While the National Day yesterday provided eloquent testimony to the patriotism and pride of the Qataris in their nation, it was also a memorable occasion for scores of people from other countries who have made Qatar their second home.
Along with the Qataris, expatriates assembled on the Corniche showed their solidarity with Qatar yesterday, braving the cold wind and wet weather. “The weather just adds to the festive mood,” said Jacqueline Brown, a Canadian who has been living in Qatar for the last five years.
“This is the first time I am coming for such a massive event. We all have enjoyed it quite a bit and we are excited. Qatar has been a happening country all year round and it is inspiring to see that the people are still enthusiastic,” she said.
For Kat Williams, who works at the College of the North Atlantic - Qatar, and arrived here only six months ago, the celebrations brought nostalgic memories. “The whole celebration makes me nostalgic about the July 4 celebration we have back home. The weather has added to the memories. The celebrations here is almost contagious; it shows their love and patriotism to celebrate the name of their country,” she said.
The traditional events enriched the experience for many like Robert Mejia, a Colombian geo-technical engineer with Dohaland. “Though we have always heard of camels and beautiful Arabian horses, it was for the first time that many of us got to see them in real during a parade. I have been here for the last six months, we had good weather and the event was rather interesting. In Colombia, we do not have celebrations at this scale; we have some tanks and trucks but usually not a two-hour event.
“Qataris are having a great patriotic spirit. I have been seeing them going up and down in the cars all day. In fact, even at two o’clock last morning, I had seen some of the enthusiastic young people dashing with the flags in decorated cars,” Mejia said.
For the Gloy family, it was the best time to visit Qatar. “The weather is nice. We can see the love the old and the young have for their country. It is a beautiful country and has sights to see. In South Africa, we do not really have a day like this,” said Clayton Gloy
“It was a marvellous show. These sorts of celebrations will help boost the patriotic fervour of the people,” said a couple from New Zealand, Gordon and Bernadette Bayin.
Anne Jones, a Qatar Foundation employee from Britain, said, “Qatar is such a small country and it is important for such a country to groom its citizens with a high sense of patriotic feeling. The National Day shows are really amazing.”
For some who have been living all their life in Qatar, the event was moving. “This is one of those rare occasions when we really get to feel the inner spirit of the Qataris. It is heart warming to see them expressing themselves. It seems everyone — Qatari and non-Qataris — is equally enthralled. With the good weather, I doubt if anyone is at home. It looks like the whole nation is at the Corniche. We feel it is National Day. This is one of the best in Qatar so far. The national feeling of Qataris is being expressed through all the activities, and the country itself has done much to make the patriotic spirit grow in them,” said Hanadi Jir Jawi, Manager, Commercial Bank of Qatar, City Center Branch. Jawi, a Palestinian, was born and has lived all her life in Qatar.
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