If there’s one Arabic country that I have to choose as a country which I respect, it’s Bahrain. I love that country and its people. Quite recently it was ranked internationally as the world’s most friendliest country. I definately agree.
Put simply, if someone were to ask me why I love Bahrain, my list would be a page long. However in the interest of not boring you to death, I’ll list what makes them a great nation and a reason for why they turned out quite different from Qataris.
1) Bahrainis run their own country. No this isn’t a locals vs. expats comment. I feel that if all the expats left Bahrain, they’d be able to survive. You see Bahrainis working as taxi drivers, throughout the business hierarchical chain, and at your local cold store. There’s isn’t an exclusive dependancy on foreigners. Lets face it. If the expats dropped everything and moved out of Qatar, things would pretty much come to a stand-still.
2) Bahrainis work hard and they don’t act like anything is beneath them. You see them working at petrol stations or as security guards in the malls. This touches upon point one, but the reason for their motivation is because they’re hard workers. It’s obvious to me that the government recognizes this because Bahrainis are considered the ‘Golden Expat’ by Qatari companies. (The fact that they’re from the GCC, similar values to Qataris, and are hard workers).
3) They’re incredibly smart. The average Bahraini is very intelligent. They definitely have the entrepreneurial spirit. It all comes down to their education. Qatar only quite recently started putting an emphasis on education with, well… , with Education City. There’s been major changes in the government schooling as well, however Bahrain has a 20 year lead. One of the reasons why I moved to Qatar was because my family wanted a better education for me. I studied at a private school and ended up with an I.B. Diploma.
So why are they like this? They’re poorer. Seems a bit simplistic doesn’t it? Hear me out. As Qataris, we’re given quite a lot of opportunity. I’m priveledged and I’m trying to make the most of the fortunauate position that God put me in. However it seems that people have grown up where they think that government support (in its current form) is their ‘right’. Many people became too rich, too fast, and they forgot about the basics. The basics of raising their own kids, the basics of Islam (peace, respects and tolerance), and probably more importantly, they forgot how hard it was for Qataris two generations ago and aren’t greatful for that. This mentality has spread across to even the poorer Qataris.
If you’re the government of a poorer nation, you have to become more business centric. That’s why the market is open for advertisers (street ads) in Bahrain and we’ve got one company (QMedia) that has an unexplainable monopoly.
4) They don’t receive as much in terms of state support. The cost of living is lower and salaries are lower. So Bahrainis compete. They are forced to survive on their intellect. They are forced to be reasonable. They are forced to be more down to earth.
5) They’re forward thinkers. Their mentality is quite different. Their more open to the idea of being progressive. Qataris are getting there. My friends and the younger generation of Qataris are all working so very hard to prove that we’re not the lazy stereotype that people imagine.
Bahrain isn’t the best country in the world. They’ve got issues. Qatar also has some major pluses too! (The support for media freedom, a progressive Emir, our strong Shaikha Moza, and of course, the fact that its a country that has so much opportunity come to mind). I just feel that I wish we learned a bit more from Bahrainis, thats all.
You want an ideal Arabic nation? Qatar’s wealth, opportunity, and leadership + Bahrainis mentality + Kuwait’s business focus + Emirates marketing team = the country I wish I could create.
Qatar’s still got a great shot at being something amazing! That’s why I (heart) Qatar Can’t wait for the bridge to be built. Lets see if they rub off on us.