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Breast Cancer Support Group Forms in Qatar

Breast cancer support group launched in Doha
By Ourouba Hussein

From today’s Gulf Times

The first breast cancer support group in Qatar was launched yesterday with 25 survivors as members.

Qatar National Cancer Society (QNCS) chairman Sheikh Khalid bin Jabor al-Thani said at a press conference that the organisation has been working for the last 10 years to set up the group, which would provide support to patients “who are newly diagnosed with the disease”.
He explained that the 25- member support group included Qatari and non-Qatari survivors or those who are still under treatment.

Sheikh Khalid said that QNCS was preparing to host a scientific conference on cancer control in April.

“The organisation will also launch a campaign to combat cancer in women and increase awareness to promote prevention and treatment of this disease,” he said.

Wife of the US ambassador Ellie LeBaron, a leading supporter of the cause, observed that the group included women who had suffered breast cancer, in addition to a member of their families.

“The Cancer Survivors’ Group aims to raise awareness of the importance of early detection, which has a great impact on the success of treatment, as well as telling the newly diagnosed that they can fight it and succeed”, she said.

“Many of the women with breast cancer are looking for answers to questions about chemotherapy and radiation treatment, as well as the chances of recovery,” she said.
Breast cancer survivors in the group, spoke about their experiences with the disease and treatment and emphasised that the mental support they received played a major role in their healing process.

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Civility, Community, Cross Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Qatar, Women's Issues | 3 Comments

Abraham bargains with God

When I hear people say God never changes his mind, I think of this story. From today’s reading in the Lectionary, Abraham, Father of the Jews, the Christians and the Moslems, bargains with God not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah:

Genesis 18:16-33

16 Then the men set out from there, and they looked towards Sodom; and Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 17The Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?* 19No, for I have chosen* him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.’ 20Then the Lord said, ‘How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! 21I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.’

22 So the men turned from there, and went towards Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord.* 23Then Abraham came near and said, ‘Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?’ 26And the Lord said, ‘If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.’ 27Abraham answered, ‘Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?’ And he said, ‘I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.’ 29Again he spoke to him, ‘Suppose forty are found there.’ He answered, ‘For the sake of forty I will not do it.’ 30Then he said, ‘Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there.’ He answered, ‘I will not do it, if I find thirty there.’ 31He said, ‘Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.’ He answered, ‘For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.’ 32Then he said, ‘Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there.’ He answered, ‘For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.’ 33And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Relationships, Spiritual | 2 Comments

Qatar’s ‘Manly Women’

Thank you, Little Diamond, who sent this article from The Economist as an update to blog entry on cross dressing based on a tiny article in the Gulf Times

CROSS-DRESSING is on the rise among young Qataris. The local press says that more tradition-minded locals are upset by the growing number of young women affecting a masculine style of dress, baggy trousers, short hair and deep voices. These women, who call themselves boyat, which translates as both tomboy and transsexual (and is derived from the English word boy), are being seen in schools and on university campuses where some are said to harass their straiter-laced sisters.

In an episode of a talk show on Qatari television, called Lakom al Karar (The Decision is Yours), a leading academic said that the “manly women” phenomenon was part of a “foreign trend” brought into Qatar and the Gulf by globalisation. Foreign teachers, the internet and satellite television have been blamed. So have foreign housemaids, for badly influencing children in their care.

The studio audience was divided over how to respond. Some called for the death penalty for cross-dressers, while others favoured medical treatment. A rehabilitation centre for Qatari boyat has been set up, but a local report says that as many as 70% of them refuse to give up their “abnormal behaviour”.

It is not just Qataris who are rattled. A year ago the ministry of social affairs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched a campaign against “masculine women”. The project, entitled “Excuse me, I’m a girl”, involved workshops, lectures and television programmes, stressing the virtues of femininity and raising awareness of the presumed dangers of women looking like men. An emirates’ foundation is helping to fund a research project on “gender identity disorder among Emirati youth”.

One official describes the “deviant behaviour” of the boyat as a “menace” to society. But others sound less fazed. An American university lecturer in the region says the short hair and gym shoes worn by these young women would look perfectly normal on an American campus. That is just what unnerves the traditionalists.

Why do you think these girls dress and act like men? Why would a girl do that?

I think girls do that – in any country – for a reason. If privileges and freedoms are heavily weighted in favor of males, perhaps there is no great mystery as to why some females would prefer to be males. It makes sense to me. Girls aren’t stupid. They can see who is getting all the goodies. My guess it is less a gender issue than a values issue.

On the other hand, when – and if – things are more equal, there is less motivation to be other than what we were created to be.

I had some young local friends who told me that they were taking Tai Kwan Do, but quit when a neighbor told their mother that it might threaten their virginity. It broke my heart. The martial arts give grace and confidence to young women. There are a lot of ways a hymen can be broken; I have never heard of it happening while training in Tai Kwan Do. These young, vibrant girls have fewer and fewer activities that they are encouraged to do, and end up staying home or strolling endlessly at the local malls. Aaarrgh!

Dads – teach your daughters to hunt! Teach them to fish! Teach them to swim, to throw a softball, to kick a football. Take them camping in the desert, and let them run freely. Teach them chess, and how to win. Give them the gift of physical and intellectual activity, give them the understanding that sports, employment and power are equally accessible for all sexes, and you won’t be having problems with girls who yearn for the freedoms and privileges of being male.

January 30, 2010 Posted by | Character, Cross Cultural, Doha, Education, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Generational, Living Conditions, Qatar, Social Issues, Values, Women's Issues | 12 Comments

Perfectly Beautiful Doha Skyline

Every now and then, the perfect night comes along. We weren’t the only ones out taking photos – it was that kind of night.

January 30, 2010 Posted by | Beauty, Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Qatar, Weather | Leave a comment

Heart of Doha Progress – Karabaa

January 30, 2010 Posted by | Building, Doha, ExPat Life, Qatar | Leave a comment

Wolf Moon Over Doha

Like a PEARL in the newly opened exhibit, the Wolf Moon illuminates the Museum of Islamic Art

From AOL News, where you can read the rest of the article)

(Jan. 29) – Tonight’s full moon will be the biggest and brightest full moon of the year. It offers anyone with clear skies an opportunity to identify easy-to-see features on the moon.

This being the first full moon of 2010, it is also known as the wolf moon, a moniker dating back to Native American culture and the notion that hungry wolves howled at the full moon on cold winter nights. Each month brings another full moon name.

But why will this moon be bigger than others? Here’s how the moon works:

The moon is, on average, 238,855 miles from Earth. The moon’s orbit around Earth – which causes it to go through all its phases once every 29.5 days – is not a perfect circle, but rather an ellipse. One side of the orbit is 31,070 miles closer than the other.

So in each orbit, the moon reaches this closest point to us, called perigee. Once or twice a year, perigee coincides with a full moon, as it will tonight, making the moon bigger and brighter than any other full moons during the year.

Tonight it will be about 14 percent wider and 30 percent brighter than lesser full moons of the year, according to

As a bonus, Mars will be just to the left of the moon tonight. Look for the reddish, starlike object.

The weather is perfect. Go out tonight and enjoy this fabulous, bright moon.

January 30, 2010 Posted by | Doha, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Qatar, Weather | 4 Comments

Brisk Morning at the Souq Al Waqif

“My husband hates shopping and hates the souks” said one of my friends, and my friend Grammy and I just grinned – any excuse for a trip to the souks, especially to introduce someone to our own particular joys. Early breakfast at the Beirut, walking here and there, finding small treasures and great pleasures, and ending up with coffee at the Cafe Tasse, which has divine Cafe Mocha with real whipped cream. It’s OK, I don’t have real whipped cream every day, just . . . have a problem resisting on those wonderful sunny winter mornings in the souks.

Some sights to share with you:

Dashing souk policemen on horseback, an early morning treat

The hardware souk, in the ‘guy’s souk area’, i.e. camping, hunting, fishing, falcons, hardware . . .

Falcon Hood Maker

Tiny little falcon hoods

January 29, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Community, Cultural, Doha, Eating Out, Entertainment, Friends & Friendship, Hot drinks, Living Conditions, Qatar | 6 Comments

Qatar Arrests Three for Sorcery

From today’s Gulf Times

Three sorcerers, who were preying mainly on women, were arrested by the preventive security department, a statement issued by the public relations department at the ministry of interior said yesterday.

The accused, who are from an Arab country, confessed that they were practising sorcery in some Gulf states before coming to Qatar and that most of their victims were women and girls, the statement added.

A number of books, amulets, local and foreign currency were seized from the suspects who were staying at a hotel.

Lieutenant Colonel Manahi Khaled al-Hajiri, the head of the preventive security department urged the public to be cautious and report any suspicious acts to the police on: 4471444, 4947888 or send an SMS to 92994 or e-mail:

I don’t believe in sorcery. The thought of it, to me, is just laughable. I can only imagine that the women these guys were preying on must have been desperate, and I can only try to imagine what their issues are – a straying husband? casting a love spell? some troublesome neighbor? wanting a baby?

My religion forbids us to have anything to do with sorcery – even fortune telling. I am guessing in the US people could be arrested for fraud, unless they could prove that their ‘sorcery’ worked, but I don’t know that practicing sorcery as such is against the law. So I have to wonder about all those women on late night TV who you can call and they will tell your fortune? That’s legal?

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Crime, Cross Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Random Musings, Spiritual | 6 Comments

A Breath of Winter

I am a happy camper.

AdventureMan’s teeth are chattering and he is rummaging through his drawers in search of long johns and his fleece jacket, the Qatteri Cat is nestled as close to me as he can get and there is a slight chill in the air (remember, I am an Alaska girl 🙂 so it doesn’t feel that cold to me!)

Yesterday, I even wore long sleeves, first time since December, when we had a couple chilly days. January in Doha – until yesterday – was more like March in Doha, with warm nights and warmer days. I appreciate the freshness of a little coolness.

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Doha, Qatar, Qatteri Cat, Travel, Weather | 6 Comments

Qattari Cat Goes Wild

It was like the ninth circle in Hell. We had been told this was the best clinic in town, so when we thought the Qatteri Cat was having a problem, we made an appointment, and braved the Doha drive-time traffic to get there, only to discover that there were like 25 people milling around the waiting room, most holding animals loose in their arms, and a feeling of desperation in the air.

The customer service was shocking. I watched one man, big guy, football-player type, sway and his knees nearly buckle as the curt woman behind the desk said in her loud voice “Oh! Your cat didn’t make it! Your’s was the little grey cat, right?” He was devastated. I was horrified that the news could be delivered so callously, and so loudly.

Many of the people without appointments had kittens bought at the Souq al Waqif. You know I love the Souk al Waqif, but if you buy an animal there, you are buying an animal who already has strikes against it, and people who breed them just for sale, with no regard for ethical treatment of another living creature. You are buying trouble, and big veterinarian bills. It’s gotten so bad for me, I can’t even walk through the bird/animal area anymore. I can’t bear to see the way the animals are treated.

We got to see the vet over an hour later. He was nice, very professional, very knowledgeable, and I cannot imagine what it is like having to run a veterinary service under these hellish conditions.

One of his handlers walked in, looked at me coldly and said “Is this your cat?” I said yes, and she continued on “this is the worst cat I have ever handled. He is EVIL! He is VICIOUS! He is the cat from hell. Is he like this at home?”

Imagine saying something like that to a customer!

I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. The Qatteri Cat had a rough beginning in life. I met his first owners, and the women in the family didn’t like him. When he came to live with us, he loved – and trusted – AdventureMan from the beginning, but it took me a long while to win his trust. He was skinny and always watching my feet and hands; he would flinch if I moved too quickly. He had been mistreated.

He has bitten me twice, in his seven years living with us, both times when other cats were around and he was scared. When he is scared, or when he is in pain, all his natural instincts kick in. I give him a short time-out in a confined environment (the bathroom!), and everything is fine. He’s a cat. No, he is not vicious at home. He is a SWEET cat!

He has never misbehaved at a vet clinic, never. At the clinic in Kuwait, he couldn’t wait to get out of the cage; the female Italian vet told him what a handsome big boy he was and he was putty in her hands. I have to admit it, I felt a twinge of jealousy. He had eyes only for her!

The Qattari Cat is a cat who wants to co-operate. It doesn’t matter how good the vet is, if the staff is unprofessional, discourteous to the point of rudeness, and ignorant about handling animals, we won’t go back. We won’t risk him being handled cruelly. I cannot imagine why they keep this woman on their staff.

But I couldn’t resist taking a flash photo of QC to illustrate this post, with demonic, gleaming eyes, LLOOOLLLL!

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Communication, Customer Service, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Pets, Qatar, Qatteri Cat, Rants | 13 Comments