A new book, ‘Qatar We Lived: Its History, People and Rulers’, by Qatari entrepreneur HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani was launched on Sunday as part of the activities of the Doha International Book Fair.
The launch ceremony was held in the presence of HE Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, Minister of State and president of Qatar National Library, during a press conference at the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) headquarters.
HE Sheikh Faisal said, “I am honoured by the presence of HE Dr Hamad al-Kawari at the book’s inauguration ceremony, and I appreciate his continuous support for the cultural movement in the region and the world. Dr Hamad is one of the most prominent diplomats and intellectuals in the world.
“My inspiration for writing the book came from my desire to testify and document Qatar’s history, making use of historical documents and rare photographs since its inception until today, basing this history on authentic sources, in addition to my testimony of information and events that I heard and witnessed in the majlis of Qatar’s people and rulers alike.”
“I have lived through six out of the eight rulers of Qatar, and Sheikh Jassim bin Mohamed bin Thani, the Founder of the State of Qatar, is my great great grandfather, and that I lived in different times and eras for more than seven decades. Not to mention that my father was the Prince of Dukhan, the area in which the first oil wells were discovered in the late forties of the past century,” HE Sheikh Faisal said.
On his part, HE Dr al-Kawari said, “It is not a surprise that my dear friend, Sheikh Faisal, consolidates such valuable information in his book, which we consider an important treasure for us, the future generation of Qatar’s leaders, citizens, and residents. And with the efforts of every member of the publishing team headed by Sheikh Faisal, we look forward to seeing ‘Qatar We Lived’ reach all homes and libraries in Qatar to make sure that the wider community is aware and being educated on this valuable history.”
HE Sheikh Faisal said the book consists of 10 chapters and is being translated into English, French, Spanish, German, Turkish, Mandarin, Hindi, Persian and Portuguese.
He said the book documents how the founding fathers of the nation, since the reign of Sheikh Mohamed bin Thani onwards, have established a communal life in Qatar where there was no difference between the ruler and the ruled as it was through facing hardships as a community that the voluntary role played by ‘the-to-be-rulers of Qatar’ set them apart in a position of leadership that became a stabilising factor to the country.
He stressed that back in the day the ruler was the centre of everything as ministries and governmental institutions were not yet established, so much so that the responsibility of issuing power and water permits, and driving permits fell upon the ruler.
“What is remarkable about the people of Qatar,” HE Sheikh Faisal said, “was their friendliness, humbleness, and hospitality, where visitors and foreigners are made to feel at home. They would be found side by side, from the highest position to the lowest without any distinction between tribes or any competition other than their love for their homeland.”
HE Sheikh Faisal explained that the book emphasises the role of Qatari women in the State’s journey, pointing out that from the time of tents and tribes, all the way to the age of modernity and skyscrapers, the Qatari society has treasured and maintained a set of deeply-rooted traditions and customs that have preserved its identity, blending traditional values and modernity together.
Further, the book mentions the years of struggle and strife that the Qatari people experienced and the battles they fought, as a reminder of the importance of peace and stability for the peoples of the region, as history has proven that ‘history repeats itself in similar ways’, and that shying away from dealing with history does not prevent conflict.
“Therefore, it was imperative to include this history of conflict, in order to avoid its causes, and move forward with pure intentions and a desire for peace. Finally, the last chapter includes facts about Qatar, and pictures of Qatar old and current, that showcase the extent of development that the country underwent,” said HE Sheikh Faisal, who will hold a book signing event today on the sidelines of the Doha International Book Fair at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.