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Time to preserve Qatari identity

December 26, 2013 - 6:35:29 am
Given the insistence of Mr John, this nice old English man, invitation to his house to taste some Hungarian cuisine his Hungarian wife had made, I could not help but accept the invitation, especially because he is well-cultured and intellectual whose interesting stories do not tire me.

Mr John asked me a simple yet deep question while we were having dinner in his classy apartment, which overlooks the West Bay neighbourhood in Doha with all of its eminent skyscrapers.

“What are you doing (as Qataris) to preserve your identity and culture with all the continuous influx of foreigners from different parts of the world, who are arriving in Qatar on a daily basis, and with the advent of Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament?”

I felt that my tongue preceded my mind when I replied, “We are ready, God willing.” 

Normally, I was a bit worried, but I did not panic over the idea, as it is a decisive issue related to the identity of the state and its people.

The issue is also serious in view of the price the Gulf region has to pay for the required urbanisation, and the reason for this is that all the indications point towards the state’s awareness of the issue and its readiness to protect and root the genuine Qatari identity and culture, which originally emerge from the teachings of Islam.

I believe that schools are the safety valve through their significant roles in rooting the Qatari identity.

Government agencies, civil society organisations, the National Day and its celebrations, which boost the spirit of citizenship and root habits and traditions, have considerable roles in the issue.

Moreover, the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has ordered the construction of a permanent headquarters for Darb Al Saai, which is one of the major attractions of Qatar National Day celebrations every year. This step will certainly contribute to preserving the Qatari identity. 

However, it should be well-studied to preserve the Qatari culture without the influence of other cultures and traditions, even if they are from neighbouring countries, as Qatar has its specificities since the dawn of history, and these should be preserved and protected.

The Qatari National Day is not just a celebration, it has deep meanings, a true rooting for the Qatari identity and culture and a remarkable responsibility. 

It is our duty as Qatari citizens to devote ourselves, work hard and realise that celebrating our National Day and history is an obligation.

Qatar’s founder Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani united the core tribes and families into one nation and established our unique Qatari identity that combines traditions and customs of sea and land tribes. We also must applaud the state’s role in promoting our national identity at various levels. Nevertheless, we need the true culture that reflects our identity.

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