The second little traveler wanted to wear a blue headband this morning. She had a pink one, a purple one, and a rainbow one in her hand – but she didn’t want to wear them, she wanted to wear the blue one. We couldn’t find it. I could see by the expression on her face that it was about to become an issue. The second little traveler is not known for her skills in anger management. If she’s cross, it’s just best you get out of the way. Fast.

The storm cloud above her head was growing as she moved from one room to the next. She pushed her brother off the couch so that she could once again search under the cushions. Stupidly I suggested she just wear the pink hairband. I won’t be doing that again.

I gave her the look. The look that said if you lose your shit like that again you’ll be spending the weekend in your room. She knew she’d taken it too far. She looked at the ground and said “sorry Fred” and took herself to her room to calm down. Five minutes later as we made our way to the car, I noticed she was wearing a blue headband. She’d found it. Once she’d calmed down, she was able to remember where she’d left it.

There was a moment yesterday where I made eye contact with a friend and saw something different in her face. Through clenched teeth, with tears in her eyes she said “I’m just so angry, so sick of it, just REALLY angry”. She’d expressed herself on an online forum that day, she was talking about safety issues in nurseries and her disappointment about safety not being taken seriously. In a moment of pure anger and frustration she’d written something that she was now having to explain. 

In the five stages of grief, anger is number two, and although many of us remain in the fog of sadness and shock – many have now moved towards anger. Anger is all about retaliation and negativity. There is no good that can come from anger – it eats at us, it engulfs our thought process, it stops us from seeing clearly.

In an open letter published today in the Gulf Times, Martin and Jane Weekes spoke with incredible calm and wisdom over what steps needed to be taken next.

“We hope people will refrain from criticising the growth and ambition of this friendly country that we have called home for five years. This process should not be about blame regardless of the hurt we all may feel now.  This must be about learning so that no person need feel this pain again.”

Anger is ugly. We all know it, we’ve all done it. In Doha, we’ve all been the ugly expat at some stage. I’ve stayed away from the online forums because I knew people would feel the need to vent, to attack. I understand why they need to, but I also know that it won’t bring me any peace. There needs to be discussion – we don’t need finger pointing. We can’t judge by a sentence posted late at night, or a rushed 140 characters. Sometimes our languages don’t translate how we wished them to.

At school this morning the little travelers and I arrived dressed in white. I watched them walk across the sports field and form a love heart with their teachers and friends. I stood side by side with other parents, and watched tears fall from faces as we observed a moments silence. There is nothing more soothing in a time of grief than community coming together as one. Just as there is nothing more destructive than a community tearing each other apart.

We’ve all talked this week about how we will make our own changes. The little travelers and I now know exactly what we would do in a fire. I now look at rooms differently, where would I get out, which exit would I take. I’ve learnt this week that even though Doha can look like many different and individual communities, if we have to, we can come together as one. 

There are things that need to be changed, we can do them together. It’s easy to get angry and frustrated, but it won’t help us find the solution. 

What have you learned this week? 

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