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Stop tarnishing Qatar’s image

January 02, 2014 - 6:43:34 am
Envious people and “writers of crises” across the Arab world are busy trying to underestimate Qatar’s importance on Arab and international levels. They do everything possible to tarnish the country’s image.

These people fault our country in being undemocratic. To them I say, if Iraq under Nouri Al Maliki and his Shia party is a democratic state, then I have enough reasons to reject this type of democracy. 

I reject this model, which opened the door for killing more than one million Iraqis (men, women and children) while more than three millions have been displaced since Al Maliki’s party came to power. 

The same model opened the door for looting public money and properties. This article is not enough to recount details. 

Do these envious people want us in Qatar to have a democracy like that in Syria under Bashar Al Assad? 

Assad’s democracy has revolved around the concepts of “rejection” and “resistance”, and destroyed more than 50 percent of the country and its infrastructures over the past three years. 

The regime also killed thousands of people and displaced millions who sought refuge in neighbouring countries and crossed overseas for safety. So I do not support such type of democracy.  

Do the envious want us to take a leaf from the democracy of the coup regime in Egypt? We do not want it either. 

Qatar has never claimed that it is democratic. The fact is that we have a hereditary rule, but fight corruption and nepotism. There are no prisoners of conscience in our jails. 

We never say that our government and leadership are ideal. However, we enjoy a dignified life, express our opinions freely and demand further reforms and participation without fear of any crackdown or harassment. There could be some mistakes, but mere individuals commit them, and these mistakes don’t affect the freedom of citizens, their thoughts, properties, families and dignity. 

These writers claim through the media that Qatar has relations with Israel, forgetting that the relationship deteriorated following the Israeli aggression on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009, and the Palestinian ambassador in Doha can confirm this. 

No single Palestinian has been killed on Qatari territory over the years, but the “writers of crises” never talk about the number of Palestinians slaughtered by the Assad regime in Palestinian refugee camps. 

It is true that Palestinians had been treated as citizens in Syria since the setback of 1948 before Assad’s father came to power, and this was because of the generosity of the Syrian people. 

Palestinian refugees endured untold suffering at the Tel Al Zaatara and other refugee camps in Lebanon in the mid-1990s. They are still suffering in Syria and Lebanon where they have been deprived of as many as 90 professions. 

Look at the condition of Palestinian refugees in Iraq after the emergence of the “democratic rule” of Al Dawa party. No doubt, it is worse. 

The “writers of crises” don’t mention in their articles or TV interviews that Israel praises the Assad regime, which is killing its own people using all kinds of weapons. The Israelis say their country is safer as long as Assad is in power. These writers don’t talk about relations between Egypt and Israel and Egypt’s role in the siege of Gaza with the sole aim of pleasing the Zionist entity. 

Qatar did not deny its economic relations with Israel when Tel Aviv vowed to adopt the Arab peace initiative. It is no secret that most Arab regimes have economic and security relations with Israel, so why Qatar is singled out then? 

Let’s take a few examples of Qatari contribution to the Palestinian people. 

This month, Qatar offered $120m in aid to bring the necessary fuel to Gaza’s power station, which had stopped working for more than a month. 

The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah failed to offer help to the people of Gaza, aiming to undermine the Hamas government and tightening the siege on the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority although receives money from the European Union to buy fuel. 

Qatar established homes, rehabilitated roads, schools and hospitals in Gaza. Qatari aid, however, faces difficulty in reaching Gaza through Egypt, the only neighbour. 

According to Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Qatar has supported the Palestinian Authority with $150m aid last December to revive its economy.

Qatar previously launched projects in Ramallah and the West Bank similar to those in Gaza last year, and the Jerusalem Fund is aware of Qatar’s contribution. 

Qatar is always the first to bridge every deficit in the Palestinian budget. Qatar was the only Arab country to send aid to Gaza when flash floods and rains because of bad weather conditions overwhelmed the Strip last month. It offered all types of help despite difficulties in delivering aid to the people of Gaza. Non-governmental Qatari aid to Gaza over the past two years has reached QR116.4m. The government also offered QR159.5m  in aid to Gaza during the same period. 

The Palestinian people vividly remember the scientific and humanitarian programme Salatek, under the direct supervision of H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, wife of the Father Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Millions of dollars have been earmarked for the programme. 

What about the rest of the Arab world? Qatar offered QR8.9bn to other Arab countries between 2006 and 2012 and Qatari charities and society’s support reached QR4.2bn during the same period. 

The “writers of crises” say Qatar paid these amounts only to intervene in the internal affairs of these countries, including Egypt and Tunisia. By saying this, however, they are undermining their countries which are older and bigger than Qatar in terms of population and area. 

As we bid farewell to 2013, I invite all honest writers in the Arab world to dedicate their pen to the service of their countries and to defend their freedom and dignity. 

They do not need to use their pen to throw accusations at others. They should not keep defending oppressive regimes that want to either rule their people or kill them. 
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