Well, I was not, of course, going to kill Qatar but am going to say some not very nice things about them – founded on fact. I was a huge fan to Qatar. Go into search engine and see how many times they were featured and in a laudatory fashion. But a gem landed in my pocket and everything was explained. Oh well – it is a tiny country. It is apparently about the size of Connecticut, which is, by the way, one of the (Dis) United States. I do vaguely recall in the distant past suggesting that the Emir of Qatar should come and rule Canada – sort of annex it. We Canadians do have lands lots of land under starry skies above. It is a song, by the way. The song is titled Don’t Fence Me In. There is a version sung by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. Google it, at this moment I am listening to them. It is such fun and so funny. Flying back to Edmonton was fascinating to look down at the vast tracts of land, all measured out into private property freehold sections. Unknown in the UAE or Qatar, no matter what the lying advertisements state. All the land in those two countries reverts back to Royalty after an (in) decent amount of time. Do not think that your heirs are ever going to get their hands on it.
Those Royals have their hands in every pocket. In the UAE banks are owned by the Royalty. That is unknown anywhere else. The Bank of England is NOT owned by the Windsors, for example. By the way. The greed of the Middle East countries shall be discussed in a subsequent blog. I do not include Saudi Arabia in this category, by the way. I was there and I do have great news to report from there. Illustrated by photos by the way. But back to home, where I am at the present time suffering from agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is the extreme or irrational fear of entering open or crowded places, of leaving one’s own home, or of being in places from which escape is difficult. But EXCUSE ME, it is not an irrational fear of leaving my own home. It is cold out there, at the moment, It is -12 Celsius and about to snow at 6 am. I have been awake for hours because of jet lag. Sort of turned day into night staying on Saudi time – not difficult as it is dark most of the time these days. You have no idea how difficult Obligatory Prayer is under these conditions. About every two hours it is time to pray again, but there is a long time between Isha and Fajr prayers so one can get a decent nights sleep (about 13 hours). During the summer it is almost impossible to get a decent night’ sleep. Some adaptation needs to be made. The Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) had no idea that there would be Muslims this far north when the times for prayer were set in motion. Obligatory prayer times should be based on Mecca times, I wisely say. Whatever. Whatever in the pronoun form is now my favorite expression. It is used for emphasis instead of “what” in questions, typically expressing surprise or confusion. That is more or less how I use it – it is a subtle way of saying: “I give up, you are not listening to me anyway, so why bother to waste my words.”
The Economist had a recent, rather fascinating article Free Speech is Not In Peril in the United States: The Problem is deeper. It is an excellent article that must be read in its entirety. This is how it begins: “The great American debate about free speech is flaring again, this time around Elon Musk’s curating of Twitter. He is restoring speech rights or denying them, depending on your view. The predictable parties are declaring their positions and luxuriating in righteousness. They will change few minds, also predictably, because they are tussling over the wrong end of the stick. America has no problem with speech. It has a problem with listening. Does the distinction seem specious? Speaking and listening do not mean much without each other. But emphasis matters. Focusing on the right to speak rather than the obligation to listen substitutes the easy question for the hard one, and a freedom secured by law for a discipline that must be instilled by culture. It also ensures that the debate—too grand a word, really—remains futile.
In a self-satirising proof of how emphasising speech-rights leads people to talk past each other, Yale Law students said they were exercising speech-rights last spring when they shouted down a free-speech event because they disapproved of one panellist, a conservative Christian. “You’re disrupting us!” a protester shouted at Kate Stith, the professor moderating the event.”
The article is SO forceful and logical. This paragraph summarizes the adroit thinking: “Like those law students, all Americans can now relax in homogeneous spaces where they hear plenty of speech but nothing that might confound them. Whatever objectionable ideas or information they do encounter will arrive safely filtered through the congenial viewpoint of their chosen cable-news channel, social-media group, newspaper or Substack writer. They can duck the work of hearing alien arguments and sharpening their own ideas or even adjusting them—the kind of work that turns diversity in a pluralistic democracy into a source of resilience rather than a fatally fissiparous weakness.”
(I have a confession to make: I have no idea what fissiparous means. Looked it up and so now you know: inclined to cause or undergo division into separate parts or groups)
This is the conclusion: “But just as Republican politicians tremble before Mr Trump, some leaders of American institutions, afraid of their students or staff, are still treading Starbuck’s path rather than defending the principles that once made their institutions integral to the American project. They might instead consider the example of Ms Stith as she faced the Yale students. “Grow up,” she urged them.”
Not sure I can link the article. Do not think that many of you will read it anyway. I am rather shocked to learn that many people, professing great love and admiration, do not bother to read my blogs. They want the entertaining, funny me – not the serious me. My relationships with them always, repeatedly over the years fail. They are using me to entertain them. That is not my job, nor my role in life. They fall by the wayside – believe me they are not missed. Even if, they are members of the Royal Family of Qatar.
But now I shall entertain you. My cousin and I exchanged “Happy Day” emails. She had some sage advice for me. As you are about to see, we do laugh together.
She: Must be getting old – I’ll need another day to recuperate! ?. I seem to recall some one telling me – “not getting old, you are old!”Im not sure but I think I’ve been able to see all the photos & reels……..they are beautiful & some actually stunning! I will repeat “you don’t need a husband!” ? Too tired to write anymore tonight. Catch up later.
I am positive that it was me that told her she was old – she is, after all, two and a half months older than I am.
She was responding to my prior email:
Me: It seems at this moment that I live in two separate worlds – one in Saudi Arabia (of all places) and one here. In a strange way feel closer ties with people there. I will talk about it on my blog but this sweet funny man decided he want to marry me. I am laughing as I write. He had a serious conversation with me telling me I needed a husband. He decided to running a competition, finding five men and then having me choose between them. But one day he approached me and said that he, himself wanted to marry me. How bizarre can my life get. He is from the Philippines but has been living in Saudi Arabia for years and years and years. Very well respected by all – even Saudi Royalty. I am not, in all probability, going to marry him by the way.
But the wonders of social media. Sitting in Montreal ready for a flight and he video chatted with me.
Most of the ‘husband search’ was done on Instagram. Initially, there were my own three criteria.
- Good table manners. 2) Muslim 3) Slightly rich. Then a fan came up with two more: 4) Good looking 5) Romantic and very much in love. I then added two more: 6) Sense of humour 7) Playful.
The competition runner now has a new nickname: Future Husband. The enormously talented chef, whose food is pictured on Instagram, will cater the food for the wedding It shall definitely be delicious.
This was my response to my cousin’s email:
Me: I know I do not need a husband. I must send you an x rated photo of a guy in Riyadh. His friend sent me the picture. No wonder he was so good at pushing the wheelchair! He did come in handy in so many ways. My being a Muslim comes in handy as it is Hands Off unless marriage. That explains why there are so many flipping proposals. Hahaha. And many think that is is easy passage to Canada. NOPE. Not these days with the 2.6 million waiting list and besides it is cold here. Not ventured out since my return. It is warm in here and the snow is pretty from up high on the sixteenth floor. I hate rain. Now 4 am in the morning, how I hate jet lag. Got to write blog. This one light hearted. Then I kill (not actually) Qatar. Sincerely, Sheikha Fatimah (aka Aki’s daughter)
I did by the way, send her the x rated photo with the subject line: Never a fan of pecs.
Me: But look at those! Should I post on blog? You cannot see his face. He would constantly be massaging his jaw saying that it hurt so bad from laughing so much. We were real funny together. He is 27 so not marriage material. But he is Muslim. Hahaha Me.
No response from her as yet. For reasons of privacy I guess you do not see his photo on this blog. My cousin is, after all, family so it is okay to show her. Instead I shall include photos of the Chef’s food. So delicious. But here’s the ultimate irony. I am returning for Ramadan. It is one of the pillars of the Islamic faith: fast for a month.
I am going to be in the presence of great food and not eat. This makes no sense whatsoever. Well – you do eat. Breakfast shall be brought to my room prior to sunrise and when the sun goes down I can eat. However, must go see my wonderful Edmonton doctor, who is a Muslim from Pakistan, to see if I can fast. I did have the permission of MD’s during 2021 and 2022 Ramadans. I am old, just like my cousin. Not quite as old as she is, but what is a couple of months at this point in time?
Qatar can wait. It is written by the way and Royalty is eagerly awaiting it.
Me: I am now in Canada, my home. And about to squeal on you. Got reliable information
He/She/It: You found information about what.
Me: Wait and see.
Me: I should tell you? You never tell me which member of the family you are and you life and have misled me.
It was read. It was a number I had blocked due on a prior occasion because of the bad treatment I received. I was a play thing to many young members of the Family, but then I became a Muslim and demanded their respect. I did not get it. Many (not all of course) members of the Family are undisciplined because they were raised by nannies. It is a sad life for them. As one said:
He: It is like being raised in a foster home. My Dad has so many wives and I have forty-one brothers and sisters, all from different mothers.
The Father Emir has had seven wives. (I think) Perhaps more at this point of time. The Father Emir’s ingenuity made his country rich as he made it possible to liquify natural gas which meant that it could be placed on ships and exported to places such as China. Then Royalty invested in foreign markets, owning Harrods and blocks and blocks of high rises in NYC, for example. They are wise investors and run a great airline – Qatar Air. Flew on it to Saudi Arabia at great expense due to the terrible mistakes made by eJourney the tour group that led me on my Unrah pilgrimage. It was one from Hades but it only enhanced my faith. You shall hear more of that sad story later. After Qatar. I am going to have to start blogging twice a day. Nope. Impossible with five Obligatory prayers, learning more of the faith and cooking my own meals. I eagerly anticipate Ramadan.
Look at that food. You shall drool.