Verum was eating a yummy jam-and-cheese sandwich. It was all the more fun because Felix and Verum had made the jam using fresh and juicy fruits from Felix’s garden. They were quite happy that their little experiment had turned out so well.

Orak entered the dorm room, looking for a book on astronomy. He looked at Verum and Felix’s joyous faces and then looked at Verum’s crystal ball that had begun its familiar humming. He caught Verum’s eye and pointed in the direction of the crystal ball. Verum rushed to it with her sandwich in hand.

She said, “Today, we have a historical piece of news from Qatar, a small but wealthy country in the Middle East. This country produces gas.”

“What’s the news?’ said Orak with interest.

“The ruling Emir (ruler) Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani released an official order stating that Qatar will hold legislative elections for its advisory Shura Council on 2nd October,” said Verum, “It’s the first time Qatar is holding elections for this council!”

“My Book of Everything tells me that ‘shura’ is an Arabic word, meaning ‘consultation’. The Shura Council or Majlis as-Shura is a legislative (law-making) authority that is consulted by Qatar’s other legislative body, the Cabinet. Before coming into effect, laws are presented before the Shura Council for suggestions and consideration,” added Orak, “The members of the Shura Council can even propose bills which can be later made into laws.”

“That’s important news,” said Felix, “Tell us more about it, Verum.”

“In 2003, a referendum (a general and direct vote) approved a new constitution. A constitution is an important set of rules and a country is governed based on these rules. As per this new constitution of Qatar, polls were to be conducted. But the Emir repeatedly delayed them,” said Verum, “Until this year…”

“Will they elect members for the entire Shura Council?” said Orak.

“No, through this vote, Qataris will elect 30 members of the council while the Emir will continue to appoint the remaining 15 members,” replied Verum, “But there is a problem.”

She continued, “According to this law, Qataris whose families weren’t present in the country before 1930 will not be allowed to vote in the October elections. Because of this, members of the Al Murrah tribe, one of the Gulf’s largest Bedouin groups, cannot vote. This has supposedly led to protests.”

Bedouins are nomadic Arab tribes who live and travel across deserts in the Arabian peninsula, Iraq, northern Africa, and the Levant.

“Oh, no,” said Felix.

“But there is a possibility that the new Shura Council may review this law,” said Verum.