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Tuesday, October 24, 2017 09:49:43 AM
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Gulf diplomatic crisis splits families, dashes dreams

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Many Qataris, affected by the diplomatic crisis, face divided families and financial losses.

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10th-Aug-2017       
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AFP, Doha :
For Qataris affected by the diplomatic crisis rocking the Gulf, the reality of politics is stark: families divided, assets frozen and dreams put on hold.
Sara, a 29-year-old Qatari, had been poised to start her senior year in business school in Dubai when on June 5, a bloc of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia abruptly cut ties with her country.
"We were suddenly told that we were no longer permitted to attend classes and had to go back to Doha," she said.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain accused the Gulf emirate of supporting Islamist extremism and being too close to Riyadh's regional arch-rival Iran.
They ordered all Qataris to leave their territories within two weeks, recalled their ambassadors and citizens from the emirate and banned Qatari carriers from their ports and airspace.
Qatar denied the allegations and denounced what it called a "blockade" aimed at bringing the wealthy emirate to its knees.
Qatari authorities have committed schools and universities to enrolling repatriated students.
But for Sara and many like her, the crisis was personal.
"When someone prevents you from studying, it destroys your dreams," she said.
"One day, overnight, with no warning- suddenly you're told 'you have to stay home, no school for you'."
As the standoff drags into its third month, the uncertainty is causing agony, particularly for families of mixed nationality.
Sara, who did not want her surname revealed because she feared the consequences for her relatives elsewhere in the region, has an Emirati mother and a Qatari father.
That is nothing unusual in a region where cross-border marriages are commonplace.
The diplomatic spat has thrown such families into their own crises.
"Half my family is in Dubai, in the UAE. I also have family in Bahrain," Sara said, choking back tears.
When her grandmother fell ill in Dubai, her mother was reluctant to travel to the UAE for fear she would not be allowed to return to her children in Qatar.

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