Here’s the second set of my Doha photos.
Please take note of a series of photo portraits. The author is Shirin Neshat. She explores the relationship between ancient history and the politics of the present. Her work is narrated through a strong visual language that references the primal concepts of violence, passion, and love in universal history. In the series ‘Our House Is On Fire’ (2013) large photograph portraits tell the stories of those who lost their family in the Egyptian revolution of 2011.
The last two pictures were taken by me from the plane when we were crossing the Caucasian ridge.
Recently, in April, I went to Moscow to visit my elderly mother, other relatives, see familiar places, connect with the Russian culture, both past and present.
My trip from Australia that time ran through Qatar and I did not want to miss the opportunity to get to know this Gulf country. I spent almost four days in its capital, Doha. It has a combination of Middle Eastern traditional exotics and modernity. Qatar has enormous reserves of gas, which it exports in liquefied form to many countries. They have lots of money, and over a few decades its capital city turned into a modern, beautiful, dynamic metropolis with skyscrapers and good infrastructure, retaining at the same time some old areas.
Doha, in many ways, resembles two other miracle cities in the desert: Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I visited several museums in Doha, got acquainted with very interesting modern Arabic visual art, saw various expositions.
The indigenous population of this 2-million city is small: about 200 thousand people. The rest are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc., who come here to work. With their earnings in Qatar they help relatives back home. There are also immigrants from different republics of the former USSR: Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, etc. People in Doha are friendly and hospitable. Of course, one should not forget that this is a Muslim country, and must respect its laws and traditions. However, Qatar wants to be a part of the modern world, it is in a constant movement, many things are changing here. I believe that the situation for gays both in Qatar and throughout the Muslim world will gradually improve.
And here’s the first set of my Doha photos.
Celebrating this great Victory Day, I wish to pay tribute to all the participants in the war on the side of the anti-Hitler coalition: soldiers, sailors, servicemen in general, doctors, railway workers, etc., as well as civilians who were subjected to incredible hardship. I wish to pay homage to the dead and wounded, prisoners of concentration camps. People of different nationalities.
Today I wish to pay tribute to the gays who lived in those years. They deserve special mention. Both the Hitler’s regime (an Axis member) and Stalin’s regime (an Allies’ member) persecuted them severely if it became known that they were gay. They were humiliated, beaten, tortured, put in concentration camps and prisons, executed. Even the heroes of the front were not spared. Gays were treated as subhuman beings. Most gays, therefore, were hiding their sexual orientation, and were subjected to additional suffering. Nevertheless, they made a great contribution to the victory over the terrible enemy – the Nazis and the Axis countries as a whole. This must not be forgotten, as we must not forget that persecution of people because of their sexual orientation is inadmissible. I wish to pay tribute to all gays: in the (former) USSR, Germany, UK, USA, France, Italy, Japan and other countries involved in the Second World War. Both servicemen, and civilians. Your life and destiny deeply move and touch us.
* The Allies of World War II (often called anti-Hitler coalition) were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression. They included such countries as the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, USA, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc.
** The Axis powers, also known as the Axis and the Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis, were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allied forces.
Cosmonautics Day (Day of Cosmos/Outer Space Exploration) is an anniversary celebrated in Russia and some other former USSR countries on 12 April. In 2011, 12 April was declared as the International Day of Human Space Flight in dedication of the first manned space flight made on 12 April 1961 by the 27-year-old Russian Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. It was sensational!
Yuri’s smile conquered the world.