Other Malls may be doing the same thing, but so far this is the first time here in Qatar that I have had my car searched.
Now I have a guilty confession to make. I wrongly got upset and behaved badly when asked to open a back pack located in the boot (trunk for any Americans reading this) of my car. In my defense is the following a) When driving down the ramp into the basement car park, I could see the car in front of me being inspected. A mirror was being used to look under the car and while one security guard was doing that his colleague walked around looking into the car. The car in front moved off and I approached the designated stop point and waited for my car to be checked.
I was happy with the process so far, until I heard my tailgate being opened and realised the security chap was rooting around in the back of my car. This was now a little annoying. My point a) defense about getting irritated is that he did not ask my permission to open my tailgate and start moving stuff around.What if something went missing? Surely I should have politely been asked to exit the car and open the boot for him so I could watch him handling my stuff. my point b) defense for getting angry was that at no point was there any sign of politeness. And my point c) is that this was all a surprise and not expected.
My expensive camera equipment was located in a back pack I had in the back of the car, and I was just about to tell him to leave it alone when he asked me to come and open the bag for him. This is the point I got angry. Once again no sign of a please or thank you, and I felt he was being a jobs worth. Someone who got a kick out of being important. As I was exiting the car I made the decision I didn’t want him digging around in my DSLR bag, and angrily told him to shut my tailgate and I would exit the car park. This irritated him and he wanted to know why I didn’t want to open the bag. I told him I didn’t want him to search the bag and once again told him to close the tailgate so I could exit. After more verbal going around in circles I shut the tailgate myself and was forced to do a very tight 3 point turn on the ramp as he would not allow me to proceed any further into the car park to turn around, I then exited and parked in an under cover spot right by the ramp.
Now even with defense points a) b) and c) trying to justify my anger, I was totally in the wrong. He should have been more courteous and then this situation would not have evolved, but next time I enter the basement parking of Dar Al Salam regardless of the level of courtesy being extended to me, if inspected I will not object and will do as asked. Security is security, and even if I do suspect this particular security guard was enjoying his power a little to much, he had a job to do, and that is to keep everyone including me safe.
But next time I will leave my camera bag behind before going shopping as I still don’t want anyone digging around in there. Too much expensive, well organised and fragile stuff held in that bag.
By the way when I asked him to call his supervisor because I wanted to report his lack of politeness, I was informed they didn’t have any form of communication. I can’t help thinking that in the event they encountered a threat they were going to be on their own and in serious trouble. I also noted that it was only the basement car park being searched, meaning a threat could just walk in the front entrance if they so desired. Why only partial security measures, if you are going to take security seriously don’t just do it for show, be thorough. It’s my personal opinion these security measure were only meant to be seen to be doing something. But that’s my personal opinion and how it looked to me.
I will finish by expressing how sad I am that security has been raised to this level in Qatar. Obviously Qatar is in no different position to many other countries under threat. And I am glad they are being proactive. But how sad that this beautiful country where I have never felt threatened in any way, is now under the dark shadow of terrorism. I hope this is only a temporary security alert, and that things can return to normal in the near future. And once again I promise to comply with all searches in future without getting angry.