MUST READ: Affluent Qataris Seek What Money Cannot Buy

Citizens of Qatar appear to have it made. They tend to drive big cars, live in big houses and get big loans to pay for big watches and an outsize lifestyle. They have an army of laborers from the developing world to build a sparkling skyline and to work whatever jobs they feel are beneath them. And their nation has enough oil and gas to keep the good times rolling for decades.

So why do so many people here seem so angry?

The problem, many Qataris say, is that they resent being treated as a minority in their own country, which is what they are. Citizens make up about 15 percent of the nation’s 1.6 million people — a demographic oddity that fuels a sense of privilege and victimization.

“The priority always goes to the foreigner,” said Ali Khaled, 23, who is finishing his government-financed education in London.

His cousin, Omar Ali, 24, a high school dropout who works as a technician in an electric company, readily agreed: “They always think the foreigner is better at any job than a Qatari, even if the Qatari is perfect at the job.”

In many ways, they appear to be right about how they are perceived.

“Qataris are very spoiled,” said Mohammed Saffarini, a non-Qatari Arab who serves as research director for health science at Qatar’s Science and Technology Park. “They are only valuable in this cultural and political context,” he added, contending that Qataris often lacked the skills, education and qualifications to be competitive in many other economies.

On the surface, Qatar appears to be on a roll. This peninsula of sand jutting into the Persian Gulf has leveraged its oil wealth and unbridled ambition to garner a world-class reputation on many fronts: international relations, art, higher education. But at home, there is tension, anger and frustration between Qataris and foreigners.

“It’s all a sham; it’s all a veneer,” said Dr. Momtaz Wassef, who was recruited from the United States to serve as the director of biomedical research for the Supreme Council of Health. Now he says he is disillusioned with Qatar and is planning to leave. “They never admit they make a mistake,” he said. “They only say they are the best in the world.”

Dr. Wassef’s wife asked that he not be quoted until he left Qatar, but Dr. Wassef would have none of it. “I don’t give a hoot,” he said, clapping his hands together for emphasis.

Qataris do not see themselves as coddled. Sure, they do not have to pay for electricity, water, education or health care, and they are given land and low-cost loans to build houses when they marry. They are eligible for public assistance if they do not have a job, often receive generous pensions and acknowledge they will not take any jobs they do not consider suitable for them.

But they also complain that they do not get paid as much as foreigners, and that foreigners get most of the top jobs in critical industries, like finance, higher education and the media. There is also pervasive frustration that English has become the language of employment, not Arabic, and that local hospitals, restaurants, markets and streets are always crowded with foreigners.

“There is a crisis here,” said Muhammad al-Mesfer, a political science professor at Qatar University. “The foreigners are crowding us out.”

The tension in Qatar is similar to what has surfaced in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where local people are also vastly outnumbered by foreigners and are sometimes likened to colonial rulers in their own land.

“There are about 300 employees at my work and only 4 or 5 Qataris,” said Mr. Ali, the technician at an electric company. “I walk into work and I feel like I am in India.”

He said that the foreigners were never willing to teach him new skills, so he had lost motivation.

“I have been working there for three years, and I still haven’t fully grasped the work,” he said. “I go to work to drink tea and read the paper.”

During a seven-day visit to Qatar, conversations with expatriate workers and Qatari citizens almost always turned to the topic of distrust, even during the most mundane of encounters.

“I am Qatari, and this country is for me,” a driver shouted as he forced his way into a parking space that a Canadian driver had also been trying for. “This is my country.”

Part of the frustration appears to stem from the lack of an effort to address the differences. People here said that when complaints had been raised, those who spoke up got punished. Foreigners get sent home and local people lose their positions, they said.

Qataris and foreigners alike described a social contract that offers material comfort and financial reward in exchange for not challenging the government’s choices. Qatar is a constitutional monarchy led by Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and his council of ministers. For many, the bargain is worth taking.

“To be honest, I’m comfortable and the salaries are good,” said Ibrahim al-Muhairy, 29, a Qatari high school dropout who said he earns about $41,000 a year working for the government as a security guard in a mall. “Everyone is getting what he deserves and more.”

But there are plenty of others who are unwilling to ride away silently in their Mercedes sedans, like Ahmed J. Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Malik, a former news anchor. He said he was furious that he had not been hired to read the news on Al Jazeera, the popular satellite news channel that broadcasts from here. He has written opinion pieces for a local newspaper complaining that Qataris are now treated as second-class citizens in their own country.

“I met with my friends last night, we joked, we are all ‘ex,’ that means unemployed,” he said, as he climbed into the driver’s seat of a Mercedes sedan. His diamond-crusted watch glistened beneath the parking lot lights.

Moza al-Malki, a family therapist, said she was angry, too. She said that she had lost her teaching position when she complained that an Indian woman was hired to run a counseling center that she said she had set up. “We are all angry for staying at home,” she said.

A moment earlier, she turned to the Filipino woman walking one step behind her — a servant carrying bags — and told her to go look around the mall they were in while Ms. Malki ordered breakfast. Ms. Malki ordered a croissant with cheese, sent it back because it was too hard, and then settled on an omelet.

Source: NYTimes.com

Comments

QATARI SPONSORS - A WASTE OF TIME

Obviously Qataris have entered the world of business and in their mind its very clear - that the entire world needs them and worships them. Qatar is the land of opportunities and gold, so all of us working there we should soooo grateful that all the 3rd world attitudes shouldnt matter !

If you ever go to Qatar and open your business - think of it 1mln times before you engage with a local partner / sponsor. Its irrelevant if they are your partner or silent partner- they can steal and destroy you just the same! Every single foreign owner in Qatar had a certain court experience with the local partner. Its beyond any reasonable thoughts!

They can simply steal your money and company over night! And not only this,they can keep you in Qatar - travel banned =- just because the know the prosecutor etc. Legal system of a cartoon world:( Qatari against Expat --- seriously what do you think are the odds?/?? Even if the expat is right it will take so muchhhh time for the system to decide in fair way that the expate by that time will be drained financially and emonotially! So even if you win --- your dignity and personal healthy will be at high risk...

THINK IT VERYYYY WELL BEFORE YOU DO BUSINESS IN QATAR - LAND OF DARKNESS AND SUPERFICIALITY

Why Should Qataries Complain?

From my experience in Qatar so far, I see that most, if not all I have met are Stuck up, discriminant, lazy, over bearing and lastly cannot drive worth a damn. Everyday is a new adventure getting to and coming from work. The White land Cruisers or Lexus SUV's drive like fools and want everyone to get out of their way. You are tailgated and lights are flashed just because you are in front of them. Parking areas in Vilaggio Mall, Park as far away as you can, otherwise you wil be blocked in by a rude person, it does not matter, man or woman driving they will block you in. WHen you raise the question or ask them to move the vehicle you are called an asshole. For what? asking some one to move so you can drive your vehicle out of a legal parking spot?? The police here are just as bad. If your Qatari, they will say nothing.

I see so much discimination and just plain BS here it makes me sick. A person should be treated as a person and not a fucking animal. Like they treat the house maids and construction workers here. My God folks, these are human beings!!! So, when in the malls and I don't move out of your way, expect to get moved by force if necessary. I for one, do not play that game with anyone. To get respect, you have to give respect.

Sick attitude of most Qataries

I can't agree less. Every time I feel good about Qataries when I meet a nice person, I encounter many with horrible, sick, arrogant, retarded, and primitive attitude. It seems that these idiots think they are GODS on earth and everyone else is filth. They constantly harass our kids in schools, sport clubs, shopping centers. Adults harass you in the streets and parking lots and are always supported by the police or what they call Fazaa. They do not know that what goes around comes around and they have a day where they will be sorry for all of their ignorance and uncivil behavior. Right now they are in a euphoria or (drunk stage) by wealth and power but they forget that God is wealthier and stronger than them.
I just want to tell them, Wake Up before it is too late.

the pay of qatari

I don't know why people complain about the high salary of Qatari even if they don't do much, i am afraid this is their country and their way of dealing with things. i have dealt with qatari for many years and i have been to qatar for short visits so i know a bit of their thinking.

Qatar living expenses is very high, that USD41000 may look to be a lot if you live in America, i know Qatari who earn much more than that, esp. those with PhD qualification.

Yes, Qatari are spoiled and spoon fed from young, many have several maids under one roof. Yes, they are arrogant and ignorant, they always think they are the best, they always boast Qatar is the best country in the world, and they strongly believe they deserve to be served by others.

Give you an example:

Young qatari student in UK. They don't know where is post office and how post office works, they don't register to GP, they don't ask for medical letter if they are ill, they only want to be served by private doctors, they don't care about the university & accommodation rules & regulation, a foreign student can be exempted from council tax in uk but they don't want to post their student card and fill up form for council...etc etc...

when problem happens their usual response is "Discrimination against Qatari", "This university is very rubbish and terrible"...

one more thing, they like to boast and BS too.

However, they also have good points too, they will be great to you if you help them, many often want to pay you money for your assistance even if you never ask for it.

I talked to a Saudi guy recently, he told me Saudi, Kuwaiti, and other Arabs are easier to get along but for some reasons Qatari is different, they only hang out with own kind and they are lazy.

Well, a good luck to those foreignors who decides to work in Qatar.

Visa Mess

I was given an offer by QAFAC Qatar Fuel Additive Company, on getting there, i discovered that I couldnt even locate the Nigerian Embassy in this shit hole. Was offered 5000USD monthlyon a condition that 1200USD will be taken off monthly to pay for my accommodation. Was also promised 16000USD annually for education assistance for my 2 kids. Getting there these bastards try to twist it that this will only be applicable to primary education. I also asked for an insurance policy for my family if i have to relocate to Qatar. The pig who was the admin manager tried all he could to fool me into accepting the offer to enslave myself. I knew already that the bastards will try to play shit by not allowing me the freedom to go back without working for the airfare they paid for, so i worked one month and in the pretence to go and relocate my family from Nigeria I escaped back to my homeland. i think am happy here and would have in no way worked to pay a stupid qatari landlord 1200usd every month for some shit 2bedroom flat when that can offer me a duplex in my country. Depends on what you want for yourself but i will advise anyone seeking a job in the gulf to be smart and read the contract between the lines before you sell yourself into slavery. Especially some some tea drinking stupid morons, who by comparison are less intelligent than my doberman pet.

pay scale

Qataris get paid a hell of a lot more than western people with degrees!
It true...a dropout Qatari can make more than a westerner with a masters!

VISA MESS

I was working for an American Company in Doha, Qatar last year and when I wanted to quit my job to go back home my company wouldn't allow it. The law states your employer has to grant you an exit visa to leave the country, even if you are an American ( you have to be there so many days). The American dickhead boss that I had knew this law and even threatened to have the Qatari police come arrest me if I did not go back to work! I contacted the embassy, as well as the company headquartered in Dallas and after speaking to enough people I was finally granted an exit visa. Know the foreign laws before you go!

Drink tea and read the paper

“I have been working there for three years, and I still haven’t fully grasped the work,” he said. “I go to work to drink tea and read the paper.”

That made me laugh. When I worked at Qatar Petroleum that's all the Qataris ever did. And wander around to each other's office's all day to chat. I tried to teach the Qatari graduates my skills but they didn't want to learn or do any work. The women sat around in their offices and talked about men and shoes.

Who cares about Qatar's

Who cares about Qatar's future?...... take the money and move on, what do expatriates get by teaching Qataris a lesson?, Its all a known fact that when the oil dries out ,these local population will go back to their same profession just 30 year old ago as fishermen, camel grazers, pearl divers and sea traders, and not to forget the Indian currency which was used by their grand fathers to trade in the outside world.

it is a laughable situation that most of the low-end Indian workers (drivers, office boys) fool these brainless Qatari bosses and build an empire in their own land. They suck up to their local bosses only for these reasons!!!

good luck to Qatar and please do "encourage us to think" as to how we can make better use of your oil money!!

just a two cent advise to my beloved local qatari's..... change your attitude and start thinking!!

Qataris work hard??

The only thing Qataris work hard for is TRYING to get in the womens/mens pants!!!

my friends Qatar offer high

my friends Qatar offer high salaries to us even though we drink tea and read newspaper.
but you guys you work really really hard and you get low salaries. i feel sorry for you guys really.
and the good thing that they decided that only a Qatari can hold a manager position..

Joke of the Day

Qatar is bidding to host World Cup 2022. LMFAO

World cup 2022

If by some remote chance in hell these pigs win the 2022, they need to re name it the India world cup as the event like all other events in this flea ridden swamp is organised and ran by Indian slaves. You guessed it the indigenous lazy fat Qataris are to interested in making sure there white dress and tea towel on their head is positioned just right.

Encouraging the world to think

I think the qataris are strange people. They don't work, they can't think, they don't can't even understand why people hate them. They love the American (they will say, I studied in the US, that makes me great) and don't understand that they can't even enter the country with their passport.

Worst of all, we have Qatar Foundation who has the tagline of "Encouraging the world to think" in their CNN advertisement. Please.....

Please encourage yourselves to think b4 others. Please don't be ridiculous. You can't even think, why encourage others to think?

I have a tagline for your :

Qatar Foundation - "Encouraging the world to think" Then I will say " You first...."

Qatar - You Suck....

Interracial Jealousy..??

Many of the problems in Qatar stem from interacial jealousy....lets stop and think about this for a second...Qataries when they go on holiday to Europe or elsewhere wear their best Levi jeans, D&G and many other known fashion labels they drink Corona or Heinekin beer, they go clubbing, dancing picking up women, listening to the latest release popular music...everything their western cousins take for granted....now when they return to Qatar they have to pray three times a day, act like they're the most respected person on earth and abide by Qatari custom and law....oh and I almost forgot wear a silly dress thingy that makes their butt look big..!

So I guess they have a right to be jealous of the rest of us....we get to do pretty much anything we want anytime we want, meanwhile the silly buggers are stuck in their own dust filled backwater while we can leave anytime we wish..!

On the other hand they are so inbred and ugly its no wonder they have to spent all day flicking, plucking and preening their headress like some kind of pretty boy cockatoo it leaves precious little time to actually do any work anyway...and if they did you'd need to check it to make sure he didn't outsource it to an illiterate Indian migrant.

Now some of the women are different....some actually want to work and succeeed in life...sadly the inbred cockatoos of Qatar are masters of sabatage and revenge so these poor unfortunate women are generally shouted down and opressed even more....very sad indeed.

Which brings me to Education....and of course the World Famous Qatar Foundation...or to be more correct the long standing joke of the international education community...sadly the quality of students graduating from some of the associated organisations is simply pathetic...my 12 year old has more intelligence and common sense than the entire graduating class of 2009...I wish they offered a compulsory Masters in Common Sense...imagine the lives it would save in Qatar.....imagine the free time you'd have if people actually thought first before asking those annoyingly stupid questions that take up 2hrs of your time every day..!
Sadly the majority of people within Qatar Foundation are pretty much useless...their Qatarisation program is the beginning of the end for this organisation...if you fill the jar up with rotten eggs its sure to stink..!! Qatarisation...???? Why...???? On the whole Qataries are incapable of adding value to any organisation so why not let them sit around drink tea read the paper and leave the rest of us alone so we can get on with the job and make Qatar a truely marvelous and respectable place to live and work..!!

Side note to Qatar Foundation: Who is the fool in charge of site Safety...someone said it was Fathead Al Jabberwokie....seriously if you want something done right do it yourself...why hire a washed out ex Fireman to build a safety infrastructure for an entire organisation....talk about empire building.. geeesh some of the dangerous ridiculous things I've seen this fool authorise....watch out people...foolishness is contagious..!

Medical care in Qatar....oh my god...please spend time training your staff properly...I witnessed the most appauling scene recently where an elderly gentleman was seeking help for chest pains...meanwhile the attending Dr was more interested in getting the nurses phone number and basically ignored the elderly gentleman...you know what the Drs response was.....Try Yoga its good for releaving stress...thats all the chest pains are...stress related..!!....My GOD why would you tell an elderly Arab man to practice Yoga...just visiting the Yoga studio would be enough to give him a heart attack..!!! Stupid uncaring fool..!

Anyway enough of this wonderful portrait of life in Qatar, if your thinking of coming here to work...don't its a disgusting shit hole filled with greedy turds that will stomp you into the ground just to climb up the ladder of success....if you do decide to come then wear big boots...!

ha

"everything their western cousins take for granted....now when they return to Qatar they have to pray three times a day, act like they're the most respected person on earth and abide by Qatari custom and law....oh and I almost forgot wear a silly dress thingy that makes their butt look big.."

Haaaa haa thanks for that laugh. So true!

Story leans a little to the Qatari side......

What a bunch of crap....they dont get hired because they expect to do exactly what they guy stated, "read the paper and drink tea."......that's why they aren't hired!

$41,000 as a high school drop out as a mall security who just stands around!!!! He makes almost as much as me!!!!!!!!!!! American Expat!!!!

Qatari Interns are not trained by expats

I am an Expat in senior management. I have to be extremely vigilant to ensure that the expat workers share work and information with the Qatari Interns (fresh graduates). It's a natural conflict of interest, once the interns are ready they will take the expat's job.

In Saudi, I have seen this happening too often that the TCN expats will not share information with the locals (threat to their job security)

I believe that they should get ALL the expats out of their country and take charge.

Going to work to drink tea

Going to work to drink tea was fun.

And this.

"He said that the foreigners were never willing to teach him new skills, so he had lost motivation."

HAHA! Imagine saying that as a normal person, in a normal country, at a normal work place!

Al Jazeera Sports is so dumb that they can't even broadcast.

Just like Qatar, Al Jazeera goes and buys the rights for the world cup, only to find that a simple job like broadcasting a match is over their head! Then they come up with some BS that says someone tampered with thier signals...What a lame excuse. Why don't they admit that they treat their staff like slaves and pay them low wages that their technical staff is overworked and not experinced enough..... The real situation in Qatar