Expats invited to take part in Qatar National Day for the first time

Published:  2 Nov at 6 PM
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Qatar’s expat communities are expected to take part in the emirate’s national day celebration for the first time, showcasing their traditions and cultures to a Qatari audience.

The new activity was announced by the event’s organisers to over 60 foreign ambassadors and embassy staff at a special introductory meeting. The reason behind the inclusion of the foreign communities was given as the pride felt by the nation’s ruler and expressed in his recent speech to the United Nations assembly.

A spokesperson at the meeting explained the importance of including all Qatar’s residents in the celebration, saying it highlights the unity between Qataris and expats and shows expat efforts on behalf of the country in a highly positive light. Also mentioned were the strong relationships binding Qatar with other supportive, friendly countries and the unity and solidarity shown to the emirate since the recent diplomatic ban took hold.

Meanwhile, the sad tale of a British expat in Dubai who was imprisoned for supposedly failing to pay a £2 taxi fare seems to exaggerate the differences between the two countries. David Ballantine told how his passport was taken away and he was sentenced to 69 days in jail for a mistake made when he and group of friends rented a taxi during an evening out.

Just after the driver moved off, he was asked to stop as one passenger wanted to get out, but he continued to drive for a short distance, pulling up near a policeman. The officer told Ballantine he would have to pay the £2 minimum amount, so he dropped the required sum through the cab’s open window. When the driver returned, he asked Ballantine for the money, and was told it was on the driver’s seat.

However, the driver insisted the amount was his own money and an argument began, escalating to a fight within minutes and causing the policeman to return and arrest Ballantine. Subsequently, his passport was confiscated, legal proceedings were dragged out for two years and he lost his job. He was finally sentenced to 69 days in jail and subsequently deported to the UK. Given there are two sides to every story, it seems expat tales of woe are far more likely to occur outside Qatar than inside.
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