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New York Times ridicules Qataris

xmas
Today's New York Times published a rather biting article about the conflict between Qataris and non-Qataris in Qatar: Affluent Qataris Seek What Money Cannot Buy.

Qataris' and non-Qataris' stereotypes of each other is something I've been thinking about a lot this summer, between the Lisa Clayton kerfuffle and the recent arguments over on Mimiz Blog about whether Qataris are discriminated against in the workplace here.

So it's nice to see the New York Times addressing something that I think IS a hot issue here (their last article on Qatar having been a little random)... but the way they go about it makes me cringe a little. I think it'd be more interesting for them to have dug deeper into Qatarization and its effects, or the role of nationality in expats' experience of Qatar, rather than just making mocking digs about people's restaurant etiquette.

The main things I've heard discussed about this locally are (a) the unrepresentativeness of the Qatari interviewees, almost all of whom are high school dropouts, and (b) shock that the NYT got these quotes on record. I am completely unsurprised that a director at QSTP would privately feel that "Qataris are very spoiled," but utterly astonished that he would say so to a New York Times reporter. (Some even suspect they might not have known they were on record.)

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( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
May. 15th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC)
Infantile NY Times
Hi Marjorie,

I don't know what the NY Times' problem is lately with Qatar - it seems like it's Qatar bashing season. I doubt that any of the quotes they are getting are in fact what the interviewees said at all. I think the journalists are using very dirty tricks in their campaign against Qatar. I object to the campaign and I suspect that they are trying to make Qataris feel ashamed of their affluence, because frankly Qatar has a lot going for it right now, so time to bring it down a peg or two! Who knows, next week they might be targeting Saudi or UAE. In fact, I don't believe that Qatar or the GCC is any of the NY Times' business if i may be so blunt. I happen to work with some well-educated and hard working Qataris and as for the expat contingent in general, they earn good money working here and I think it is pretty pathetic when they moan all the time. It is Qatar's money that they are banking and sending home to loved ones, so i think gratitude and a sense of perspective should be the order of the day, don't you? Secondly, i would like to see the NY Times interview the expats who experience respect and hospitality when they come to Qatar. Like any place, there are good and bad, but I challenge anyone to refute that Qataris are, on balance, welcoming and respectful to their guests. I would also qualify this by saying that Qatar has self-awareness, and where there are weaknesses, these are recognised and "on the agenda".

I just wanted to offer my two cents as an alternative voice to the NY times' skewed campaign. I know that I am not the only one that when i am on the plane taking off from Doha I have pangs of regret and count down the days until i touch down again in Doha. So for those who were riding bicycles and hailing taxis to work in their home countries, and are now cruising in their SUVs - let's have a bit of goodwill towards our hosts.
qatar
May. 15th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
"I doubt that any of the quotes they are getting are in fact what the interviewees said at all."

I agree with you that the article has a hostile slant, but I don't see any reason to think they made up the quotes.

"It is Qatar's money that they are banking and sending home to loved ones, so i think gratitude and a sense of perspective should be the order of the day, don't you?"

Frankly, no. I have enjoyed my years in Qatar and feel generally positive about what this country is doing, but I don't think I ought to feel "gratitude" that I get paid. I earn my pay; it's not charity. I think immigrants ought to be free to be frank about the things they love and the things they dislike about their adopted country; that should be true for Moroccans who are upset about the burqa ban in France, and it should be true for Americans who are upset about the family day policies in Qatar.

"I challenge anyone to refute that Qataris are, on balance, welcoming and respectful to their guests.

If by "guests" you mean skilled Western expats, I agree. However, if you include Indian laborers and Indonesian nannies, then I think Qataris are on the whole very VERY far from being welcoming and respectful.
(Anonymous)
May. 16th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
"I agree with you that the article has a hostile slant, but I don't see any reason to think they made up the quotes."

Quotes are only accurate if taken in context. I don't believe the journalist reported what was said in the context in which it was said.

"Frankly, no. I have enjoyed my years in Qatar and feel generally positive about what this country is doing, but I don't think I ought to feel "gratitude" that I get paid. I earn my pay; it's not charity"

No doubt you do earn your pay Marjorie but I bet Qatar pays you an awful lot more than your home country would. It's not a matter of gratitude for getting paid, it's about not taking things for granted and recognizing that you are part of Qatar's growth but also an ingredient of the tensions the article 'discusses'. If a country is putting itself on the line to grow and improve, and the people it brings in to join in that process do nothing but belittle and criticize the country and the locals, then I imagine if the shoe were on the other foot you would feel pretty annoyed too - perhaps not. Remember that while you contend with a lot of frustrations living here, Qataris are also contending with their own frustrations with respect to its expatriate population. I suggest less finger pointing and more trying to understand Qataris - that is the only way that different views and cultures can get along.

"I think immigrants ought to be free to be frank about the things they love and the things they dislike about their adopted country; that should be true for Moroccans who are upset about the burqa ban in France, and it should be true for Americans who are upset about the family day policies in Qatar."

I'm not surprised that you don't understand this culture - so I have no comment for the upset Americans.

"If by "guests" you mean skilled Western expats, I agree. However, if you include Indian laborers and Indonesian nannies, then I think Qataris are on the whole very VERY far from being welcoming and respectful."

Don't be too keen to judge Marjorie. Let Qataris be the ones to have that conversation. Taking the moral high-ground is so typically expat.
qatar
May. 16th, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
"No doubt you do earn your pay Marjorie but I bet Qatar pays you an awful lot more than your home country would."

I took a pay cut to move to Qatar, thank you very much.

"Remember that while you contend with a lot of frustrations living here, Qataris are also contending with their own frustrations with respect to its expatriate population."

Oh, I very much agree. Just a couple hours ago I was chatting with someone about what Maryam said over at Mimiz Blog about feeling powerless over the way her government chooses to spend her money... that must be intensely frustrating. When have I said Qataris don't have frustrations?

"Don't be too keen to judge Marjorie. Let Qataris be the ones to have that conversation. Taking the moral high-ground is so typically expat."

You seem to be arguing that nobody should be able to comment on a culture in any meaningful way unless they're an insider. I think that doesn't work. Or do you think only Americans should be able to have an opinion on whether Bush was a good president or not?

Immigrants often have insight into the successes and failures of a culture that people who grew up there don't have, just as Alexis de Tocqueville was able to give a more insightful view of 19th century America than an American could have done. I expect immigrants to my country to express their views and get involved in politics -- how else can my culture learn and grow? So I'm not holding a double-standard by saying that after 6 years in Qatar I think I should be entitled to say, for example, that the lack of a labor law covering housemaids is directly responsible for significant human rights abuses. I don't think I need to have a Qatari passport to have an opinion on that topic.

And I don't think I'm taking the moral high ground, because I'm not pretending that the U.S. doesn't have extremely serious social ills and political problems that result in US committing human rights abuses too. But this is a blog about my life in Qatar, so I talk about Qatar here. :-)
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
"Immigrants often have insight into the successes and failures of a culture that people who grew up there don't have, just as Alexis de Tocqueville was able to give a more insightful view of 19th century America than an American could have done."

Marjorie, since we started this string of debate, let me add my final word. I know you don't mean to be condescending but this is cringeworthy stuff that you're writing. Your "insight" into our culture is not required, thanks. And I maintain that non-Qataris don't have a right to judge Qatar - because believe it or not Qataris are intelligent enough to do it for themselves as you can see by some of the Qatari posters here.

All the best.

qatar
May. 17th, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Well obviously the views of immigrants aren't a SUBSTITUTE for the views of residents, but I think it's frankly absurd to assert that outsiders aren't ALLOWED to have opinions about cultures. Do you not have an opinion on female genital mutilation in Africa? Do you not have an opinion about whether the rape of Nanking or the My Lai massacre was OK? We make judgments all the time about things that other cultures do. Obviously we should be very careful when we do so, to make sure we understand the context, but I think it's extremely naive to pretend that we don't or shouldn't make those judgments at all.
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
I think for a Westerner to come in and offer her "insight" into a Muslim culture is frankly laughable.
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Based on your advocacy of moral relativism, I guess you can't object to a claim like: "I think for an Arab to come and offer her "insight" into a secular humanist/Christian/Hebrew culture is frankly laughable."

I guess I'll remember that the next time I hear a Qatari complain about
- Banning the veil in France (Frenchies this; Frenchies that") or
- Being racially profiled by U.S. customs and police ("Yankies this; Yankies that") or
- Those checkpoints on Israel sovereign territory ("Jewy this; Jewy that") or
- That the rest of the world finds the thought of a Qatar-hosted World Cup hilarious ("Beckham this; Beckham that").

It is mildly surprising to learn that you believe the opinions of the Qatari are completely irrelevant to anything involving the outside world.
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
You're judging non-Qataris right now. If you get to judge non-Qataris, they get to judge you. Cope.

As for what's "required", well hell, your idiocy is not required. Say something worth reading and quit wasting our time.
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Jerkface, I actually had something worthwhile to say. Maybe you should go read it again. This comment of yours was pointless, though.
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 12:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
What's a "right", anyway?
(Anonymous)
May. 19th, 2010 07:55 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Insight:
1. an instance of apprehending the true nature of a thing, esp. through intuitive understanding
2. penetrating mental vision or discernment; faculty of seeing into inner character or underlying truth.
3.Psychology.
a.an understanding of relationships that sheds light on or helps solve a problem.
b.(in psychotherapy) the recognition of sources of emotional difficulty.
c. an understanding of the motivational forces behind one's actions, thoughts, or behavior; self-knowledge.

Please elaborate on your "ability to apprehend the true nature" of Qatari and/or Muslim culture, your "intuitive understanding", "penetrating mental vision" and "faculty of seeing into inner character and underlying truth" of the Qatari and/or Muslim culture. Please explain, in addition, how many deep and close Qatari friendships you have forged in order to support this marvellous "insight".
qatar
May. 19th, 2010 08:47 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
I never said I had insight on Qatari culture. I made a general point that immigrants sometimes have insights that insiders don't, and I was making that comment in the context of NON-Americans having insight into AMERICAN culture.

I think this is the central point you're missing here about my argument. I'm not saying white people should tell non-white people how to run their countries; I'm saying that the views of immigrants of any type should not be summarily dismissed simply because they're immigrants. I suspect you agree that it's xenophobic and racist when Arizonans do that to Mexicans and when French do it to Moroccans. What is different when Qataris do it to Indians or Germans?
(Anonymous)
May. 19th, 2010 08:54 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
How convenient -- and sad, really -- that you think nobody but a Qatari passport holder is capable of exhibiting "an understanding of relationships that sheds light on or helps solve a problems".

But you're probably right. I am sure that Saif Saeed Assad and Salem Jaber have a much deeper understanding of life here than an interested foreigner who has spent years working with and educating local young people. ;-)
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 11:23 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Hey moron, lots of people go to Qatar and make about what they'd make at home.

Do you think people only go there for the big paycheck? Are you saying Qatar is a dump, and there's no other reason to go there? How pathetic.

"The people it brings in to join in that process do nothing but belittle and criticize the country and the locals..." <-- Do any of these people exist? I never met one.
(Anonymous)
May. 18th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
"Are you saying Qatar is a dump, and there's no other reason to go there? How pathetic."

Thank you for asking and answering your own question.

Secondly, all Qataris are my brothers and sisters and I will stand up for them. Frankly the "insight" that Marjorie so kindly offered (as if she were a Colonial master) is irrelevant. If people like Slackman think for a second that a nation of brainwashed Americans who couldn't identify Africa on a map are more educated than Qataris, then they are deluded. Qatar is the epitome of hospitality, generosity and courage - and unfortunately this creates a lot of jealousy from people.

Thirdly, calling me a moron won't help you, it only makes you look challenged... on multiple levels. Incidentally, you sound like a loser - which I believe answers your last question.
qatar
May. 18th, 2010 01:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Well, I do think that irritating anonymous dude brought up an interesting point. EVERY time I say something critical of Qatar, someone accuses me of being a greedy bastard who only came here to take advantage of Qatar's riches. Why do Qataris assume that I wouldn't live here unless bribed? We don't assume that about people who move to Thailand or Italy.

"Frankly the 'insight' that Marjorie so kindly offered (as if she were a Colonial master) is irrelevant."

OK, let's recap. You said, "I challenge anyone to refute that Qataris are, on balance, welcoming and respectful to their guests." I responded that Qatar is NOT on balance welcoming and respectful to immigrant laborers, as evidenced by the lack of legal protections for these laborers (e.g., no minimum wage, no labor law for housemaids, the exit visa system, the fact that abusing or killing a maid results in tiny penalties if any, etc.).

Instead of counterarguing against any of this, you instead respond that I can't ever understand your culture, that my views are those of a colonial master, and anything I have to say is irrelevant because I have the wrong passport, or wrong genes, or something.

That is not a counterargument. You can't challenge someone to refute a point and then tell them their refutation is irrelevant because "you just can't understand us." That's a total cop-out. As another commenter has noted, if we really accepted that premise, then no non-Israeli would ever be able to say "Israeli checkpoints are bad" and no non-American would ever be able to say "Huh, maybe Bush shouldn't have bombed the fuck out of Iraq after all." Is that seriously what you're suggesting? It's difficult for me to believe that you really hold such a nihilist viewpoint on the possibility of crosscultural communication. (For starters, if you really believed that, you wouldn't bother posting anything here at all, because I could never learn anything from you.)
(Anonymous)
May. 19th, 2010 06:26 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Marjorie, are you so arrogant as to believe that you could possibly have some divine insight into our culture that we don't have? Is it time to enlighten the 'natives'? Is this a country of idiots completely bereft of any capacity for self-analysis? If so, then I owe you an apology, as clearly we should be rolling out the red carpet for you. I don't expect you to be able to grasp how arrogant your stance is. By all means, have an opinion, nobody is saying that you can't, but please don't think for a moment that your are enlightening us in any way.
qatar
May. 19th, 2010 08:00 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
If you want to have a discussion about whether there are any circumstances under which one may have something worthwhile to say about another culture, then I'd like to hear your answers to the anonymous commenter's questions (Frenchies this, Frenchies that).

Right now you seem to just be saying the same things over and over. If all you want to do is reiterate my character flaws, then I don't think the conversation is really going to be productive.
(Anonymous)
May. 19th, 2010 08:09 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
When did Marjorie EVER say that she had any "divine insight" into the local culture, or that the locals weren't capable of that themselves? It seems to me that she's arguing that it is useful and proper for non-citizens to voice their opinions about their host country's policies and practices because they generally see things from a different angle and can provide a unique perspective. She's not arguing that foreigners have inherently more correct ideas and thoughts than the locals -- only that they, too, have valuable opinions to share on the subject.

Dealing with and debating people who disagree with you forces you to articulate your own stance more clearly, either strengthening your argument or highlighting why your argument isn't as soundly based as you perhaps thought.
I would think that is something Qatar and Qataris would welcome. It's certainly something that those of us involved in education try to encourage and foster among our students.

And just in case you don't know Marjorie personally, she's one of the least arrogant people you'll ever come across in your life. Calling her "arrogant" is like calling Cristiano Ronaldo "clumsy".

qatar
May. 19th, 2010 08:52 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
OK, I don't know who Cristiano Ronaldo is, but I'm going to assume that was a compliment. Thanks! :-)
(Anonymous)
May. 19th, 2010 12:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
I think Marjorie is trying to have a discussion, where Qataris and non-Qataris talk about things together, and by talking together, maybe we can all learn something new.

Here is something stupid:
- Foreigners don't know shit about Qatar.

The opposite is also stupid:
- Foreigners will definitely enlighten Qataris about Qatar.

This is not stupid, and is smart:
- Some foreigners and some Qataris have valuable insights into Qatar, and everyone can learn from them.
(Anonymous)
May. 20th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
A: "Are you saying Qatar is a dump, and there's no other reason to go there? How pathetic."

B: "Thank you for asking and answering your own question."

C (that's me): "B, you don't understand what A said, do you. Read it again..."
(Anonymous)
May. 20th, 2010 11:04 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Mr. Grumpy, I think you'll find you were perfectly understood. Your question was a rhetorical question, which is essentially a non-question, hence, no need to waste one's time answering a non-question. The only answer (that matters) for a rhetorical question is the message (answer) the questioner is eluding to. So you answered it when you asked it.
(Anonymous)
May. 20th, 2010 11:34 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
No, idiot, I think you still don't understand. You (presumably you) wrote:

"No doubt you do earn your pay Marjorie but I bet Qatar pays you an awful lot more than your home country would."

That means you think all expats go to Qatar to get a pay raise. That means you think the only good thing about Qatar is money. But in reality, many expats go to Qatar for reasons other than their salary. So that means they love Qatar more than you do.

Aren't you ashamed that you hate your own country?
(Anonymous)
May. 20th, 2010 12:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Shall I explain what a rhetorical question is again, in a simpler way for you to understand.

When you asked your RHETORICAL question, the answer was contained within the question, hence you "asked and answered" it. You said, "Are you saying Qatar is a dump, and there's no other reason to go there? How pathetic." ...which really means >>> "how pathetic to say that Qatar is a dump and money is the only reason people would go there."

As i explained, I understood perfectly well and unfortunately I think it is you who are not capable of grasping what I said. I hope this simpler version works. You should not assume either that it is only Qataris who defend Qatar.

I'm sorry that you have to resort to rudeness by insulting me and I am mature enough not to retaliate.
(Anonymous)
May. 20th, 2010 12:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
"I'm sorry that you have to resort to rudeness by insulting me and I am mature enough not to retaliate."

That's retalition, right there. Basic passive aggressive retaliation.

OOPS, GUESS YOU MESSED THAT ONE UP.
Re: Infantile NY Times - (Anonymous) - May. 20th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
May. 20th, 2010 12:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Someone who makes such an illogical inference, taking
1) "I bet Qatar pays you an awful lot more than your home country would" ... to mean.... 2)"you think the only good thing about Qatar is money" is not someone with a rational head on his/her shoulders. It is an illogical leap that you make and discredits you completely -which is why your rhetorical questions was ignored and I sarcastically thanked you for asking and answering.
(Anonymous)
May. 20th, 2010 01:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
"I bet Qatar pays you an awful lot more than your home country would ..."

That was supposed to be an insult, a reason to ignore Marjorie's words. In my limited experience, nearly every discussion of expats in Qatar involves someone saying, "Expats only come to Qatar for the big money." And here, like often happens, it's just not true.

So either the anonymous commenter was trying to use empty rhetoric to fuck with Marjorie, or else the anonymous commenter couldn't imagine why expats would go to Qatar. You tell me which.
(Anonymous)
May. 16th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
"If by "guests" you mean skilled Western expats, I agree. However, if you include Indian laborers and Indonesian nannies, then I think Qataris are on the whole very VERY far from being welcoming and respectful."


Didn't you just contradict yourself?! I was happy that you gave a non biased and objective response to the article until I read that sentence. Have you met every Qatari in Qatar and know for a fact that we treat "Indian laborers and Indonesian nannies" with less respect than their Western counterparts? I don't think so. I'm Qatari and I make sure to treat everyone with respect regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender...etc. The same goes for my immediate familym extended family and friends whom treat their maids with respect, humility and kindness. I'm just upset as you are in regards to the human rights condition of laborers in Qatar, but that doesn't give you the right to judge me as a Qatari when you don't even know me. Otherwise, you're no better than the person that wrote the article. I'm shocked that for someone who works at EC, you would think that of Qatari's. I'm a student in EC, and the Qatari's beside myself that study there represent the highly educated and respectful portion of society, so how, pray tell, did you reach that conclusion?! Please get off your high horse and practice what you preach!

Nasser
qatar
May. 16th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
I didn't say ALL Qataris treat laborers or maids poorly! I said that Qataris on the whole are not welcoming and respectful to low-skilled immigrants. I think that this country does not have a culture of respect for those workers, as evidenced by the lack of legal protections for such workers. That does not mean I think that every individual Qatari is a mean person -- I wouldn't have stayed here for 6 years if I had such a low opinion of Qatari people. :-) I should have been more clear that I was making a very generalized statement there, in response to the other commenter's very generalized statement that Qataris are respectful and welcoming to outsiders.
(Anonymous)
May. 16th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
"I said that Qataris on the whole are not welcoming and respectful to low-skilled immigrants."

How is that any better?! its still an unfair and gross generalization of the Qatari population!

"I think that this country does not have a culture of respect for those workers, as evidenced by the lack of legal protections for such workers."

This country is not perfect! this country is still developing! this country has improved exponentially in regard to human rights compared to just 20, 10 and even 5 years ago!
You need to differentiate between the Qatari government and the the people. Again, I am just as upset as you are over the seemingly atrocious conditions and treatment of laborers in Qatar and I am trying to personally do my part to help change that, but I should not be held accountable as a Qatari for my governments actions especially as I have no direct say or influence over their decisions. Of course I knew you didn't mean every single Qatari person is mean, because that would have just been obtuse! you don't know every single Qatari, nor do you know the majority of Qatari's :))
The lack of legal protections for workers in Qatar might not contribute towards a culture of respect for workers in your words, but as a Muslim, my religion requires me to respect people from every race, creed, color...etc and I speak for many Qatari's when I say this.
qatar
May. 17th, 2010 06:56 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
I don't think we're actually disagreeing here, I think you're just reading my words to mean something other than what they intend.

In my mind, saying that Qatar on the whole is not respectful of low-skilled immigrants is simply a FACT. To give one example illustrating this, Qatar is one of a very tiny number of countries that does not permit immigrants to leave the country at will; this is a violation of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and it is disrespectful of immigrants.

In saying this I am not saying that Qataris are bad people or this is a terrible place. I'm saying, as you say, that Qatar isn't perfect. I don't EXPECT Qatar to be perfect -- my country isn't perfect either! Our government thinks it can wiretap people without judicial review, it thinks it can violate the human rights of detainees as long as it does so in Guantanamo, it thinks it has the right to waltz into Iraq and tell Iraqis how to run their government. These are all egregious human rights abuses, too. (And they affect a lot more people than Qatar's failings!) But when I say those things I'm not saying that the US is the worst country in the world or that Americans are bad people!

My impression when I was involved in the debates on Facebook about Lisa Clayton's article is that this is a fundamental difference between how I view things and how many Qataris seem to: I don't think there's anything wrong or offensive with talking openly about a country's failings. It's not disrespectful or unpatriotic. How can we help Qatar become a better Qatar if we pretend that there aren't social problems here?
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
I also think we're on the same side of the argument here, but one word in your comment makes all the difference. My point was, Qatar's laws and Qatar's citizens aren't necessarily intertwined. I'm the first one to say that Qatar isn't perfect, and I really hold a lot of contempt over many issues in my country that are perpetrated by my govt, not least of which are the human rights abuses, which I'm vocal about, as are many other Qataris I can assure you. But one consistent accusation that I often hear from many Expats is that we Qataris are to be blamed for this, and that's a mistake, not only because its an unfair generalization, but it doesn't help achieve anything other than further widen the divide between Qatari's and Expats, making everyone defensive and intolerant. Moreover, I believe that- and I don't think I'm giving the benefit of the doubt when I say this- if Qataris were left to determine Qatar's labor laws then things would be very different. At the end of the day, the relationship between Qatari's and Expats is a reciprocal one. It helps no one to point fingers and we must work alongside each other to help make Qatar a better place.
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 11:26 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Are you fucking serious?

What's Qatar's minimum wage? Fucking low.
How many hours per week do construction workers work? Fucking lots.
Who is fucking hurt by exit visas? Low-pay immigrants.

Maybe Qatari people are amazingly fucking nice, I dunno, but the laws are fucked up. Only a fuckhead would think otherwise. Fuck.
qatar
May. 17th, 2010 11:34 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
lol!

I must quibble with one aspect of your eloquent rhetoric, however: Qatar does not have a minimum wage.
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 11:36 am (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Well fuckin A!
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 02:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Infantile NY Times
Your fucking right! the laws ARE fucked up, and Qatari people are fucking nice! and on that note, you need to watch your fucking language! :P

Nasser
(Anonymous)
May. 16th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
Wow
Don't be too keen to judge Marjorie. Let Qataris be the ones to have that conversation. Taking the moral high-ground is so typically expat.

Thanks for giving a perfect demonstration of what the article is about.

Let Qataris be the ones to have that conversation.

You earlier challenged (your word) anyone to make the case. Then you get upset when someone (Marjorie) takes up the challenge?

(Anonymous)
May. 16th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
well there you have it marjorie
Qataris don't want any expats to express anything but fawning adoration of the amazing progress (and I am sincere about the progress) that has been made in the past decade. The minute someone does, they are just a few steps from the "if you don't like it, leave" line that gets floated around everywhere you see Qataris and expats mixing online.
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
well there you have it marjorie
Expats don't want any Qatari's to express anything but fawning adoration of the amazing progress (and I am sincere about the progress) that expats have achieved in the past decade. The minute someone does, they are just a few steps from the "Qatari's this, Qatari's that" line that gets floated around everywhere you see Qataris and expats mixing online ;)
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 10:17 am (UTC)
Another anonymous poster
The fact that such a short, poorly written and obviously biased article can ruffle feathers to the extent that it has rather proves the point that this culture isn't ready to integrate into the modern world just yet.

Are Qataris upset because they don't like everything that was written? Are they offended that someone has an opinion that runs counter to their own? Do they find it offensive that someone should say anything negative, or at least not overtly positive, about them?

All in all it does point to a culture of person who is spoilt and unused to not getting everything their own way all the time.

Money can't buy you favourable coverage in the New York Times, but mature, grown up people get over it, rather than starting Facebook groups and kicking and screaming (in a virtual, online environment) like petulant brats.

For the record I thought the article was biased, poorly written and not fit for publication in the NYT. But I still did find the overall content interesting and not far from my own experience.

I've been here for 5 years, and intend to stay on longer, and in that time I too have sadly come to the conclusion that on the whole, Qataris do not respect foreign workers. They are discriminated against not just in behaviour, but in the law - exit permits being a prime example of this. There is no meaningful legal protection for labourers and workers whose rights are abused, and seemingly no ethical or moral imperative by bosses to treat them fairly or decently.
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 11:11 am (UTC)
Re: Another anonymous poster
I suppose the author felt it was a good stage setting article. After all, the country has a lot of money (whether or not specific citizens do), and it imports a lot of labor, and many citizens don't like the result. Such a situation is surprising at face value!

One hopes for a followup dealing with what's behind face value.
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous)
May. 18th, 2010 09:39 am (UTC)
Re: Another anonymous poster
lelandt: Why don't you join the discussion instead of talking shit about those anonymous people who have?
barelynoticeable.wordpress.com
May. 19th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
Tried sending a private email, but seems to be difficult.

Let me just say I enjoy your posts. You always seem to comment on just the things I would like to, but don't have the courage to write about. Maybe I will when I know I'm on the way out and it's not so risky.

Always appreciate your insights and mostly just bringing topics to the forefront that need to be discussed.

I was surprised people living here would actually be quoted with any negatives perspective in the NYT article. It wasn't the best article, but it's always interesting to read something about what's happening here, even though you can't ever find it in the local news. It's unfortunate the only time a real debate can take place here is when it's televised on Doha Debates...and who knows how one ever get to actually be part of the discussion there!

Thanks Marjorie!
qatar
May. 20th, 2010 10:57 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it! Wow, 11 years in Doha... you must have seen a lot of changes. :-)

BTW, one of the people quoted in the NYT article -- the "Qataris are spoiled" dude -- says he was badly misquoted.

Have you not attended a Doha Debate in real life? I recommend it!

Edited at 2010-05-20 10:58 am (UTC)
(Anonymous)
May. 19th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
The same Everywhere
I've lived in Qatar for two years and love living here. Sure there are some things which are very different to London, however, in London I wouldn't have enough disposable income to put one son through university and the other through private school with some left over for fun and even some to put in an investment for a rainy day. To point out a couple of Qatari's who are not working very hard, is like saying in the US or UK there are no lazy people. The Qatari's I deal with on a daily basis are both bright and hard working with good manners to go with it. To knock Qatar as some haven of unhappiness is both unfair and inaccurate. There will always be disaffected people in any country or in professional life, it doesn't mean Qatar is full of resentful people, it isn't.
(Anonymous)
May. 20th, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
Re: The same Everywhere
Check back with us in a few years and see if you're still feeling the same way. I would bet your viewpoint may have changed somewhat.

Most folks I know, grow to dislike living here, not the other way around. It's a shame really, because there is so much going for it, there just needs to be some huge attitude adjustments. And that probabaly goes for both the expats and the Nationals living here.

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