Saudi Press Agency

Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in Morocco

Two members of Qatar’s ruling family are urging their countrymen to meet with them to discuss an end to the Gulf dispute.

The idea was first proposed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani this week in a tweet.

He said: “To my family, the children, the businessmen, and all the people of Qatar: I invite you to meet to be messengers of wisdom and peace, and advocates for the uniting of the hearts.”

Sheikh Abdullah has kept a low profile for decades. He lives and owns property in Saudi Arabia, and is married to a Saudi woman.

But he has become a more prominent figure since the boycott began.

Since then, he has met with Saudi Arabia’s king on multiple occasions and some Saudis have even suggested he replace Sheikh Tamim as Emir.

Peter Draper / Instagram

The Emir’s image decorating a cup of coffee

Qataris appear to overwhelmingly support their nation’s current leadership.

Many have expressed their solidarity with Sheikh Tamim by displaying his likeness in car windows, in murals and through social media.

Second voice

But the Gulf crisis has also empowered some dissenters to speak up.

Yesterday, another member of the ruling family threw his support behind the idea of a national meeting.

According to Arab News, Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim Al Thani made a televised statement urging Qataris to unite against terrorist groups.

The son of a former Qatari foreign minister said he is now living in Paris because he “could no longer tolerate seeing strangers roaming our country and interfering in our affairs under the pretext of protecting us from our brothers in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.”

The newspaper quoted Sheikh Sultan as adding, “It is our national duty now to unite and stand together to purge the country of them.”

Qatar’s government has not yet officially commented on the call to action.

The country’s Emir is in New York today to speak at the UN General Assembly.

Sheikh Tamim will also meet with US President Donald Trump to discuss the Gulf dispute.

Thoughts?

Nasser al-Naama

Nasser Al-Naama’s nanny, Yaya, with his sisters.

Hoping to show his childhood nanny how much he appreciated her, a Qatari man recently recorded a video thanking the woman in her native language.

The tribute was for Filipina expat Yaya Zubaidah, who left Qatar six years ago after working in the country for two decades.

Al-Naama said he chose to deliver his message in Tagalog to also show his gratitude for Qatar’s large Filipino population.

Speaking to Doha News, Al-Naama explained:

“I feel that the Filipino community is often overlooked and under-appreciated in Qatar, and it’s a shame.

“I recognized the power of story telling and tried to convey an important message of gratitude using the video.”

Tribute to Filipina nanny

Through his nanny, Al-Naama said he used to practice speaking Tagalog, and hopes to become fluent in it one day.

With the help of Jordan De La Cruz at Qatar Living, he was able to accurately translate his heartfelt message into the language.

Pixabay

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Describing Zubaidah as “the seventh member of our family,” Al-Naama said that that she had been “a quintessential part of (his) entire family’s life.”

In the video, he added:

“Because of her, I feel an immediate kinship with Filipinos anywhere I go in the world. Even though I can’t speak the language (yet), I feel like an extended family member of the global Kabayan community.”

Referencing the ongoing Gulf dispute, Al-Naama also highlighted the local Filipino community’s solidarity with his country.

“I especially want to thank you for standing by Qatar and showing your support during the recent crisis,” he said in Tagalog.

Separated by retirement

Zubaidah began working for Al-Naama’s family before he was born, and retired in 2011.

Her move back home to the Philippines to be with her family affected Al-Naama deeply, he said.

“Even though I knew she would retire one day, when it actually happened it was a completely different ball game. It was so hard.” 

Al-Naama added that he had found it hard to keep in contact with Zubaidah after she left because he was so upset.

But his message brought about a reunion, via Skype.

In scenes shared on Philippines television, Al-Naama was able to talk with his childhood nanny and tell he how much he missed her.

Showing visible emotion in the video, Al-Naama explained why he hadn’t kept in touch, and that he felt “really bad” about it.

“You were part of our lives for more than 20 years, and I wanted to do something. I didn’t just want to call you. I wanted to do something special,” he explained.

Sacrifices made

Like most domestic workers living abroad, Zubaidah was supporting her family back home.

Al-Naama said he knew that this meant she had to sacrifice being with her own husband and two daughters, to help raise someone else’s family.

Xavier Vergés/Flickr

For illustrative purposes only.

For this reason especially, he said that he believed people in Qatar should be “very compassionate” when employing staff who have had to leave their loved ones behind.

“She (Zubaidah) was always present in my life, when she wasn’t present for her biological children. Her daughter has said that her mum missed so many important events in her life.

I never underestimated that.”

Thoughts?

Qatar Post

Qatar Post delivery team

A mobile app that tracks parcels, single-counter services and the nation’s first logistics hub are among several new features Qatar Post is rolling out this week.

The shipping hub will be built on the site of the old Doha International Airport.

It should offer a quicker and cheaper way of getting mail around the world, officials said.

Paperema/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The news was announced at an event yesterday to unveil Q-Post’s new logo. The nation’s mail delivery service pledged to “upgrade the postal network” in Qatar and offer new products and services to customers.

Renovated branches

As part of its overhaul, Q-Post said all 25 of its branches across the country will be renovated and fitted with new digital terminals.

There, customers can do everything at one counter, instead of having to visit separate counters for each service.

The main post office at the Corniche is now accepting customers after months of refurbishment, while the Al Rayyan branch will re-open to customers in November, Q-Post said.

Doha News

New digital counters to be fitted at all Qatar Post branches

Fit-out of remaining branches should be done by the end of next year.

Meanwhile, some 13 new kiosks are slated at Al Meera supermarkets across the country.

These should launch by the end of this year, Maud Daniel, Qatar Post’s head of marketing and communications told Doha News.

Mobile app

Qatar Post has also launched a new mobile app.

It currently enables customers to track packages; find branch locations, collection points and smart lockers; and make online payments via Qatar-issued credit cards.

Doha News

New Qatar Post mobile app

By next March, customers will also be able to use it to re-direct parcels to other addresses or arrange pick-ups and deliveries.

Additionally, they should be able to have their mail held at post office branches if they are out of the country, a Q-Post official said.

The Qatar Post app is currently available to download for free for both Android and iPhone users.

Faster mail delivery

The postal services company has also set up a new logistics hub, on the site of the old Doha International Airport, to speed up mail service using Qatar as a base.

It is hoped to be operational by the end of this year.

Nada Badawi

Staffers pack up at the Doha International Airport in 2014.

When it is, Q-Post will work with Qatar Airways to transport mail, Ian Bett, head of finance transformation at Qatar Post told Doha News.

“Currently, mail to the UK, for example, all has to go through Heathrow. Under the new system, delivery would be faster by using Qatar Airways’ direct routes to cities like Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham or Cardiff,” Bett said.

This should improve services not only from Qatar but also other parts of the world, with Doha acting as the hub for the mail delivery, he added.

Q-Post is also planning the launch of a new e-commerce platform in 2018 and upgraded sorting facilities in 2019.

Tim Reckmann/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Last April, Qatar Post announced its first stage of supporting online retail with the launch of its shop and ship service Connected.

This enables residents to shop and get their items delivered to their PO Box, direct to their home or to a smart locker.

At the time, the organization also said drone delivery would be an option, although there has been no further details on this since.

Re-branded

All of the changes were unveiled yesterday alongside Qatar Post’s new logo in a lavish ceremony at the Sheraton Grand hotel.

Doha News

Faleh al Naemi, Qatar Post chairman and managing director

The new design replaces the old curly letter Q with the word Qatar written in Arabic calligraphy, in blue and maroon.

The brand colors represent the sea (blue), the desert sand (yellow), with maroon reflecting the national flag, Q-Post said.

The organization also released a film Dear Qatar, from Qatar Post outlining its mission for the country in the coming years.

Thoughts?