Qatar grieves over mall fire tragedy

June 3, 2012
By

The slow and agonising process of grief over the death of 19 people in a mall blaze seemed to continue unabated in Doha.

Seeking to offer and receive solace, people from various backgrounds drew up plans to be together during the nation’s critical times.

Calls were issued over social networks for people to gather at a local hotel on Thursday evening and console one another and overcome the shock caused by Qatar’s worst human tragedy in modern times.

The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra has invited people to attend a free concert at the Katara Opera House on Friday evening in a memorial to the departed souls of Monday’s fire.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony in particular will be performed for the victims.

Alastair Willis will also conduct the orchestra in Lebanese composer Abdullah Al Masri’s Violin Concerto in its world premiere. Jorge Saade of Ecuador will be the soloist.

At the American School of Doha, students and staff on Thursday formed a big heart for the people who died in the Villaggio Mall blaze.

As the nation grieved, people also came together to thwart rumours and allegations of wrongdoing and to request for some time to let the investigation team carry out the probe.

In an open letter to supporters, the Weekes, the New Zealand family that lost triplets in the fire, said they wanted to “acknowledge and thank the many people from around the world, most of whom we have never met, who have sent messages of condolences and strength.”

However, the bereaved couple added that they wanted “understanding of what actually went wrong and how to ensure it never happens again.”

“We ask that people allow the experts commissioned to investigate the fire be given the time to do their jobs and gather their facts and to truly understand the issues however long that may take,” the family said.

Qatar has ordered the arrest of several officials as part of the investigation and the move was particularly praised by Gulf nationals who complained that no-one was arrested in their countries following terrible incidents.

However, for some international media, the blaze was a good occasion to advance allegations that it was the result of attacks on Israelis at the mall or of a feud between prominent families in Doha.

 

Shaikh Tamim’s concern

Social networks scorned the claims. However, they were all praise for the crown prince, Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, who visited the families of the victims and offered them the nation’s condolences.

Shaikh Tamim visited the embassies of China, Canada, Egypt, Morocco, the Philippines, the United States and Spain as well as in condolence gatherings of the families from South Africa, New Zealand and Iran.

He made pledges that Qatar will take adequate action against anyone who failed to attend to their responsibilities, Qatar News Agency (QNA) said.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/qatar-grieves-over-mall-fire-tragedy-1.1030262

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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