Why the Sheikha is one of a kind…

I am a journalist and am supposed to be objective and all that razzmatazz. But I am a woman first, and I have a ringside view of what’s happening in Qatar… and I can’t help but be totally biased about Sheikha Mozah.

Now, looking at the call for a ‘revolution’ one realises much of the anger is targeted towards her. Seriously, what IS there to protest? Your interests are taken care of, your future is being taken care of, education, health care, employment, opportunities… ok, you have every right to ask for something more. But it does seem a little odd that the ‘more’ you are asking for may set you back by a few hundred years.

This is not my country, so I don’t really have a right to dictate what is good or not good for them. But let me tell you why it’s good to have someone like the Sheikha around. Because she shatters stereotypes, because she has vision, and because she is bloody BRAVE. How easy would it be for her to just sit back and enjoy all that personal wealth and freedom? Why should she put herself on the line? Everyday, with every step she takes, she is bringing about a change that a lot of men in the region can’t digest.


So what’s the best they can do? Call her a CIA agent, call her a Jew-lover, call her a charlatan. She is not perfect, and in my ‘umble opinion her fashion sense leaves a lot to be desired. There are huge human rights issues, especially against expatriates, that she hasn’t even remotely addressed. But there is so much she has done. There are opportunities that she has opened up for her people, and for the Arabs, that cannot be blindly brushed aside.

This is not a an analysis of her as a leader or person. This is just my layperson take on why she is important, and why she is BRAVE. Did I say brave? We usually associate that word with those in the line of fire, or who are on the streets standing up the powers that be. We use that word on people who fight for a cause against all odds.

So why do I call her BRAVE?

Haute couture-clad, jet-setting, palace-living kind of bravery? Yep. Because she is fighting against the stereotype forced on women of her faith and race by millions of people in the region, and beyond. Because she questions and stamps on all the false surmise made about ‘her kind’. Because she is able to think beyond what divides and hurts, and is able to focus on what will help grow and succeed. Because she knows education above all else is the most important legacy she can leave behind. Whether the kind of education or if seeking USA’s help is the right way is debatable.

Of course having a US air base here really weakens the whole Arab brotherhood bonhomie.

Yet, what Qatar stands to lose, if protesters’ wishes does come true, is far greater than what might or might not be gained.

Here we saw a revolution of sorts a decade ago. Only thing, the revolution happened top-down. Not a textbook case, but it did happen. It did turn around things. And we are not talking about malls and glass buildings alone.

Ok, before you start on sycophancy blah, blah — name one other woman you know who has gone out on a limb to do what she does? She is not fighting, she acts. And she definitely doesn’t fit the image of a rebel — she is too rich for that. However, it’s for these very reasons that she stands out from the crowd. This is something those who live in the Gulf will understand better — the dynamics here doesn’t apply to even the rest of the Arab world. Things are so skewed.

Every time I read a report on her, or see her picture with an international dignitary I hold my breath. Because I know there are millions — no exaggeration — of ¬†men in the region who will be seeing that same imagery, reading those same words with anger and indignation.

And she knows that I am sure. Still, she goes about her business, in her fancy turbans and head scarves, pantsuits and flowing gowns, Jimmy Choos and Dior, cocking a snook at all the disapproving faces. That’s why she is one of a kind.

ps: those not familiar with her, google her. the funds she has started, the investment in education, social development etc.

About

Umm Oviya + Nilah = Mother of Oviya + Nilah. Because in the Arab world a woman is first addressed as bint X (daughter of X) and then once she has a son (Y) she is Umm Y. I am not sexist, so don't mind surrendering my identity to my daughters.

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3 comments on “Why the Sheikha is one of a kind…
  1. jasseem says:

    Cheers!!! I love this address given to Sheikha Mozah–she has vision, and because she is bloody BRAVE.

  2. UmmON says:

    From FB:

    Kerry Morris: Particular kudos to any woman who can rule her country AND wear an outfit that looks like she is about do Dick Whittington in panto! Like you I’m confused about the call for a revolution in Qatar rather than just simple democracy – ‘appreci…ate what you’ve got’ springs to mind. But, as Qatar opens it’s doors even wider, with the World Cup for example, the global village will start to scrutinise the gaps in the vision – it’s lack of inclusivity for all those expat workers – but hey, at the same time, they’re still better off with jobs to support their family than not. Sheikha Mozah in my opinion is a leader that I (and pertty much everybody I speak to in Qatar) can seldom find anything to criticise her about (except those expats could do with many, many more human rights) – and WOW – what leader can boast of that? Nay, what current leader in the Middle East can boast of that right now?

    UMMON: frankly, a lil scary when you read the comments on the pro-protest pages (i had them translated). they are not looking for something ‘better’. most of them are not talking about development or democracy or human rights issues concerning expats.

    Kerry Morris: Mail me – now I’m intrigued even more. I wonder if it’s a case of a mixture of still waters run deep/some people just wanting their own way – whatever that may mean? It’s frankly baffling, particularly when you use Qatar as a comparison to both developed and non-developed countries. Some serious blessings to be counted.

  3. TLM says:

    I love her one of my Idols <3

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