For much of the Western imagination, Qatar is practically a blank slate. Until not so long ago, the peninsula on which Qatar rests was populated almost exclusively by Bedouin nomads. As Qatar has grown in recent years, it has built its modern culture, education, politics and society nearly from scratch. Its modernization has also incorporated many elements of its nomadic and anti-colonial past. Qatar is not a blank slate. It has a history and a present as complex and variegated as any other - for those who take the time to learn from it.