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Peter Draper / Instagram

The Emir’s image decorating a cup of coffee

It’s been a patriotic six weeks for Qatar residents.

Since the GCC crisis began last month, images of Qatar’s leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani can be seen everywhere, decorating cars, T-shirts and buildings.

Recently, the Emir’s likeness has also been spotted in the sky, underwater and even in a cup of coffee.

Pearl-Qatar/Twitter

Images of Qatar’s Emir at the Pearl

The solidarity comes as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt pressure Qatar to make several changes to its foreign and domestic policies.

Local officials have already said that’s not going to happen, and the nations all seem deadlocked for now.

Meanwhile, the Emir’s popularity within Qatar continues to climb. Here are five notable examples of Qatari patriotism in these troubled times:

Skydiving tribute

Last week, a group of Qatari skydivers jumped out of a plane flying above Qatar to show their love for the Emir.

The parachuters wore Sheikh Tamim T-shirts, and displayed huge flags bearing the Emir’s face as they flew down toward Sealine and Katara.

As they jumped, the men, who all work for branches of Qatar’s armed forces, used paramotors (a type of motorized, steerable parachute) to help display the flags.

Underwater display

Meanwhile, under the sea, Qatari @amro_al_hamad, the country’s free-diving record holder, recently dived under the sea unaided to express his support for his country’s leader.

There is another one of my images from Tenerife with Qatari 🇶🇦 freedive champion @amro_al_hamad showing some national pride for his nation as they go through some challenging times. This shot was taken at almost 30m (100ft) on a breath hold. Working with him is like working with no other freediver. He understands water, he understands freediving and he understands life. Until the next time my friend! A big thanks to @mourad_omare and @duniaquinterofreediver of @apneacanarias_tenerife for the excellent safety. Also to @dalemccarthy for the sick edit. @fii_freedive #fii_freedive #tamimalthani #qatar #qatar🇶🇦 #freedive #freediver #freediving #freedivephotography #photography #underwaterphotography #nikon #nikonspain #nikond500 #nikonphotographer #tenerife #tenerifereviews #tenerifetag #apneaphotography #تميم_المجد @nikonphotographers @natgeo @meister_diving #meister_diving #canaryislands

A post shared by Errol Putigna Freediving (@errolputignafreediving) on

In an Instagram post, free-diving instructor Errol Putigna said that Al Hamad had dived down some 30m off the coast of Tenerife holding his breath, wearing a T-shirt with Emir’s face on it, and holding a Qatari flag.

“Working with him is like working with no other freediver. He understands water, he understands freediving and he understands life,” Putigna said of Al Hamad.

Coffee topper

During the Gulf dispute, some cafes have been turning cappuccino into patriotic works of art.

Peter Draper / Instagram

The Emir’s image decorating a cup of coffee

Doha resident Peter Draper spotted this coffee at the “Chapter Five” cafe in Dar Al Salaam Mall.

Another resident spotted the Emir’s image in his coffee at Sugar and Spice:

Radio Tamim

On the communications front, both of the country’s telecom providers last week changed their network names to Tamim Al Majd.

Now, English language radio station QBS has also gotten in on the act, changing its name on radio sets across the country.

(Whether calling it Radio Tamim improves the station’s quality is still up for debate).

Balloon release

Finally, Zubara Fort was the venue for a mass show of support in late June.

According to Fahad Al Obaidly, thousands of balloons bearing the Emir’s image – so-called “balloons of love” – were released there to symbolize “the unity of the people of Qatar with His Highness The Emir and the love Qatar has for its GCC neighbors.”

‘Loyalty can be a negative thing’

Despite the outpouring of support from both nationals and expats, some worry that the solidarity is getting out of hand.

Earlier this week, Qatari @abdulrhman19_94 sparked a debate on Twitter for saying his country is about more than just one individual.

Translation: Take this idea, for instance (a bus touring the country with a book to sign showing support), and one can see how showing loyalty in this way can be a negative thing since it reduces the concept of the homeland to one person.

He went on:

“We should channel our patriotic sentiments into tangible, beneficial projects, not simply join a touring bus to sign and write niceties. We should (instead) better our education (and) diversify our economy to improve our country.

I am also concerned, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t amount to that, this way of showing loyalty takes on the form of sanctification, (where certain people stop being human and become sacred).”

He finished his string of tweets writing that he hoped no one would “accuse him of being a traitor” and that he was writing out of love for his country.

Thoughts?

@BoMsha3l/Twitter

A phone screen showing the name change

Updated at 4pm to reflect Vodafone has also changed its network name.

Ooredoo users in Qatar woke up today to find their phones taking sides in the Gulf dispute.

The country’s largest telecom provider has changed its network name to “Tamim almajd” (Glorious Tamim) in a show of support for Qatar’s leader.

The company made the announcement on Twitter late on Thursday evening.

Ooredoo could easily make the change because it is majority state-owned, like many major companies in Qatar.

According to its website, Qatar-based “government-related entities” own 68 percent of it, though the UAE-based ADIA owns 10 percent.

Finally, 22 percent of its shares are free-floating, owned by those in Qatar, the US, UK and other nations.

Vodafone joins in

Rival Vodafone initially offered users the option of coming into its stores to change their phones’ network names to support the Emir.

But then later on in the afternoon, it rolled out the change across its network.

Though Vodafone is a British multinational company, its Qatar subsidiary is 70 percent Qatari-owned.

 

Online reaction

After the changes were announced, many residents were quick to commend the companies for their decision, which comes amid an escalating dispute with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt:

However, some pointed out that the change only appears to work on iPhones and not android devices for both networks:

Others said restarting their phones or turning them briefly onto airplane mode could help get the change to show up.

Has the network name changed on your phone? Thoughts?

QNA

Qatar’s Emir

Social media was abuzz with photos of Qatar’s leader yesterday, who was seen dining at a popular restaurant at a hotel on the Pearl.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s public appearance came after Qatar handed in a response to its neighbors’ demands to end the blockade on the country.

Officials have not gone into detail about what the response entailed.

But authorities have previously rejected all the conditions that have been put forth to end the land, sea and air closures it faces.

These include shutting down Al Jazeera, closing a local Turkish military base and paying an unspecified amount of compensation to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt for pain and suffering caused by Qatar.

Emir’s vist

Amid the political strife, Sheikh Tamim took some time to eat at Nozomi at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel.

When leaving, he greeted members of the public who had gathered to see him.

The dinner visit appeared to cheer many Qatar residents, who saw the Emir’s public appearance as a show of strength, humility and confidence:

Solidarity

Qatar’s leader has come under fire in the boycotting countries, with many people calling for regime change.

But the people of Qatar have been rallying around Sheikh Tamim over the past month.

Images of his face have been plastered all over the country, including on buildings, cars and t-shirts. There’s even a large mural up in Al Gharafa that the public is welcome to sign.

Members of the ruling family have also been tweeting supportive messages of him in the run-up to this week’s deadline to respond to demands.

Now that the government has handed in its response, the four boycotting nations will meet in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss how to move forward.

Thoughts?