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Friday, September 05, 2008

Superior culture?

Walking through the centre of my home town, we did not feel safe. Although it was the middle of the day and we were with two small children, people were shouting and swearing around us, swigging cider from bottles, groping and snogging each other in front of us - some people were obviously drunk, others drugged up.

Then, a week or so later, a Qatari teenager, come to the UK to study English, was attacked by white thugs in a racist attack. He died a few days later.

While there is plenty of racism in Qatar, a racist attack like this simply wouldn't take place. I have walked through backstreets in Qatar at three in the morning without a qualm. But if it did happen, you would soon be whisked to hospital. Not, as in the case of young Mohammed, spending hours waiting in a police car, then hours again waiting for a hospital bed.

And I can imagine the reaction of the British if a young English boy was killed in an attack by Qatar youths. There would be aggression, a desire for revenge, perhaps some Qataris beaten up. 

I have seen none of that. The only interaction with Qatari youths I have had since the incident was at a coffee shop. They were a bit loud and boisterous, but happy to play with my two year old son when he trotted up to them. 

I would be spitting for revenge, crying out for the perpetrators to be found and hung, and sod my opposition to the death penalty. The distraught Father of the boy only said it was the will of God. 

We British are so proud of our culture, so superior, and so quick to criticize others, but at this moment I can only feel a sense of shame about my country and my people.

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