For those who don’t know what the Doha Twestival is, have you been living under a rock? It’s only one of the world’s biggest festivals that happens in multiple countries around the world!
This year it’s happening at Aspire Park (from 6pm – 9pm) and organized by Qtel Virgin Mobile and sponsored by Aspire Zone, Al Saad Rentacar, QatarHappening, and all proceeds going to Reach Out to Asia.
Tickets cost 25QR per person (or 40QR for a family). So not only are you coming on down for a day of fun but by buying a ticket, your money goes to charity too! You’ll get to enjoy music, traditional dancing, some stand up comedy, and there will ALSO be auctions for Sixth Senses massages, Glow manicures and event tickets to iLoveQatar and GlobalDJ’s Big Day Out!
Anyway, if you need more convincing, click here. Hope to see you at the event tweeting away! Don’t forget to say hi to people from iLoveQatar (ILQ). We’re not sponsoring the event but we’re definitely supporting it
Blog post by Josh from the ILQ team over at ArabNet in Beirut.
The first day at Arabnet is in the books. The day’s theme was focused on addressing the big question: How the Middle East region can better support an entrepreneurial ecosystem. According to Peter Kellner, Managing Partner of Richmond Capital, a global VC, it all starts with education. Universities are where entrepreneurs are created. After education, its about mentorship. Tareq from Endeavor Global, a global non-profit that promotes high impact entrepreneurship, put it another way:
“We’ve found that two things are required for a succesful entrepreneurial ecosystem – 1. the right entrepreneur and 2. deep and tailored support. The biggest barrier to entrepreneurship isn’t capital.”
Interesting stuff, and encouraging news for Qatar. Education City and Qatar University are churning out highly skilled graduates every year. Incubators are popping up for seed stage startups. How can Qatar offer “deep and tailored support” in addition to capital, back-end services, and office space?
Oh great, another “Festival” in Qatar, I thought to myself. I’m tired of seeing huge advertisements for events and then heading on over only to be disappointed by poor crowd control or the fact that there aren’t really any festivities at all. That being said, I was never more happier to be proven wrong. I drove through a giant ship’s helm at the East Gate of Katara (that’s just been opened. It’s where Aladdin’s Kingdom used to be) and was ushered through to the car park. I was happy with the fact that even though we were parking on sand, they cleared out the rocks and tried to make the parking lot a ‘real’ parking lot.
I walked on through passed the VIP tent and loved hearing the old Qatari sea chants on speakers and the tiny old traditional huts set up on the left. In front of me was a building shaped like a Dhow, some young staff sadly were more interested in chatting amongst themselves than guiding visitors sadly. Entering, I realized that it was like a museum, complete with a cave-like interior, glass tanks with sharks, hanging giant purple jellyfish and some interactive stations too.
I passed by one area where a kind guide asked me if I wanted to see something cool. I felt like I was being let in on a secret. He pulls out this giant armored crab. He tried to get me to carry it for a while and although kind of intimidated, I acted cool and said I was fine. I had to pull the “I don’t want my thobe to get dirty” line. It was either that or hike it up and run like a girl! After seeing how harmless it was (especially how it ran on the ground like a remote control car) I knocked on its shell. Oh yeah! That’s one point for the human and IN YO FACE for the crab.
Exiting the boat, I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be going so I just followed the brick road. To my left was a childrens area, where you can find games, a live show, and some great educational.. umm.. fun stuff (alright my vocabulary isn’t excellent!). To my right was a sealions pool. That’s where we get to see some great tricks from one of the seas smartest animals. I wonder where they brought them in from?
Now THIS is the part that made me go wow. It involves Pearls, mermaids, oil, robots, bouncing animals, and lots of dancing.
Walking on down further there was a giant stage that we were guided into. I sat down and waited for a show to start. Bare in mind that I was kind of confused and didn’t know what to expect. Under my seat was a bag that had a gold colored metal helm and a few guides. I wrapped my ghitra around my neck to keep warm. The wind was blowing strong and the weather was getting quite cold.
After a few introductions we’re told that we’re going to watch “Secrets of the Sea” and the lights fade out. Now this is a bit of a spoiler so scroll down if you don’t want to know what happens! Disney-esque music starts and we embark on the journey of Qatar’s history. It’s about a young girl who’s being told a story about Qatar’s development and how the country went from an uneducated poor country to a society that survived on pearl diving to the discovery of oil to the focus on education. It was a beautiful story and I loved it. Be warned though, parts are in arabic and there isn’t any translation, but I believe that they did such a great job that whether there was translation or not, people will understand it all.
I loved the use of colors, imagery and when it came up to the discovery of oil part, I loved how a woman’s long flowing abaya represented the flow of oil. Throughout the whole show as well, you’ll notice that the quality of the dancers clothes improves to represent how the country gradually became richer.
You know what? I’ll end it at that. I don’t want to ruin too much of the story, especially since I’ll be uploading some snippets of videos soon.
So what’s there besides the show? There’s seals shows, ball games, beach football, a carnival (parade at the venue!), animation and scientific workshops, a visual arts symposium, sailing and rowing classes, a dancing fountain, raffle draws, puppet shows, marine magic, feature films, I’m getting tired just writing all this stuff down! Do yourself a favour.. check out the Qatar Marine Festival’s schedule here. It ends on the 26th so you better hurry up!
It’s a great festival and whats even more amazing is that its all free. Thank you Qatar for doing something so great for everyone in Qatar.
If you’ve been a part of putting together the QMF, drop me a note and let me know. I’d like to include the names of the people/companies that helped out because I’m so proud of the hard-work put into this.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’ve got a soft-spot for Bahrain and Bahrainis. I love the country. I love how progressive many people are and that it’s such a tolerant country. I loved it when I saw this cruiser driving around Qatar, Qatar hearts Bahrain. I even wrote a blog post explaining how I actually envy Bahrainis; see I envy Bahrainis
I’ve been sadened by how some people are trying to turn the current situation into Sunnis vs Shias. Some people tried to turn this into a hate war and even tried to turn this into a joke with cruel humor about why Saudi is getting involved (Jokes going around IN Bahrain!) *sighs*. It should really be a focus on Bahrainis all wanting to live a better life. I stumbled across this which sums it up better than a boring old long blog post of mine could ever put it.
DJ Outlaw put together this song which is amazing. The singers are Flipp, May Al Qasim, Mohammed Janahi, Rashid Hanthal, and Hamad Al Fardan. Yep there’s a Janahi and an Al Fardan contributing to this.
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.