Despite an illegal blockade, our country has shown it's capable of looking after itself and if there's one thing Qatar won't do is back down in the face of adversity. It's been just over six months since the blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt began against Qatar. However, the move has spectacularly backfired as the people of Qatar have emerged stronger and united; new trade routes have opened up, there's no shortage of essentials, and the economy remains strong thanks to the leadership of HH the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Within a mere 48 hours of the blockade, Hamad Port was officially opened, other key projects launched, and Qatar Airways developed alternate routes to fly to destinations. Food production rose, entrepreneurship came to the fore, and tourism showed growth. Most importantly, there was no effect on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports. In fact, more contracts have been signed for gas supplies, and infrastructure work for the 2022 FIFA World Cup continues without delays.
(Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)
With the help of Turkey and Iran, the markets were flooded with imported food and dairy products from both countries, with labels changing to make them more familiar to consumers in Qatar. Expats as well as Qatari people are now increasingly purchasing local #MadeInQatar products, giving our homegrown industries a leg up and firmly pointing to the country’s self-sufficiency.
(Cows at Baladna Farm. Photo credit: The Peninsula Qatar)
A total of 4,000 cows have been imported to Qatar, leading to a surge in local milk production to 100 tonnes per day. The import of cows on special flights were also a hit on social media and went viral.
Baladna Farm dairy production is soon slated to reach 300 tonnes per day -- more than enough to meet Qatar’s requirements. Expansion of Baladna Farm for a facility to house livestock would see 25,000 heads of cows on-hand. Ghadeer, Maha, and Dandy, other local dairy brands, are also doing a sterling job in dairy production.
(Photo credit: Qassim Rahmatullah, The Peninsula Qatar)
Qatari leaders and diplomats have come to the fore in bringing to light the injustice of the blockade. Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has been leading the way and often seems to be in two places at once. He participates in international forums, putting forth Qatar’s point of view, and shedding light on the illegality of the siege.
HH the Emir has become a rallying point with Tamim Al Majd posters and T-shirts available all over the country. His every public appearance is greeted with love and respect and he freely interacts with people.
There are plenty of supporters for Qatar across the world, and pro-Qatar rallies and even cabs emblazoned with the Emir’s picture have appeared in places as far away as London and India. In support of the Emir, people haven't minded the slight belt-tightening in their pledge to do all they can for Qatar.
(Image credit: American Press)
Qatar has always maintained cordial relations with other nations and its diplomacy has kept growing despite the siege. It continues to be a member of the GCC and has repeatedly expressed its willingness to hold talks with boycotting neighbours which, as yet, has not been reciprocated by the blockading states in spite of making an unreasonable list of demands.
Bilateral agreements have been signed and even arms deals made clearly showing Qatar is not isolated from the rest of the world. Most recently, HH the Emir visited several West African countries where MoUs and important agreements were signed.
(Image credit: iStock by Getty Images)
The blockade has helped Qatar emerge even stronger. Cash-flow is not an issue thanks to the country’s massive financial reserves. No LNG supply deals have been scrapped, and new shipping routes have been opened and supplies brought in via Oman and India. Qatar Airways has made slight alterations to its routes, while its growing fleet of cargo services has ensured essentials are brought in -- especially medicines.
How do you think Qatar has reacted to the blockade? Tell us what you're most proud of that Qatar has achieved or overcome throughout 2017 in the comments section below.
(Cover image courtesy of Qassim Rahmatullah, The Peninsula Qatar)
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