Qatar Japan 40th Anniversary & today’s remembrance

Qatar and Japan are celebrating 40 years of friendship this year and there’s a lot of celebration going on. Qatar is doing a lot of events in Japan and Japan is doing just the same right here in Qatar. (By the way, if you haven’t checked out Takashi Murakami’s Exhibition called “Ego”, then you’re missing out!).

Japan is a country that I think Qatar has a lot to learn from. I could go as far as saying that I admire the country. Just as people sometimes refer Dubai to Las Vegas, I’d like people to compare Doha to Tokyo. As far out there as it may seem, there are a great number of similarities between the two. Japan has a great rich culture and has managed to rebrand itself at the world’s stage. Qatar is at the point where we’re trying to rebrand ourselves as well as shape our identity. When it comes to culture and taking the leap forward to modernity, Japan did that, and that’s what Qatar is trying to do. It’s not easy ensuring that you keep you’re heritage alive in a rapidly developing society. The two nations are also amazingly giving. Both Qatar and Japan have always been supportive of other countries when they were in great need. Go ahead. Google it. Just type in “Qatar donates” or “Japan helps” and check out the results.

I admire Japanese people’s work ethic, their strive for perfection, their focus, their incredible talent, and of course, how welcome they make foreigners feel. I want that. I want Qatar to be just like that.

Having said all of that, today is the 1st anniversary of the Tsunami and Earthquake that hit Japan. Just watching the videos of how people remember the day was very difficult for me. One particular quote I read that hurt my heart was from a 82 year old man who remembered the day the Tsunami struck recalling that he would never be able to see his wife again as she was swept away into the sea. I cannot imagine such pain.

iLoveQatar helped out by supporting a special event at Katara called “Aftermath – The Earthquake“. It was put together by people from the Japanese community and was a tour by a person known as Chonmage. We even had the President of Katara and the Japanese Ambassador visit.

To lighten people’s spirits at the time and to encourage people to donate to Japan we had sold tshirts with the words Love, Happiness, Bravery, and Courage in Japanese and Arabic. They were sold at different malls and it was a great experience. ‘Show support to the country that gave us Anime, Sushi, Robots and Land Cruisers’, I had posted on the community forums. You can find more here and here. Take a look at the Japanese Embassy’s website to see how many different schools and institutions rallied to show that Qatar loves Japan. If you’re interested in being part of the Japanese Society Qatar (JaSoQa) that started out of iLoveQatar as well just click here. 🙂

What I am incredibly proud of is that Qatar is one of, if not ‘the’ biggest donators to Japan. The Ambassador shows his appreciation to Qatar at every single public event here in Qatar. Qatar donated over 100 million usd on day one.

I’m so glad that Japan has a great ambassador here in Qatar. Mr. Monji really is a great person. Polite, friendly, and fun. So far he’s brought quite a number of events to the country including a Judo demonstration by Japan’s gold medalist, a Taiko drum performance at Katara (which he says is the best cultural act he’s ever brought to Qatar), and of course he’s also brought over the talented Gamarjobat silent comedy group to Souq Wagif. There’s loads more information about what’s to come at

Let’s hope for a bright future for both countries.

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.