Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Stuff happens

After the Kafar Souseh touring event for Sheikha Mozah, we had a complaint from a member of the cultural centre's staff, which (as such things do) reached HE's ears. I wrote the following in explanation:

The event at the Kafar Souseh cultural centre was held in order that HH Sheikha Mozah, Princess of Qatar, could see the Massar programme of activity on her recent visit to Syria. On such occasions, everyone concerned works to strict security and protocol guidelines. Whether reasonable or not, they have to be followed. The Massar team was acting as guides to the activities for the Princess and Her Excellency Mrs Al-Assad, and had been issued with explicit instructions in advance. Our Touring and Logistics Manager, Mr Al-Obeissi, the person being complained about , had much of the responsibility for the practical arrangements, and therefore had been given particularly specific requirements.

In respect of the room in question, it was made clear that no-one should be present but the two First Ladies, three Massar managers, the facilitator and the children. Mr Obeissi had been required to print out a schedule showing the exact names of everybody who would be present in every room that the Princess would visit. No request or instruction to include anyone else had been given to Mr Obeissi. He was therefore entirely correct in asking the cultural centre staff member to leave. He did so politely and discreetly, but firmly; I was there and can vouch for this.
I can fully appreciate that for the member of staff it was disappointing to be asked to leave. However, her name was not on the list, she was not treated discourteously, and has no cause for grievance. It is regrettable, however, that she then chose to verbally abuse Mr Obeissi the following day in public in the cultural centre, when he was escorting other visitors. We did not feel it worth taking this matter up, as in all other respects the cultural centre staff have been helpful. All those concerned, the cultural centre staff and Massar staff, had to be flexible and work fast to make this visit the success it was, and it is sad that for one person it was not a happy occasion.


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