Who would think of meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at… a conference in the afternoon and then a wanted war criminal, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, at Doha’s market in the evening?
Akiva Eldar, Israeli journalist, in a Haaretz piece on the secret to balancing Islam and human rights in the Middle East. For Qatar, he asserts, the answer is money.
Before abruptly changing the subject to politics in his own country, Eldar muses:
What interest does a theocracy have in cultivating democratic values in this region, thereby running the risk of these values infiltrating its own peninsula?
…So long as oil flows from the depths and the emir continues to fund the long summer vacations of Qatar’s 250,000 residents at ski lodges in Europe, the peninsula can continue to function as an oasis of coexistence between traditional Islam and hyper-modernity.
So long as 1.5 million foreign workers submissively accept the dictates of the local authorities, enlightened statesmen making their way from the airport can only smile in embarrassment when they see a flashy sign atop a handsome building advertising the presence of a Qatari center for human rights.