Saturday, July 08, 2017

Art Exhibit Featuring "Glory to Tamim"

I was at the W Hotel meeting some friends when their daughter pointed to a sign about an art exhibit on the top floor about the "Glory to Tamim" illustration (I spoke about it in a blog post here).

So we went up and the top floor had been turned into an art gallery, featuring the work of Ahmed Al Maadheed, the Qatari artist who created the illustration of Sheikh Tamim that has now been a rallying image for people across the country. Or at least I thought it was an illustration, it turns out that it is a painting and the original is on display at the gallery.



There were also a number of other works by Mr. Al Maadheed, including portraits of previous Emirs as well as more cultural themes such as falconry.



As well as a portrait of Turkish President Erdogan, probably painted recently when Turkey backed Qatar in this current political crisis:



The paintings will be on display until September. It's amazing how events can change ones life, in just a few weeks Mr. Al Maadheed became one of Qatar's most famous artists. His portrait of Sheikh Tamim is now priceless to the people of Qatar.



Saturday, July 01, 2017

Happy Canada Day!

I've been away on vacation this Eid (I'll post about that later) but I'm back in Doha in time to wish everyone a Happy Canada Day. Canada is 150 years old today, while it was a series of colonies going back to the 1600s it was not an official nation until 1867.

With it being both the summer and Eid there was not much happening here. Most Western expats were away on vacation and with the universities finished until after the summer a lot of Canadians (such as the people working here at the College of the North Atlantic) left a couple of weeks ago. Because of this some celebrated early, and I was at a Canada Day party on June 15th that was hosted by a friend.

One of my Qatari friends went to university in Canada and really fell in love with the country so suggested that today we all meet at a majlis and he'll make poutine for the occasion. We didn't get back from vacation until 2am this morning so we were all too beat to meet up tonight but maybe this weekend we'll try it. Today was just resting and recovering.

Happy Canada Day everyone!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

What does one do during Eid

The first day of Eid is a major holiday for Qataris. Last night the plan was for the guys to meet up at a majlis but only if Eid was not called. Since Eid was called the meet-up was cancelled -- it's a busy day today for Qataris. While most people will have a week off of work Qataris will not go away on holiday until after the first day of Eid.

Yesterday the malls were packed with shoppers getting ready for the holiday. For florists and chocolate shops it was busy as people were buying flowers and treats for all of the visiting that they would be doing during Eid.

Firstly there is an Eid prayer that takes place around 5am. Most Muslim men will attend the prayers and mosques will be overflowing. The Government even supplied a list of locations that will hold the prayer so people know which mosques to attend.

Then the visiting begins. Qataris will be driving all over town visiting relatives. Given the large size of Qatari families I believe there is a lot of visiting as you should go pay your respects to your parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents and so on (and don't forget the in-laws!). Flowers and sweets will be given and you need to have money handy to give to any children or young people present, it's tradition to give young people money as part of Eid. This can be a serious commitment of cash, check out my blog post from two years ago for an example. My understanding is that toy stores do a booming business after the first day of Eid.

There will also be dinner with family. While you have to fast during Ramadan it is a religious requirement that you don't fast during Eid. Eid is a celebration of the end of the fast.

As for me, I will enjoy being able to eat during the day and also being able to sit in a café with a coffee. I missed coffee.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Eid Mubarak everyone!

So Eid was announced tonight, Ramadan is officially over! It was a day earlier than I expected.

Needless to say this Ramadan did not go anything like I had expected. Only a week into Ramadan and suddenly there was a mass blockade of Qatar and all of the craziness that ensued. Not a lot of time for reading usul-al-fiqh, time was taken up with following developments or discussing them with people. At work it was the main topic of conversation every day.

Of course it isn't over yet. Qatar has a list of demands (so broad and bizarre that they're being mocked on social media and online) and Qatar has 10 days to respond. I think there's seven days left to the deadline. What happens after that is anyone's guess.

Until then, Eid Mubarak everybody!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ramadan 2017 - Corniche Car Parade

Because of all that's been happening this month I also forgot the car parade (thanks to Doha News for reminding me). Every day during Ramadan, around 5 o'clock, people take their cars down to the Corniche and drive around. In previous years lots of people were bringing out their fanciest cars or vintage cars to display them at this unofficial "parade". This year there is a different theme, influenced by the recent political events. This year it's about national pride. Lots of cars had images of Sheikh Tamim, especially that illustration from my previous post.




There were also a lot of children standing through the sunroofs of cars, many of them wearing military uniforms. In previous years the police were cracking down on people letting kids stand through the sunroof but this year it doesn't appear that anyone is concerned because it was happening a lot.




There's still a few more days left to Ramadan if you want to go to the Corniche and check out the parade.



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rallying Around the Emir

At the start of this blockade crisis an image started getting traction on social media as a way to show support for Qatar. It is a drawing of His Highness Sheikh Tamim.



The Arabic says something like "Glory to Tamim". I've heard the phrase "We are all Tamim" occasionally but that is not what the Arabic inscription says.

Anyway the image has really gained traction. Many people are now using it as their avatar picture on social media, and the image has spread outside of the internet. You can see it on shop windows:





Cars:





Even on billboards and the sides of buildings:



As for the crisis itself there hasn't been much of a change. Apparently Saudi Arabia is drafting up its list of demands to present to Qatar. Shouldn't they have had that in the beginning? I mean Saudi/UAE/Bahrain start a blockade nearly two weeks ago and NOW they're drafting up their demands?! Bizarre.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Distraction From the Recent Political Situation

There's nothing like food poisoning to take ones mind from other troubles (*sigh*). I had a rough last few days but the doctor provided me with some medications to help my stomach and it's worked wonders. Seriously, modern medicine is amazing and it bothers me that there are people who completely distrust it. Yes, the profit-driven motive to pharmaceuticals has created a number of issues but boy can it be a relief to come down with an illness, that in the past might have killed you, that nowadays is easily treatable. In this case it's more treating the symptoms, the doctor figures that it is viral so it'll just have to run its course. At least I was able to go to work today.

As for the economic blockade I'm in the loop about as much as anyone else who's been reading the international papers. I'll see friends this weekend so hopefully I'll get a more local perspective about what is going on but in truth I don't think most people really know. Even Arabic-speakers are relying on twitter rumours and facebook posts, I just don't know enough Arabic to translate what is being said.

I did get a number of people contacting me about a twitter rumour making the rounds a week ago that Canada sided with Qatar in the dispute. I did a search of Canadian news and Canadian Government websites and found nothing about this (in fact Canada has been silent about the dispute). Yet one more false rumour that spread around social media. I'm sure tons of stuff are just rumours that people started.