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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  • V

    I have been struggling with some anger.

    On Monday I was amazed at what an incredible tool Twitter was for both information and for uniting many of us. Now I feel it’s almost like the scene of a crime. It just reminds me of what has happened and makes me feel worse.

    Many things people have posted over the last few days are making me angry. I won’t go into it, but I’ve learnt that while social media can be a fantastic tool, sometimes you need to disconnect from it.

    I’ve learnt that some people are astonishingly resilient. They can acknowledge that they feel grief, but that they want to work through it and to channel that grief into someone constructive. Something positive. I’ve also learnt that some are astonishingly insensitive and opportunistic and that I need to focus my attention on the former.

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      On Monday from about 12 til 7 – the only information I got was from twitter. I like your explanation of “the scene of the crime” it’s bang on. I found myself lashing out at someone on Tuesday (I deleted the tweet) because I felt the same way as you. I’ve found myself limiting my time on the net as it’s all been a bit too much to bear. The beautiful things like the vigil and the children forming the love heart and Martin’s story of the feather falling into Jane’s hand have been REALLY beautiful but the cameras in their faces at the vigil and some of the enquiring disgusting tweets have been very ugly. Don’t get me started on some of the pictures that were posted – but I’ve had my say about that.

    • vegemitevix

      I noticed the cameras in the videos and my heart sank. It was just an incredibly sour note..

    • toryscott

      I hated the cameras, too. Journalist I may be, but I kept right away from the Weekes at the vigil. I also wish I’d never seen most of the pictures I saw of the fire. There are some things we don’t need to see, and more to the point, shouldn’t see.

    • V

      The pictures really shat me. As has the constant back-patting for great “journalism”. I’ve written a few tweets that I’ve deleted before posting. I figure no good could come of them. So I’ve had to remove myself for a bit.

      I don’t want to ignore it – the vigil was beautiful and I’m glad I went. I think we should acknowledge how we feel but for me Twitter etc just hasn’t been a good place the last few days.

      I’m glad someone else kind of feels the same way I do about it. Thanks KRice.

  • Anonymous

    I’m angry. More angry than I thought capable, and unapologetically so. Anger is not a rational emotion, but then again emotions generally aren’t. As you note, anger is one of the stages in grief, and it doesn’t necessarily preclude solution-finding. People deal with horrendous situations like this in very different ways, and anger, while not pretty, should be allowed.

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      I agree with you. Nobody can stop themselves from being angry, it’s completely natural and it’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. That’s why I’ve kept my distance from certain forums and conversations. Does that make sense?

  • Domestic Goddesque

    I have learned that you can never be too prepared. I have learned that you can never love too much. I have learned that it is possible to be incredibly dignified and forgiving at an impossibly difficult time. The Weekes letter is extraordinary in that regard. And then in the news today, the story of other parents who lost their children in a fire that they themselves are charged with starting. I remember the tears rolling down those parents’ cheeks at their press conference, and then tears which fell as the Haka was performed in honour, fellowship and grief for the triplets and their parents. What a world.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve learnt that some have more stoicism, grace and dignity than a person should ever have to call upon.
    I’ve learnt that a little part of me wishes that I’d never had kids, because of the fear of losing them.

  • Jody

    I’ve also Tweeted and deleted this week. Mostly I learned that whatever I feel I need to say, I can’t get it out right and subsequently maybe shouldn’t be saying it at all.

  • Getrealmommy

    I just read your post, I have to admit that I was blissfully unaware that this even happened. I guess I have been in my own little world. Devastating. I think that any emotions and feelings that people are having now in the aftermath are valid. Anger will be one of them because the circumstances are maddening. This is just so tragic. Thank you for writing about it.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve learnt that every day with my children is a gift. that I should hug them tight when I leave them at school or creche.

    And that I am so very lucky that it wasn’t my child in the creche.

  • Ailsa

    I love this post Kirsty..thank you.

  • mamabook

    Kirsty, I just read the letter. Extraordinary. And I thank you for continuing to share with the rest of us what is happening and how people are feeling. I agree about online forums. They can easily turn into nasty places and you are wise to stay away if they are not helpful.


    I appreciate that you acknowledge anger as one of the stages of dealing with grief, that language differences can have unintended consequences and that sometimes words simply fail us. At times like these we learn that pain and loss bring out the best, the not so good and the worst in people (including trolls on social media sites). As you demonstrate, sometimes it’s best to think twice (or thrice), express yourself in more positive ways, or flat out maintain silence. I cannot begin to imagine the nightmare these parents, families and friends are going through. None of us wants to go there. None of us.

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