Q atar is a mystery. What goes on here in this desert peninsula of only 176 square kilometres that juts into the Persian Gulf from its southern neighbour Saudi Arabia?
I know as much about Qatar as I could glean from a Sri Lankan tour guide on our ‘Doha Highlights Tour’, and he didn’t know much. But still I write! On an hour’s stop at I M Pei’s vaunted Museum of Islamic Art, I learned no more from three Qatari Exhibition attendants, all of whom could speak not one word of English.
This is a country of only 2.5 million people, eighty-six percent of whom are expat workers. That leaves only three hundred thousand Qataris. Who on earth inhabit the mile after mile of magnificent high-rise office buildings and residential apartment blocks?
Infrastructure of super highways, Metro, and eleven stadia for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is well underway. Hearing that the government is will gift five of the stadia to African countries after the FIFA World Cup made me think that this ‘excess’ on view might be more palatable if the young Emir could, say, ‘adopt an African country’ and provide the funds for water, food and education, putting a new generation, and a country, onto the path of self-sufficiency and sustained development.
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