People in Gulf States are undergoing one of the worst crisis in the region for decades, especially in Qatar. Families have been forced to stay away, assets are blocked and all the plans are put on hold.
Sara is one among many who have struggled during the crisis since June, she was asked to leave her college in Dubai when she was all set to start her senior year. “We were suddenly told that we were no longer permitted to attend classes and had to go back to Doha,” she said.
Qatari authorities have committed schools and universities to enrolling repatriated students. But for Sara and many like her, the crisis was personal. “When someone prevents you from studying, it destroys your dreams,” she said. “One day, overnight, with no warning — suddenly you’re told ‘you have to stay home, no school for you’.”
As the crisis reaches its third month, mixed families are the worst affected. Sara decided not to reveal her surname as she feared the consequences of her relatives elsewhere in the region, she has an Emirati mother and a Qatari father.
The diplomatic spat has thrown such families into their own crises. “Half my family is in Dubai, in the UAE. I also have family in Bahrain,” Sara said, choking back tears.
Her mother hesitated to travel to the UAE even when her grandmother was sick, because she thinks that she would not be allowed to come back to her children in Qatar.
Though, Arab states have asked its citizens living in Qatar to return, most of them decided not to go back, especially those with families in Qatar. Some even claim that they feared punishments by their own governments.
One Saudi mother, living in Qatar for years said that she was terrified, she and her two adult daughters are caught between fear of their own government and uncertainty about their future.
“We will have to renew our visas in a year. It’s frightening — we don’t know what will happen,” she said.
She is in deep bother because she will be blocked from accessing her late husband’s Saudi pension, her only income, if she does not go back to Saudi Arabia.
Qatari civil servant Ahmad said political issues “should stay between leaders, people should not be involved”.
Abdullah Al Marri, another government worker, said he was surprised at the turn of events.
“I didn’t think such things could happen between brothers,” he said.