This Tuesday evening, a few students from around the EC campus came together for an evening of sandwiches, karak, and discussion. Thought Provoking Tuesdays invites students to get together and share their thoughts about several issues that we can currently see in the local society. This time, the topic of discussion was about changes that Qatar might have to make to cater to the international audience in 2022.
A broad range of topics were discussed: from Qatar’s conservative culture to the impact on those in the industrial area of Qatar. Omer Mohammed, NUQ’s alumnus, stated that, “visitors will come to Qatar not only for the FIFA experience. They will also look for other forms of entertainment.”
To what extent can Qatar be a good host to them? Bassil from WCMCQ added that, “Will Qatar’s changes cater to its own people or to those who visit the country for just one month?”. With the restrictions on alcohol consumption and night life in Qatar, perhaps we will see a clash of cultures and expectations in 2022.”
It was suggested that Qatar needs to be more liberal and those who are uncomfortable with the opening up of laws in the country need to be tolerant.
Hayaan, from WCMCQ stated that when Qatar entered the bid, this is the choice they had made. There are several Qatari’s who foresee these issues, and keeping this in mind, Qatar has entered and won the bid. Perhaps Qatar has a plan for this? Perhaps, as Shaikh Afzal stated, the laws will open up slowly in the coming years to avoid the culture shock? Even with these precautions, there could always be segregation in society between the more conservative and more liberal cultures.
Arwa, from SFS-Q Georgetown University highlighted the idea that if laws open up in the country, it would be difficult for people to differentiate between expats who have lived here and abided by Qatari law, and foreigners who are only coming to visit. If both these segments are considered the same, then there might be a detrimental effect even on the expats who live in Qatar.
Another interesting issue brought up by Fatima Hubail from SFS-Q, Georgetown University was that about the image that people might have of the industrial area in Qatar. With the vast difference in lifestyle of those who inhabit Doha and those who inhabit the industrial area, will Qatar try to hide off the conditions in the industrial area or improve these conditions? With Qatar’s immense and unfathomed development in the last two decades, it is not impossible to imagine a developed industrial area. Like no other country in the world, Qatar’s has the resources and capability to develop and cater to a large audience. Predicting the next 10 years would be very difficult. We can only hope that development continues at the same rate, if not faster.
The discussion did not end as the evening closed. We all stayed behind to discuss further about what the country was currently doing to ensure a smooth transition. Only when the karak had left the room, did students finally begin to leave and continue with their evening.