Night before last, night a man was shot at the beach at 3:45 in the morning. According to the (very sketchy) details in the Pensacola News Journal, he had been having a fight with his girlfriend, had finished his fight and was then shot three times by a man he doesn’t know and who has no relationship to him. (This is what I understand from reading the paper; it doesn’t make sense to me, but it also says alcohol was involved.)
I only knew about the shooting because I saw a tiny little article about it on the AOL Local news section. When I went to look at it, it was gone.
In this morning’s paper, there is this sketchy description, and then – in several different sections – local are people quoted as saying “we’re moving on.”
OK I get it. We’re a beach community, and this is peak tourist season as folks pour in here from all the Southern states and other countries to enjoy our fabulous sugar-white sand beaches.
Before the tourists had hit the beach, the crime scene tape was down and a beach excavator had carted off the bloody sand.
I do get it. I really do. The season is short and we don’t want to be known as a beautiful beach where people can get shot. It’s a marketing problem.
There is something, however, that sticks in my craw about the swiftness of the moving on, and the barely there press coverage. A man was killed. Maybe he had been drinking. Maybe he had a fight with his girlfriend. Maybe he was at the beach very late (or very early) in the morning. None of these things seem to have anything to do with him having been shot, other than maybe being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the wrong person had a gun and shot him. It seems a little disrespectful, to me, to move on quite so swiftly. A man lost his life. We don’t know why. Maybe we could just take a little time to figure out what happened and to acknowledge his loss?
Thank you Grammy, for forwarding this article from The Telegraph. Who knew? I thought the current Emir was looking slimmer and healthier than before, but maybe he just wants a quieter, more private life, and the prince is willing to take the reins?
We watched Doha go from a sleepy little seaside capitol to a skyscraper-laced booming natural gas economy. It was an amazing time to be living in Doha. Sounds like more changes may be in store.
By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent7:00PM BST 09 Jun 2013
Senior figures in Qatar have briefed foreign counterparts that the time has come for Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, the 33-year-old crown prince to take over the leadership of the gas-rich Gulf state, the Daily Telegraph has learned.
The succession plan, which is due to be launched by the end of the month, will see Hamad bin Jassim, the prime minister and one of the biggest investors in Britain, give up his post.
Within weeks of that decision the royal court will announce that the emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, who has struggled with health problems, will cede powers to the Sandhurst-educated crown prince.
A prominent British visitor to the gas-rich Gulf state was told of the plans earlier this year and sources said other key states, including the US and Iran, have also been briefed about the succession.
“The plan is to manage a staged handover of power that allows the crown prince to come to the fore,” said one source with knowledge of the discussions. “The stakes are very high because Qatar is at forefront of events in a very sensitive region.”
Representatives of the Qatar government were not able to comment on the discussions about the emirate’s future leadership but analysts said any changes in Qatar’s leadership would have huge implications for the Middle East and Western foreign policy.
“The legacy of the emir and the prime minister has been to make Qatar a player in the world,” said Michael Stephens, a Gulf researcher at the Royal United Services Institute. “It was an outpost when they took over and now it has grown into a modern city, it is one of the biggest investors in Europe and Britain, has set up a very powerful Arab television station [Al Jazeera] and has a very prominent foreign policy. That is almost all down to the driving force of those two men.”
Sheikh Hamad, the emir, took power in a bloodless coup in 1995, taking advantage of his father’s absence on a trip to Europe. The charismatic monarch has overseen the transformation of the emirate, which lies just 21 miles from the coast of Iran. His glamorous wife Sheikha Mozah, who was last week seen at a charity function with the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle, has been a symbol of women’s rights in the Arab world.
The resignation of Hamad bin Jassim has huge consequences for Britain even though he is staying as chief executive of the Qatar Investment Authority, an immensely well resourced sovereign wealth fund that recycles the emirate’s gas revenues.
He will continue to be the driving force behind the entity that owns Harrods and invested in prime property projects in London, including The Shard, Europe’s tallest building.
With a relatively tiny population of less than two million, Qatar is an outsized force in Middle East politics.
Although Sheikh Tamim is well known to diplomats and foreign officials, there are questions over the future direction of policies under the new leadership.
As a result of his education in Britain and Qatar’s role as the host of an American airbase, he has close links to Western militaries.
But observers point to his close alliance with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood as a potential sign that he will not be as liberal as his father and the prime minister.
The country has spent liberally on supporting Islamist movements in the Arab Spring, playing a key role in providing arms and logistics for rebels in Libya, Egypt and Syria.
Wooo HOOOO on You, Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali!
Sometimes, when you are reading a newspaper looking for content, the most significant articles can be little small ones:
Major Al-Ali vows to redraw traffic map
KUWAIT: “I have orders from higher authorities to organize the traffic and the law will be implemented strictly, Assistant Interior Ministry Under Secretary for Traffic Affairs Major General Abdelfattah Al-Ali said. “I will change the traffic map within six months and wipe out the word wasta from the traffic dictionary ,” he added. “I have strict orders from higher authorities to organize traffic and the law will be implemented very strictly,” Major Ali said.
The Kuwait Times got his title wrong; it is Major GENERAL, not Major, LOL, that’s a big difference. It appears he has the clout – and the backing – to make a brave and steadfast stand:
“WIPE OUT THE WORD WASTA FROM THE TRAFFIC DICTIONARY”
I can hardly believe my eyes. This is going to be very painful for young Kuwait men, who have learned – from prior experience – that the rules do not apply to them. IF Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali can maintain his strong position, there may be more young Kuwait men who live to be grown-up men, there may be fewer heart-wrenching funerals, far fewer trips to the emergency room (did you know that some of the best head-trauma physicians in the world are in the ER’s in Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE? There’s a reason for that.) The days of seeing babies on their daddy’s laps in traffic may be over. People may actually start wearing seatbelts!
Wooo HOOO on You, Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali. You are a brave and courageous man, with a vision for a safer future for Kuwait.
I still have a large contingent of loyal readers from Kuwait, but by early this morning, I could see something was up:
It’s not often that I have 132 Kuwait hits before noon.
So I checked the Kuwait Times:
Expat deportations will continue: Traffic chief – 11,800 deported in two-and-a-half months
KUWAIT: Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali’s name has become synonymous with extensive traffic campaigns, aimed at enforcing the law at all costs, including implementation of mass deportations. The senior Interior Ministry official, who takes pride in deporting 11,800 people and impounding 3,000 vehicles during his tenure as head of the Ahmadi Security Department over the past two and a half years, told a local daily that deporting expatriates for serious violations will continue without an end date. “Administrative deportation of violating expatriates is not going to stop, especially of those carrying passengers illegally, in which case a person would be in violation of traffic and labor regulations,” Maj Gen Al-Ali, the Interior Ministry’s Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs, told Al-Rai on Friday.
He added that any ticket can be disputed “by a request to refer the case for traffic department investigations”. In the series of crackdowns that started late April, at least 2,000 traffic violations were registered, including 1,000 tickets issued directly on the street, while thousands of people were reportedly deported. Moreover, Maj Gen Al-Ali revealed that the ministry collected KD4 million, out of the KD24 million owed in traffic fines, during the same period. In that regard, the senior official pointed out that only KD8 million worth of fines are registered against individuals, while the rest are against companies and state departments. Out of the KD8 million, KD6 million is registered against expatriates, Maj Gen Al-Ali said. “Cases are soon to be filed with the traffic court in order to issue travel ban orders against people with more than KD80 in fines owed to the ministry,” he added.
Al-Rai published Maj Gen Al-Ali’s statement yesterday, along with a transcript of an interview with Al- Watan TV during which he defended the ongoing campaigns. “Our procedures are necessary to save lives, with average statistics indicating that 450 people are killed and 3,000 are injured annually due to traffic accidents,” he explained. During the interview, Maj Gen Al-Ali insisted that all drivers are equal when it comes to implementation of the law. “There have been doctors among the people deported, including a surgeon caught driving without a license for three years,” he said, before confirming news reports that he had taken a decision to impound a vehicle owned by Minister of Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah on grounds of repeated violations committed by his personal driver. Meanwhile, the senior official urged any person who had obtained a license through illegal means to dispose of it “because once caught, they are going to be charged with forgery”. —Al-Rai, Al-Watan
My friends and I had an animated conversation about Florida politics as we sat around the table having a late breakfast at Adonna’s Bakery, down on Palafox in Pensacola. We were explaining how in the last election, if it were not for the voters handbook the League of Women Voters published, explaining exactly what a yes or no vote would mean for each proposed amendment, Florida would be stuck with constitutional amendments voters never intended to approve.
The League of Women Voters cuts through all the baloney and explains the issues, clearly and objectively. Without their clear, cool voice of reason, voters would be blown to and fro by the turbulent election rhetoric which blows at hurricane force during each election in Florida, obscuring the clearest issues. The League is neither liberal nor conservative, but contains members of all parties. Their goal is getting people to vote, and to understand the issue on which people are voting.
So grown up. So mature. So wise and clear sighted. Way too grown up for me, all these years, until, after that conversation, one of these friends sent me an invitation she had received for an upcoming League of Women Voters annual luncheon. As an added attraction, a local NPR reporter would be the speaker.
I hate meetings. It brings out the ADD child in me; I fidget, I wish I were anywhere but in the meeting.
And yet . . . this is a group I have long admired, and I want to support them. So I agreed, and we attended.
It was so much fun. These women – and men, about a fifth of the attendees were men – are people focused on ISSUES. They have study groups for how juveniles in the local area are arrested and treated in our jails and custodial facilities. They have groups which study the impact on the environment of legislative and local government decisions. They go to civic meetings, speak out, and report back to the League. This is a group of people who take positions and recommend actions! Exciting stuff.
You know I am a believer, so I might see things differently from you, or others, but I met some really cool members, people I believe I was meant to meet. One said wonderful things about my son as he practices his profession. There is no Mother’s Day gift on earth that means as much as the words she spoke, praising his ethics and integrity.
An elderly man sitting next to me was leaving this week to go to Heidelberg.
“Are you going for the closing down?” I asked, and told him I had graduated from Heidelberg American high school, lo, these many years ago. “Yes,” he replied, he has family who have lived there many years, and he has been back many times. It led to a discussion around the table, where I discovered two other women who had been in DoDs schools in Germany. What an unexpected blessing!
Every now and then, as you lead your life, you get the feeling you are exactly where you are meant to be at this very moment, and I had that feeling as I left the meeting. I am so thankful for the serendipity that led me there, and for the rush of blessings the meeting provided.
LOL, the group I thought might be stuffy and staid played this wonderful Lady Gaga video: