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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Don’t try this at home: Man picnics on Emiri Diwan, escapes unscathed


The seat of Qatar’s government is an imposing building, surrounded by a vast green lawn and several pointy steel rods.

In that sense, the Emiri Diwan is not unlike the American White House, notes Leon Kaye, founder of sustainability website GreenGoPost.com.

Except, of course, strolling across the White House lawn – or even giving the president’s home a funny look – could land someone in deep trouble.

Not so in Qatar, says Kaye, who ambled up to the Diwan after dinner at Souq Waqif on his first night in Doha, mistaking it for a popular picnicking spot:

I had not bothered with a guidebook, so I figured I would check out the building, see what the museum hours were, or explore the shops and restaurants that surely were hidden underground. I walked up to the buildings, tried to look through the windows’ blinds, sat down and munched on some snacks, polished off a drink yogurt, and sneered at my camera as I tried to take photos of myself.

I had no idea this imposing structure was the Amiri Diwan. I must have looked most undignified on the security cameras…

Clearly I fit the profile of “this guy’s harmless, let’s just leave him alone and we’ll rewind the security tape at various speeds for fun.”

Kaye, who doesn’t recommend that anyone try to recreate his magical night, adds that he came away with the impression that the Diwan “imparts both imposing power and yet a degree of innocence that is only natural in a society that has experienced rapid economic growth.”


Credit: Photo by Luqman Mohammad

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