“London is full of Arabs.”
That’s a line from Elvis Costello’s 1979 song “Oliver’s Army.”
I’m not sure if it’s still on his set list, given the current climate, but the line refers to a fact of British life that many American probably first became aware of after Princess Diana’s death, when they learned that her (late) boyfriend’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, owned Harrod’s.
As per Costello’s lyric, oil rich “Arabs” have always coveted prime London real estate, so snapping up the city’s world famous luxury department store was an obvious move.
Then in 2010, Harrod’s changed hands, when Al-Fayed reluctantly sold it to Qatar Holding.
What I didn’t know, until I read it on my husband Arnie’s blog this morning, was that Qatar owns a lot of retail real estate in Paris, too.
Qatar owns a lot of things, actually…
But first, you need to know something else:
The Globe & Mail is Canada’s New York Times.
Now I’ll let walk you through my husband’s latest bit of blogging detective work:
First he notes that the Globe just published an article called “Islam: Far from ‘outsiders,’ Europe and Islam have long been intertwined,” written by one H.A. Hellyer.
Hellyer’s thesis is that Muslim majority “no-go zones” are an ugly, racist “urban myth.”
Oh, and he works for the highly prestigious Brookings Institution think tank.
That particular detail caught Arnie’s attention.
As my husband explains on his blog — and the Globe & Mail left out of their brief bio of Hellyer — the Brookings Institution is funded by… Qatar.
Arnie quotes Daniel Pipes quoting the New York Times:
Some of this funding has been given clandestinely, with think tanks taking money under the table while benefiting from a moral image of disinterestedness. In the most prominently egregious example, the government of Qatar, as the NYT reported, “funneled hundreds of millions to Hamas-led Gaza and encouraged its rocket and tunnel assault on Israel,” also signed a four-year $14.8 million deal in 2013 to fund the Brookings Institution.
Then Arnie, as he’s wont to do, dug a little further into other things Qatar owns.
Like that prime Parisian real estate I mentioned earlier:
The Champs-Elysees lures millions of tourists every year to enjoy shopping at the Elysees 26 mall, poker at the Aviation Club, plush cars and futuristic architecture in the Citroen showroom, or feather-clad showgirls at the Lido cabaret.
But for all their Parisian charisma, none of these attractions are French-owned. They belong to the royal family of Qatar, a resource-rich emirate about 3,000 miles away.
Arnie speculates sarcastically on why the Brookings Institution is so eager to debunk Muslim “no-go” zones (which, as has been established again and again by
Fox News the New York Times, Newsweek and the New Republic, really do exist.):
Now Paris’ Mayor Hidalgo has her own reasons to prevent the City of Light’s reputation from being dimmed, after all tourism is not well served by armed soldiers guarding Le Knick Knack shoppes. Les Infidels get jumpy and spend le less.
But what could Qatar’s interest’s be beyond the usual 24/7 stream of Islamist Propaganda we’ve grown used to?
Couldn’t be an effort to protect it’s French real estate investments could it? You know, those heavily tourist reliant real estate investments?
My husband and I can’t help but wonder:
Didn’t Canada’s highly respected paper of record owe it to its readers to connect all those dots before printing such an article?
Should it at the very least have been run under an “advertorial” banner?
Whether the Globe & Mail innocently accepted this article over the transom or they were paid to run it — don’t readers and citizens deserve to know?
And why is it left to mere bloggers like us to make these connections and ask these questions?
Perhaps we need a 21st century variation that mocks that city’s current fascist occupiers.