Addendum

Jan. 25th, 2010 07:44 pm
qatarperegrine: (Default)
[personal profile] qatarperegrine
In the comments, Genesis pointed me to this excellent blog post by a Qatari girl about "Dialogue Distress: The Gap Between Qataris and Foreigners." It said a lot of what I was trying to say, but failed, about the misconceptions between Qataris and [Western] expats.

Date: 2010-01-25 05:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jcreed.livejournal.com
Interesting.

As a point of comparison, I was berated by someone (Romanian as it happens) rather strenuously for not visiting my parents more than once a year. She didn't even just say "Oh! poor you, you don’t have strong family ties.", to quote the post, but actively argued that my behavior was rude and thoughtless.

And the thing is, the way I immediately felt was, to pick a word, offended, because I feel fairly secure that my family and I understand each other, but as a basic matter of cultural intercommunication and stuff, I feel that she should be "allowed" (and not just legally, but allowed socially without too much censure) the right to say that to me. Maybe that value itself marks me as American, but it seems like you're going to have to yield some margin of just letting some things go which genuinely infringe on the red zone of things that instinctually piss you off, or else you're just (like you said in your previous post) advocating freedom of speech except for all the speech acts you don't want to hear.

I am no Christian for sure, but the logic behind Jesus's "love your enemy" --- because just treating the people you already like well doesn't really take that much effort --- seems applicable here.

Date: 2010-01-25 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qatar.livejournal.com
Justin and I were once chatting with some of our Qatari students about moving away to college at the age of 17. They were appalled at the thought and asked, "Weren't you terribly sad to leave your parents???"

We said, "Yeah, but I was ready to go!" and talked about wanting more independence.

The students stared at us with alarm that we were such bad children that we could ever abandon our parents so young and said, "But, imagine if YOU had children, and when they were 17 or 18 they wanted to move out of YOUR house!"

We both burst out laughing. "God help them if they don't!"

I'm pretty sure all the students in the room left that conversation thinking that Justin and I are the worst human beings on the planet.

Date: 2010-01-25 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_tove/
For the first year or so I was at college, my mother told me many stories about her friends telling her she was a terrible mother for encouraging me to go to school so far from home (home in California, school in Pittsburgh). "Won't you miss her?"

Worst

Date: 2010-01-26 06:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] don-k-hotay.livejournal.com
"I'm pretty sure all the students in the room left that conversation thinking that Justin and I are the worst human beings on the planet."

YOU ARE!

Dad :=)

P. S. Can we come live with you?

(Note: this is irony.)

Date: 2010-01-25 11:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roseandsigil.livejournal.com
The sentence in this I find most fascinating is "I bet if they [Westerners] had servants and drivers, they wouldn’t bother with cleaning and driving, would they?"

This just strikes me as a complete inversion of the Western position, which, I think, is that it is lazy to have servants in the first place.

No moral judgment here, I just think that this is another place where one side isn't seeing the other's point of view.

Date: 2010-01-26 06:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qatar.livejournal.com
It did strike me as an odd comment when she's just pointed out that some Westerners earn more than their Qatari counterparts. One could thus infer that I could afford servants and drivers if I wanted them; I just don't want them.

(Full disclosure: we do have a maid come in once a week, but she's someone we know who asked us for the work, so that seems slightly different.)

inquiry

Date: 2010-01-28 02:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abodeqatar.wordpress.com (from livejournal.com)
Hi Marjorie,

I work for a local magazine and I'm interested in featuring you in an article on bloggers in Doha. If you're interested please let me know.

Thanks,
Kathleen

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