Qatar…From Afar: Uncomfortable Questions I

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The comment asks,"Would things have been different if the teacher had been white?" She thinks so. (Click on the image for the original.)
The comment asks,”Would things have been different if the teacher had been white?” She thinks so. (Click on the image for the original.)

On the basis of the version of an incident reported to him by his 12-year old child, a student at Qatar Academy, a Qatari father got me dismissed from my job and jailed on felony charges last year.

Different actors (from the students to the father of the student to the administrators of Qatar Academy (QA) to the Board of Governors of QA etc.) made a number of different decisions and handled the incident and everything else that followed in a certain way, which raise a lot of hard and uncomfortable questions.

I certainly don’t pretend to know the answers to those questions. Regardless, here are the first set of such questions.

During my time at QA, I didn’t hear of any Qatari or Arab student harassing — for lack of a better word — a “Western” teacher.

Had there ever been any such constant and continuous harassment of a Western teacher at QA ever? Probably not.

Could something like the incident in the cafeteria have transpired between a Western teacher and 12-year old Qatari students leading to his/her dismissal and incarceration? Most likely not!

(Though, since leaving Qatar, I have read about Western teachers at other schools in Qatar also being falsely accused and jailed!)

However, let’s assume that the incident in the cafeteria did occur between a Qatari student and a western teacher.

Would the student have reported the incident to his dad in the way he purportedly did?

"What if he had been American?" (Click on the image for the original.)
“What if he had been American?” (Click on the image for the original.)

Would the dad then have taken that as far as he did, getting me fired and jailed? (I am assuming he basically demanded my dismissal!)

How far would the rest of the adults involved have allowed this to go?

Would they have just called a meeting between the concerned teacher and the parent to smooth things over instead, as called for by the protocol outlined in the staff handbook?

Or would they have dismissed him/her as swiftly and unceremoniously as I was? According to comments by readers of Dohanews.co probably not. (See images above.)


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Colleagues at QA told me the story of a western teacher at Qatar Academy, who was “investigated” by the authorities for being gay (which is illegal in Qatar). I also read reference to the incident in one of the teacher evaluations for QA in the International School Reviews.com site.

The story goes that QA assisted him to make a quiet exit from the country with all his benefits intact AND with severance pay, before the police could get to him!

I was also told the story of another Asian staff at the school — a Filipino. He apparently left QA after just a year because of constantly being scoffed at, and harassed by, mainly, Qatari and Arab students.

UPDATE 4:20 pm, June 24, 2014

A friend and former colleague tells me that the Filipino teacher actually lasted five years. But, during all that time, he was continually harassed and made to suffer by the students because of his nationality.



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  1. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

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