Looking at modern Qatar, is easy to imagine the great Oriental scholar, Edward Said, turning in his grave. Nineteenth-century Western travelers in the Middle East was in search of an imaginary Arabia. When they could find, which describes an East who thought their readers prefer reality. Even today, it is tempting to go for these stereotypes and Qatar has its share: rock paintings bear witness to human endurance in tune with the adversities of nature, strengths, alluding to the ruins of the empire, and occasionally goat hair Bedouin tents to suggest the ‘noble savage’ nature of life in the desert.
Qatar has spent his energy (and considerable fortune) in setting aside the stereotype, however, and demonstrating that these “Orientalist” flights of fancy are more a product of the fevered imagination of the West of everything related to the East. To this end, vertical great “pleasure” domes of the postmodern variety have been erected in Doha to show that the country is as international as any. At least that was until recently. Suddenly, the wind tower developments such as Al-Sharq Village Resort & Spa claiming to be “genuinely Arabic ‘corridors’ old’ Al Souq Waqif sports, tented accommodation in Khor al-Adaid comes with air conditioning.
Qatar, in other words, seems to be reinventing himself in the image of the fantasy of “otherness” of the West. For the visitor, which is wonderful: everything you imagined of Arabia is there in all its splendor sterilized. To those who knew the hawk Qatar’s souks and dust storms, however, it is suspected that this country is becoming Disney.
It is strange to see a great city in making these days. It would be wrong to represent New York Doha as a latter-day New: most of the new development has a heart, but has not yet acquired a soul. But that will come as more people in Doha, fascinated by the coverage he received during the Asian Games in 2006 and bringing with them the environment that puts the “city” in buildings. Or should be buildings with capital “B” to these new goliaths capture the intangible sense of growth and prosperity, optimism and vision when walking by the old souks and malls alike new, or see Doha families strolling the grounds of luxury resorts in the city. “Watch this space” could have been a good motto for Doha a few years ago, “enjoy this space” is probably a better motto for today as the city begins to fill his shoes, leaving a lot of great green spaces to start your own.