A Poem for Qatar: Dubai Resorts to New Forms of Communication

Published June 30th, 2017 - 07:07 GMT
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and ruler of Dubai. (AFP)
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and ruler of Dubai. (AFP)

The United Arab Emirates' prime minister has urged Qatar to conform to the demands of Saudi Arabia and its allies for an end to their blockade - in a lengthy series of rhyming couplets posted on Instagram.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of the emirate of Dubai, late on Wednesday published the flowery poetry on his Instagram account, as the Gulf crisis spreads across social media.

"It is our duty to openly advise Qatar… wolves only eat sleep that stray away from the flock," Sheikh Mohammad wrote, in the poem titled The Clear Path.

"We all stem from the same source, people, existence, flesh, land and religion. Now is the time to unite our hearts to protect one another from hatred and grievances."

"Yet Qatar turns to the nearby stranger, to the weak… we are closer to you than the people who speak foreign tongues," he added, alluding to Doha's alleged relations with Iran.

In the two-part, 240-word poem, now shared more than 45,000 times on Instagram, Sheikh Mohammed urges Doha to abandon its independent foreign policy and fall in line with regional aspirations of the hegemonic Saudi-led alliance against Qatar."The path is clear and easy to see and its door is open but only for a given time," Sheikh Mohammed said in cryptic Arabic verse.

"The path towards mercy, prosperity and paradise is better than that of the devil and his people," he added.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and its allies, Egypt and Bahrain, severed all ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of support for extremist groups - a claim Doha strongly denies.

They closed their airspace to Qatari carriers and blocked the country's only land border - a vital route for its food imports.

They have also ordered all Qataris to leave and their own nationals to return home.

Last week, Riyadh laid down a list of 13 "non-negotiable" demands for Doha, including ending its alleged support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the closure of broadcaster Al Jazeera and The New Arab's newspaper and website, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base.

The UAE has told Qatar it should take the demands seriously or face a "divorce" from its Gulf neighbours.

However, Qatar said it rejects all foreign interference in its policies and said that the list of demands is "unreasonable".

A top Qatari human rights group said on Wednesday that it would employ Swiss lawyers to seek compensation for Qataris economically impacted the blockade.

The UAE ambassador to Russia Omar Ghobash warned in comments published by Britain's Guardian newspaper on Tuesday that Qatar could face further sanctions if it failed to meet the demands.

Sheikh Mohammed is by no means the first world leader to turn to poetry.

Former US president Jimmy Carter is a published poet. Barack Obama dabbled in poetry in the 1980s and his successor Donald Trump is now the unintentional author of a compilation of tweets and quotes entitled "Bard of the Deal: The poetry of Donald Trump".

Copyright @ 2019 The New Arab.

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