With watery eyes, I had to write this while I watched His Excellency Sheikh Hamad’s address to the people. (I don’t even know what you call an Emir who has stepped down. I’ve never heard that before… Can someone tell me?).
On my mind, all I could think of was how fortunate the Qatari people are. Look at other Arab countries in the Middle East. How many are in the amazingly lucky position to have such a great leader? Someone who acts in the best interest of his people? Someone who treats his people with kindness. I would go as far as saying that his heart is so big, that his generosity has made some people complacent; lazy even.
When I had started iLoveQatar, I had many goals. To help make Qatar a better place. To give people reasons to love Qatar. To make my family proud. To bridge the gap between expats and locals. However in the context of this write up, the way I see it, it’s a civic duty. Sheikh Hamad has put a lot of burden on his shoulders to help bring peace to the Middle East (and help the world). All the while giving the nation a vision and a goal. Oh and let’s not forget, trying to turn the Qatari nation into an educated and hard working one. Has he asked anything in return of his people except to be the best they can be? No. So the way I see it, the least I can do is something, no matter how small, to lift the weight of responsibility from his shoulders.
All of a sudden I’m reminded of various lyrics from Hailie’s song “Sometimes it feels like the world’s on my shoulders… This boulder on my shoulder gets heavy and harder to hold, and this load is like the weight of the world and I think my neck is breaking. Should I just give up or try to live up to these expectations?” Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, this is probably the only write up you’ll read that has The Emir, Ali bin Abi Taleb and Eminem quoted together.
The Emir, although I’ve never had the honor of meeting him (and kissing his forehead), is like a second father. In 18 years we now have new airports, Qatar Foundation, Education City/HBKU, Exhibition Centers, Charities, proper infrastructure, new cities, malls, the beautiful West Bay, Katara, the Souq, QMA, the list goes on and on.
We thank him. We thank those who have supported him. We thank him for trusting others to help build Qatar too.
So what did his address say?
Translation summary of speech given by His Excellency Sheikh Hamad (going a bit by memory so forgive me if it’s not perfect).
Photo by Lornss Al Naimi
“Today I will be addressing you as we are coming into a new era of history for our country. I wanted to address the good people of this country because this is your country. God knows that I have not desired power for the sake of power and never for personal motives. It has always been in the country and people’s interest. I hope that I have been seen to have worked hard for my duties and this change means that I will still be serving my homeland and its people.
Quoting Ali bin Abi Taleb the Emir said, “Teach your children other than what you have been taught, as they have been born for another time.”
I declare that I will hand over to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
[Sheikh Tamim] I am sure you can handle this responsibility, remember to fear God, work hard, and always seek out the truth/knowledge.
Work hard always, be there for your country.”
So what’s next?
In the next few days, traditionally, senior officials and tribe leaders will visit the Emiri Diwan to show their support for the change.
This event is called a Mubaya-a.
Update: Al Jazeera has just uploaded a video of the process with Abdulla Al Athbah (@a_alathbah). Click here
“The time had come for a new generation to assume responsibility to progress this country.” – Sheikh Hamad
Sheikh Hamad was true to his words and obviously has proven that what he said was honestly from the heart. That was a quote from when he took over the reigns in 1995.
Congratulations to His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad who is now the Emir of Qatar.
God protect Sheikh Hamad, Sheikh Tamim, the people of Qatar, and everyone with a good heart.
What does this mean for Qatar? (A question I’m asked quite a lot now)
Honestly? We’ve got a roadmap. If anything it just means things will progress faster. We now have young energy. We all know that a young person (with ambition) wants to change the world (for the better). I’m excited to see what legislations will change, what measures will be taken to progress human rights, and what Qatar 3.0 will look like.
I don’t know why everyone keeps asking the question of ‘what’s he going to do next?’. How about we stop speculating and just wait to hear what he has to say.
Every ship needs its crew. Sheikh Tamim is at the helm and we’re all on the same boat. If we all do our part, we’ll get to our destination faster.
What do I think?
I think this is a day of happiness and sadness, but let’s not forget that Sheikh Hamad isn’t going anywhere He’ll still be with his son, doing what any good father would do; giving guidance and support. Qatar is being a responsibly country. It is amazing that we have a transition plan, the Crown Prince (now Emir) has been in the process of shadowing his father for quite a while now. He doesn’t ‘know’ the Qatar Vision 2030, he IS the Qatar Vision 2030 now. This isn’t going to be an easy journey for him, but since when is leading any nation easy? As I’ve said before, just as I trust in Sheikh Hamad and Sheikha Moza, I trust in Sheikh Tamim.
I think that Qatar is setting precedence and making history by this transition alone. Did you know that Qatar is the first country in the Middle East to have had three leadership changes while all three leaders are still alive?
While countries are trying to build the World’s tallest, biggest, and fastest. Qatar is trying to build the best.
If you’d like to read a bit more click here for my other blog post. (Qatar gets ready for a leadership change)
Finally, I wanted to share a quick message to the expat community.
Thank you for helping to build Qatar. With these announced changes, Qatar will continue to develop, we’ll see even more growth, and I hope you continue to see Qatar as home.
I know (and hope) that most of you share the Qatari people’s excitement. These are exciting times and you are a part of history.
Inshallah Qatar will make you proud and become an admired country.
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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