Negative Comments About Qatar On Website Spark Cultural War

When art history professor Lisa Clayton posted a sarcastic rant Friday about Qatari youth on a popular online forum for expatriates in the country, she was not expecting to spark a national cultural war.

"It is Qatar National Day and what should be a time of celebration and pride, presented this country and Qataris in a terrible light of lawlessness, arrogance and disrespect for others, as well as property," Clayton, who has lived in Qatar for over a decade, wrote on qatarliving.com. "One idiot was running around in an Osama bin Laden mask running up to expatriates in their car and trying to scare them. Ya Qatar, you really did yourself proud today... :-((("

Professor Clayton, writing under the pseudonym 'PM', continued to describe a scene in which young Qataris were driving through the streets steering with their feet or sitting on the front windshield, spraying cars with shaving cream, blasting music and roaming the streets with traditional swords, with no police in sight and siren-wailing ambulances unable to get through.

The comments were not appreciated by many local Qataris, who called on advertisers to boycott Qatar Living and successfully began trolling the site for further evidence of 'Qatar-bashing', finding numerous examples including a revived old post titled "Qatar Sucks."

"Here are my reasons why I think Qatar is the worst, most boring place to be," wrote a Canadian expat, prefacing a list of things to dislike about Qatar, from the "Lack of culture" and hot weather to there being "no beauty in the landscape nor in the architecture."

"It didn't take me long before I realized what a horrible place it really is," she warned. "DO NOT even consider the idea of moving to Qatar. It's BORING, DISAPPOINTING and DISGUSTING!"

"My biggest problem about Qatar is how they allow all these labours [sic] to come and work here like dogs," she added. "They should at least be allowed to bring their wives here with them, so that they don't' fucking stare at women like hungry animals. They disgust me and I find them subhuman in the way they act towards non-Qatari women."

Administrators of the site have removed the post on Qatar National Day and asked for it to kept in perspective.

"Like everywhere on the Internet, there are bound to be a small number of people who make comments that are offensive," the company said in a statement. "The objectionable comments by a number of individuals should not be seen as indicative of most of the Qataris and Expatriates who make up the Qatar Living community."

Professor Clayton, now banned from the site, has also apologized for her post.

"I am deeply sorry for criticizing anything related to the celebration of your special day and using such a thoughtless choice o...f words and tone," she said in a statement. "I am a destroyed woman who is afraid to leave her home and humiliated by being at the root of this terrible firestorm in my adopted home... I don't know what more you want from me, but let me say again that I am deeply regretful of having hurt any Qataris and shattered at what this has done to so many lives."

But calls for calm have not placated Qatari bloggers, and the issue has caused a scandal in the local press.

"We are all for freedom of expression but that does not mean you cross boundaries and heap insults on us," Al Jufairi, a local civil engineer, told a Qatari paper, describing the comments as racist and in bad taste.

"These people have no appreciation of what this country has given them and we will not let them get away with all of this," wrote Amal Al-Sulaiti on a 200 member-strong Facebook group set up to bring down the 'offending' website. "They have called us names such as pigs, uncivilized, racist barbarians... They say that we cannot survive without them and that we cannot handle or manage our country... Our aim is to have this website closed for good and teach whoever is attacking our Qatari identity that Qataris should not be underestimated and underrated and we want all of them to see how vicious we are whenever anyone goes beyond their limits while talking about Qatar."

"We do not want expatriates to leave the country," she added. "But we surly demand respect and will never accept being described as savages... for those who are not willing to be appreciative of all the benefits they are getting by working in Qatar, they surly are not welcomed to stay in Qatar."

Shabina S. Khatri, a Qatar commentator for the non-profit blog aggregation site Global Voices, said the expression of such comments on an influential local site had released a wave of pent up anger.

"This is a website that hundreds of thousands of people use, it's extremely popular," she told The Media Line. "Also National Day is such a happy day for Qataris and for someone to be complaining about it just became a catalyst for anger that has been building up."

"Now some see the website as just a forum for people to come to Qatar and bash Qataris," she said. 'They are saying we are just so sick of everyone insulting our culture and saying we are uncivilized.'

Dr Fadwa El Guindi, the head of the Department of Social Sciences at Qatar University, argued that historically-based Western notions of superiority lead to cultural tensions between Qatari nationals and skilled foreign workers.

"I don't observe any open direct confrontations but there is a hidden tension here," she told The Media Line. "Westerners who come here are generally better trained and often an air of racial superiority, but the Qataris say 'wait a minute we are the ones who are wealthy and hiring here.'"

"There are special privileges for Qatari nationals in pay, promotions and job security and that can easily translate to bitterness on the other side," Dr El Guindi added. "With the background of colonialism, Westerners are used to having it the other way around, in which it is the Westerners that have the skills and the Westerners that have the money. So the tensions grow because those who are economically dominant are not the ones who are dominant in skills."

But some expatriates have joined the backlash against 'Qatar-bashing'.

"We are visitors here," wrote one Qatar Living user in response to the 'Qatar Sucks' post. "We respect Qatar, those who don't, know where the airport is."

"If you don't like it here, then the question is why they are here?" Ganesh Seshan, a visiting professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar told The Media Line. "If you don't like it here and you want to see a change, then do something constructive to help address the issues that need to be dealt with in this society."

"Sometimes you need an honest discussion but not a nasty, provocative, insensitive manner," he said. "But complaining is the easiest thing to do and you can't draw conclusions based on a few anecdotal experiences."

"We wouldn't be here if it were not for the Qataris giving us the opportunity to be here," Seshan said. "So I don't think we should be able to criticize them whenever we feel like it. It's like biting the hand that feeds you."

Seshan said it was an overreaction to call for the closure of the English-language forum.

"Qatar Living is a very valuable resource and serves a larger community than this small number of people who want to vent," he said. "Maybe they need to get smarter about posts, but shutting it down is not the right approach, and you also don't want to get into censorship issues. This is what happens in open forums."

But after four days of press coverage, many Qataris have started to tire of the issue.

Others are already sick of the local press coverage of the issue.

"[What] the hell is wrong with them?" wrote Hanadi Hassan on Twitter. "Will everybody just let it go?"

Source: The Media Line Staff via Gantdaily.com

Comments

Die for Qatar, what a joke!

Yeah, which expat would lay down his/her life for Qatar.

What would all these fat Qatari's and precious Qatari women do?

Probably catapult their slaves (maids) into enemy ranks.

I love how they try their Muslim propaganda at 6am - the guy has an American accent for Gods sake.

And BTW why is God wrong and Allah right? Pompass assholes.

Do you see how their children act at the Mall? Its a reflection of what they'll become. Qatar - What a hole!!!

Qatari diplomat was stupid

Qatari diplomat was stupid and arrogant to light up mid-flight
Maybe he was arrogant. Perhaps he was just stupid. But air marshals were right Wednesday to take a Qatari man into custody while traveling on a United Airlines flight from Reagan National to Denver.

Details about the incident are still streaming in, but the passenger, diplomat Mohammed al-Madadi, had apparently been smoking in the bathroom of the airliner -- an act that, as frequent travelers (and smokers) well know and flight attendants and lavatory signs clearly announce, is prohibited by federal law. No explosives were found on Madadi, who invoked diplomatic immunity. But air marshals had no way of knowing whether Madadi was simply soothing a nicotine craving or trying to set off explosives a la “shoe bomber” Richard Reid or “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Some reports say Madadi may have mouthed off to marshals by joking that he was trying to “light a bomb in my shoe.” If true, check the box for stupid AND arrogant.

Weren’t we at one point prohibited from bringing lighters or matches on board aircraft? Maybe we need a return to this policy to avert future incidences like this -- or at least keep inconsiderate people who can’t seem to control their urges from scaring the hell out of everyone else.

"Source : http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/04/qatari_diplomat_was_stupid_and.html"

Comments

People please keep your comments related to the topic above it would be nice to read peoples views on it not just silly "QATAR SUCKS QATAR DOESNT SUCK" comments. Thanks

Qatari's Suck!

I am an expat residing in Bahrain and even I know how poorly behaved these people are. On the steets of Bahrain they drive like idiots, they come behind Bahrainis motorists and drive 2cm from the car in front while flashing the lights of their SUV's. When they go to the bars they get drunk, cause trouble and then drive like dangerous idiots back to whatever sleazy brothel they are staying in. They are rude in restaurants and obnoxious when out in public.
I love to see the Bahraini police giving them a hard time.

They are worse than Kuwaiti's and Saudis, they are pigs who dress like humans!

Mohammed's Shame

Mohammed would be ashamed of the Qatari's. Makes me ashamed to be a Muslim. I've been back there twice since leaving as a child and it is true, they are mostly uneducated and the men are lecherous. They (we) would be nothing were it not for the ex-pats working to make Qatar a better place. My advice to all non-Quatari's; STAY AWAY - don't ruin your life. It upsets me enough to question my faith. Internationally we are considered the "scum of the Arab world".

qataries are poor people

Do you know in 300,000 qataries how many are original qataries, these poor people migrated from IRAN, and they lived there in very poor condition , now they saw some richness so they become rude. only 5% are original qataries and teh rest are migrated people from IRAN , INDIA , BANGLADESH . so what do you expect from people have no history. there life is just gliter from out side , i'm living between them and have seen there life from very near. aaaghhhhhhhh
next time i'll give some detail about there lives due to my experiance.

John Downs American Serving Life in Qatar Jail

Kin's goal: Bring man home from Qatar jail - American Geologist ...
Mar 31, 2010 ... The two don't argue his innocence, but they question the fairness of his trial and worry about his safety in the Qatar prison. ...
www.johnwdowns.com/blog/?p=590

Qatar Sucks?

Haha, it is not suprising to hear about the stuff that are going on. The Qataris thought that they are cultured and educated just because they "went" to "University in the States". Come on. You don't become cultured just because you can buy yourself a space in a university in the US. Also, please don't be silly. Getting Ivy Leagues U to come to Qatar don't automatically makes you a smart city. Qatar Foundation is a classic example. You got money, you pay, the Ivy League come. Don't pretend you are great and good, that is why Ivy League Us come.

And please don't put the slogan "Teaching the world to think" in your ad. It is embarrassing. Let me add a slogan for you. "Teaching the world to think" and someone else comes out and say "Qatar, You first"

Bad place to be at

Thank God am out of there, such a bad place to be at. It's the biggest proof that money is not happiness. Where modern slavery prospers, and maids/nanies/servants/workers torture & abuse is smthg they laugh about while drinking their tea with milk. These bad souls are lost, time will only make them worse. They have to lose everything to know humanity, if that ever happens. I feel compassion to all of those who have to spend a day in that abyss.

Lost Soul

Yep, and the best bit is that they blame expats for their depraved existance...

Geography of bliss

In this book(title), Qatar is stated as 2nd most sad place on earth(after Moldova). I think it's true. Lived there 2 years and a half myself, couldn't wait to leave. I gotta say that the majority of them are ignorant-arrogant, but not all of them. I made friends with only one guy and he's human/considerate/modest/respectful he's like a brother to me and he's local. I think nobody there is happy, and these poor workers are just heartbreaking, I went and saw how they're treated like animals, how they're yelled at and beaten. Evil is something to be proud of for a lot of the locals, maids rape is a joke for them. They made pacts with demons and they worship money. I guess you cannot be moving from tents to zillion dollars towers without becoming insane, maybe its in their genes...ignorance is the enemy of mankind.

I lived 4 years in the shit hole they call Qatar

All that I have read on the Qatar sucks website is true. Working as a Canadian expat I was locked into a bad contract with QChem and the yanks. IN the end I won but the if they nukes Qatar no loss for the rest of the world. Excellent website keep up the good work spreading the truth on Qatar.

To: Fat and Sick people of Qatar

Celebrate your national day when you are able to protect your country without the help of US army.
I wonder in case another country attacks Qatar how many fat Qatari are going to protect and fight for their country! Any volunteer? NONE!

Qatar Sucks

Qatar sucks is a great website that tells the truth about this country that has no resepct for anyone or anything. The world should know what has been hidden for so long. www.tracyedwardsqatar.com

your right

ya thats right the 300,000 qataries are right and the 2 million expats are wrong.......... thats sarcasm if you couldn't tell.. they're in denial and they don't like it when there called on it. The truth hurts...

Qataris are disgusting

Since when u have a national day? Since when and from where you have a culture?
go back and ride ur camels.
Qataris are disgusting. Never seen so many gays and bisexuals in such a small place. Go to hell Qataris with your disgusting country. Yes we come to Qatar to teach you stupid Qataris how to live, how to stand in a queue, how to speak, how to drive and how to give respect to all the people around you. How to satisfy your wife so they won’t be looking for other men in shopping malls.

What a horrible place and horrible people!!

After living there for one and a half years I am now back in England.
I have travelled the world but have never been in a more disgusting place, it seems the most horrible people on the earth live in Qatar. I have never witnessed so many slimy, letchy, disgustingly arrogant people in such a small place!!
The whole place really does suck!!

Let it go!

The story mentions that the press coverage over this incident has gone on for several days. It is because the Qataris have nothing better to do w/ their time. If one of them were to 'diss the Pope or the US President every one would say "It's okay, everyone has an opinion". But you cannot say anything negative about the Arab people, their countries, or their religion. (Example, the cartoonist responsible for the Mohammad cartoons was recently attacked in his home and has been under police protection for several years now!!) I've worked 6 months in Bahrain, 1 year in Abu Dhabi, and 2 years in Doha. Bahrain and Abu Dhabi natives have a little bit a attitude but nothing even close to the arrogance displayed in Doha. Where else will you find people smoking in front of no smoking signs at the mall? This incident just goes even further in proving what the professor was complaining about in the first place. It's just a pack mentality! We don't like what someone has said about us so we will gang up on them until they leave the country after educating our youth for a decade! This ignorance is why you can find such extremism in these countries, it's just too easy to get them riled up. Let them face the facts - they are way too wrapped up in buying into western culture to see just how shitty they treat their own culture. I'd go back but only for work and never because I like the country itself. Some day the rest of the world will realize how behind the curve these countries are and leave them behind.

Western Culture

Yeah, I love it when they blame Western influence for the rise in Divorce rates in the paper?

Its probably cause their wives are getting sick of them fucking the maid!

Qatar national day

You know it's just narrow minded for Qatari citizen's to get upset that people are critical of their national day celebrations. I only went out, because I had to that nite and was also disgusted by what I saw.

NOT because of the celebrations, but because of the rudeness, the total lack of regard for safety, the arrogance that they showed towards anyone around them. People were sitting on the front of hoods driving down the street, as was said, driving with their feet as they hung out the window. Or one of my personal favorites was the guys swinging swords as they walked between cars in bumber to bumber traffic, never mind the fact that people were leaning out of their cars and could have been hit......

NOBODY should be blamed for stating these things are wrong, or even uncivilized or barbaric, because they are just that. If you choose to put not only your lives in danger, but the lives of other around you with no regard of what will happen, than that is uncivilized, or at least negligent at best.

It's a shame they can treat us expat's like crap, but if we criticize common sense things, we are somehow wrong!

how do you give the car gas

how do you give the car gas when you're driving with your feet?

ha ha poor Qatari's

Complaining about the complaints from Asian workers about how they are treated. Yes, they should feel lucky to be here and to have a job and be treated like a slave. How dare they complain!?

Oh please...

Each and every Qatari knows that this is true but they hate to admit it. I was recruited by Qatar Foundation few years ago after I was earning 6 figures income in the US and had a very senior position. Their VP fooled me when he said that we are all about empowering people and staff. All that was a big lie. After I provided the services they needed, they refused to pay me my money and deported me. This country is full of shit and Qataries are the scum of the world. The corruption I witnessed at Qatar Foundation goes beyond anyone's imagination. People steeling, bosses sleeping with employees, fake contracts, over spending and much more.
They won the world cup with their money. I hope they flunk that event.