GCC citizens’ ties to remain intact

 08 Mar 2014 - 4:28


Dr Ali Al Shawai, Professor of Sociology, Qatar University

DOHA: The unprecedented decision by three GCC countries — Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain — to withdraw their envoys from Qatar wouldn’t affect close ties between citizens, according to an expert. 
Unlike people in other countries, GCC citizens have strong family and tribal relations, and any ‘misunderstandings’ between the states will be resolved soon, says Dr Ali Al Shawai, Professor of Sociology at Qatar University. 
He said even the ruling families of the GCC states have family ties and the bonds are beyond diplomatic relations. 
“GCC citizens are different from those in other countries.  We have tribal extensions and not a single family which has no extended family relations in other countries as in the GCC states,” Dr Shawai told this daily yesterday. 
“Even the royal families of the GCC countries have their extensions in other countries. Traditionally, when Arab tribes move from place to place, they do not attach any significance to the borders and feel free as if they are in the same country,” he added. 
Dr Shawai said any issue between the GCC states would be resolved and their relations will remain smooth. 
“Whatever happens, I am sure, it will pass as any simple issue and it will be solved within the same family,” he said. However, he said some media organisations are taking advantage of the situation to blow up the issue. “The foreign media taking advantage of this misunderstanding between countries is feeling happy over what has happened and trying to provoke. Therefore, we need to be aware and more objective,” he said.
Many commentators on social media have expressed similar views, saying the decision by the three countries would not harm relationship between GCC citizens. “Any misunderstandings between governments will not affect relations between GCC citizens, they are aware of the level of ties,” said a commentator on a popular Qatari social networking forum. 
Another said, “I hope this misunderstanding between brothers will be solved, we are one people and we should not be sensitive to this extend. Everyone of us has brothers and sisters in more than one GCC state.” Another comment read: “I hope people will not react fast and emotionally against each other because what has happened is painful and I hope the situation will come back to normal.” 
The Peninsula