Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Qatar Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani Flouts US Law, Forced to Flee Country

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Sorry, Sheikh Khalid, you do not have diplomatic immunity and you are not above the law. This is from AOL AutoBlog:

A prominent Qatari national has reportedly fled the United States after a video ostensibly showing his Ferrari racing through the streets of Beverly Hills went viral. Although the exact identity of the driver remains unclear, it is believed that the yellow LaFerrari was owned by Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani, a member of the ruling family of Qatar, the country’s former interior minister and a well-known racing enthusiast.

The video below, which has already attracted some 1.5 million views (but contains language that may not be safe for the workplace), shows the yellow hybrid hypercar racing with reckless abandon against a white Porsche 991 GT3 through the swanky Los Angeles neighborhood. The Ferrari is shown scraping its chin spoiler on the road before pulling back into the driveway (alongside a black Bugatti Veyron) with smoke billowing out its engine bay. Neither of the European exotics appear to show much regard for traffic laws, running stop signs as they speed through a residential area. The Ferrari appears to be wearing Qatari plates, while the Porsche does not appear to be carrying plates at all – just some racing decals on the doors and hood.

According to reports, the Ferrari belongs to Sheikh Khalid, but the identities of the drivers behind the wheel of either car has not been ascertained. The Al-Thanis are known for their supercar collection, which is shipped around the world for the enjoyment of royal family members. Their signature teal and black exotics are a regular site around London.

The Beverly Hills Police Department confirmed that, when approach by officials, the driver claimed diplomatic immunity – which the driver may not actually have. “It is against a federal law for someone to claim diplomatic immunity when they don’t have it,” said police chief Dominick Rivetti. The Ferrari was not, according to reports, registered with the State Department as belonging to a credentialed diplomat. Al-Thani has since reportedly fled the country, and taken his cars with him.

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September 22, 2015 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Qatar | , , | 1 Comment

Confuse, Confound, Devastate and Dissipate ISIS

When I was a kid, I did not like reading the Old Testament, all those old-timey people, and it all seemed very confusing to me. As I grew older, I find I like the Old Testament part of our readings very much, the people come alive in all their faults and bad decisions, and God’s mercy shines through as we continue to rebel against him and follow too much our own devices and desires of our hearts.

I love Genesis 11, where mankind, in all our pride, decides to build a tower, and it must have been pretty good because it got God’s attention and he didn’t like it. He didn’t like it so much that he created confusion among all the languages spoken, but I bet it was also confusion and dissension among the decision makers, too, to scatter the mighty population.

Confusion_of_Tongues

As the wandering descendants of Abraham began to settle, they often went up against armies and peoples much larger than they were, and God always told them not to worry, he would confuse the armies. He put fear in their hearts, in the confusion, mighty armies collapsed and scattered.

And why am I bringing this up, you might wonder?

This ISIS Army, it seems to me, is already cobbled together. I hear people people talking, people who know, they say ISIS is smart, fights smart. I believe they have some smart leaders, but I am willing to bet that they have some fatal flaws, also. They have overstretched. They are trying to enforce their will by violence and killing off the opposition, which might encourage the appearance of cooperation, but in reality breeds legions of those who will turn on them in a heartbeat.

Yes, we mistakenly dropped weapons which they were able to access. Mistakes happen in war zones all the time, with modern communication we just hear about it a lot sooner, not like 40 years from now when it is declassified and someone writes a book about it. Frankly, it’s not that big a deal.

What I believe is a big deal is their lack of cohesion. Lacking any strategic direct line to important decision makers, I am praying, and what I am praying is this, words from Psalms:

Confuse, O Lord, confound their speech

Disintegrate ISIS from the inside.

Create, Great and Merciful Father, miscommunications, misunderstandings, competing agendas and internal strife among the ISIS force.

All Mighty, All Powerful God, create a massive collapse, let their foot-soldiers drift away, drift home to their mothers and fathers and their families, and leave the Iraqi villages and the Syrian villages in peace.

Dry up the wealth of the Gulf, funneled through corrupt money changers in Kuwait, let it be mishandled, go missing, be stolen, be diverted and find its way to true charitable organizations providing a means of survival to those thousands of refugees who have been displaced.

Oh God! Collapse this abomination, the Islamic State of the Levant and Syria, collapse it utterly from within, strip it of all its power, devastate it like a virulent plague from within!

Oh God, bring good out of this downfall. Teach the remnants who return to their homes to live together in peace, to form peaceful and stable communities and then nations whose lives honor you!

All this is possible for the God who can do all things. Confound their speech, Lord, confuse them utterly, devastate and collapse them utterly from within. You are the one true God, there is no other God.

We are not without resources. We have the mighty fist of prayer.

November 2, 2014 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Charity, Civility, Counter-terrorism, Cultural, Doha, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Quality of Life Issues, Relationships, Social Issues, Spiritual, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Threats and Attempts to Intimidate Intlxpatr from Majed M. Group

You’ll have to read this from the bottom up. I don’t even know if this is a for real or someone screwing with me, and in blog-world, it is more likely the latter. I was always careful in both Kuwait and Qatar to put the spotlight on issues by quoting real journalist sources: newspapers, Cable, National Public Radio, etc. I know sometimes journalists get the news wrong, but in this case, there has been a LOT in the news about labor abuses in Qatar related to the World Cup 2022. I believe he is just trying to bully me into pulling my post.

Pull the post? Hmmm. No. I don’t think so. Can WordPress be sued to eliminate my blog altogether, as he threatens? I don’t believe so. If so, it’s been an interesting ride and new blogs pop up all the time . . . 😛

He has also spelled his name Majed M. Garoup, Majed M. Group, and Majed M. Garoub. His English is atrocious and unprofessional.

His reply:

Hello,

We know that you have copied it from Dailystar Lebanese. But you don’t have the rights to publish this kind of news. You site don’t have any authority to publish such news and you are not an authorized person. We mailed you to notify you regarding this issue. If you are not willing to delete the post, we will file the case to delete your whole blog from wordpress hosting.

Majed M Group
Senior Legal Executive.

Sent: Friday, June 27, 2014 at 5:41 AM
From: intlxpatr@aol.com
To: civil.gov@lawyer.com
Subject: Re: Notice to remove the blog post

(my reply)
LOL, it’s a reprint of a Lebanese newspaper article

—–Original Message—–
From: Majed M Garoub
To: Intlxpatr
Sent: Thu, Jun 26, 2014 12:34 pm
Subject: Notice to remove the blog post

Dear Admin,

Myself Majed M Garoup, senior legal Executive. We need to bring a
serious concern infront of you regarding an article which you have
posted on your blog https://intlxpatr.wordpress.com/. The article which
you have posted contains defamatory content about our country. It has
some news which is not relevant and also having some wrong statements
about the country which is purely illegal. Publishing this kind of half
true matters through online is a punishable offense. Before posting any
article about a particular country you need to verify those things to
us. You need to ask the story from both the parties while publishing
such kind of articles. But we haven’t recieved any such calls or mails
from your side. Posting such news without proper confirmation from the
relevant party is a serious crime.And you are a blogger and don’t have
any rights to publish this kind of news on your blog. So this page
should get remove imediately from your blog otherwise legal action will
be taken against your wordpress blog for posting defamatory content and
half true matters on your blog which is spoiling the reputation of our
country.

Link to the article
: https://intlxpatr.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/imf-says-negative-publicity-w
ill-force-qatar-to-pay-laborers-more/

Majed M Group
Senior Legal Executive.

June 28, 2014 Posted by | Blogging, Bureaucracy, Cultural, Doha, Just Bad English, Living Conditions, Qatar, Work Related Issues | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“How Have You Managed . . . ?”

“What do you mean?” I asked the elegant grinning lady who was asking me the question. Three former military wives, one Army, one Air Force and one Navy, and we had been talking about our world-wide lives and adventures.

“How are you doing? You haven’t been here long. Are you managing to settle in?” asked with enormous sympathy.

She caught me off guard.

Yes, I am happy. I’ve settled in. I have friends. I’m connected.

But her question caught me off guard, and all of a sudden I couldn’t answer.

“I’m doing OK” I managed to start. “But it’s like this church. I love this church, and at the same time, there are times I walk in and oh, how I miss our churches in the Middle East, where I would walk in and think ‘this is what heaven must look like’ especially at Christmas, with all the Indian families in their saris and finery, and the Africans in their brocades and elaborate head-dresses, and the people from all over the world. The music was simpler, and at the Christmas Eve service, we sang ‘Silent Night’ in every language in the church . . .  I miss that.”

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There are times the memories catch me unaware, and leave me breathless.

AdventueMan and I went grocery shopping today and when the cashier told me the total, AdventureMan almost gasped. I just laughed and told him that’s why I never took him grocery shopping with me in Kuwait – the sticker shock would have killed him.

Life here is definitely easier.

On the other hand, we have had to revise our ideas about Kuwait drivers. At first, we just thought there were a lot of Kuwaitis living in Pensacola; now we have realized that there are people who just drive as they please. Some of them are stoned out of their minds. I witnessed an accident last week where when I checked the driver of the car that was hit, she grinned at me loopily – and then disappeared. It was bizarre, and I wonder how many people are on the roads as impaired as she was. She went right through a stop sign as if it weren’t even there, and if the car had hit 6 inches more forward, she would have been dead. She didn’t have a scratch. And she was not at all concerned, just that loopy grin. “Elegantly wasted” said the driver of the car who hit her.

We both have a lot going on. With connection comes commitment and obligation. We try to coordinate our schedules at the beginning of the week so we can help one another out. The highlight is that each afternoon I am taking care of our new little granddaughter. AdventureMan/Baba often comes by and naps in the peaceful environment just to be with us. She is a sweet, laughing little baby, never very fussy. He offers me a day off, which occasionally I take, or he takes a time when I have a meeting or an appointment. We have both discovered how very much we like the ‘work’ of grandparenting. 🙂

We’re managing. 🙂

November 17, 2013 Posted by | Aging, Biography, Circle of Life and Death, Community, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Generational, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola | , , , | 8 Comments

Night and Day, Doha, The Pearl

Visiting Doha, AdventureMan took me out to see the new Pearl going up. AdventureMan cracks up – “It’s NOT reclaimed land” he cackles, “they are demolishing old buildings at an incredible rate, and using all that rubble to build this new crop of hotels and residences!”

We watched it when it was just cranes and sandbars.

They’ve come a long way in an amazingly short time. This is the Doha Pearl (they are having the same kind of dusty weather that we are having in Kuwait)

The window is a little cloudy, but you can see it is all lights, camera, action at the building of The Pearl, even at night:

June 10, 2008 Posted by | Building, Community, Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Qatar, Travel | , , | 3 Comments