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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Qatar 2008: Looking Back...

This post could fill a book - but I am way too tired for that, and I doubt you would have the time or the desire to read it. So here are what I consider the highs and lows of Qatar 2008.

Cable Cuts

Ironically, Qatar starts and ends the year struggling with slow internet due to cable cuts. Qtel seems to have learnt its lesson well as the internet speed is certainly a lot better than when we posted about it in February, and photographed one user pulling her hair out in: Another Internet Cable Goes.

Ostrich Attack

A slow internet connection is not the worst thing that can happen to you, as one resident found out in a trip to Abrouq nature reserve - the poor chap was very nearly kicked to death by an ostrich. This is a post worth reviewing as it is once again the ostrich breeding season.

Qatar Cross

The Cross Shall not be Raised in Qatar warned one Qatar columnist, yet a church was raised, delighting Christians yet sprouting debate and disagreement between Muslims in Qatar. Abroad, though, the reaction was one of respect for a guesture of tolerance and mutual repect by the Qatari government.

Qatar Olympics

Qatar was at first disappointed, then bitter at losing the bid for the Olympic Games. What riled was that Qatar actually beat one of the cities going though on the Olympic Games points system, as we saw in this post: Why Did Qatar Lose the Olympic Games?

Qatar originally said they would keep on applying for the Games until they got it, but there has been little mention since the failed application of another bid.

Gang Attack

In a racist attack, a foreign boy was attacked and brutally beaten to death. This happened not in Qatar but in a British town, as we saw in Superior Culture. The reponse was outrage - and, amongst some of us, shame.

Media Center

Center for Media Freedom was opened in Qatar. We have been fairly sceptical as to how much they would actually do in Qatar, and so far their main focus has been on journalists abroad.

Qatar Kissing

Finally, there is the rather sad story of a couple kissing who then got into trouble despite the fact they were married. The marriage involved a Christian and a Muslim couple, legally married abroad. Although they fled before the sentence was passed, they were sentenced to a year in jail. So, if you are a couple of mixed religions (with the women being a Muslim), it is probably best not to come to Qatar.

So, that was 2008 - more lows than highs perhaps, (although we did miss out all the sporting events), but that's life.

See you next year!

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