2013 December

A WALLED CITY

walled city

Walls are a common theme in Doha. When one missionary walks through his neighborhood, he only sees imposing 10-foot walls surrounding huge new Qatari family palaces with lush gardens and run-down homes inhabited by laborers from the east. Qatari families are very private. Each house, each family, each person, has a façade. Women are covered. Men wear robes. Houses are hidden. Everything is white, giving the appearance that everyone is clean, everyone is okay, everything is fine. Despite the image they project, many are hurting and dying in darkness. Ancient Jericho was another place with walls. Joshua 6:1 tells us…

QATAR’S NATIONAL EMBLEM

The national emblem (click here to see it) was introduced in 1976. The outer ring is white on top with state of Qatar written in Arabic, and maroon on the bottom; the zigzag lines where white meets maroon reflect Qatar’s flag. The emblem’s yellow circle contains two white curved crossing swords, a sailing ship (dhow) on blue waves, and two palm trees. The emblem’s previous version featured a pearl shell.Many countries in the Middle East feature similar imagery: the curved sword is featured on Saudi Arabian and Omani emblems; the dhow is on Kuwait’s coat of arms; and the palm…

DOHA DEBATES & FREEDOM

Early last year, The Doha Debates, a partnership between the Qatar Foundation and BBC World News, featured “the future of religious minorities in the Arab world.” (Click here to watch.) The Doha Debates is one of few places in the Arab world where freedom of speech is legally protected. No single government, official group, or broadcaster controls what is said or who is invited. A  controversial issue is batted around with two speakers for and against. Arguments are outlined, the chairman questions each speaker, and the audience votes electronically after discussion. The debates have garnered millions in international viewership and web hits. Sensitive topics…

EXPATRIATES

A large percentage of Qatar’s population – up to 85% – is expatriate, or non-Qatari.  In 2010 the estimated population was 1.7 million, only 300,000 Qatari citizens. After the discovery of natural oil and gas, expats arrived en masse to assist the development of those resources. Qatar needs expats because some skills do not currently exist (locals were traditionally desert dwellers and seafarers), and there are certain jobs Qataris are unwilling to do themselves. However, educated expats compete with citizens for limited jobs, so polices are enforced that restrict their long-term residency. The expat community is relatively young and overwhelmingly male. Men are often…