May 14th, 2010


New York Times ridicules Qataris

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.)