The latest Twitter war surrounding the Gulf diplomatic rift has combined geopolitics with consumerism, as social media users call for a boycott of London-based luxury department store Harrods, which was purchased by the state of Qatar in 2010.
Hundreds of Twitter users are posting using the Arabic language hashtag “boycott Qatari Harrods” in an attempt to chip away at potential profits made by the Qatar-owned business.
The five-acre store – the largest in Europe – was sold seven years ago to Qatar Holdings, the state-owned investment fund.
Since Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and a number of other countries in the region cut off diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar on June 5, Twitter has become a popular battleground for users to voice their opinions on the Qatar-Gulf rift.
#مقاطعه_هارودز_القطري اي شي تقاطعه الدوله قاطعوه
مع حكومتنا في السراء والضراء
هذا وطنّا ويستحق منا الكثير
— بنت سلمان💚🇸🇦 (@JA11000) June 27, 2017
“Anything our government boycotts, we have to boycott,” wrote one Twitter user, referring to Saudi Arabia’s blockade on Qatar. “This is our country and it deserves more.”
كل درهم يصرف في هارودز يوازي المشاركة في اراقة دماء أناس ابرياء ..لا تكن مع دولة الإرهاب ..كن معنا في #مقاطعة_هارودز_القطري
— Sultan Ali Lootah (@slootah) June 26, 2017
“Every dollar spent in Harrods is contributing to the deaths of innocent people,” wrote Sultan Ali Rashed Lootah, an Emirati diplomat from Dubai, asking users to not “stand with the terrorist state, stand with us by boycotting Harrods”.
Qatar supporters were unfazed by Lootah’s tweets and found the calls for boycott unreasonable, writing that it would not make a dent in the state’s profits.
— RoseBam (@__225Bam) June 26, 2017
احنا نملك العالم
حتى لو تروح
هناك قطري عنده محل شاي كرك
احنا بنعذبكم pic.twitter.com/Db5QrZYIQl
— Nasser khan (@nasser19999) June 26, 2017
“We own the world,” responded Twitter user Nasser Khan. “Even if you go to the surface of the moon, you’ll find a Qatari who owns a tea and karak shop.”
Other users noted that Qatar has more investments in London than just Harrods.
على فكره قطر عندها نسبه في مطار هيثرو .. يعني لا تطبون لندن من الأساس 😂😂😂 #مقاطعة_هارودز_القطري
— Mohammed S. (@AL_FADHALA) June 26, 2017
“Qatar has shares in Heathrow Airport, so don’t even come to London at all,” one user wrote.
Qatar currently owns 20 percent of shares in London’s Heathrow airport, and has plans to expand its investment.
Altogether, the state aims to invest more than $6bn in the UK over the next three years.
Twitter user Bani Khalid posted a graphic from Property Week, a UK real estate magazine, that shows Qatar’s vast property ownership across London.
For some, the call to boycott the famous department store had its advantages.
— Maryam Al Thani (@M_AlThani7) June 26, 2017
At least things won't sell out as fast 🙏🏻 #مقاطعة_هارودز_القطري
— 🌞 (@maryamhalattiya) June 26, 2017