Doha Center is a project of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and an integral part of the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy program. The Center undertakes independent, policy-oriented research on the socioeconomic and geopolitical issues facing Muslim-majority states and communities, including relations with the United States. The Center’s research and programming agenda includes convening public policy discussions with political, business, and thought leaders from both Muslim-majority states and the United States; producing original policy-oriented research; hosting visiting fellows; and engaging the media to share Brookings analysis with the public.

The Brookings Doha Center essay contest seeks to engage young Arabs between the ages of 21 and 30 and aims to identify the talents and contributions of a new generation. By providing a channel for young people to offer creative and constructive solutions to key issues facing the region, the Brookings Doha Center seeks to generate new and innovative ideas on the regional level.

The first place winner will receive $2000, the runner up $1000, and honorable mention(s) $500. A panel of leading scholars and experts from the Brookings Institution may select one or more winning essays to be published by the Brookings Doha Center, as well as being featured on the Center’s web site. The selected winner(s) may be hosted at an event at the Brookings Doha Center to present their ideas to the media, academic, diplomatic and policy communities. Entries must be submitted by December 1, 2010.

ESSAY TOPIC

“What do you consider the most important political, economic, or social change that would create a better life for your country’s citizens? Please suggest policy recommendations that your government can take to help bring this change about.”

RULES AND GUIDELINES

Submitted essays must be between 2500 and 3000 words in English (excluding footnotes). Entries must be original, unpublished work. Submissions should be sent in Word format with footnotes, if appropriate. Within the document, state your full legal name, nationality, place of residence, telephone number, e-mail address, date of birth and institutional affiliation if applicable. Entries that do not follow these guidelines are subject to disqualification.

Please send entries to dohacenter@brookings.edu. The file name should be labeled as follows: [Last name. First name. BDC Essay Contest].

ELIGIBILITY

The competition is open to citizens of the 22 member of the League of Arab States between the ages of 20 and 30 residing in an Arab country (born between December 1, 1980 and December 1, 1990). Applicants must have received their undergraduate degrees at the time of application.

SELECTION OF WINNER(S)

Entries will be evaluated by a select panel of fellows and scholars at the Brookings Institution. Essays will be judged for clarity, style, content and originality of argument. Decisions of the panel are final.

 

Fore more information: http://www.brookings.edu/doha.aspx



 

 

 

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Qatarization

June 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm (education, Opinion, Qatari culture, Society) ()

Qatarization seems to be the hottest topic these days and it also seems to be deeply related to the tension between foreigners and Qataris. So I would like to dedicate this post to discuss ‘Qatarization’

Qatarization is part of the newest trend in the gulf, Gulfization. All six countries of the GCC has started similar labour market strategies and Qatar is no exception. The need to initiate such strategy was due to recognition of threats of increase dependence on foreign labour and lack of developed national workforce. But the huge influx of labour was inevitable since the oil boom, as rapid growth required foreign professional labour to fill the gap of insufficient national labour. Moreover, there has been, and still many challenges to the development of Qatari human capital, and until these challenges were addressed and solved, a professional foreign labour was heavily imported.

Since the oil boom and until today, most nationals are employed within the public sector for several reasons. First, many of them do not have the necessary skills to work in private sector; second, even if they acquired the necessary skills needed the private sector lacked incentives compared with public sector and finally, some Qataris might feel overwhelmed by foreigners who dominate private sector and so do not feel comfortable in such environment.

However, one must point out that Qatari government employs more than what it actually needs as a measure for income distribution and creating jobs to ensure its legitimacy. What matters is not the number of the people employed, what matters is their productivity and it is something hard to measure. As for employment, the greater part of the national population were assured governmental functions or employment provided by the State. One must indicate, during the early popularization of such policies especially that of employment, significant number of nationals still had minimal education and even sometimes approaching illiterately levels. This had made it clear that the majority of state employees were misallocated, either under qualified or underutilized. If Qatar had a different economic model in the sense of extraction of finance from down to the top, this chunk of state employees would have been unneeded and in the competitive developed economies model, they would have gotten rid of. However, the purpose of this system is not similar to that of the western world, but it is simply to circulate the excess of GDP, granting a political stability through a gratified population. Thus, making the approach toward development unstable, where Qatar would have been better off investing in its human capital, education and health, and understood the long run impact it would had on development.

Moving forward, the government has recognized such challenges and addressed them through diversifying economy; education reform; labour market strategy and Qatarization. I won’t go through details of LMS and goals of Qatraization. What I would like to discuss is what is wrong with Qatarization strategy.

First, Qatarization policy is still not fully developed; the policy did not indicate which positions exactly should be Qatarized. It did not also consider that Qatarization could be more difficult in some sectors more than others, such as technical positions in oil based industries. And finally, it is not realistic and didn’t consider that transferring knowledge and technologies would take more than the time expected in the plan.

second, the policy lacks proper monitoring and evaluation system. According to RAND, there has been no deliberate strategy of evaluating the effects of initiated reforms. Even if such thing was intended to happen, the evaluation will face problems of limited experience and lack of data due to lack of administrative state structure, unmonitored population movement and other cultural factors. Due to lack of monitoring, there is no real evidence of the quality of training and care that Qataris are receiving.

What is happening is that Qatar’s labour laws give preference in hiring first to Qataris, then to other Arabs and finally to other foreigner. This could be true in the public sector; however, in the private sector where “ceo’s” are western expats, this is not entirely true. What happens is that these companies are under pressure to fulfil the required quota in a certain time which leads to misallocation of Qataris in different companies. Being in a rush does not allow enough time to create a proper training programme for them.  A lot of western expatriates do not see the necessity of coaching developing and mentoring the newly joining Qatari workface. There is no check and balance system that scrutinize the claimed or propagated high percentage of Qatarization in those companies. Many are holding low paid positions with no opportunity for skill development. And the figures are presented to the Ministry of Labour as evidence of Qatarization are thus deceiving.

Therefore, it is a big possibility that foreign labour hinders the development of national labour. In a study made by Dr Hend Jolo on Human Capital Formation within Oil and Gas Based Industry, she conducted Interviews with recently recruited Qatari workers, who had completed their industrial technical training program. She found that the majority of them were not assigned to operation and production positions which would have given them the opportunity to practice their new skills and knowledge. Instead, they were assigned trivial jobs, non-production tasks such as security guards. Even when some of them were assigned to production jobs, most of the tasks were done by their peer expatriates, which may have prevented them from direct interaction with machinery and plant. This is perhaps due to the lack of job security for the expatriate, partly the result of the announced ‘Qatarization’ policy in the sector. It is, therefore, difficult to expect expatriates to be self-motivated to train Qatari workers and encourage them to develop their skills, though their employment agreements emphasise such task.

The point here is not to put the blame on foreigners for lack of training, the public sector which is fully run by Qataris also suffers from the same problem. One should take a look at promotion and reward policies and see if they are implemented fairly. For example, at the Ministry of Foreign affairs, girls graduating with BA in political science or engineering were not given the same treatment as their fellow male colleagues who graduated from similar universities and started working at the same time. All girls from different departments were shoved in one floor and did not get any promotion or training programs or even the opportunity to participate in projects compared with their male colleagues who had two promotions in two years and were sent abroad on several training courses. This situation created frustration and disappointment among young women graduates who just started their career at the Ministry.

Third, the education system and training are inadequate to create a national workforce that could compete in global markets.  According to RAND education in the Arab region are often ill prepared to work in a global economy. Qatar’s current per pupil expenditure as a percent of GDP per capita is still relatively low. Countries with similar GDP per capita levels invest on average twice as much on their students. This suggests that Qataris will join the labor market with less preparation than their counterparts from other countries.

In Qatar, inappropriate educational background and lack of training were major obstacles contributing to the limited improvement and development of workers’ competence and performance.

Qatarization policy does not regard other factors and externalities that influence its success. To start with, it ignores the important link between education institutions and labour market demand as well as training within different corporations. Ignoring this link results in inability of those institutions in providing industry with the required technical skills.

In this situation, the government is responsible for education while corporations are responsible for training. If the basic education was not provided then this will increase the burden on corporations to spend more on training. At the same time, if employees were provided with excellent education but did not find the proper training they require it will be a lost effort.

Fourth, social attitude and cultural norms are excluded and not considered in the policy.  Despite changes and recent openness in the society, there are still differences of opportunities for education and work between men and women. Increase in women education could lead to false assumption of enhancement in their position in the labour market. There has been indeed development but it is far less than what is expected when considering their educational qualifications. In 2007, two thirds of employed Qatari women had higher education, compared with just 31 per cent of Qatari men.  One should not neglect the broader historical social and political context in which gender relations are constructed. For example, many Qatari women are reluctant to work in jobs that require them to spend long hours at work and away from their families or that involve working in a mixed-gender environment.

In the Brira file blog, an interesting point about Qatari culture was raised.

“ Arabian culture is similar to those of most Eastern cultures in the sense that it is a collective society. Arabian culture emphasizes the group. Confrontation is avoided and disagreement is conveyed privately to protect the person from ‘loss of face’. Words such as “Inshallah” (God willing) are used to convey negative expressions instead of saying a direct ‘No’. Respect for elders, the significance of tradition, family honor and expectations, concern for one’s reputation are deep-rooted principles. It is a fact that Arabs are generous, polite and value loyalty. You may compare these values to those of individualist cultures which Anglo societies fall under. These tend to place emphasis on the individual, goals and expectations of the individual are promoted, there is no need to conform to a group, and people are encouraged to rely on themselves.

These differences lead to cultural shock which symptoms might include: heightened irritability, constant complaints about the climate, utopian ideas concerning one’s previous culture, continuous concern about the purity of water and food, fear of contacting local people, refusal to learn the language, a pressing desire to talk with people who “really make sense”, and preoccupation with returning home. Qatari dissatisfaction is not aimed at expats themselves but at government policies that are overly accommodating to foreigners in managerial roles”

Fifth, government policies are contradicting and do not consider externalities that might influence outcomes of Qatarization as well as ignoring local culture influence. Current governmental strategies are adopted based on the advices and plans of foreign companies and institutes, who view the region as business projects rather than nations and governments who have a duty to build their countries, empower their citizens through a process of sustainable national development – development by the citizen and for the citizen.

The most important externality is transformation of demographics of the labour force and its effects on National work force. These changes lead to imbalance between national and foreign population as well as imbalance between genders. The sudden increase of foreign labour and cultural clash between Qataris and foreigners lead to tension between the two groups as was mentioned earlier by Brira.  Locals started to feel as suffocated minority in their own country where they can’t even speak their own language in shops and restaurants anymore.

According to Dr Ali Khalifa Al-kuwari in his article ‘Demographic Imbalance in Gulf Countries’, Governments of the gulf did not consider that by brining so much labour it could cause some infringement of citizen rights.  Negative externalities such as on infrastructure (housing, sewage, security), society (discrimination, potential assimilation, loss of culture), stability (source of discontent, political pressure), and national pride (dependence on foreigners for key functions and associated vulnerability). National choices and public decisions seem to be unaffected by the demographic imbalance, and disrespectful of the rights of citizens, including the need to safeguard their language, identity and existence. Construction expansion – a nationally unjustified choice – spearheads the so-called development; the loss of the homelands, the disintegration of the national communities, and the endangerment of the future of the coming generations

Dr Al-kuwari says that when nationals become minority groups in their countries, when their cultural, productive and administrative roles are subordinate to those of foreigners, when their living conditions are dependent on donations, administrative decisions, and on an ever diminishing legal protection, they are left helpless in an unfair competition against elite of immigrants who came from different parts of the world. In such a competition, the status of nationals in Qatar would be similar to that of the Malay in Singapore, who have been politically, culturally, socially, and economically subordinated to the Chinese immigrants.

Even after implementing the policy, there is still concentration of nationals in public sector. According to General Secretariat for Development Planning. Qataris constituted only 12% of the labour force in the year 2001. The increase of foreign labour however was so great that it made the slight increase of Qataris participation in national workforce seem insignificant. In the year 2008, Qataris constitute 12% while foreigners were 94%. In 2007, ratio of Qataris to non-Qataris in the labour force was 1:12, compared with 1:6 in 2001.

So are we a spoilt nation or an oppressed nation?

It is true that statistically Qatari citizens enjoy one of the highest GDP income per capita in the world, however, citizens do not really see much of this wealth as there is hardly any data or proof of income distribution. Some might argue that Qatarization simply does not work because people are spoilt and do not need to work.  It is assumed that since the oil boom, the average family income is roughly $60K, and most families far above this through private investments or enterprise. Therefore it is assumed that a large segment of the population does not need to work for the sake of a salary. This means they have ruled out several roles that they do not want to play in organizations or as professionals, including: administrative assistants, or entry level jobs, as well as nearly all jobs that require high contact hours or have low status such as teaching or nursing. How do you motivate a population that does not need to work?  Nationals are shying away from private sector jobs due to low pay and less benefits in comparison to government ministries and departments.
In reality Qataris are not as rich as many assume. Not paying taxes and having free utilities does not mean that the population is living an easy rich life. Each individual within households cannot afford the luxury of not working especially with the increase of inflation in the country. It might be true that Qataris do not accept certain jobs such as cleaning or watering but this is due to strict traditional values that put a lot of pressure on how individuals lead their lives. People might be afraid of losing respect in the society due to their choice of work.

All of this result in continued dependence on foreign labour; misallocation and underutilization of Qataris abilities creating tension and dissatisfaction especially among the youth.

What could be done?

It is actually too soon to evaluate the effects of Qatarization; however, this is not an excuse for not developing a proper evaluation and monitoring system to enhance the strategy. There is defiantly a need for further enhancement of education and creating strong links between education institutions and labour market demands. Without training and obtaining cognitive skills education will not pay off; therefore a strict monitoring of training in different corporation is needed to ensure quality Qatarization.

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Great job girls

May 29, 2010 at 4:08 pm (doha events, Qatari culture, Society, women, work)

Two Qatari women working for ICT Qatar, Engineer Noura Alabdullah and Fatima Alnuaimi have created the first Qatari website for internet protection for families in Arabic

http://www.alarab.com.qa/details.php?docId=133354&issueNo=893&secId=26

the website:  www.safespace.qa

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I Really Love Qatar .. But ..

May 3, 2010 at 9:49 pm (education, Opinion, Qatari culture, Society) ()

What do you think of this?

Since the new government took over in 1995, many policies have been changed in Qatar. A claim to democratization, development and change. A vision for an economy driven by knowledge and increase investment in human capital. Qatar have achieved a lot in such short time thanks to its investment in natural resources. Such fast development lead to its economy to be one of the fastest growing in the world. Moreover, citizens of Qatar enjoy one of the highest GDP per capita(? really?). The Human Development Index show speedy improvement in human development … etc

Catchy ha?

This is what we always hear about Qatar. Of course some of it is true, there has been great development and change. But we are still underdevelopment in so many other aspects. Sometimes I feel that the change that happened in Qatar is superficial. If we take a deep look at established institutions we will come to realize that hardly any is maturely developed.

My point is, when I saw the ad for bidding Qatar 2022 I felt dissapointed. Yes its great to have all of this, but is this what we really need now? How many billions is going to be spent on that? I think we should concentrate on things other than sport. Aspire Zone and the Asian games are kinda enough for the time being. Too many construction is going on, a lot of ugly buildings are being erected. I feel like all of this gives a false image of how Qatar is developing.

I would really love to see some investment in the environment. Isn’t that more important than sport?  Qatar has one of the worst air quality in the world because of the oil and gas industry. and yet there is nothing being done about it. According to 2007 UNDP Human Development Report revealed Qatar’s per capita CO2 emissions to be the highest in the world at 79.3 tones/capita, despite its small size; it is well above the 9th ranked United States. shouldn’t’ this be a priority since it obviously affect people’s health? Why not spend money on planting trees and creating parks in every neighborhood. And please use trees that grow here, no need to import special trees from Australia that will die in few months just to show off!

It is nice to see some green, calms people down a bit and will reduce the temperature. We have the ability to make Doha green since there are many trees and plants that could survive in a desert climate. I wish the minister of environment takes this issue seriously. And, seriously what is he doing anyway? I have not heard or seen any serious or new projects done by that ministry beside protecting wild animals. If I was the minister, I would plant a huge circle of trees surrounding Doha to protect it from sand storms and help purify the air and reduce the temperature. Then I will create beautiful parks and small gardens in every corner of the city. Is there any excuse for not doing this?

Another project that the government should invest in is recycling. No matter how much it will cost, it will be nothing compared to the cost of the new stadiums for 2022.  It is not just visible things that we should invest in. We should also put more effort into improving health care services for example. Or create awareness programs in schools or even creative advertisement on TV about living a healthy life since we have one of the highest percentage of people who suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure. People need to be educated about that. Education is not about building huge buildings and having  Academic degrees.

aren’t these things more important than sport? I would like to see real investment in people, real development. Who cares about big shiny buildings? This is a fake image of development.

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Evidence for what exactly?

April 27, 2010 at 8:26 am (Qatari culture, Society, work)

Following from my previous post, this is evidence of what has been discussed, could those who said that Qataris are whining for no reason give us an explanation now?

I am interested to here your thoughts when provided with strong evidence from CANADA admitting there is scamming going on! Or is the canadian government wrong and understand that these are ‘highly qualified and experienced’ expats???

http://chronicle.com/blogPost/canadian-college-president/23490/

” The president of the College of the North Atlantic, Jean Madill, tendered her resignation on Monday shortly after the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announcedthat at least a third of the staff at the college’s Qatar campus had been overpaid by $5-million. The provincial government did not say whether the resignation was linked to the overpayments, according to the CBC. The salary error means the money must be paid back to the government by the employees, according to a report in the St John’s Telegram. More than 300 Canadians are on the staff of the Qatar campus, which bills itself as “Qatar’s premier comprehensive technical college.”

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Two BQFP events

April 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm (bloomsbury, doha events, Qatari culture, Society, writing)

Event 1

You are cordially invited to participate in an afternoon of writing offered in conjunction with the launch of the Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing offical first list of books.

We are pleased to offer a choice from either of the two sessions listed below; please note they are simultaneous workshops and therefore participants must choose to attend one.

For more information on Suad or Randa, our trainers, please consult our website under “Books” or “Authors” www.bqfp.com.qa.
Please RSVP by sending your name and preferred session to bqfp.events@qf.org.qa on or before Thursday, April 22, 2010 as space is limited.
All sessions will take place in the BQFP villa 3 at Qatar Foundation.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
3:00 p.m.

“Finding Your Style” writing workshop – in Arabic, led by Suad Amiry author of Sharon and My Mother in law; Nothing to Lose but Your Life

“Telling Your Story” writing workshop – in English, led by Randa Abdel-Fatteh author of Does my Head Look Big in This; Where the Streets Had a Name

5:00 p.m.         Reception for all workshop participants BQFP villa

Event 2

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Thesis on Qatari Women and Globalization … help please

March 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm (1, education, gender discrimination, Qatari culture, Society, women)

A friend of mine is currently writing a thesis about women in Qatar and how globalization/penetration of English into Qatari society has been a dominant force that’s changed their traditional roles and may even cause a total culture shift as they adopt this language wholly. She is  also interested how women are utilizing English to really bridge the gap between east and west. It’s so great hearing first accounts of women and how they defend their traditions and culture despite being told by Western missionaries that they need to “liberate” themselves from their “oppressive” lifestyles.

She is focusing on the women at the university level, as these are the women who have spent their elementary and high school years learning English and are now applying it to the real world. They’re the future mothers, so likely, their kids will speak English from the start.  There is a cultural shift,  not only are Qatari women highly educated and eloquent in English, but even their interests tend to be lenient towards western trends (Movies, shopping (brand names especially, western music, etc).

What she wants to know from you is the following:

Do you think Arabic is incompatible with Qatari women today? The language itself is sexist in nature (e.g. all words pertaining to women almost directly stem from her association with males, like bint refers to a young virgin, imra2a refers to a married woman, 3anis is a woman who is unmarried and passed the desirable age of marriage, even when a woman is married, her husband refers to her as the “2ahil” or “um al 3yall” when speaking to others about her, as though the most desirable/appropriate status for a woman is as a wife/mother.)

How does a woman break free of that when using Arabic? Is it even possible? Do you think this is one reason why young, professional, educated women are speaking English more?

* Please remember that this is an Academic topic and not an attack on Arabic culture or language or women. If you disagree with the thesis, please give a comprehensive explanation and evidence.

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Dreesha: Glimpses of Qatar Book Launch

February 17, 2010 at 9:43 pm (Books, doha events, photography, Qatari culture, Society, writing)

Event: Launch of Dreesha: Glimpses of Qatar – photo essay book, the third book of the Qatar Narrative Anthology

Time: 6 pm on Friday 19/Feb/2010

Place: Virgin Megastore Villagio mall

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