By accident

So I had an accident yesterday. It’s inevitable in Qatar. As cautious as you are, there are just some idiots who do not pay attention. Just today on the roundabout, some Indian guy in a pick up went from the right lane to the left and almost hit me. It wasn’t intentional, he just was blissfully unaware that I was even on the road. They need to teach people to use their mirrors and turn their heads!

My accident was a stupid one as well. While at a round about, I was turning right and there was a car in front of me. The road was clear. He accelerated to turn right, I looked left to ensure there were no cars, he continues turning right and for NO REASON, he slams on his breaks! I bang into him unable to swerve. I even followed the two second distance rule.

His car looked scratched up from the back but no way I could have done that! He explains that it wasn’t me, in fact it was caused by bikes hitting the back of his car. Bikes!! Even BIKES crash into him. He must slam on the breaks for fun!

So the Indian guy apologizes and says that his foot slipped onto the break… fine… We move our cars to the side and I ask to speak to his boss (He was a driver). I explain what happened and the guy was more than friendly and just seemed to care more about my health. We later went to the police station where I had to get a police report so that I could fix my bumper.

Filled out the forms and was told to come back the next day for the stamp of approval because they only stamped documents during the day. As the Indian man left, he shook my hand and said ‘thank you’ with a smile. I autonymously answered “It’s ok, take care.” and smiled back.

I headed off to Lexus so that they could order and spray the new bumper. After filling out the papers I was told that it would cost around 2,000QR (it’s 700 for the bumper, 100 for the paint, and around 1,200 for the labour!). I was shocked when they said it would be ready tomorrow!

“What? The lexus service which I loathe has improved?”, I asked myself. The next day I went back to the police station where I was shocked at how they treated me and others. They were amazingly friendly.

They were renovating the police department and it actually looks much better inside and out. As I approached the first desk, the woman smiled at me and asked for the paper. “300 QR and 3 points for parking on in a no parking zone”. (Side note, there were no signs or indications that it was a no parking zone). I paid. “Hope that God protects you from bad things. Take care of yourself.”, she says as she hands me the receipt. I get a stamp on the document that I need to take to the insurance company.

To my right, I see a black American man, he’s confused and doesn’t know where to go. “Hey sir, can you tell me where the registration desk is.”, he asks a police man standing on the side. He answers in his best possible English, “My friend, you in wrong place. Come, I show. How are you?”, he puts his arm on the guys shoulder and guides him. (and not in the LAPD way).

As I walk out, a man asks me where the traffic plates are, I point to the direction. He smiles and says “thank you, I’ve been trying to find it and didn’t know where to go, peacefull journey.”.

It was almost as if this was traffic fine bliss. Imagine a paradise. Clouds. Smiling people. All waving their traffic fines high up over their heads as if they’d won the lottery.

I drove to the insurance department to get some new papers which I had to hand over to Lexus. While cuing, a British man starting talking to me how he’d reversed into a pole in his Porsche and felt stupid. We chatted about how the weather was getting better while waiting for our turns. After finishing off, I got into my car and headed back to the office. I was going to go to Lexus after work.

Lexus called me. -_-.

“The bumper will take three more days, you know what, it’s a weekend in three days, let’s just say next week.”, a man says.

“Whatever. Fine.”, I say. You don’t even bother with Toyota Qatar. They suck. Oh well, at least most of the day was nice.

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.