I am sure that you are on pins and needles waiting to find out what happened next in the land of Qatar. We left off with a description of ‘unattractive’ Doha in 1908. But now we are safely into the twentieth century.
In 1916 Qatar agreed to be a British protectorate with Doha as its capital. The drop in revenue from pearling continued to plague Qatar and it was not until the 1950s and 1960s, after the discovery of oil that they were able to reach some economic security and stability. Formal boys schools established in 1952 AND formal girl’s schools were established in 1955. A deep sea port was dragged. “From the 1950s to 1970s, the population of Doha grew from around 14,000 inhabitants to over 83,000, with foreign immigrants constituting about two-thirds of the overall population.”
The Brits unilaterally decided that they would no longer serve as a protectorate for the Middle East – I guess it was too expensive or something. Qatar was the very first to declare its independence. Later the UAE also declared its independence due to the statesmanship of Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi, an incredible Ruler who was able to gather together the other Arabs to form the UAE.
Qatar moved along quickly. “In 1973, the University of Qatar was opened by emiri decree,[and in 1975 the Qatar National Museum opened in what was originally the ruler’s palace. During the 1970s, all old neighborhoods in Doha were razed and the inhabitants moved to new suburban developments, such as Al Rayyan, Madinat Khalifa and Al Gharafa. The metropolitan area’s population grew from 89,000 in the 1970s to over 434,000 in 1997. Additionally, land policies resulted in the total land area increasing to over 7,100 hectares (about 17,000 acres) by 1995, an increase from 130 hectares in the middle of the 20th century.’
Please note that Qatar establishes a University quickly and a National Museum – this is commendable. It continued to progress at a great rate in all areas of development. Again back to Wikipedia. “The Al Jazeera Arabic news channel began broadcasting from Doha in 1996. In the late 1990s, the government planned the construction of Education City, a 2,500 hectare Doha-based complex mainly for educational institutes.[ Since the start of the 21st century, Doha attained significant media attention due to the hosting of several global events and the inauguration of a number of architectural mega-projects.[ One of the largest projects launched by the government was The Pearl-Qatar, an artificial island off the coast of West Bay, which launched its first district in 2004 In 2006, Doha was selected to host the Asian Games, leading to the development of a 250-hectare sporting complex known as Aspire.” There was also other restoration, the building of a Cultural Village that hosts a renowned film festival every year.
But then a major step which allowed for more diversification in its income source. Back again to Wikipedia. “The main outcome of the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 2013 was the Trade Facilitation Agreement. The agreement aims to make it easier and cheaper to import and export by improving customs procedures and making rules more transparent. Reducing global trade costs by 1% would increase worldwide income by more than USD 40 billion, 65% of which would go to developing countries. The gains from the Trade Facilitation Agreement are expected to be distributed among all countries and regions, with developing landlocked countries benefiting the most.”
Did you get that? 65% of the money goes to developing countries, which aids others – not just enriching themselves.
And this about the airport I thought I would never leave. The (old airport) was replaced by Hamad International Airport in 2014. The new airport is almost twice the size of the former and features two of the longest runways in the world. Thirty-nine new hotels were under construction in the city in 2011.
Doha has to be the educational centre of the world. This is a list of universities within its boundaries.
• Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
• Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar
• Hamad Bin Khalifa University
• Cornell University
• HEC Paris
• Northwestern University in Qatar
• Texas A&M University at Qatar
• UCL Qatar
• Virginia Commonwealth University
• Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
• Stenden University Qatar
• College of the North Atlantic
• Qatar University
• Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies
• University of Calgary
The last two Universities hold special interest to me. The University of Calgary is an off shoot of the University of Alberta, my alma mater. I would probably qualify as an alumni and have functions to attend. I am certain to be the oldest person in the room. The other is the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies as one of my ambitions is to become an Islamic scholar. But we shall see.
It is interesting that there was no mention of the five year blockade on Wikipedia. It did exist I do know that. I guess even Wikipedia does not tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The formula of the oath as “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” originated in the common law jurisdiction of medieval England, finding its way in sometimes subtly altered form into the formula for the oath in other common law jurisdictions. The absolute truth about something, without omission, embellishment, or alteration. This is also what Google says about the truth. The Importance of Truth. “Truth matters, both to us as individuals and to society as a whole. As individuals, being truthful means that we can grow and mature, learning from our mistakes. For society, truthfulness makes social bonds, and lying and hypocrisy break them.”
So a society that tells the truth is a bonded society that achieves, one that does not, does not. That is most instructive – United States that is not united at all and perhaps other regions that call themselves United and are not. I laughingly say that I always tell the truth, well sometimes exaggerate a little, but that is all. And when I write or say something that is not the truth I admit my mistake and learn from it.
Here is the promised ode to the peace keeping and diplomatic gifts of Qatar to the world which have not been recognized. This account is taken from a text sent by me to an Al Thiani through the auspices of Instagram, It was sent on January 5, 2022.
Me: I just learned something profoundly amazing about your country. I heard about it before but it was never confirmed. I shall report it on my blog. You are amazing. All praise to Allah
She: Amen. What did you learn?
Me: From a man from Afghanistan – that Qatar through its relationship with the Taliban was able to provide for the safe passage of so many Afghans. The Taliban allowed people to go to the airport and then Qatar planes took them to safety.
That was never reported in the Western press and still has not been. I do not know how I found that out at the time – but I did.
Me: I met the Afghan man at the Abu Dhabi Airport hotel where I am now living and I asked him.
Me: He also said that the Taliban first said that their leaders first be also taken and your country said NO to that. It delayed passage of people but SO SO wise.
Me: The man is going to teach at Georgetown University. I know that your country is strongly affiliated and has a Georgetown University in Qatar,
She: That is really brave and wise of them Yes we do.
Me: Well I am going to come and visit but I must get settled here. The virus in the USA, even my protected County of Marin, is virulent. I am safe here in Abu Dhabi. All praise to Allah.
That was our correspondence. I met the man and his precious son in the lobby of the Premier Inn in Abu Dhabi, first speaking to the son, who did not speak English. But his father translated. He was absolutely darling – think perhaps about six but did not ask I do not think. The father and I talked. He and his son were in route to the Washington DC area – and were going to live with the little boy’s aunt. He shyly began to call me Aunt in his language.
After a while we went to my room so that I could give the father my book on the Tate Britain and I had a special book for the little boy. It was a child’s book called Read to Me Mommy, I think that was the title. It was in English but there were pictures of night time stories. Despite the fact that he was incredibly jet lagged the little boy looked with rapt concentration at the book. I signed both books and they left. I never heard from either of them again but I know they are well. I do hope that the father is reading this blog. I did tell the story but it did take almost two months. Now is the right time to tell it, I just know.
The photograph is me with my face painted like the Qatar flag. Photo taken on April 5,2021 and was posted on Instagram and probably on the blog. At the time someone wrote:
Anonymous: All of Qatar loves you!
Most unusual but true. You can see the photograph – it is real and so am I.