Thursday, January 8, 2009

Car Graphics

It's not uncommon to find white decal stickers on the back of cars here in Doha, thanking God, giving thanks, praising God, or showing Qatar pride. I personally purchased a Qatar seal for my non-existent car back in the States and considered a 'Alhamdulillah' (Thanks be to God or الحمد لله ) sticker.

But more striking are the photographic images plastered on the back on SUVs and trucks showing the Emir, his son, his falcon, Qatar flags, etc. Supposedly, the story goes, some patriotic individual put the Emir on his vehicle. The Emir saw it and rewarded the man with a large sum of money. And then supposedly everyone started doing it. So the story goes.

Thought you'd enjoy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Suffering of Students in Gaza

Two months without a post is too long. I apologize and Happy New Year!

I arrived in Doha less than 24 hours ago and I'm currently nursing a coffee to beat back jet lag. Instead of flying my normal O'Hare to Dulles to Doha route, I had purchased a O'Hare to NY to Doha route. Only my itinerary did not make it painfully obvious that I flew into La Guardia and then out of JFK, a detail I discovered when checking in at O'Hare. The United rep was nice enough to get me on an earlier flight to La Guardia (because I originally only had 2 hours and 13 minutes between flights), otherwise I might not be here in Doha right now.

There's apparently a flurry of activity here at Education City over the recent violence in Gaza. I've noticed more Palestinian references on student's away messages and Facebook images. There have also been more references to Naji al-Ali's 40-year old image of 'Handhala' image that represents a child of the Palestinian refugee camps. (One student even used this image in his final design project about recycling last semester).

I just found out that Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned (Chairperson of Qatar Foundation) plans to launch an international initiative aimed at addressing the need to protect education and students in Gaza. There's a planning event in CM-Q's auditorium tomorrow evening and the Education City students are organizing a march on Tuesday to show support with the students in Gaza.

It's weird to be back. I was certainly sad to leave the States and especially my boyfriend James, but it's nice to know it's only one more semester. And yet I'm still conflicted. Much as I know I need to return to States, there is still something alluring about being abroad. My heart warmed to hear Arabic music on my car radio and I felt expanded to witness another side of the Gaza conflict rarely presented in American media. I have a sense in the future I will either need to continue to work internationally in some capacity or save my pennies and travel often.