Saudi Arabia: Are WE Too Harsh About Saudi Arabia?

Over the years I have been writing this blog it seems that the harshest critics who speak out against Saudi Arabia are many who have never set foot in the Kingdom.  Or maybe they’ve had a chance to be in the Kingdom but due to the circumstances are only able to have limited experiences.  The media also does a fine job of sensationalizing any and all that is different and unusual from the mainstream West.  As a result, one hears a lot and I mean A LOT of negative about Saudi Arabia whether it is the regime or the religion.  Yet as it true in so many cases, the rest of the story and many times the true story remain untold.

The negative media does make it easy for individuals who have not been to Saudi Arabia to sound more authoritative when speaking out against the Kingdom and its people.  Those who also have their own positive experiences and stories may not speak up as loudly or quickly as those who have a bone to pick.

I realize that I have been one of those not speaking up enough.  I do not agree with all that Saudi Arabia stands for or all the customs which are in effect in the Kingdom.  However I do respect the people, the citizens, the culture, the customs and the heritage.  I am appreciative of how warmly welcomed I was made and how welcome I still feel by the people of Saudi Arabia.  The Kingdom was kind and good to me not only while I was living there but continues to be kind and good to me since the death of my late husband.

Not everyone in Saudi Arabia is an Islamist although the majority is Muslims.  The majority of Saudi people, even those whose names may be Al Saud, have the same concerns and desires as people all over the world such as peace, stability, love and security for their family.  Even an Imam or a muttawa has a family.  In fact, God made each and every one of us for His purpose.  He made some of us Saudi citizens and some of us citizens from other nations.  Thanks to our place of birth, some of us were born and raised Muslim, such as Saudis and some of us were not.  God is the one who has the final plans for all of us.  So in the whole scheme of things, aren’t some of us too harsh about Saudi Arabia?

 

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266 Responses

  1. As a saudi, such critical articles, and the harsh unfair tone bother me A LOT. The problem is, the west is not satisfied with us bcuz we implement barbaric version of religion illustrated in the ‘exreme’ oppression of women. on the other hand, Muslims are not happy with our policies and implementation of sharia law bcuz for them we pick and choose. The qs is, why only my country? why only my people? why do u make our issues, worries, concenrs ur own? when saudis rarely ever interfer in other countries’ social or religious affairs. This is why I think you are all so unfair with us… concentrating on us, directing ur microscopes to SUTDY and EVALUATE matters over and over again.

    It makes me often predict the content whenever there is a article written by a non saudi, its composed to spew hatred, to belittle our version (understanding) of religion, and to give yourself authority to judge everything from A-Z. But seriously, who gave you all this authority? I understand it’s a free market, yet, for me as a saudi seeing ppl so obsessed with us is a very annoying thing. I wish they would leave us alone, we know how and when to solve our problems… God willing!

  2. yes saudi is often judged harshly , some of it based on their laws some of it sensationalized by the press. I think it’s a nice country , warm and friendly, just like being in any other country adnnot knowing the lang. my angst rests with my saudi in-laws 🙂 and i know they don’t make up all of saudi folk, yes when emotions runs high it’s hard to see clearly .

    I went there since i’m married to a saudi, and the saudi laws made a bad situation for me worse, hence we left, I thnk the mahrem laws are so out of the norm for the rest of the world that i had a hard time acceptng it. but if i was born and raised therer i would know no different, but for those who have never been there, go and visit if you get a chance it’s a culturally rich spot just like any othe rplace and has warm sentivite and hospitable people.

  3. The answer is no! A big NO.

    Saudi woman, so we have no right then to judge saudis? You you think that saudis don’t continually judge non-Muslims? Do you want to be exempt from criticism? On what basis?

    Oh yes, only Arabia is criticized. yeah, right! It has been decades since I heard anything bad said about the USA. And do you think that the billions of $$$$$ the saudis spend to spread a version of Islam that teaches horrible things about non-Muslims isn’t “interfering” with others? You yourself say it is barbaric but 5 lines later you don’t want us to have an opinion.

    Be consistent, at least!

    I can’t speak for others, but I gave myself this authority. I even have a “Certificate of Authority” hanging on my wall that says I can criticize others for their words and actions if I find them to be wrong.

  4. God is great or Allah Kareem.

  5. Are you speaking about only Western criticism? I hear criticism about Saudi Arabia from other Middle Easterners and Asians more often than from Americans — primarily from expat workers and their family members back home. They love Saudi Arabia because it is where Islam originated, but most don’t love the people or government.
    I agree with Jay in that Saudi Arabia’s press is anti-Western, mostly anti-American – and has been for a very long time. I was initially shocked by the constant negative barrage, but am now used to its slant. He is also right that SA has been a strong influence around the world. On the other hand, I have been lucky enough to have made friends with absolutely wonderful Saudi Arabians. I do not have a negative view of Saudi Arabia as a whole. I have Saudi Arabian students, past and present, whom I love like my own. All nations have legitimate reasons to be praised and criticized. Since Saudi Arabia is not a tourist destination, most Westerners are unable to experience the place – thus they receive most of their information from others.

  6. I am one of those that never set foot soil in Saudi or any other middle eastern country. But I have a family member who did and left for good reasons. Harshness begets harshness.
    Just this morning I was listening to a program on NPR on Kosovo and the rise in radical Islam there. The local people interviewed complained how their youth was being indoctrinated by hardline Islam exported from the middle east, primarily Saudi Arabia and posing a threat to their rather peaceful lifestyle. Mosques have been funded by millions of $$ to lure the youth that are victim of the poor economy.
    A poster above asked “Why Saudi Arabia”. That’s a good question. Something to reflect on by not just non-Saudis but Saudis as well.

  7. No. As a long time resident of Saudi the world is NOT too harsh. There are many wonderful people here but the system is wrong, wrong, wrong. Human rights are terrible, the status of women is terrible, education is terrible and they export extreme intolerance as well as oil.

    And many Saudi’s say awful things about the west, awful things about Jews, awful things about poorer expats that work in their country.

    The outside is not always wise or effective in how they approach trying to push Saudi- but nevertheless, Saudi deserves no free pass.

    And it is Saudi’s own fault if the world critisizes Islam. They have done everything they can to promote is as a medieval, backward and dangerous idealogy. If they don’t like how the world views it- they can change their behavior and become an example of an enlightened Islamic community.

  8. Do you feel regret that you might be perceived as “one of these harshest critics” who speak out against Saudi and its people although you are in a good position to say something good about Saudi?

    @Ak
    Can you name the Saudi press that is anti western or American? And how did you come up with this conclusion? Did you consult a study or research or it is just your personal opinion?

  9. Dr. Ali,
    You are right. If god was not Kareem, he wouldn’t have placed all that oil under the sands of a crazy, anti-humanity, hate-filled country like Saudi Arabia and then given the oil technology to the rest of the world.

    I wonder why people have to call such a god great. It must be sadist god indeed.

  10. No wonder such a sadist god aligns himself with a sadist country like Saudi Arabia.

    Saudi Arabia and god really gel together well in sadism.

  11. Daisy, your comments are some of the most illogical which appear on this blog and because of your unchecked bigotry I have really come to read the blog less and less.
    Instead of taking a balanced view here you speak without knowledge and also without any sense of decency.
    I for one would ask you to think more about your comments and try to present your ideas in a more balanced light. Especially as you have actually never been to Saudi and only take your information from biased sources.

  12. @ Jay, u didnt get me it seems, i was QUOTING what the western ppl say about us not that I believe in what they say. I never ever condemn constructive criticism, and i am NOT intolerant of criticism, on the contrary, appreciate it as long as it’s delivered with humility and FULL RESPECT to the ‘other’. But most of what I read is demeaning. Many tend to make this place a hell like.

    Being obsessed with a nation to curse and depict horribly in every way has nothing to do with criticism!

    SAD!

    Those people have given ‘criticism’ a bad name!

  13. Saudi Woman,
    You have a good point. Though I am not sympathetic to a lot of what happens here- I hear the most bizarre criticisms sometimes- and it really is just hate. I mean, there is plenty legitimate to critisise- why not stick to that? And try to offer a solution!

  14. To all of you who criticize and complain about Saudi treatment of women, human rights violation, influence etc, I invite you all to travel to other countries in the world… You will think Saudi Arabia is very tolotorent and generous. The Human Rights violation? Workers abuse? Please do travel to Russia, you will see systematic abuse of Central Asian migrant workers, discrimination against these workers, and turning their blind eye on murder of Muslims. Please do travel to any ex-communist nations where prisoners abuse and political annihilation of opponents is so brutal (they boiled one prisoner, many get infected with diseases), travel to Kyrgyzstan where ethnic cleansing havent even grabbed international attention where conditions are worse for hundreds of thousands of people, travel to parts of Africa, or even Mexico. You think KSA got it wrong? I have been in above mentioned countries, so I have nothing to say about KSA. You have to remember that it’s a relatively new nation! Look back what USA was like when it was 70-100 years old. It takes time to get it right, and KSA will get it right, they need time to evolve.

  15. Cookie,
    Very true. There are many countries where human rights violations exist.

    But all of these countries are open to criticisms and international sanctions against them if they cross a certain limit.

    Saudi Arabia is the only exception to this because it has managed to hold the entire world to ransom using its oil power. As a result, it can not be criticised and sanctions can’t be laid against it.

    It is unfair to the rest of the world that Saudi Arabia should be let off like this for its criminal record. It is highly unfair to the rest of the world.

    Besides, countries like Russia etc have NOT enshrined their human rights violation issues in their religious code which also operates as the country’s governance code and which Saudi Arabia not only resists questioning by others, but also tries to export to other countries.

    The question here is not whether human rights violations exist in other countries.

    The questions here are –

    Whether it makes the criminal record of Saudi Arabia any less worthy of criticism,

    Whether it is not unfair to other countries that Saudi Arabia should not be criticised for its human rights violations and sanctions should not be placed against it

    and whether the world should really accept the human rights violations of Saudi Arabia as “religious practice” or whether it is not really time we call a spade a spade and say that this NOT religion but criminal human rights violations.

    Carol,
    Being nice to the White expats in Saudi Arabia while continuing racism, exploitation and abuse against non-White, non-Arabs and non-Muslims does not exonerate Saudi Arabia of its crimes.

  16. I have been rather harsh of Saudi out of my personal experiences with Saudis and the government of Saudi Arabia, although I have never set foot in the country.

    Saudis, as a whole, are just like any other people in the world. There are areas of Saudi culture and their views of religion that need to be adjusted in a serious manner, but as I have said before, on this blog and in general it often goes WAY too far.

    I also feel that many people’s feelings against Saudi also cover and mask a general distaste for Muslims and Islam itself. Sometimes it can be hard to seperate the two because some of Saudi’s harshest critics, like Daisy here, hate Islam and Muslims in general.

    Their hatred of Saudi is because, rightly or wrongly, Saudi is seen as kind of the poster child for Islam and Muslims.

    I feel that there is a lot of hate running in both directions. Lets not forget close to two dozen Saudis hated the US enough to slam jet liners with innocent men, women and children into American buildings killing thouands of innocent Americans, of all faiths.

    So yes, often the criticism is too harsh, sometimes it is a mask for deeper hatred and prejudice. That can be said of Westerners and their feelings toward Saudis and it is just as true about Saudis and their feelings about the US.

    There is a real divide between the peoples and the countries. The hard part is filtering out those who want to really make a difference and make things better from those who have a hatred of “the other”.

    I also find it interesting how the haters on both sides often come up with the most insane, crazy conspiracy theories to support their hatred. We have seen a lot of that here on both sides.

  17. Sorry Abu Sinan,
    I don’t look at Saudi Arabia as a leader of Islamic world. Nor do my Muslim friends in India.

    In fact, there are enough Muslims in India who are against Saudi Arabia misappropriating for itself the leadership claim and I stand with them.

    I know enough about Islamic world to know there are immense diversity amongst the Muslims which Saudi Arabia is attempting to wipe out.

    You should not make comments about me about which you know nothing.

    But let’s stick to the point –

    Saudi Arabia deserves to be criticised for its criminal record in human rights, sanctions deserve to be placed against it just as against any other country and Saudi Arabia should not hold the world to ransom about it.

    Going by the criminal human rights record of Saudi Arabia, I think it has not be criticised enough and no action has been against it, which needs to be taken,. rather than pampering it like a spoilt child.

  18. @Daisy,

    Sorry, but your rather long and numerous posts here make it rather clear that you do not like Islam and certainly do not like Muslims who do not agree with what YOU think is the proper way to look at their religion.

    I know a lot about your views because you have written hundreds of thousands of words here explaining them to everyone. One could fill multiple series of books with your long screeds against Islam, Muslims and Saudi Arabia here.

    The more interesting parts would be your whacky conspiracy theories fueled by the raving lunatic Islamophobes you regularly quote and link to here.

    Back to the idea of the post: Saudi Arabia DOES deserve to be criticised on a whole host of issues. However, many people’s issues are not only with these problems, the issue is with Islam and any Muslim who disagrees with their version of THEIR faith.

    These are exactly the type of people I was talking about. They Saudi Arabia, when their real agenda/hate is for all Muslims and Islam itself.

    If the only issue was about human rights they’d be posting about other places with human rights records WORSE than Saudi Arabia. Yep, there are many countries out there worse than Saudi. They dont, because it isnt really about Saudi Arabia with them, it is about Muslims and Islam.

    Many people who attack Saudi would attack other nations with Muslim majorities if Saudi wasnt there. It would be Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Indonesia, you name it. The target for these haters is Islam and Muslims.

    If you read their posts you can easily see how the issues with Saudi are really their issues with all Muslims and Islam itself.

    With these people there is no making peace. They are the polar opposite of the Islamic extremists, but just as fanatical. Nothing will make them change their mind. Fortunately, unlike the Islamic extremists, most of these Islamphobes are not in the position to make good their ideas. Look at what has been proposed on this very blog by these extremists. They have proposed countries violate their own founding documents by doing illegal searches, investigations and arrests and making all of that public. They have supported violating the Constitution of the US by placing barriers targeting only Muslims to control freedom of religion, speech, association, even the basic idea of how and who becomes a citizen of the US and other Western nations.

    These people are just as much of a threat as the Islamic extremists.

  19. I think it is important to distinguish between a government and a people in any nation. I dislike some of the policies of the Saudi government but I have met plenty of wonderful, funny and warm Saudis and been made welcome in their homes.

    There are many advantages to life in Saudi for those lucky enough to live on a compound it is a haven for little kids like a holiday camp and the neighbourliness was second to none. Even for some of the expat workers they are earning more than they could in their own country,

    Like everywhere there are pros and cons, good and bad people. From a Saudi perspective the drunken yobs, crime and rise of nationalist parties in the UK may not look so attractive.

    The important thing is to be balanced and to present arguments against policy in a coherant and respectful manner which I do believe Carol does try to do with her blog. Ranting illogically and spinning out stereotypes doesn’t do much for bilateral relations.

  20. I’ve met some very nice Saudis on blogs and I’m sure there are MANY MANY wonderful people in KSA. Probably most of the people are kind. Usually when I protest about a country, it’s the laws, customs and men who have bizarre beliefs 🙂 , but I hope I never damn all the people just because I don’t care for all that is done in their country. I don’t want people hating me for all that my country does so … I do try to separate the two although sometimes I don’t make that clear especially when Posting While Angry.

  21. Cookie, the relatively young age of KSA is no excuse at all.
    Other countries in the Gulf are as young and with comparable cultures yet have done much, much better.

  22. kvs..

    I heard that too…

    Here is the link for that piece about Kosovo.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130801242

  23. There are ofcourse many aspects about KSA I am not crazy about but at the same token there are some things I like about KSA.
    As Cookie mentioned, there are human rights violations all over the globe. Russia? The gullogs(sp) are still operating!! Look to China or Burma ( well except Burma since journalists have diffiulty entering the country).
    I have seen terrible, terrible situations all around the world. Right now, I am in a very bad situations to point it is affecting my health and I am not in KSA but a much more liberal state. It is not only KSA. Also, I have lived in more conservative countries and was treated with dignity and respect from my host.
    It would be nice, ideally nice, for the media to focus on Saudi intellectuals and there are many. I have been to other blogs authored by Saudis and they represent their country very well.
    I feel those who ‘bash’ either ther religion or state simply fuel into the issues and provoke problems. Personally, I think it is not conducive to have an open dialogue.
    Ofcourse there are issues in KSA I do not like and I am not excuses them. But a productive, productive dialogue begins when the finger pointing ends.

  24. No country is perfect. All countries who have human rights violations should be scrutinized and criticized. Some are worse than others and some are learning. It’s true that Saudi is a young country and there is hope that things will improve. When people can criticize their own country there’s even more hope that things will change. People all over the world are the same deep down and mostly good and kind. It’s the governments and ruling bodies (religious or otherwise) who cause the problems, not the general population.

  25. Well, about the nice Saudis –

    As a result of frequenting Saudi blogs I have struck a cordial equation with a few of them myself and they have been quite open with me, but that doesn’t exonerate Saudi Arabia from its human rights violations.

    In fact these nice Saudis with whom I interact criticise Saudi Arabia themselves. Even apart from them, there have been quite a few Saudis coming to this blog and criticising Saudi Arabia.

    So just because we know some nice and open-minded Saudis doesn’t mean Saudi Arabia has stopped abusing its own people and also the foreigners on its soil.

  26. Well Daisy, the thing is, while kSA gets attention for relatively minor issues, other countries don’t even get a pea size attention for horrendous atteocities they commit. And those who do get SoME criticism unleash disproportionate retaliation. US airbases were closed down in counties that were criticized by international human rights watchdogs. KSA haven’t retaliated disproportionately, yet. Journalists who dare to report anything on these despot-ruled nations are tortured and brutally murdered, thousands of innocent people die each year, but no one dares or cares go speak out. So sorry, dear Saudi hater Daisy, KSA still to me is a symbol of progress. You haven’t seem or read about the worse, no one knows but very few who live there or very few who are interested in these regions.

  27. Minor issues Cookie? Even if other countries are worse- that doesn’t make Saudi any better. Foreign workers are treated badly, the legal system is largely uncodified and mostly at the whim of medieval judges. There is little legal recourse for those that are oppresed. By law women are forever children with an owner (excuse me Mehram).

    Also, though with the reign of King Abdullah there has been a bit of an upswing- in some ways it’s become more oppressive rather than less. Education is worse for this generation, than the last, women have to cover more (as opposed to WISHING to cover more) Saudi’s still need to rely on more and more cheap (and not so cheap) labor to get anything done.

    It is tribal and Patriarchal and pretends to be religious. This dragging of Islam through the mud makes it even more detestable in my eyes.

  28. Ditto on Sandy’s comment.
    Minor issues…
    Please…
    Get real!

  29. Abu Sinan says : ” Yep, there are many countries out there worse than Saudi. They dont, because it isnt really about Saudi Arabia with them, it is about Muslims and Islam”.

    Spot on! It is the dislike of Islam and Muslims and I would add, fear of them, that makes them comment harshly. When you insult the god of Saudi in such a way as Daisy does, this becomes very clear.

    This blog on many occasions has been criticising Saudi or just written in a provoking manner to get critical comments. It is easy to see that through the writings. But I do not see much of defending the country which Carol says was nice to her and is still nice to her.

    I do not understand why Sandy keeps writing negative things about KSA while she is living there for years. While she is living in a country that she is not comfortable in, she is wasting away her life. Does she not realize the blessings she is getting from this country? She is living there for years and where is the gratitude?

  30. NO gratitude to the country. Much gratitude to many of the people here. I actually have a very pleasant life. And I have noticed that many of the women here- if their life is good, suddenly forget their less fortunate sisters suffering under an oppressive system. Because their life is good- they suddenly don’t care that the system is a human rights disaster and many are suffering.

    I have actually heard a Saudi woman once say, that there were as many drivers here as there were women. She was one of those who felt priveledged having a “chauffer”. Totally missing the point that most Saudi women DON”T have a driver and the wonderful life she leads.

    I worked with some of the less economically advantaged women here. Not destitute, but most of their income eaten up by transport- without it even going to the purchase of a car.

    I have known several women personally who have lost custody of their children- even to abusive husbands. The courts did not help them.

    I personally have known women whose lives were shattered when their husbands married second wives.

    I personally know foriegn women here who are virtual hostages to abusive men, but their only option is to leave and leave their children behind.

    An immoral, inhumane terribly wrong system allows this. I have a good husband, good family, means to travel, the freedom to work-or not. Come or go as I please. That is because of my husband NOT this country.

    So you think I should just shut up? Or should I speak up for those less fortunate stuck in an human rights travesty of a system and pretend everything is great, and look the other way, and not want for my brothers and sisters what I myself have?

    I may not be able to do much about what happens here- but I’ll not deny the truth- I wouldn’t be able to live with myself, or face my creator on judgement day.

  31. Once again the only good Saudi to Daisy is one that supports her views and condemns what she thinks should be condemned. Those Muslims or Saudis that dont agree with her have to be the BAD Saudis, or the BAD Muslims.

    Actually, what has actually given me some faith in humanity is the fact that so many people on this blog, from complete opposite ends of the religious spectrum and from different countries have gone out of their way to condemn the hatred of Daisy’s and those like her.

    The fact that we can have atheists, Muslims, Christians, Americans and Arabs all stand united against this sort of hate is a positive sign.

    As to the idea of “minor issues”……I almost had to laugh at that one, or cry. Saudi has some very major issues on almost every front. From social issues to even issues with the ruling royal family, who is actually even going to lead the country next.

    These must be confronted by the people of Saudi now. Those who wish to support the people of Saudi in fixing these issues MUST weed out those hiding in their ranks with a different agenda. An anti Islam or anti Muslim agenda amoungst the people supporting reform in Saudi will make everyone suspect and cause much of what they do to go to waste.

    Someone like Daisy does much more harm to any possible future reform in Saudi than they do to help it. Her hatred, and others like her, of Islam and Arabs becomes a focal point for Islamic extremists to point at to tell others to disregard and discredit those who are really trying to do some good for their society.

    Those wishing to see change in Saudi must do it with a fair and equitable understanding of what Saudi is and where it’s people would like to go. Agendas which are anti Islam will most certainly fail as it will unite even the most moderate people AGAINST the movement.

    Any movement of any sort which approaches this issue with any amount of anti Islam or anti Arab sentiments will fail.

  32. @Sandy,

    You write:

    “I have known several women personally who have lost custody of their children- even to abusive husbands. The courts did not help them.”

    My wife was one of those. She was physically and emotionally abused by her husband who was also a drug addict.

    In order for her, the women, to get a speedy divorce, her father was forced to pay a rather large bribe.

    Even with this money in his pocket the judge still gave custody of the 1 year old son to his father who showed up in court high on drugs and was forced to wear dark glasses to conceal it. My wife pointed this out to the judge who paid no mind and the boy was taken from her crying.

    The courts offered no remedy, neither did the system. The two children from this Saudi man have received almost no support. They are now aged 18 and 19 and have gotten maybe $2,000 in support from their father and his family in their entire lives. When we contacted Saudi officials years ago they just told us to forget it.

  33. Saudi woman, Sorry if I misquoted you! I am not sure I can do the ‘full respect’ thing (because of ideology and beliefs) but I can do the ‘full honesty’ thing quite well. I promise I will be honest with you.

    Let me give you a personal take on Saudis. I am not young and I have only meet about a dozen Saudis in my life, most of them in so-called diversity sessions. I do not claim that these saudis are representative of all people in that country or even of Arabs or Muslims, but they are probably fall with broad categories for each.

    1. Saudis are pretty much like others Arabs, but a little different from Muslims as a group.
    2. They are proud – proud of their country, what it has become and yes, of Islam and being the “chosen” to guard the two sacred cities.
    3. They are not poor, not uneducated and not stupid. That is my impression.
    4. When to comes to Islam, they fall into 2 groups:
    a. the ‘we really don’t believe that’ and ‘”we have no choice because that is the way it is” group (these are the regular folks that understand that Islam has a problem even if they are reluctant to speak up. As I have said before when you talk to these people individually they are very realistic about certain issues in Islamic theology, but in a group of Muslims they tend to silence).
    b. These are the true believers. Lord spare me from them! These people know the truth and if you don’t agree with them you are evil, and even if you do agree, you are evil anyway. If you say anything bad about Islam they say you are ignorant or it is ‘out of context’. They tend to say very sweet things like “Islam only teaches peace and love” and “Mohammad never attacked anybody and if he did it was self defense” and so on. These people are kind of like zombies from ‘night of the living dead’ except that zombies are usually more open and rational.

    So, Saudis are in many ways like Arabs who are like Muslims who are like everybody else on the planet, full of good and bad. What distinguishes them from others (Hindus, Athiests, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, French, Cat lovers and Trekkies is their belief in Islam and acceptance of its tenants. I think that changes a few things, after all Muslims see themselves as better than others (“You are the best of peoples”) and the Quran has some very derogatory words about non-Muslims, even if Muslims like you would disagree (but then again, who are you and me to argue with Allah?)

    What I am trying to say is I think that Muslims have a problem and they are doing little or nothing to address it. I also think that more than another Muslims, Saudis have an extra responsibility for these problems. They are, after all, the elect, the select, the chosen if you will within the Muslim world (and they have a lot of money to buy friends, influence and power). I have seen Saudi writers make this point about being special. In many ways their elitist position is little different from the jews being God’s chosen people. Well, since I was chosen by nobody, I will just go home and sulk!

    SW, I hope that explains my position on the good people of arabia (actually I think that giving the name of a family to a country is sheer insane and immoral vanity). Families come and go, kings raise and fall, the common people persevere.

    We hope, anyway

    J.

  34. @Jay,

    The problem is many Christians and Jews have very similar beliefs. Many Christian sects, probably most, teach that if you do not believe in Jesus you are going to hell. Isnt that thinking you are better than someone else? Or is it “we are equal, everyone else besides us is just going to hell”?

    Judaism tends not to encourage converts to their religion because it is passed on by the mother. When someone considers themselves to be “the choosen people” wouldnt that make them think that they are better than others?

    Of course not all Jews and Christians believe this way, but many do, I have had some tell me right to my face I am going to hell because I dont worship Jesus.

    In both cases they can use their religious texts to make arguments that shows that they are right.

    When one considers this fact it makes this point of yours moot.

    As to the name of “Saudi Arabia” my wife doesnt like it either, as if all Arabs in the country are Saudis, related to the Saudis. or even from tribal backgrounds.

    God willing, one day when there has been a regime change in the country maybe “Democratic Republic of Arabia” would be a more fitting name.

  35. @J
    hello again 🙂
    regd this

    “What I am trying to say is I think that Muslims have a problem and they are doing little or nothing to address it.”

    — what do you propose they do? i’ve asked this before and will ask again, and no i’m not being sarcastic.

  36. Wouldn’t it be grand to gather Mohammed, Jesus, Abraham and few other kingpins of the reigning religious troika and ask them to sort out the chaos of dress codes, hair rules, food laws, gender inequality, racial inequality, theocracy v. democracy … ?

  37. Its interesting because in Australia a large number of people I either know or have met don’t even know where Saudi Arabia is, let alone know anything about what happens there. Before I came here I was the same, Saudi Arabia was just some foreign land of sand and burkas.

    On the flip side, almost every Australian I know thinks that our country must be the embarrassment of the rest of the world due to our own human right’s abuses (Aboriginals) and racism. When in reality, very few people know anything about Australia except for the fact we have funny looking native animals and something called ‘the outback’.

    Its easy when you surround yourself with people in a similar situation to you to lose sight of what the rest of the world thinks.

    I have issues with the way some things are done in Saudi but I live here for the time being and am a firm believer that if I chose to bog myself down in all the negatives then I’d be on a flight back home before I knew it. I’m an optimist and like to focus on the positive moves the people are making in this country like women getting jobs in supermarkets or designing colourful abayas. I think sometimes all the criticism just steels their resolve to not change. If you tell someone they suck all the time then they’ll just stop listening to you.

    I have to agree with Jacey that finger pointing by either party does nothing to solve the issues. The Americans blame the Saudis and the Saudis blame the Americans and Israel seems to be behind every atrocity the world has ever seen. I know the Saudis don’t really hate the Americans, if they did my partner wouldn’t get stopped in the street and invited for coffee, there would be no Krispy Kreme or Burger Kings on every street corner and the young boys would have respectable haircuts and pants around their waist. In a small way I know how the Saudis feel because in Australia we do it too. We love to hate Americans and all the problems they drag us into but in the end we still save up our pennies in the hope of visiting there one day.

    I think it is easy to pick the controversial topics in the daily paper and ignore the good. That’s not to say any injustice in this world should be ignored but a little positive reinforcement can go a long way. I’m just glad that these problems are even surfacing in the local papers. It’d be a sorry future for the country if they weren’t.

  38. @susan,
    This is a very good point and I think it is part of King’s Abdullah main project. King Abduall called for interfaith dialogue between Abrahims main three religions in Mecca first, then they made a conference in Madrid and then in the UN. They are working on this now. you can send them your suggestions and I hope they achieve all these points you mentioned.

    @stacy,
    Thanks for your nice words and I am happy to hear aussie wise words today.

  39. I don’t think the tone of the blog is being too harsh towards Saudi Arabia. I’ve lived for 9 yrs in the UAE and my family couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there due to the discrimination, the lack of rights for foreign workers and the day to day insecurity my parents went through. And the UAE is considered infinitely better than Saudi Arabia.

    Daisy brought up a good point. My family and I are non-white, non-Western and non-Muslims and that invited a whole another set of problems that a white Westerner will not get.

    We have relatives and friends flung across the world and hands down, the consensus as to the worst place for us is Saudi Arabia for all the reasons mentioned in various posts. Our Muslim friends had it marginally better but they too scrambled like to get out of there.

    I think Saudi Arabia ecaped scrutiny due to its favoured status as a client of the United States. Just like the US relationship with Israel is coming under examination, I think the US relationship with KSA needs to be examined further.

  40. I am sure individuals are wonderful warm people, but are we too harsh? No! Think of slavery or jim crow laws in the U.S. or apartheid in South Africa. If the world hadn’t been harsh against those horrible systems, things never would have changed. Were there good people there? Yes, but they were doing some horrible things. Same with Saudi Arabia. Sometimes we need to hear what we don’t want to hear, and only then can things change for the better.

    That said, each person is an individual and should be judged as such. After reading this blog so much, I do find myself subconsiously reacting negatively to Saudis, and even other Muslims I meet in person, even though I never, ever would have before. I have to then correct myself to maintain a policy of presumption of innocence. It is a bad feeling to have.

  41. I think people in general are too quick to judge against Saudi Arabia and by default her people.

    Putting politics aside, I have seen and experienced the best of the best of both the Saudi government and its people. The Saudi government is known for its humanitarian efforts and many positive governmental acts and actions remain unheard. The same goes for that of the people too.

  42. R, I have no idea. I could give you my oponion, but long ago I decided that there is nothing I can do to change things. We are on the road to conflict, destruction, dispair, pain and sorrow.

    Wow, aren’t I cheerful! I wish it were otherwise.

    Tanya has it right – we need to speak up. One cannot end injustice by being silent – but I doubt that anything will change.

    You and your family take care. Enjoy life!

    Jay

  43. Carol, thanks.
    It is easy to complain or throw negative comment but very hard to see the positive.

    @Sandy

    “I may not be able to do much about what happens here- but I’ll not deny the truth- I wouldn’t be able to live with myself, or face my creator on judgement day.”

    So you are only concerned about the sad state of affairs in KSA and you voice your concerns through this blog, so that you can live with yourself and face your creator.

    You are not bothered about the condition of your own country but worried about how many drivers there are in KSA and how women have to have drivers and others who cannot afford while women are being raped by the second in USA. You are able to face your creator with this? Are you able to deny the truth here?

    Apparently all those problems you mentioned are unique to KSA, so you decide to live with yourself and face your creator with your negative comments about KSA alone. What happens in your own country is of no concern to you or are you posting negative comments in another USA blog?

    Are you speaking publicly on these poor women on KSA and how you want to help them, are you collecting funds to set up an organisation to help those women who cannot afford drivers? Or those women whose lifes are shattered by their most cruel husbands? Are you going school to school, making girls aware about their future? Are you passing leaflets to make the society better according to your ways? Are you maintaining a blog where you talk about ways to improve the situation, what postive things can be done to help these women in castles in a true positive way? Are you doing anything at all? Or the only way you can “help” is by posting negative comments on a blog from your home? And this is your way of “helping” the tortured women of this terrible society? This is the way you can face your creator and live with yourself peacefully.

  44. Carol,
    I’m sorry to counter you, but I think there are best of the best people everywhere. That should not stop the human rights violations in a country from being criticised and sanctions imposed against the country if the country has crossed limits. There is really no reason why Saudi Arabia should be made an exception to this rule which applies to the whole world.

    By way of example, I have known many Iranians in my life who are amongst the most elegant, cultured, modern, hospitable, friendly and kind people in the world.

    They don’t even make a distinction between the White and non-White or Muslim and non-Muslim people while showing the finest human qualities. Their ancient civilisation drips from their behaviour.

    Does it mean the world should stop criticising the autocratic government in Iran and the atrocities going on there?

    Has anyone even made this suggestion that since Iranians are highly elegant, cultured, kind and hospitable, Iran should be spared from criticism and sanctions?

    How would such a suggestion be viewed by the world if it is made about Iran? Absurd? Insensitive? Illogical? Anti-democratic?

    Why should Saudi Arabia be not measured by the same yardstick as what is being applied for Iran?

    Shouldn’t all countries be equal on the global platform?

    Why does the world spare no opportunity to censure Iran and why doesn’t it use the same yardstick for Saudi Arabia?

    Everyone knows the answer – it’s because Saudi Arabia is like a criminal bandit holding the world to ransom with its oil power and the US is its strong ally.

    As for the “humanitarian” efforts of Saudi Arabia, they are always done with strings attached. They are always extended either to a Muslim-majority country or with a condition that in exchange for this “humanitarian” help, Saudi Arabia should be allowed to spread its hateful, extremist, violent ideology that it falsely calls True Religion.

    What kind of humanitarianism is this?

    Saudi Arabia has billions of billions of dollars to improve its own country’s underdeveloped areas and also of the other poor countries such as in Africa.

    If Saudi Arabia is truly interested in humanitarianism, why doesn’t it make its own laws humanitarian? I guess it’s best to begin at home.

    Why doesn’t Saudi Arabia focus on developing the villages and small towns of Saudi Arabia, where people are living in sub-human conditions? Building malls and glass-faced buildings in big cities is not a humanitarian way to develop one’s country.

    Why doesn’t Saudi Arabia think of sending money to Africa to help those countries, regardless of what kind of religion they follow?

    Is it more humanitarian to spend billions of dollars in spending a hateful ideology than to help in economic development at home and abroad?

  45. @ Sarah Md.

    I do not need to defend myself to you for speaking the truth, about the place where I live. You have absolutely no idea what I do with my life- or what I may do to try to make the world a better place. And since this is a blog about Saudi Arabia I don’t speak much about America or other countries here.

    I have no reason to try to lay out the totality of my life to you, for your judgement. Just because I refuse to hide the tears of the women of this country in order to present a dishonest “face” of Saudi to the world- does not mean that is the beginning or end of what I do. However, judge me as you like. The judgement of someone who would rather women suffer in silence so that Saudi can look good matters little to me.

  46. Oh, and Sarah.
    1) I am not here to make “negative” comments. I am here to speak the truth. If much of that is negative so be it.

    2) So what of all these things are YOU doing to help the oppressed women of Saudi? All I see is you ignoring them, and trying to distract discussion away from them to the US -even though this is a Saudi blog.

    3) There is plenty of rape in KSA so I don’t understand why I should be more concerned about it in the US when it is occuring right where I live.

  47. That’s the one Oby, thanks!
    I wonder how people allow their societies and lifestyle to be hijacked by such extreme ideology. The first casualty is always the culture and traditions. Everyone must act as clones – eat, dress, speak, think, behave alike. I guess there is no need for a brain left anymore. It is just programming afterall.

  48. I agree with Sandy.

    I think it is the opposite. The world has been very lenient on Saudi. That is until 911 brought attention to the ugliness that goes on in the country, All you have to do is look at the news scroll daily on this blog to get an idea of the results. The list of issues is very long. I will just list a few as an example:

    – There are thousands of royals who act like they are above the law. They rob the country of its resources and participate in furthering corruption of all the institutions of the country.
    – The education system rivals those of the poorest countries in the world and goes even farther by corrupting the youth with radical ideologies.
    – The religious leaders have strong control over the population and teach a brand of religion that belongs in the dark ages.
    – 50% of the population are treated like children all their lives and exist under the full control of their male family members.
    – Foreign workers have no protections and can be abused with no recourse.
    – People can be imprisoned for 6 months with no charges. This makes political prisoners invisible under the official statistics provided by the government. But there are thousands of them.
    – The press is controlled tightly and cannot approach the root causes for the issues of the country.
    – Laws are not codified. Justice is left to the interpretation of Quran by undereducated and often corrupt judges.
    – Unemployment is rampant in a country, which has the worlds richest oil fields.
    – Per capita income of citizens is 1/3rd what it was 2 decades ago. Forcing more and more of the citizens into poverty.
    – Etc. Etc.

    The common defense that Saudi is a young country that is trying to improve is BS. There are many countries that have tackled issues such as the above in much shorter time and less resources than Saudi. The fact is Saudi is a country run by a corrupt and incompetent government. Supported by the most backward thinking Immams. Until Saudi’s realize these facts and work hard to change their situation, the country will continue to receive the well deserved criticism.

  49. No Dear” Americanbedu” ,you are not criticizing Saudi Arabia harshly.this blog is the only place that Saui Arabia is realy challenged, even those who claim in their blogs that they are liberal and are cricizing Saudi Arabia are not liberal at all, I never see one of them challenge Saudi family seriously except MOQ and ali alyami.
    every country has good people, great culture and heritage and this is not limited only to Saudi Arabia.all of these goods should not prevent us from challenging current laws and situation.
    honestly I am surprized when I compare Iranian blogs and Saudi blogs, in Iranian blogs we are constantly criticizing,challenging,objecting ,debating and even bashing goverment, laws, traditions , current situation and even ourself( keep in mind Iran has far more freedom than Saudi Arabia). and no one interpret them as hate.
    I am in wonder that Daisy is more criticized than Saudi Arabia just because she is brave to openly say her idea( most of what she say about Saudi Arabia is right), and surprizingly she is bashed( something all commentatores say is bad bad) not only by Saudi readers but more by non Saudi readers.
    I am not anti arab, anti Saudi or any other things.I think Saudi people( specialy women) deserve far better situation than current situation.
    I think we people have right to scream in cyberspace and we should do if we want to get our God given rights( including oil money) from hands of our brutal goverments and I am sure that Saudi people know that Saudi family dont lag behind goverment of Iran in race for being brutal.
    mariam-Iran

  50. Sandy

    “I do not need to defend myself to you for speaking the truth, about the place where I live”.
    You can speak the truth but what I am saying is you need to be fair in your “truth”.

    “You have absolutely no idea what I do with my life- or what I may do to try to make the world a better place”.
    Yes, that is why I am asking. Do you think it helps your efforts to speak negative and serves your purpose of making things better? Don’t you think constructive criticism would be much better?

    “Just because I refuse to hide the tears of the women of this country in order to present a dishonest “face” of Saudi to the world- does not mean that is the beginning or end of what I do”.
    You can be the saviour of Saudi women but make sure what they need saving from.

    “The judgement of someone who would rather women suffer in silence so that Saudi can look good matters little to me”.
    You, too, have no idea of what I am doing, so if you think I am judging you, you are doing the same.

    “1) I am not here to make “negative” comments. I am here to speak the truth. If much of that is negative so be it”.
    I have seen mostly “negative” comments which are more like complaining – that it looks like you are not grateful.

    “2) So what of all these things are YOU doing to help the oppressed women of Saudi? All I see is you ignoring them, and trying to distract discussion away from them to the US -even though this is a Saudi blog”.
    How do you know what I am doing or that I am ignoring them? What do you know about me? As I said you have to be fair in your comments.

    “3) There is plenty of rape in KSA so I don’t understand why I should be more concerned about it in the US when it is occuring right where I live”.
    I did not say there are no rapes in KSA, there are rapes everywhere in the world. Tell me, honestly, when you lived in USA, did you do the things to “save” the women of USA or even write about it? Be honest.

    Sandy, I am not against you, but your comments, what I have been observing, is like that you hate the place you are living in for years and you sound very ungrateful. That is all. I acknowledge the problems in KSA and any country has problems, including USA. If you are not going to deny the “bad” then it is only fair that you should not deny the “good”.

  51. @Sarah Md

    “You are not against me”??!! If you think I deny “the good” then perhaps you should have given an example of that and tried to engage me in discussion rather than passing judgement on me as not “fair”, “negative” and “ungrateful”.

    You fight in a very nasty way. I never said I was the savior of the Saudi women and your idea of “fair” is not the same as mine. And no, I do not “have to be fair” in my comments according to your standard.

    I am not going to give an account to you of what I have done or not done here or there so that you may pass judegment on whether it is enough or not. I have given you all the response I am going to give, and you are welcome to your opinion of me. I don’t much care what someone like you thinks.

  52. @Moq,
    Thank you!

  53. @MoQ,

    A wonderful comment that I could co-sign 100%. if Saudi really put some effort into the things you listed it would be well on it’s way to being much better.

  54. a country not letting people practice any other religion than what they believe sucks bigtime and deserves to be criticised left right and centre …

  55. Hmmmm…

    Good point Daisy. I never thought about it that way. Why DOES America get all over Iran for it’s human rights violations and violations of the IAEA and yet gives Saudi a big pass on it’s human rights violations?

  56. @oby,

    It is very simple. As a govenment, the US has NO issue with human rights abuses. Think about it, we dont say anything about Saudi because they are our “friends”. We were friends with Iraq when they were gassing Kurds. Almost not even a people from us as thousands of men, women and children were gassed in northern Iraq.

    We didnt do anything about Iraq until they came off the leash. If they hadnt invaded Kuwait we wouldnt have any issue with them. Saddam would still be president and we’d still be working with him.

    More to the point, we have supplied arms, money and training to governments and movements well known for human rights abuses. Israel would be the number one example of this, but we also support Egypt, supported right wing death squads all over Central and South America in the 1970s and 1980s.

    We even have US Special Forces in Columbia helping train their military which also have links to right wing death squads and serious human rights issues.

    A very long time ago it seems to have been decided that human rights mean very little and our own interests mean much more. They key to the whole thing is to be “friends” with the US and then you can do almost anything to your own people and not much will be said at all. If you are a really good friend, ie Egypt and Israel, we’ll even send you billions of dollars, arms and weapons to do it. Although, it is interesting to note that US law technically forbids the sale of such things to people who might use it against their own people as a tool of repression.

    A law far too often ignored.

    I really wish our foriegn policy could advocate for the countries and peoples outside our borders the same freedoms we demand within our borders.

  57. I really wish our foriegn policy could advocate for the countries and peoples outside our borders the same freedoms we demand within our borders.

    I absolutely agree!

    Yes I know that what you say is true and that is one of the things that makes me so angry with the US. I realize that there is “politics” but I think the US as one of the leaders of the world could certainly apply their foreign policy a little more fairly.

    But the favoritism is so blatant as to be embarrassing!

  58. Actually more than embarrassing…it goes against everything that Americans as a people generally feel. During WW2 wasn’t there a strong policy of dignity even when capturing an enemy…no torture, maintain rights etc? I find that attitude that you described above morally wrong and even more… shamefully true.

  59. Well, in fact the US does make the argument of democratic governance as a part of its foreign policy. Its sanction against Iran does take into account an anti-democratic government amongst other issues.

  60. Yes, Daisy I know that is true but what I find lacking in America’s pursuit of Democracy in other parts of the world is I am not sure that they take into account what the country actually needs/wants in terms of democracy. Democracy in the Middle East might look very much different than the democracy in the West. I personally don’t see a lot of problems with that as long as the people have a right to control their governance and the power is out of the hands of despots. I think that there is room in there for tweaking here and there to fit the circumstances of each country.

    Besides KSA is not a democracy and if you are going to lean on one regime for it’s human rights abuses you need to lean on another for the same thing. Otherwise IMO you are not very much better than the country you are criticizing and are a hypocrite yourself. I do realize that in politics there is a lot of “I’ll wash your back if you wash mine” going on, but there should be a standard that America expects and requires of countries in terms of human rights and even if we are friends they shouldn’t get to abdicate that bare minimum requirement. I mean, you wouldn’t let a friend spit on you just because you are friends right? Friends or no, certain standards should be met and not overlooked.

  61. @Daisy,

    Your statement makes ZERO sense in the light of what was mentioned before. The US can claim it’s foriegn policy advocates democratic governance, but that means nothing. Actions are what means something.

    So they support democratic movments in Iran? Yeah, that is nothing more than proof for what I said earlier. If they are about democracy why not support democratic movments in places like Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE or Kuwait?

    Actions are what counts, everything else is window dressing and has no practical meaning.

    Do you think the US is going to protest against India for jailing people for speaking out against Indian crimes in Kashmir?

    Dont hold your breath.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/I-pity-the-nation-that-needs-to-jail-those-who-ask-for-justice-Arundhati-Roy/articleshow/6814239.cms

  62. @oby,

    The US wasnt even clean during WW2. Our pact with Stalin was actually worse than anything we have done in modern times. Stalin was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people.

    That didnt matter, what mattered is that is served our interests at the time. Personally, it would have been better to let him fall under the German advance and then work with what was left of the Russian military and the Brits to take down the Nazis.

    Our deal with Stalin might have saved American lives, at least initially, but it cost millions of Soviet lives and set the stage for further American loss of life in places like Korea and Vietnam.

  63. MOQ wrote down a good list.
    That list should be enough reason to end this discussion.

    Of course it won’t because some people like to be really nasty and attack other people who are more honest, and who I fully believe do act to help those less fortunate.
    And who give really good replies to the nasty ones.

  64. @AS

    I am ever so touched that you believe:

    a) if not for the American helping hand, Stalin would have SURELY fallen under the German advance, and

    b) that letting the Nazis invade more of Russian territory would have resulted in a net reduction in the loss of Soviet lives. Yes, these SS brigades were awesome humanitarians that left no kitten uncuddled in places that were allowed to “fall under them.”

    Jeez. Table 22, supersize barf bucket please. That’s the sound of me being sick of people like you belittling the effort of my people in fighting off the Nazis.

    Completely off topic but couldn’t resist.

  65. @NN,

    I guess you dont know that much about WW2 history. After all, you used the loaded “Jew Free zone” phrase and wasnt aware it’s history. Maybe you are not aware now?

    The Soviets received massive help from the US and the UK in terms of weapons and other items. The only thing the Soviets really didnt lack was fuel, hence the German advance in that area instead of going to Moscow, and people. Initially, before US and UK support, only the front lines of Russian soldiers had weapons. The troops behind them just ran along and picked up the rifles off the dead soldiers in front of them. German soldiers mowed them down until their bodies formed small mountains and hills with their dead bodies.

    It is entirely plausable that without weapons and material Hitler would have taken the Soviet Union. Why do I think this is a positive thing? Because Hitler would have expended everything Germany had on this fight. When he was done the US and UK could have moved in and not only taken Germany, but then helped out a Soviet Union that no longer had Joseph Stalin.

    As to who is worse, Stalin or Hitler, I guess that is up for grabs. Both of them murdered tens of millions of people. The difference between what happened and what could have happened is that if it went the other way after the war there would NOT have been a Stalin, maybe not even a Communist Russia.

    Massive amounts of people died the way they went, it isnt clear any more would have died on the Soviet side. The fact is, this scenario would have seen more American and British soldiers die up front, but then would have likely saved the US and UK from multiple wars later.

    I dont know where you get the idea that letting the Germans take down the Soviets would have resulted in less Soviet lives? Can you scroll up and cut and paste where I said that?

    A Soviet Union without American and British support would have maybe fallen in late 1943 or 1944, sparing the people years of fighting. The biggest issue would be the fact that without Stalin MILLIONS of Soviets would have NOT been killed by their own leader.

    Either way, in the way of pure numbers, it probably would have been a net wash. WW2 killed 50 million people, Stalin killed tens of millions more of his own people during peace time.

    The scenario I mentioned, whilst not really resulting in any less deaths during the WW2 period would have had two VERY different results. The way it went is we had these massives deaths AND had Stalin afterwards. Wouldnt it make sense, if possible, to have an end where neither Hitler NOR Stalin survived?

    It would look like you are just looking to pick because of your ignorance about “Jew Free Zones” but if “your people” fought the Nazis, why are you so ignorant about the history concerning the events?

    BTW, I am half German, half Czech/Slovak, so I had family on both sides of the events. So, not only YOUR family was involved in fighting the Nazis. A bit arrogant the way you put it.

    Besides, if YOUR people were Communists, then sorry, I feel they deserved to get just what Hitler and the Germans/Nazis got. Two sides of the same coin.

    Sorry, I believe in democracy.

  66. *left no kitten uncuddled*
    SNORT!
    :mrgreen:
    Anyway, nobody has ever been able to run over the Russians, and everybody who tried was stupid to do so. I sincerely doubt whether the Nazis would have had any lasting ”victory” in Russia.

  67. Daisy,

    How about the 8 million dollar human trafficking industry in India? Saudi has its faults, but it should fall on the citizens to remedy the many wrong doings there. You should look at your country with the same critical eye, as you do Saudi Arabia.

  68. @Aafke,

    The Germans came very close whilst fighting a two front war. If not for Western arms and material, nevermind fighting the two front war, the Germans would have taken Russia. A strategic pause in the fighting in the East would have allowed the Germans to clear the resistance in the East, almost completely expending themselves to do so.

    As an American I dont care if the Germans could have held Russia. As a matter of fact, I think they would have been so stretched that once they took Russia and removed the leadership they would not have been able to hold it. Kind of like the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan today. Once they expended themselves taking Russia then we could have taken them out. Two birds with one stone and saved the world a whole bunch of heart ache.

    With the leadership of Russia removed the future vassel states of Russia could have embarked on a history of their own making…….no Velvet Revolution, Hungarian Revolution, ect.

    I had relatives killed on either side in the war. Including relatives of my mother in Lidice in 1942. I believe in democracy and freedom, hence wanted to see both sides destroyed in WW2 and think the pact with Stalin was a betrayal of the long term interests of America and the West.

  69. Opps……meant a stategic pause in the fighting in the West………

  70. Or, as an alternative to this rather pointless debate, we could get you all together, put you in a room, pass out knives to everybody, turn of the lights and then see who comes out alive.

    It is pretty bad when I am the moderate, quiet, restrained guy in the crowd.

    Actually the Germany vs USSR in WW2 is something I have thought of. I would give theGermans only 45% chance of defeating the Russians in WW@ with the US and BG. Yes the German Army was certainly the best, man for man, but the Russians were tough as nails and the geography was impossible for the Germans. Note also that Russian industry and science was very high-level, something the West often overlooks. The Russians had already turned the tide in late ’42 (Stalingrad) and mid-’43 (Kursk) before most lend-lease aid was sent and before the second front became a drain on German forces. My guess!

    The Russian winters are harsh so I guess that is what this has to do with being harsh on the Saudis.

  71. Grrrrr …WW2 without the US and Britain….

  72. Oby,
    yes that’s what I mean. You said it well.

    Broke Saudi,
    Please read my comment to Cookie about human rights violations around the world. I don’t see why you should write this comment after I wrote that.

    Besides, the oil-moneyed men from the Arab world are partly responsible for the human trafficking in the Third World –

    because apparently Allah told them via Muhammad that it’s a sin to satisfy their illicit carnal desires only in Saudi Arabia. they can go abroad and engage in illicit activities there. Please ask your Saudi brothers why they are participating in this 8 million dollars (contributing the 8 million dollars) human trafficking in the Third World.

    I’m not sure such an activity leads to Paradise.

    I guess people like Abu Sinana and you are deflecting the focus away from the criticism of Saudi Arabia, which is the topic of this post.

    Let’s stick to the topic.

  73. @Daisy, I agree it’s best to stick to topic, and we can all attempt reenactments of WWII but we’ll never know what might of been.

    That said, dont blame India’s human trafficing on Arabs. There is plenty to critisize Saudi’s for, but India”s substantial internal human trafficking issue isn’t one of them. So that is also “off-topic”

  74. Daisy,

    You’re a character. I apologize for straying off topic, I just find it odd how you’re captivated (read, disgusted by all things Muslim/Arab). I’m agnostic, and I have a circle of friends that have their fair share of criticisms of Saudi Arabia. My grandfather’s devout Muslim friend was jailed in Saudi Arabia, for attempting to speak out on certain issues. Saudi Arabia wasn’t around during Mohammad’s time, so I don’t even get your point. Lets say it was truly an “Arab” problem that was funding the human trafficking in India, don’t you care about the poor Nepalese girls that get sold off to prostitution rings? Why not bother researching that topic and forming a solid group to take action in your own country. Which you mentioned countless times before is way more open minded than Saudi. You should be thankful that you have some sort of platform to voice your opinions in India, so do something about it, if it’s the Arabs that are contributing to the problem, let it be known..and find a solution to it. You are pretty harsh on Saudi Arabia, which could be a could be a good thing, maybe the country needs a good kick in the ass to get in the right direction, but I only hope for your country’s sake that you’re just as critical of it as you are of Saudi Arabia.

  75. “Well, in fact the US does make the argument of democratic governance as a part of its foreign policy. Its sanction against Iran does take into account an anti-democratic government amongst other issues.”

    Yeah, we should definitely stay on topic.

  76. I do belive Daisy when she says she is not against Muslims per say. But I strongly believe she is anti Saudi. She blames any wrong thing any Muslim does on Saudi influence. No one is responsible for their own bad behavior it is all Saudi influence. And in answer to why some Muslims don’t like her- even when she agrees with them on some points, that is part of the “why”.

    For myself, she also took pot shots at my kids on another blog. Because they are Saudi. That is one the guaranteed few ways to get on my bad side.

  77. @Sandy,

    No, she is not against all Muslims, just the Muslims that dont practice their faith the way SHE thinks they should. Those are all the bad/extremist Muslims.

    She has an irrational and blinding hate. That is why she could attack your children and why she has attacked my family as well. Like the Islamic extremists, there is NO target that she wont hit out at. She is a mirror image of the extremists she claims to hate. She doesnt hate extremism, just other people’s extremism. Her extemism seems to be the raison d’être for her existance.

    As to blaming Arabs for the sex/human trafficking in India, I would suspect with her whacky conspiracy theories Daisy thinks Saudis/Arabs/Muslims are responsible for most of the world’s ills.

    God forbid that INDIA might be to blame for INDIA’s sex/human trafficking problems. I saw a show on prostitution in India. Most of the people involved were Indians, nare a Saudi or evil Mooozlem in sight.

    As a matter of fact, I dont remember the number of sex workers in India they quoted, but if I remember correctly is was MORE than all of the males in Saudi.

    So even if every Saudi male had at least one India prostitute Daisy might be right. Who out there thinks that is possible?

    But she never lets facts or reality get in the way of her hatred.

  78. BTW Sandy, if she wasnt anti Muslim, why quote and provide links for fanatical and well known Islamophobes here? Nah, she is so anti Saudi because she sees Saudi as the epitomy of Islam.

    The only “good Muslims” are those that kowtow to Hindus in India in between the times where they are burned alive and mass murdered by their neighbors. Muslims in India are good because they live in a country with systemic discrimination against Muslims, where Muslims are even below the “untouchables” in the barbaric caste system practiced there. Muslims are less than untouchables, less than the absolute scum of the earth. That is the system that Daisy is always banging on about how great it is.

    Yeah, she doesnt mind Muslims as long as they know their place.

  79. Abu Sinan, I had forgotten the Pam Geller referencing she did. You could be right. But honestly, some things were written on another blog by your family member, which were pretty ugly against Hindus, and other non-monotheists and I know she read that and though I think she is wrong to generalize them to you- I understand her upsetness. In addition to your philosophical differences, for you two it is very personal on both sides.

  80. @Sandy.

    It didnt start personal until she brought my family into it, including talking about my child with special needs. That was really beyond the pale. Using someone’s children to try and make a point against them is obscene, but that is what extremists like Daisy are all about.

    Daisy was off on her anti Muslim/Islam crusade long before any blog post that she was offended by.

    It is the goal, it is their objective. They dont care what they have to do to reach it. So if you have to attack special needs children and their parents on the net? No worries. If they have to attack your half Saudi children, no problem. It is a no rules game for these extremists.

    She has pointed to Pam Geller, Robert Spencer and other well known Islamophones as her inspirations, quoted books by the likes of these peoples.

    If she was just against Saudis she could find a lot of stuff to post and read about that wasnt so manically hateful of ALL Muslims and Islam. She has made an active choice to pick those people who are opposed to Islam as a religion. Gellar and Spencer are even working with far right neo Nazi groups in Europe to further their goals.

    I rail against Saudi all of the time and it doesnt become an anti Islam rant because I can seperate the two. Daisy hates Saudi so much because to her, it symbolises everything she hates about Islam.

    You see, where people go wrong is thinking that they can talk sense to these people. You cannot. They already know it all. Everything that goes against what they believe is discarded immidiately. They only read and study to self affirm their already held beliefs.

    I think we have about as much of a chance of getting Daisy to stop hating Islam and Muslims as we have of getting bin Laden to move to the US and hit the next tailgate party.

    That’s fine with me. Once everyone realises that there is no real peace possible with extremists, then we can start talking about real solutions.

  81. PS, when you use a parent’s children to try and attack them, there is NO other way than for it to get personal. As she has done the same to you, I am sure you understand.

    The difference here is that I doubt you did the same and attacked her children, if she has any. I know I didn’t. Someone’s children are not to blame for what the parents say or do and should never be used to attack them.

    Attacking children online……….blowing them up with bombs. They are expendable as long as it furthers the extremists goals.

  82. Once again this simple questions was able to get Daisy’s hatred out about pracitcing muslims,I agree with Abu Sinan with his words:”Once again the only good Saudi to Daisy is one that supports her views and condemns what she thinks should be condemned. Those Muslims or Saudis that dont agree with her have to be the BAD Saudis, or the BAD Muslims.”

    Bedu, the reproach that I would make to you is that you let people like Daisy, who is full of hatred toward my country and my religion, take over your blog.
    You, yourself have written several articles showing saudi people as kind humans, not fanatic machines, however letting people like her curse my God on your blog makes me stay away from your blog most of the time.

  83. “After reading this blog so much, I do find myself subconsiously reacting negatively to Saudis, and even other Muslims I meet in person, even though I never, ever would have before. I have to then correct myself to maintain a policy of presumption of innocence. It is a bad feeling to have.” (Tanya).

    Did anyone stop and read this important part? Can we say now that this blog spreads hate and racism against Muslims in general and saudi in particular?

    Thank you Tanya for your frankness.

  84. “Can we say now that this blog spreads hate and racism against Muslims in general and saudi in particular?”

    That is what I have been saying. I have noticed that when someone speaks against Daisy, the moderator tries to stop it threatening to delete the comments but when Daisy goes on and on, nothing is being said. So this is the way hatred is spread on this blog.

    For me, as Sameerah said, the limit came when she used this platform to curse our God and spread such cheap insults. No one, not even Muslims said anything about this. Sameerah is the first I heard. If I have missed it then I am sorry.

  85. Medina, not really. If a blog, and there are a few other blogs which speak candidly about the problems within KSA, it cannot sugarcoat the many issues Saudis have to deal with. There is a whole lot of things wrong with Saudi.
    re MOQ’s list:

    – There are thousands of royals who act like they are above the law. They rob the country of its resources and participate in furthering corruption of all the institutions of the country.
    – The education system rivals those of the poorest countries in the world and goes even farther by corrupting the youth with radical ideologies.
    – The religious leaders have strong control over the population and teach a brand of religion that belongs in the dark ages.
    – 50% of the population are treated like children all their lives and exist under the full control of their male family members.
    – Foreign workers have no protections and can be abused with no recourse.
    – People can be imprisoned for 6 months with no charges. This makes political prisoners invisible under the official statistics provided by the government. But there are thousands of them.
    – The press is controlled tightly and cannot approach the root causes for the issues of the country.
    – Laws are not codified. Justice is left to the interpretation of Quran by undereducated and often corrupt judges.
    – Unemployment is rampant in a country, which has the worlds richest oil fields.
    – Per capita income of citizens is 1/3rd what it was 2 decades ago. Forcing more and more of the citizens into poverty.
    – Etc. Etc.

    What you, and a few others, try to do is shoot both the messenger, and the people concerned enough to discuss the problems, rather than you acknowledge them and try to remedy them.
    Or conversely, if you are convinced these issues which are considered problems by most are virtues, you can try to defend them.

    Either way, shooting the messenger is not ever a solution to your problems.

  86. No one said that there are no problems in KSA; sure there is and same as in another country. But to spread hatred is wrong.

    After all that is what some accuse Muslims are doing. What makes it right here?

  87. @aafke,
    People here use these issues just to find excuses to spread hate towards Saudi. They already hate Saudi for personal or political reasons. If these issues have been discussed reasonably and with “decent” language, I am sure Tanya will not feel subconsciously that she has negative feelings towards Saudis and Muslims. Instead of that, she will offer solutions and become our friend and our partner in finding solutions. At the same time, you will find me and other Saudis here cooperate to solve these issues. What I personally and other Saudis encounter here is hate directed against my country and my fellow Saudis in particular and Muslims in general. This puts in me and other Saudis in a position to DEFEND my country and Saudi fellows regardless of any issue you post here. And I say this is not going to help to solve these issues in Saudi, instead, it will spread hate and racism especially if this blog has been kidnapped by haters and commentators who speak hate in every single post. At the same time, these issues should be discussed relatively and comparatively with other countries in the world. We are not the only country that has some issues. America for example has been asked recently by the GCC and the UN to investigate the documents that Wikileaks website posted and these documents contain war crimes evidences. People here are trying very hard to find flaws in Saudi Arabia and exaggerate it for the sake of hate. I simply say to people who are not happy in Saudi, if you are not happy of living in Saudi Arabia, Just leave and help yourself.

  88. I could not have explain it better, Medina. This is EXACTLY what I feel too!

    “At the same time, you will find me and other Saudis here cooperate to solve these issues. ”

    Spot on! Then it would be a blog of cooperation and open discussion, instead of spreading hatred and lies.

  89. @sarahmd

    Sorry i disagree – I like this blog and don’t see it spreading anyhting hatred or otherwise, it’s all inthe way you see it.

    If you don’t like it why visit – same with saudi, can’t stand the place, leave.. however someof us have ties to the place and cannot leave it completely, so we debate and vent and see if something can be done nad try adnunderstand the thought process that goes on there. most of us try not to blame the religion, mots of us can’t stand the policies especially when as women it affects us. hence the need for the blog and along the way we learn and absorb…

    personal attacks are always bad, but anyone can critize anything and anybody in the world, you have a choice to ignore it if it’s not to your liking..

  90. Any of the blogs about Saudi Arabia are going to have positive comments and negative comments. If those comments get blocked or the one posting gets blocked from the blog, then that is censorship. If I were to block Daisy because of her rhetoric, then others would need to be blocked for their direct attacks on an individual. My advice is to ignore Daisy and any other individuals who are known for always spouting the same type of words on multiple blogs. It is clear that the “squeaky wheels” who seem to enjoy stirring up dissent are all ones who have never set foot in Saudi Arabia.

    If I could dictate to what people would write, sure, I’d love comments to be more constructive towards dialogue. There are so many millions or billions of words one can choose from that people can disagree and dialogue without going into verbal battles! However, I cannot control how individuals view Saudi Arabia or what words will come out of their mouths and into the comments.

    In sum, with all the issues in the world one needs to face and really think about, rhetoric words really are small stuff in the whole scheme of things.

    No one place (except heaven) is utopia. Saudi Arabia is as unique as each and every country. It has its good and its bad. It was also the birthplace and home of the love of my life. And guess what…he was a Muslim, he was a proud citizen and he was part of the government. He was one of the finest, gentlest and most compassionate individuals and made me love his country!

  91. Medina, the problems of Saudi Arabia, (see MOQ’s list) are not ”flaws” They are HUGE MAJOR PROBLEMS!!!!
    Treating 50% (the intelligent 50%) as perpetual toddlers is a huge disadvantage to your country, to your economy and to your evolution into a developed country.
    And, incidentally, to your image in the global world.

    Don’t bring up the strawman argument that ”America has it’s problems too” American’s problems are minor compared to yours because in America people can speak their minds freely, vote in another government if they are not happy, and take recourse into law.
    American judges can give out verdicts which do not please the government and there’s nothing the president can do about that.

    I think you cannot even evaluate the huge difference here because you do not understand how democracy and laws work. As these things are wholly foreign to you.

    And telling people to ”get out if they don’t like it” is such a cheap fallacy. Please stop doing that.

  92. @Aafke,

    Sorry, but your contention about shooting the messenger just doesnt hold up. Did you see anyone rail against MoQ when he made his points? Nope! I, for one, agreed with him 100%.

    The difference is that MoQ doesnt have any malice towards Muslims or Saudis, He doesnt hate Islam, doesnt hate Muslims, doesnt hate Saudi.

    That is one of the major things that seperates Daisy and MoQ. MoQ, even though I dont agree with him on some issues, is a rational actor talking from his heart and honestly caring about the people and issues he is talking about.

    Daisy is an extremist, she comes off as extreme, as will go to no ends to try and make her points where it is quoting and linking to known Islamophobes or using other poster’s children to try and make points.

    This is exactly why MoQ has had several goes at Daisy as well. Does he have a problem with a lot of the issues she brings up? No, he has an issue with her over all agenda and the clear favour she holds well known Islamophobes, bigots and conspiracy theorists in.

    So it is clear this isnt really about the message, it is how it is presented and by whom. MoQ does not get the response on this blog that some others do, especially Daisy. This is because of who he is and where he is coming from. It has nothing to do with his message.

    Daisy has one message and it is hate.

  93. Abu Sinan, I agree that the mode in which one expresses ones concerns/criticisms/comments makes a huge difference.
    I think personal comments and dislikes should be emphasised less for a constructive discussion.

    Yet some people insist on treating every comment by some persons as a personal insult and respond accordingly, or they consider any kind of concern or criticism as ”attack”.

    I noticed you agreed with MOQ’s list, but then how can anybody do different?
    That list is fact.
    We should emphasize on talking about that list, not about irrelevant issues in America India etc.

    Medina, I don’t see you offering any constructive dialogue concerning MOQ’s list, the same goes for SarahMD.

    I think this is because you know you cannot argue against that list so you choose to ignore it, and focus on a more general attack against all and sundry who criticize KSA instead.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, and I would love to read both your thoughts on that actual list.

  94. Dear Aafke-Art, please check your blog.
    mariam-Iran

  95. @Aafke,

    Sorry, but Daisy’s personal attacks on myself, others and her adherence to and following of well known international Islamophobes and racists means that anything she contributes here will be seen with that in mind.

    Any thread Daisy is involved here will always degenerate quickly because many people, including myself, cannot stand her hatred and will not deal with it.

    There are some that would stick their heads in the sand about the issues in Saudi. Daisy and haters like her, give them a tool to distract others. If I didn’t know better and was into conspiracy theories I would say Daisy is an Islamic extremist or a Saudi agent because the stuff she says and does her plays into their hands so much. She is a gift to them.

    Let’s go through MoQ’s list point by point.

    There are more than 10,000 members of the Saudi royal family who are all supported by the state. The wealth they rob belongs to the people of the country. The monarchy needs to be abolished, or if it is to be saved, it must become a constitutional monarchy. The few royals that are left are figure heads who will bike to work like some of the royals in Scandinavia do. The idea that someone’s birth gives them a right to wealth, privilege and power needs to be removed from Saudi society.

    The educational system is a joke, it is why so many Saudi travel abroad for an education. Instead of spending billions abroad by the royal family an intense push should be made to fix and lift the educational system. The oil is going to run out one day and when that happens Saudis will have nothing but themselves to survive with.

    Religious leaders must be removed from any role in the government. I don’t believe Saudi, unfortunately, will ever become a secular country. But a set up where Islam is recognised as the religion of the country, but with the authorities having no right to impose any views of their religion on the government or peoples is certainly possible.

    Foreign workers need to have protections written into a wider codified system of laws. More importantly, Saudis themselves must take the vast majority of these jobs upon themselves or remove the need for them at all. There is no need for so many families to have maids, multiple maids, nannies and drivers. People must learn to be able to function and live on their own just like Saudis did 50 years ago.

    With the ban on women driving lifted a good chunk of foreign workers can leave because they wont be needed as drivers anymore. Saudis must take up construction jobs, working in groceries, street sweepers, ect. There should be no job that is “not fit for a Saudi”.

    A codified system of laws and guidelines for punishment should be set up. The ability to hold people without charge should be taken away and people given the right to challenge any detention in court.

    The press should be privatized and the government no longer play any role in the media. The days of princes owning and running papers like Asharq al Awsat should be done. The ability to publish in the media should be protected with wide ranging freedom of speech laws.

    That covers most of it.

    The problem is most Saudis are complacent about things now, those in power and those with wealth certainly are. The problem is that the oil will not last forever and if drastic changes are not made Saudi will be a nightmare place to be when the oil stops.

    The royals and the rich wont care, they’ll just fly off into the sunset in the West with the billions they have looted from the people whilst their country mates starve.

  96. @aafke,
    I agree with Mq’s list. He wrote what many Saudis are talking about nowadays. The list that he put is hot topic debate in Saudi and we are very aware about each point he raised. it is something not new to me as a Saudi because we are in debate about these issues. The question is, does anyone offer help to solve these “social” issues? What we see here is HATE. Do you get me aafke, we are telling you, we (Saudis) see and encounter HATE here not constructive dialogue, and if I say anything against these issues raised, it will be used for spreading hate by haters against my country and my Saudi fellows. That is, I will be food for spreading their hate which is something I will never be part of. So, I am in defence position not in a position to offer solutions or to have a constructive dialogue except with oby.

    Please aafke, read this and I know you have a kind heart and sweet face. Read this,

    “After reading this blog so much, I do find myself subconsiously reacting negatively to Saudis, and even other Muslims I meet in person, even though I never, ever would have before. I have to then correct myself to maintain a policy of presumption of innocence. It is a bad feeling to have.” (Tanya).

    are you happy of this result aafke?!!!!!! and carol?????????????? I am shocked really.

  97. Mariam, just did that.
    Check your mail 😉

    Abu Sinan, the idea of what would happen once there is no more oil in Saudi Arabia is a nightmare scenario.
    It really is very scary to think of. I would be in a funk if I were Saudi. I would be working very hard to secure my future and would be very reticent of how many children it would be wise to put on the world.

  98. Medina, that was a very honest response. I must say that in matters of the heart I would also be very very weary because of what I have learned.
    Meanwhile Tanya is an intelligent person who, while she is made aware of the problems pertainting Saudis, she also insists she will evaluate every person she meets in a personal manner.
    And I agree.
    Every human being you meet should be regarded and treated as a sentient being in their own rights.
    I think you see hate where none exists. Not in Tanya’s case, nor in mine.
    I think people who really hate, or at the very least don’t care, would not spend so much time on this forum discussing things. Would you not think so?
    And I am AWOL from work (making an wicked cartoon), better return quickly, have a very nice day everybody!

  99. @Aafke,

    Some people who hate are driven by their hate and will spend loads of time on it. Daisy is clearly driven by hate. MoQ, someone whose opinion you respect, thinks the same thing.

    She spends a lot of time on this blog, probably tens of thousands of words a week, talking about groups of people, ie Arabs, Saudis and Muslims, and Islam, all of which she doesnt like.

    One cannot have any sort of a rational debate and try to find any real answers to questions when some of the people involved actively hate and want to destroy other members of the conversation.

    I have no issue debating, but the issue with Daisy is far beyond that, never mind she used a dig at my Autistic son to try and score points.

    Anyone really interested in reform in Saudi, the Muslim world, the Arab world, needs to distance themselves as far as they can from people like this. They actually harm anything pertaining to these subjects that they are a part of.

    No one is trying to silence opinions and ideas, just people whose only motivation is hatred.

  100. @aafke,
    Please do not twist my words. I did not say that Tanya hate. I say look at her candid response, that I appreciate alot. it is something out of her control. It is something psychologically oriented, it is subconscious process. This is what I am speaking about. I do not mean Tanya as a person, or you, no, I mean the psychological effects and impacts of this blog on people subconsciousness. That is why I am asking whether this blog spreads hate and racism against Saudi because it affected negatively people subconsciousness and their attitudes towards Saudis.

    Hopes you forget your car keys at home, to come back.

  101. I don’t believe it! 🙄

    Is this supposed to be a post about me? I’m surprised how obsessed some people here appear to be about me. Does it really matter what I am and what I am not? I don’t think so – I’m just an ordinary person.

    This is despite the fact that some of these people have also said what I said about this post – that Saudi Arabia deserves to be criticised. I don’t understand this obsession in this case then.

    Well, those who think they have not attacked MoQ here, we all have seen them fighting tooth and nail (metaphorically) with Moq in the past on this very blog. And we all know why they have suddenly decided to be friendly with Moq. So it doesn’t have anything to with Moq’s “saintliness” or my “evilness.”

    I assure you if you ever meet me in person, you’ll be surprised to see a person completely different from what you seem to think.

    Can we all get back to the post rather than dissecting my personality, please?

  102. I would say that many people seem to think that a fair viewpoint means a balance between the good and bad. I believe fair means to say what is true. Some get upset because people focus more on the negative. Well, that’s because their really is more negative. Saudi is backwards and a human rights disaster. There isn’t a way to make that ‘positive” and it would be unfair and inaccurate to do so.

    That said, there has been some significant change in the educational system. Unfortunately the benefits are mostly in the private school but at least they are no longer restricted to using government curriculum. Even the government curriculum has improved, but it is critical to get different types of teachers in their who are not so medieval.

    I wish there would be more of a push for change, rather than just allowing the change because the younger generation is large and the faster improvements are made the more (many more) can benefit, and the fewer undereducated, incapable of critical thought graduates will be flooding the already overfull; and underemployed workforce.

  103. Medina…

    I just want to jump in here and say I agree with Sandy…

    It is the system that most people have issues with. Unfortunately the system does reflect on the people who may or may not agree with what goes on. Too often we blame the citizens for the ills of the government. It does take a bit of extra thought not to lump the two together. As Sandy said she has met many lovely Saudis but she hates the system.

    You yourself, even though we have disagreed, your politeness shines through and although I don’t agree with you on “fitna” (which I promise I will address soon) I actually “like” you. Your posts even make me smile sometimes. So please understand that people can separate the two.

    As for Daisy and Geller and Spencer…she is in India and may not realize they are considered “extremists”. Now that she has been told yes, but even I had no idea or even heard of them until I got on this blog and people made me aware. I read some of their stuff but didn’t know how they were considered. Now I tend not to look at what they say because I feel it is skewed and I try to find “middle ground” as stuff can lean too far in the other direction as well. But who knew unless it is part of your life and reading habits.

  104. @Daisy,

    Sorry, but your presence and the hate you bring with you is bound to disrupt anything and everything around you. I am surprised this is new to you. If you carry your hate in real life like you do on this blog I’d be very surprised you haven’t gotten this reaction before.

    I have fought with MoQ as well, but I do so with a different intensity because I know he doesn’t hate me, doesn’t hate my religion, does hate the race and nationality of my wife. He is in it because he wants to see change and because he is Saudi and does have family there, he has a personal stake in what happens.

    You, on the other hand, elicit a different response from a wide array of people here because of the way you carry yourself, your hatred and your conspiracy theories. You are not here because you want to fix things, you don’t want reform.

    You hate any and all Muslims that do not conform to what YOU think they should be, ie destitute underclass, victims of systemic discrimination. They should be happy that they only get mass murdered every few years.

    So yeah, you and MoQ are going to get very different responses from people, and for good reason.

    I don’t think I would be surprised if I met you in person. Personally, I really tend to like Indian things, both the people, the culture ect. I love Indian food and make a mean Rajma Masala. I don’t care for the religion, but that isn’t a big deal as long as I am not weighted underneath it’s followers. Unlike yourself, I can seperate people from their religion. People are people, they are not a sum of their religious beliefs. Funny, my wife would even attest to the fact that I really find Indian women very attractive. If not for fate, my naseeb and what is maktoob for me, I might have ended up marrying an Indian woman. Being with an Arabic speaker was important for me, but there are many Indian people who were born and raised in the Middle East.

    So my issue isn’t with any of that, it is with you and your hate. I am sure you do carry yourself differently in person. Unless you wore a brown shirt with a red arm band you’d have to.

    The banality of evil, as Hannah Arendt said. It doesn’t make those who are evil less evil, just banal.

    @Sandy,

    I agree. Sometimes, often as a matter of fact, the truth is very one sided. I am not big on moral relativity. Either something is right or it isn’t.

  105. Why has the focus of this post changed from discussing Saudi Arabia to cataloging every perceived crime of Daisy’s?

    As someone with no dog in this fight it seems like a very one-sided attack and quite personal in nature.

    I think the list MoQ listed and Aafke re-listed would provide more than enough content for discussion to last a long time.

    My two cents are these:

    How did other Gulf states (Kuwait, UAE, etc), despite having similar cultures, resources, legal frameworks, geography and religion as KSA, as well as sharing theocratic monarchy system of govt, advance more developmentally than Saudia?.

    The only difference that I can see is that KSA has a larger area and population and is the site of the holy Muslim sites. Is that enough to send it in a different trajectory than a place like the UAE for example?

  106. @Oby,

    Spencer is a long standing Islamophobe, he has been for years and years. Gellar is new on the scene and hasn’t really done much. If you have ever read her blog and the stuff she comes up with, she is a few fries short of a happy meal as we say here.

    Their rhetoric has been getting worse and they are actually putting into action what they have been talking about. They have forged links with neo nazi, nationalist and white supremacist in Europe. Of course they deny it, but anyone who looks into the history the groups they are working with will see that most of them are just reconstituted version of long standing extremists groups in Europe, some of them were even originally banned by their own governments because of their extremism, hence the need for new groups and new names.

    The EDL is one of the groups they push now. The “English Defense League” is really nothing more than members of the fascist BNP party, skinheads, hooligans and neo nazis. Of course they point to the few non white members that they have, but that argument is rubbish, even the openly extreme right wing BNP has always had a few non white members. The EDL has been staging anti Islam/Muslim marches in the UK recently, often resulting in the typical skinhead and hooligan type violence against people who are not white, police and establishments.

    Hatred of Islam and Muslims is uniting sections of the far right movement in Europe. It is really odd for these groups, who once were very anti semitic, to start praising Israel and working with pro Israeli groups. Their hatred of Muslims has, for the time being, trumped their hatred of the Jews.

    It would take only a few minutes online to see all of this stuff. The investigative work has already been done.

    I think Daisy is completely aware of who Gellar and Spencer are and she has no issues with it. Many Islamophobes today are joining together with people they would have abhored 15 years ago.

  107. @Madelenas,

    If she attacked your children, as she has done to at last two posters here, I think you’d probably have a huge issue with her as well.

    Neither Sandy, nor myself, have ever used her family to try and score cheap points with her. It should surprise no one that if you try to use a 5 year old boy with autism against his father that from that point on it would be personal.

  108. Daisy should not be taken seriously please. Just study the part of the world she belongs to. They were all born out of incest. Afterall, I have not seen a worship place with sculptures of sexual organs and kamasutra. They even worship a god that is the image of an erected tool. No wonder she is so disenchanted with the reality of God and other good things that life and living have so deprived her of.

  109. @Madelenas,

    I agree with most of your comment above including the part of this discussion is becoming too personal.

    Where I disagree slightly is on this part.

    “How did other Gulf states (Kuwait, UAE, etc), despite having similar cultures, resources, legal frameworks, geography and religion as KSA, as well as sharing theocratic monarchy system of govt, advance more developmentally than Saudia?”

    There are 4 major differences for Saudi and other GCC countries:

    – Legal Framework: Countries like Kuwait and UAE were British protectionist before independence. When they gained their independence they were left with fully codified systems of laws that were primarily based on secular principles. There are religious laws but in a narrow band of areas. They were also left with well structured government institutions, which were more effective than the Saudi experiment of starting from Scratch without having the wisdom to learn from others.

    – Geography: All gulf countries other than Saudi are spread out across a coast line. That means they had interactions with many cultures making them more liberal in their view of the world and adapting better forms of societies. Saudi, although has large coastal areas, is primarily ruled by a conservative tribal mentality from the middle of the country. This culture dominated the more liberal thinkers from the coastal regions of Hijaz and Hasa. After over 80 years of such rule Saudi became a very conservative country.
    – The GCC countries do recognize Islam as the religion of their countries. However, they have moved the Imams to a position of advisory with no direct control over the government institutions. Saudi chose to give them control over vital areas such as the Judicial and Education systems.
    – The impact of royals: The GCC countries have a small set of royals that also enjoy the benefit of their positions. The issue for Saudi is that there are too many royals competing for all the major bureaucratic positions. This created many conflicts in leadership, lack of improvement of institution, and incompetence at the leadership level in most government institutions.

    These issues are not minor and they do create a situation where the country may become a failed state if they are not addressed.

    I know Madina keeps indicating that Saudis are aware and are actively working on those issues, but the fact is these are red-lines that average Saudis will not dare cross. The issues discussed in the press or in any open forums inside Saudi are just the surface issues that do not deal with root causes. Until Saudis can discuss and work to solve the real causes the country will continue to experience problems that some day my become too hard to resolve.

  110. @ The Holy Sinner
    Much as I have issues with Daisy, that is one of the most vile biased bigoted things I’ve read. Hate is hate.

  111. @Sandy,

    I agree with you again….

  112. @Sandy,

    I agree. I am not a fan of Hinduism, but I feel no need to graphically insult the religion or them like that. Way out of line. Hate is hate, that is why I feel about Daisy the way I feel about any other extremist.

    @MoQ,

    Good points on the differences between Saudi and the rest of the GCC. I would like to point out, however, that even the rest of the GCC countries have a VERY long way to go.

    Religion still plays a major role in the legal workings on these countries, even if they dont have scholars sitting in courtrooms and telling people what to do. Think of the couple recent high profile incidents with Westerners being arrested for their personal behaviors in places like Dubai.

    The monarchies in the other countries might not be as extreme as in Saudi, but I can bet you wouldnt get a warm reception standing on a corner in Dubai saying negative things about the Emir.

    Saudi is at the far end, the GCC states have just moved slightly beyond that. Like Saudi, these countries have significant underlying issues before they will be able to make it much further. These will have to be dealt with.

    As a firm Republican, in a European sense of the word, I dont think things really have a chance of getting where they should whilst a monarch sits on the throne in these countries. The only possible way that works is with a constitutional monarchy, like the UK, where the royal family is stripped of all practical duties and roles and is nothing more than a national symbol of patriotism. They have no practical day to day role in running the country.

    I also think we are kind on a time schedule here. When the oil runs out, if these changes and reforms arent firmly entrenched in these societies they will just slide back to where they came from, probably even worse. These changes need to happen soon and be allowed to gain a toe hold in the societies for a couple of generations.

    Once the oil is gone I really feel if significant reforms are not in place the entire GCC will end up looking like Yemen.

  113. Abu Sinan…

    “I also think we are kind on a time schedule here. When the oil runs out, if these changes and reforms arent firmly entrenched in these societies they will just slide back to where they came from, probably even worse. These changes need to happen soon and be allowed to gain a toe hold in the societies for a couple of generations.
    Once the oil is gone I really feel if significant reforms are not in place the entire GCC will end up looking like Yemen.”

    I totally agree…You actually said what I am feeling. Like there is a clock ticking and there is only a certain amount of defined time to get all this handled and take root and if it doesn’t happen reasonably fast, it is going to be detrimental to the whole region. I feel really frustrated about that (even though it is not my country(ies) ) because I think it can be done with the right leadership and it isn’t inevitable that they become like Yemen.

  114. @oby and Abu Sinan,
    The clock ticking is how I feel about the educational reform going on. It’s great but toooo slow and there is a HUGE population explosion situation here. This is there big chance to turn around many things, but I’m afraid they’re going to miss it and have even more hoards of people who cannot contribute to society and will be suprised to learn their degree really is only good enough to get them a job as a street sweeper. \

    They should be racing to get it right- not slowly allowing it to happen. And if they must import labor- import whatever teachers they need till this generation turns around.

  115. I definitely think that we should stop with the personal comments.
    I am getting really tired of it. Meanwhile a lot of people agreed we should be discussing MOQ’s list, and after Sandy and MOQ made other good comments, and still the personal dislikes get the more attention.

    Really personal comments should be moved directly to the debate page.
    And please lets have a real discussion here.
    A very good point I thought was that Saudis only discuss the very minor problems, *The issues discussed in the press or in any open forums inside Saudi are just the surface issues that do not deal with root causes. *
    And I think that goes for the ”improvements” as well. I think most ”improvements” are made to keep people from grumbling too much and are so infinitesimally small that there is no danger for any real change which might in some time in the future challenge those in power.

  116. @oby,
    I agree with you and I “like” you too although we disagree sometimes (:

    I think that change and reforms should come from within the Saudi society. I want an argument supported by reliable documents, articles, research, polls, etc done in Saudi society. I do not like that I interfere in any other country internal affairs. And I expect the same from other people. For example, I will not say anything if Hijab is banned in France. It is their country. If I will interfere in another country, I will ask people there. Are you happy of these issues? Are you happy of your government etc. if they say, yes we are happy of our government and our system, I will respect their feelings and their will but if they are not happy, I will only feel sympathy with them. what we Saudis, are complaining about here is the following: 1- lies, 2- hates, 3- lack of objectivity in the discussion, most of the comments are personally oriented and off topic.

    There is another point I would like to raise to people here, we in Saudi, we have different culture and traditions. It is not necessary that you like our culture but it is necessary to respect our culture to have mutual respect and reasonable debate, it is necessary to understand our social concerns and our social taboos. It is necessary to know us first, know how we think, how we behave and why, it is necessary to immerse in the Saudi culture to know why we behave in such manner. You should be very knowledgeable and objective when you speak about us because we have different perspective in terms of life, work, system, rule, traditions, freedom, etc. we know what is good for us more than anyone else. We know what could harm us. Reforms are slow because we are changing generation by generation because the whole issue is cultural. Mayb the reforms that you are seeking for women rights will cause mascaras against women from their male relatives. Please be careful and do not push things forward while you have no idea about how things are perceived here. Thank you for your attention and please take it into your consideration and be respectful and kind in your comments.

  117. For my part I’m sorry I strayed into the personal comments. There was another thread where someone had asked about why people were responding to some people in a certain way- and I decided to answer, but it’s the wrong thread- so my bad.

    MoQ’s point one.
    The thousands of royals on the payroll. I don’t know all the ins and outs- but I do know many got cut off. Unfortuantely, I don’t think they were prepared first. They have families too- and suddenly a drastic income cut. Also, they are not always “allowed” to pursue the work they want. If they are going to cut off the minor royals (and they should, it’s unwieldly) they might want to taper off- make sure they get educated for example, and then they have to let them work. If the family connection is not going to work for them they should be free to do what they like.

    Point two- I’ve addressed educationn
    Point 3. The religious leadership. They are “re-educating” them etc. but I think as long as the fundamental fact that they have power stays in place things won’t be right. I think history and human nature have proved to us time and again that theocracy DOESN”T work.

    That’s all I have time for now.

  118. Gee…Daisy isnt the only one that gets way too personal. I dare say if AB started kicking off people that get a little too personal in their comments…it would get a little lonely around here.

    Just remember when you point a finger at someone u have three more pointed back at you. (arab saying)

    The reason AB doesnt kick Daisy off for what she says is because then she would seem like a hypocrite if she didnt kick the others off that resort to the same thing…though they pretty it up a little more and are less blunt then Daisy.

    Ignore Daisy and she just might go away…ever think of that?

  119. @Medina,

    As always you have wrote another comment that does not describe a position, just another one of your impotent attempts to blame everything including injustice on cultural differences. I think better of the Saudi people than you in your sentence below and the general direction that Saudis are not capable of improving.

    “Mayb the reforms that you are seeking for women rights will cause mascaras against women from their male relatives.”

    That sentence should be more insulting to Saudi than anything that was said here. You are actually proposing that Saudis in droves may turn into raging maniacs ready to kill their own wives, mothers and children.

    You really need to develop a better method of convening your ideas. So far most of your comments are just a bunch of twisting dribble that has no aim.

    At one point you need to understand that Saudi has been facing these same issues for over 80 years with no progress. The only time the Saudi government did any changes is when it was pressured by outside influences. Saudi’s like you have been given the government a pass on all its issues for generations. I think outside criticism is warranted.

    By the way you also have to learn that in the world of free exchange of ideas you cannot demand respect. You have to earn it and may be if you are lucky people will recognize that and give it to you. So far you have not even recognized that respect is earned. Work on that concept a little for once.

  120. @Medina,
    I do see what you are saying but if people are going to get hurt either way than it might has well be in the case of progress. I don’t respect alot about Saudi culture and I see no reason I should. Saudi culture doesn’t respect more than 50% of it’s population.

    Many Saudi’s are NOT happy with the situation. Many are afraid to speak out. I will push as much and as hard as I can, and encourage others to do the same.

  121. @Moq. I”m getting sleepy. Your answer was better!

  122. @Mqs,
    Your post is another personal attack against me. You did not come up with something new. You are just attacking me personally. I again humbly ask you to reread my post above to get the aim of my post above as sandy got.

    Respecting people feelings and will is one of the human basic values and the cornerstone of democracy otherwise you should work on this to learn more about how Obama became a president. It is the American people will that made Obama a president. So you, as a foreigner, you must respect American people will and their feelings,otherwise, no american is going to respect you. Also, we are not in a world of exchange ideas here. What we see here is just hate towards Saudi and personal attacks towards Saudi commentators, no idea exchange. So no chance also is here to work for gaining respect of other people because people here speak hate. so, your premise is inapplicable.

    last point, you want us Saudis to change our culture and our system just to please the outside world? What if the majority of Saudis are happy of their culture and their system? Can you prove the opposite? I do not think so.

    Please support your argument next time with reliable resources about what Saudi people need, then, I can listen to you

    @Sandy,
    I would say 91% of Saudi people are happy of their culture, men and women. What will you say? Yes Mqs was better because it was a personal attack. So he got a credit for that. Thank you and enjoy sleep of the taste of Mqs’s personal attack against me.

    @Daisy,
    This is the first time I address you because I always feel you speak hate, so, I just ignore your post and avoid you. Although you speak very bad about Saudi and you have written a lot of hateful posts against my country and Saudi people, I do not want to join the party here and mat Allah forgive you but I humbly ask you to state your points without hate or prejudice but respect of our feelings.

  123. @Medina,

    I did not attack you personally. I argued against your comments. Big difference.

    Just so we are clear I will point to you the difference between a personal attack and attacking an argument with 2 examples:

    #1. “As always you have wrote another comment that does not describe a position, just another one of your impotent attempts to blame everything including injustice on cultural differences.”
    #2. You are impotent

    The first example, which by the way is my direct quote, describes your comment. The second describes you personally. I hope you understand the difference now.

    If you want to write so much in a blog you should be aware that people can argue against your muddled comments.

    Regarding your intent, I have read your comment. The idea that we have to constantly re-read your comments is nothing new. You use that tactic in every debate we have here. Your arguments are simple, although usually circular. You should not assume we cannot comprehend your direct sentences. A better approach is to clarify your intent if some how we misunderstood. Again like the last time we had one of these discussions, you have an opportunity to clarify.

    Regarding understanding of democracy, I think you are the one that needs to read up on that topic. Democracy cannot exist without liberty. Issues of discrimination against women relate specifically to liberties. The majority does not rule in such issues. It seems you are in a need of an education, not a debate on those concepts. Please, spend the time that you have in a free Western country to study up on those concepts and observe the impact of liberty on the society and how it functions.

    Regarding HATE, it is a weak argument to dismiss all criticism of Saudi as hateful speech. I specifically stated the issues of the country. I view these issues as being of significance and will impact the future of the country. Where discussions do not progress is when all you do is defend the injustices as another cultural issue. I happen to believe that Injustice is not part of Saudi culture, it is the result of a corrupt system of governance.

  124. @Mqs,
    Discussing your points is a waste of my time.
    Your argument is always stupid derogatory.
    Your walking is like walk of a sick duck.
    Your other points in your post worthless to reply to.
    etc…

    These above examples describe your points, argument and walking.

    You are a waste of time,
    You are stupid.
    You are a sick duck
    you are worthless.

    The above examples, describe you personally.

    I hope you understand and “feel” the difference now between indirect personal attack and direct personal attack.

  125. Great job little Grasshopper. You are learning.

    Now make a smart rebuttal regarding the issues of the country I discussed earlier..

  126. I’ve never seen so many adults act like a bunch of children.

  127. I was in a class today called “The New You” and today’s lesson was titled ‘Scars and Scrapes.’

    A quote from today seems to apply to many of the comments I’ve just read….

    “Unforgiveness owns the keys to our imprisonment.”

  128. I have never attacked anyone’s children and I have never used anyone’s child against that person.

    It’s very obvious that some people here have been trying VERY HARD on this post to stop people from critically looking at Saudi Arabia because they don’t want them to, so they are bringing points which are not related to the post and when that doesn’t help, they have wasted a lot of blog space attacking me, eventhough I have rarely responded to their personal attacks.

    Carol wrote a post on an interview with the Saudi Ambassador in India and I didn’t see any of these people going there and discussing India on that post. If they truly wanted to talk about the problems in India, why didn’t they comment on that post? Why does India come up on a post on Saudi Arabia’s criticism? Am I the one being hateful here? Isn’t it obvious that India, US, Russia etc are just tools to deflect the topic of discussion on this post?

    As for my “personal attacks” I never attack anyone personally first.

    Please see above and on other posts on this blog how many times people have spoken hateful words against me and I didn’t respond to them.

    As for my being “hateful,” Saudi Arabia deserves criticism and if criticising the country is a sign of hatefulness, if I am not conforming to the expected norm of falling at the feet of the Saudi people, then some people can keep on thinking I am being hateful about Saudi Arabia.

  129. Medina, I think you have the honor of having made the harshest most insulting comment about Saudis yet:

    *Mayb the reforms that you are seeking for women rights will cause mascaras against women from their male relatives.*

    So let me see: if changes are made to give women human rights and the freedoms which all humans should have, the majority of Saudi men will turn into evil, murderous, homicidal zombies, killing all women they can get their hands on, their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, wives, daughters.

    I don’t think that anybody else has said anything like this on this blog before, according to your comment the following statement is true for Saudi Arabia:

    ”All Saudi men are in effect homicidal maniacs and gender-serial-killers, the only thing which holds them back is the re-assuring medieval rule that women are nothing but property their every move to be decided/allowed by their male owner.”

  130. @Daisy,
    I could quote you Daisy, though I suppose you’d then start “explaining” what you really meant, and we’d really derail the thread. Suffice it to say, not only with every horrid generalization you make against Saudi people (not the country) are you insulting them, but you took a stab specifically at my family.

    @Medina
    If 91 percent of people are happy with how it is, then there is absolutely no reason at all to keep things as they are. Allow women to make their own decisions- only less than 9% will do it anyway. Less than 9% will drive, less than 9% will choose a major in college their father doesn’t like, less than 9% will travel when they want. So if only such a small percent want change, it shouldn’t be a big deal. And I imagine the less than 9% that want away from their families probably includes those that are abused as well.

    I would also like to point out that “majority viewpoint” is not the samething as democracy. Democracy also has a concept of “minority rights”. If the majority of people decide it is “ok” to go lock people in cages that is still not legally allowed.

    Furthermore, 91% of Saudi’s are NOT happy with things the way they are, or they would allow things to change, knowing that they mostly wouldn’t.

    Anyway, I slept just fine. Moq articulated well the problems with your comment. Especially the part about respect needing to be earned.

  131. Can you please quote me, Sandy – with links to my statement?

    I know I was making a general statement about the Arab society and you insinuated that this was a specific comment about your family, though there was no reference to your family in my statement. In fact, another commentator on that post said that she didn’t see any reference to any specific individuals in my comment.

    Since then, you have harped on it several times on different blogs without there being any grain of truth in it.

    Once again, I see in your statement an effort to steer the discussion away from the topic of this post.

    I think it’s best if we all stay on the topic of this post.

  132. @Daisy,
    Excuse me? Not a grain? I told you what my kids reaction to something had been and you responded with “that’s to be expected…etc. etc”. -with remarks about Saudis lack of knowledge of different cultures.” More than a grain I should say. You can provide the full link if you like. And this is the only only blog I’ve ever mentioned it on, so I don’t know what you mean about harping on it on lots of blogs.

    Actually I have tried several times to talk about the topic of the thread- but clearly I am not the only discussion derailer here.

  133. @Daisy,

    You are not telling the truth. Do you forget the time you told me that maybe I should be reading up on Autism to help my 5 year old son and not posting here?

    Can you honestly say that stuff to people like Sandy and myself and NOT remember?

    I dont care who goes personal first, to bring little children into the fray and question someone’s dedication to their children……….that was low, even for you Daisy. That’s saying something.

    Your comments about Sandy’s children were way out of line and VERY racist, but that didnt tell any of us here anything we didnt already know about you.

    Anyway, enough of Daisy’s reverse Midas touch.

    There is a clock ticking for the reforms in Saudi and I dont even think there is 100 years left. The oil will run out before then. The sad fact is, those in the positions of power to make the changes in Saudi are the very same people that will be flying out on their 747s with their foreign bank accounts full with looted money when the oil does run out.

    They are going to rape and rob their own country until it has nothing left to give and then leave it to the vultures. That is exactly what you get when you have an entire country dedicated to the advancement of ONE family.

  134. Medina,
    PS,
    I think a lot better of Saudi men than you do, I do not believe they will all let their homicidal tendencies run wild and kill all women if the women regain their human rights.
    I don’t even believe all Saudi men have homicidal tendencies.

    I think a surprising number will be happy about the suppressed 50% of their population regaining their human rights. I think a lot of Saudi men will be happy to see their mothers, sister, wives and daughters free to drive, get jobs and decide for themselves whats good for them.

    Of course there will be a significant percentage of Saudi men who will be pretty pissed that they now have to earn respect from women. They might in time even have to earn the respect and trust of a potential marriage partner before she will consent to marry them.
    But hey, that is the dilemma other men on the planet have to deal with as well.
    And a large number of them do succeed in earning trust, respect and loyalty from women, so it is not impossible, Saudi men will just have to become stronger.

    I still don’t think that even the Saudi men who are too weak to deal with women who have human rights will all turn serial killer.

  135. Sandy,
    Does “that’s to be expected” mean I’m insulting them?

    Abu Sinan,
    So does that mean I was turning your child against you? When did I even speak to your child?

    What’s wrong in saying you should look into the causes of the disorder of your child?

    And you say above I display hatred towards you. Can you show one comment from me when I initiated a hateful comment against you without you having written dozens of hateful comments against me first?

    You have written scores of hateful comments against me without my initiating a criticism of you in the first place. I never responded to most of them. Yet you say I display hatred towards you!

    I think you need to go for some introspection within yourself rather than placing blame where it doesn’t belong.

    See you all.

  136. Um..yes Daisy. That is indeed an insult. That you “expected” them to be deficient because they are Saudi.

  137. No Sandy,

    I was arguing that if they – or anyone else for that matter – learns more than one language, s/he becomes aware that a word can have different meanings in different languages. Since they – and others who are monolingual – know only one language, “that’s to be expected”…(i.e., they know only the meaning(s) of a word in one language and apply it only that way in practice.)

    I don’t see how this is insulting. It’s not a pointer to anyone’s deficiency, just an aspect of linguistic training, for which they are not responsible themselves.

    That’s why I also argued that Saudis should learn more than one language, since it will be good for them.

    I don’t see how this is insulting.

    I hope I have been able to clarify myself. It was not my intention to insult your family or anyone else when I said this.

    See you all. I have to go.

  138. @Daisy,

    If you don’t see how using a child with special needs to try and make a point/score points against his parents is a despicable act then you are more depraved than I thought.

    What happens between adults is fair play. When you bring other people’s family into it, worst of all children, then you have sunk to the lowest level. The internet version of a suicide bomber that targets men, women and children. After all, we are only Muslims right? Sorry, we arent in India, we wont bow down to mass murder or subjugate ourselves to make you happy.

    @Sandy, she seems to not be aware that she is insulting people. Everyone else sees it, but not her. I am wondering if she has some serious people skills to go along with a healthy dose of extreme hatred.

  139. There is a debate page on American bedu.

  140. Hey all! 🙂 Hope you all are doing well! ❤

    I think we are too harsh on Saudi Arabia, but I think a large part of this is due to differences in culture. Lately, I have been made more aware than ever of the differences between "Western" cultures and Saudi Arabia. Ironically, I can claim neither as the one I relate to more; the culture I was raised in is somewhere in the middle.

    Western culture tends to be more impatient than Saudi culture. Also, I haven't figured out the reason why but in some Western cultures, getting drunk is part of the culture of "partying" and I have yet to figure this one out. I don't understand what people think they are proving to themselves. Any ideas?

    Western culture also tends to be more upfront and agressive about pointing out mistakes whereas from the Saudis I have been around, mistakes are more likely to be hidden or hinted at and forgiven right away.

    For whatever reason, most people don't seem to be able to understand a culture that is somewhat or much (depending on your point of view) different than their own. I don't understand this, but then again I've had to adapt to differences in culture from a very young age and throughout most of my life.

    I also think that maybe before anyone goes criticising another culture that they should really think about what it is they themselves are trying to say and if it has been proven true in their experiences or not (as well as how varied these experiences are). Also, is it a case of something being wrong with the culture, or simply being different than what one is used to?

  141. Pleeeeease can we get back on topic….I just had a big debate with Medina about religion which is one of the reasons KSA is having issues (being run by the clerics) and I find that important. In the short term it is to their and the regions detriment, but long term it is to the entire world’s detriment when a region can’t solve their issues (not only due to religion) because we are all so connected globally. Sandy brought up a good point…there is a huge population explosion there and no jobs and might I add a major issue with water well on it’s way. Do they even have the infrastructure to handle that?

  142. Despite her bleating otherwise, I think Daisy likes the attention.

    @OBY,

    No, there is no the infrastructure to handle the coming generation. Unemployment is sky high for young people in Saudi. My SIL is a professor there. In a conversation the other day she told us that the government used to give really large bonuses to students who get their Bachelors degree, something in the order of 40,000 Saudi Riyals. That would be over 10,000 US dollars. This gift has now been lowered to 1,000 SR, not even $300.

    She also mentioned it is getting to be more and more common to hear about murder/suicides in families faced with so much trouble. Entire families being wiped out by their own.

    The whole thing hits at a core issue. My step son was been in Saudi the last 3 years. He is 19 now. We wanted him to work whilst he was there but he didnt have his education, so like here in the States he could get a job bagging groceries, cashier, ect. His father’s side of the family refused to let him look for such a job because “its not fit for a Saudi”.

    Imagine, with no education and at age 18 or 19 they think these jobs are below him? As if he should have been provided a large office and a huge paycheck? So no, instead of him working, getting experience and learning some work ethic, he sat around for almost 3 years doing nothing.

    There will need to be an entire cultural shift. It is already slowly happening, out of shear need because the economy is so bad. It isnt uncommon to hear of Saudi women working as maids, men working at grocery stores and the like.

    This isnt how Saudi was 50 years ago. Now you have adults, men and women, who have never washed a load of laundry in their entire lives. They dont clean up after themselves, the maids do the cooking, nannies watch the kids. These things have really stunted the growth of Saudi society and, to a certain extent, made them infantile.

    Once again, when that last drop of oil comes out things will come to a very fast halt. The country is not prepared for it, not with infrastructure, not with education, not culturally.

    If Hollywood wants to do a real nightmare film they ought to make one called “The Day After the Oil Stops in Saudi”. No members of the Saudi royal family will be shown, nor their lackies in the establishment. They will all be in Europe or in the US living it large off the billions they stole from the people of their country.

  143. “She also mentioned it is getting to be more and more common to hear about murder/suicides in families faced with so much trouble. Entire families being wiped out by their own.”

    OMG! That is horrifying. Imagine the desperation and despair. I know that KSA sends Saudis to the USA to presumably get an education and bring it back to the home country for their benefit…how is that being worked? In other words are they bringing back Saudis to do the work that some expats are doing now? How are they using that education to the benefit of KSA?

    I do agree that an entitled attitude is a killer of a work ethic. Because our laws require us to pay fairly (yes I know there is a lot of Mexican exploitation) with insurance etc. most Americans cannot afford the maids and other help saudis have and so have the idea that scrubbing the toilet themselves or washing their own underwear is not abhorant to them. I don’t know…I personally think it keeps people grounded and humble AND helps them realize that they can do things for themselves and the world will not come crashing down and actually is preferable.

    If they didn’t have all the expats there doing some of the “grunt” work, maybe saudi youth could take an afterschool or summer job to get an idea how tough it is to earn a riyal…perhaps wishful thinking???

    The idea that the exploiters will not be around when the country implodes makes my blood boil…all the more reason the people need to learn self reliance.

  144. @ Daisy,
    My children are not monolingual, or unexposed to other cultures. So not only did you make a huge assumption based on their nationality, but you were incorrect.

  145. @Oby,

    I couldnt answer that one for you. I know a lot of Saudis who get their education abroad end up living abroad as well, I know more than a few myself.

    I dont really think it is enough in the sectors where it is needed. There will come a point where the Saudis cannot afford to pay Westerners $100,000 plus a year tax free, along with other incentives, to do the highly skilled work. That will have to be done by Saudis for much lower pay.

    I am all with you about the maid/nanny/driver issue. When some Saudi kids grow up and know their nanny’s/maid’s language better than Arabic, you know there is something wrong.

    When young Saudis come to the West for the first time on their own and they dont know how to wash or fold their clothes, or how to keep their apartment or house clean, you know there is a problem.

    Saudi has a culture of expectations. I know not all Saudi is like this, there are more and more dirt poor, but as a general rule it is true.

    Saudi needs to go back to their roots, go back 50-70 years ago when they did everything themselves, before the massivie influx of money and foreign labour.

    Yeah, I wish there was a way they could get the exploiters before they flee. What is more likely is that they will retire to their 10,000 square foot houses in London, New York and Paris and watch the misery they helped create unfold.

  146. I would like to point out that not everyone doing well is an exploiter. I know a lot of hard working Saudi’s that are very successful- and they have very stressful jobs, because of inconsistant government regulations, an undereducated labor pool, and VISA issues for when they do need to bring in labor- high level, and low level.

    The fact that “wasta” affects everything also affects the people doing well. And I do see a difference in a private sector company importing labor that they can afford, when there is no suitable local hire, and whole sale importation of people like street sweepers, just so the gov’t doesn’t have to pay reasonable salaries or Saudi’s don’t have to work at “demeaning” jobs.

    When I first came here things were still booming. And I did notice that some people worked and some people sat on their laurels. I see a lot of families that were very well off 20 years ago now struggling. But they coasted, and they didn’t put enough emphasis on educating their children rather than creating a feeling of entitlement in them. Those families are reaping what they sow and now are resentful of those who kept working and are doing well.

    Of course the country is also reaping the results of it’s encouragment of large families amoung the undereducated, and not developing resources for education and instead turning it over to the religious authorities. Another reason theocracy doesn’t work.

  147. @Sandy,

    Good points. My wife’s mother’s family is pretty well connected in Saudi where they are at, but they got their money because my wife’s grandfather was a property wizz and was able to make a riyal out of nothing.

    My wife’s part of that family has been outside of Saudi for so long the sisters are almost just a memory to them. There are always good people in every country.

    The problem is there are so many young people growing up in Saudi now even an industrialised economy would have a hard time keeping up.

  148. I am sure I know the answer to this already but is there any sort of “planned Parenthood” type thing available to help people understand the financial and emotional consequences of having so many children? Ie: 20 years after birth there is no hope of a job available, difficulty getting married due to no income, and all the other things that come with that. Also, has the population just started booming or has it been that way for decades and now things are just getting spread really thin?

    Why does this put me in mind of the French Revolution when the rich got richer and the vast poor got fed up and took matters into their own hands? God Forbid.

  149. There is a religious belief- a hadith that says you should not kill your children because you fear you can not take care of them due to poverty. There is also another about Muslims outnumbering everyone on the day of judgement. So they are encouraged to keep having children. The fact that they can’t take care of them properly doesn’t seem to teach them that somehow something must have been misinterpreted.

    But yes, many kinds of birth control is allowed and it is available, if you want it.

    I don’t remember the demographics, but it seems there is a MUCH larger population than 20 years ago.

    The thing is- there is plenty of work to be done. Sometimes the poor don’t want to do it- and sometimes they’re not educated enough. It’s a pretty big pie if you have ability and you are willing to work (and no one is extorting your earnings or blocking your way)

  150. I believe this post has me really concerned for my children here in Saudi! What sort of future is really in store for them? I can only pray they will be part of the solution.

    Oby, I do not know of many Saudis that believe in planned parenthood. Many are quite proud of their broods and will tell you that Prophet Muhammad encouraged Muslims to have many children.

    I personally believe this is very irresponsible. I don’t believe this is what the Prophet would have liked to see and I don’t believe he intended us to do it so haphazardly. Large numbers of Muslim youth wandering aimlessly throughout life is only a disservice to Islam, not a credit.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love children but am I going to have ten of them when this country is in the state it’s in? Huh… No. I just wish some people here would stop spouting off about “qadar Allah” and be a bit more responsible with having their children, raising them and ensuring they have good education and job opportunities available to them.

    And you know what, I truly believe change is going to come. The Saudi people are getting fed up…just look at their blogs, they’ll tell you!

  151. Sorry that last bit about Saudi’s being fed up was regarding this post and the major issues here in Saudi not about them having too many children! 😉

  152. Although I can name a few Saudi women that are fed up of that too! 🙂

  153. If Daisy, Abu Sinan, Sandy or anyone else who wishes to continue threads not specific to the post, go to the debate page. Any comment directed at a person and not the subject of the thread, go to the debate page.

    All comments which discuss the thread are encouraged.

  154. Sandy…

    “There is also another about Muslims outnumbering everyone on the day of judgement.”

    Hey wait a minute! I am enjoying life on Earth…I don’t want Judgement day to get here too quickly! They need to slow down that population thing as I and I am sure many others are really just enjoying all that God gave us in the here and now. I’ll get there eventually, but why rush it????? LOL!

  155. @Oby LOL,
    I have noticed this trend of Christians as well. Some are so caught up with prophecies of End Times and can’t wait for all the end time stuff to start happening. I’m in no hurry myself. I sort of figure any predictions God/Allah has genuinly made, he will know how to take care of himself.

  156. Radha
    I am here to correct the misconceptions. And it is up to me or anyone else if we want to visit or not. I make my comments as I see it just as anyone else. You see it in your way and I see it my way.

    Carol says : ” It has its good and its bad. It was also the birthplace and home of the love of my life. And guess what…he was a Muslim”, then why post something like “Fitna?” . As you know that movie was made to spread hatred but what is your reason to post it? Is it to create more fitna in the country that you love? KSA is not perfect but why ignite it more and spread negativity?

    Aafke says : “And telling people to ”get out if they don’t like it” is such a cheap fallacy” – Tell that to Radha, she is the one who said that something like that reagrding commenting here. It is a cheap fallacy.

  157. I find it funny that some people here are so worried about the future of KSA while they have recently suffered a huge financial crises. Some of them are still suffering from this melt down. People have lost homes and some are living in their vehicles. Did they have a back up plan in place? Do they think that this kind of thing cannot happen again.

    Why are they so concerend about another country and it’s future instead of their own country’s future?

  158. Sarah Md,

    If you’re referring to the United States, the concept of globalization eludes you. Sure, I gave Daisy a rude comment but that’s due to her xenophobic tendencies, what I can’t tolerate, is ignorance. If you’re happy with the situation in Saudi Arabia, you’re deluded. I think the people have every right to be harsh on Saudi Arabia, but it is up to us to change our country. There’s no point in pointing out the problems, if they’re not going to lend a helping hand.

  159. Sarah MD…

    Why would it bother you if people other than Saudis have concern for KSA? As broke saudi said they are part of the world population and as such what happens to them in time will trickle to others.

    Why should anyone be satisfied that any people are headed for a fall whether we know them or not? They are people right? Poverty there will affect everyone. I personally do think and care about the issue because I think people should have the ability to live the best life possible and the way it is now with the infrastructure and lack of jobs and population explosion it is not sustainable. That can lead to lots of problems not to mention finger pointing at the wealthier nations of the world whose fault it WILL NOT be that they didn’t think far enough ahead to prepare for it. So for me it is not entirely altruistic but that doesn’t mean I don’t want good things for KSA.

  160. There is a point to pointing out problems. People can not come up with solutions without acknowledging the problems.

    Also, you seemed to suggest that I should get out if I don’t like it here- so perhaps that’s what Aafke was refering to, though I’ll let her speak for herself.

  161. huh? I referred to Medina who ended a comment with the ubiqutous ”if you don’t like it here get out”
    Sigh….
    pfffff

    Anyway, Broke Saudi made very important comment: we all live together on the planet.
    We all sink or swim together. We do not live on completely isolated islands without contact or influence on each other, that time is defenitely past if it ever existed at all.

    If bad stuff happens somewhere on the planet it will have repercussions on all other parts of the planet.

    Besides just caring about people suffering.
    Why the hell aren’t we allowed to care about other people suffering? Why aren’t we allowed to care about injustice?

    Because that’s where it all starts. At least for me. In the heart.
    I cannot witness injustice and/or suffering without at least speaking. And if there is any action I can do to alleviate suffering I will do it. For whoever, where ever on the planet.

  162. And I think almost everybody who is pointing out problems, and discussing stuff is doing so out of concern and caring for others.
    Even if those ”others” are not from your own faith, country or tribe.

    And I think that is a concept some people find very difficult to understand, the fact that some people care beyond the borders of countries, or religions. That they can care as much for people of other countries or beliefs as their own.

    I think some people cannot look further, or care for, people beyond their immediate group (consisting of tribe, country religion)
    And so they take concern and trying to remedy injustice from people outside of that group as ”harsh” and an unwarranted ”attack”

  163. Aafke…

    Last post….well said. I think too often people see the “attacks” as hate when in fact they are trying to point out problems so that the problems can be fixed and the bad situation reversed. For a lot of people it doesn’t only extend to those of their faith…it extends to other human beings regardless of faith and if one does not think like that then it is hard to understand and seems like bashing.

  164. Oby, if you say that you worry about the future of KSA because you care about people in general, I can believe it because from reading your comments, I have come to sort of “know” you. But not all are like you. Do you seriously believe that everyone cares about the people of KSA? Many are just bashing, others are just finding faults. Very few actually care.

    I am sure people like you are on African blogs, too, voicing concerns about their present and future as you care about people in general. I can see Aafke doing the same and “doing” something to help the needy in African countries and the same time helping Americans too especially those effected by the economic crises.. I have nothing but adirmation for you.

  165. @Sarah MD,

    Let’s see if we can make sense of what you are proposing. For a person to take on any cause, they have to take on every cause known to man/woman to be credible?

    This means all of us have to adopt diverse causes and pursue them with a passion that will take every minute of our day. I can come up with hundreds of these and will never accomplish anything. I am going to give you a list so you understand the point:

    – Fighting AIDS
    – Feeding the starving all over the world
    – Fighting Slavery in Sudan
    – Global warming
    – Nuclear arms
    – Saving the Whales
    – Polluting the environment
    – Human population explosion
    – Developing clean water sources
    – Fighting cancer
    – Avoiding cruelty to animals
    – Etc. Etc.
    – Oops lets not forget the most important cause of all, Fighting against the massacre of Turkeys during the Thanks Giving holiday

    The point Sarah is; Humans choose the causes they want to pursue. Your issue here is that you cannot provide a credible response to whether the cause of improving conditions in Saudi is a worthy cause for people to pursue and educate others on. So you throw all of these arguments around about other human suffering. I think they are all valid causes, but using them to diminish the suffering of people in Saudi is invalid.

  166. Well said Moq.

    And Sarah, I don’t see why my views are de-legitimized as “ungrateful”. I live here. My children live here. Don’t you think I genuinely want things to improve? Don’t you think I actually have a better idea of what it’s like here than many others? Do you think there haven’t been times I, and people I love have genuinely suffered because of the situation? I only have so much time in the day- in fact I’ll have much less time for writing on blogs in the coming months- but why would I be more interested in Russian issues (which I am sure are plenty) when I have little knowledge of them? When there is plenty right here, involving people I know?

  167. I know what you are saying and I understand it and agree to it Mq, but what I am saying is what I feel. Maybe I am not expressing it right.

    What I feel is that people comment here as if there is no other prb in the world except KSA. if they want to discuss these issues and want to sincerely help in improving, then why not brainstorm some ideas on how best to go about this. What are the solutions, what can be done, is it feasible …etc. By doing this, one can feel (esp Saudis) that here are real people with real concerns. This will be open and constructive dialog. I do wish that we can openly talk about the problems and come up with some ideas that will help Saudis.

    The way it is done now is speaking about what is wrong and how much they care. People saying yes we are not too harsh as KSA needs to be dealth with harshly. How is that constructive or helpful. It only spreads more hatred and ill feeling.

    Sandy, your concerns are genuine as you live here; I accept that; and you wanting to improve things is ligit. (What about others who do not live here? It is same as Russian to them). People like us who live here need real solutions from people who have real concerns.

  168. @Sarah MD,

    “What I feel is that people comment here as if there is no other prb in the world except KSA.”

    No that is your wrong assumption and it is based on you taking a sample from a Saudi focused blog where people are naturally talking about Saudi.

    For people to find solutions, first you have to recognize there is a problem. From everything I read in your comments, you do not even recognize there are serious problems with Saudi and its system.

    Solutions for Saudi issues come through recognition first. Educating the people of Saudi is what is necessary to get them to act to solve their problems. I for one do not advocate any violent actions to change things. I advocate education and pressure on the government of Saudi to improve.

    Now if you consider discussing the issues of Saudi as mean spirited, then you are missing the point of blogs and debates to start with.

    Regarding whether we are harsh on Saudi, I do not think we are. Harsh treatment will be something like allowing the marriage of a 12 year old to an old man, harsh is having a foreign maid get raped with no government organization supporting her, harsh is putting a woman in prison for disobeying a father who abused her, harsh is executing a man for a charge of witchcraft in the 21st century, harsh is taking a blogger from his family and keeping him in prison for over 4 months without charge for no crime, harsh is treating grown women like children with no say about their own lives, etc.

    All of the above are positions supported by a government which should protect its citizens and the people that live in the country. Educating the world about these issues is not harsh.

    Please, get a balanced prospective on this….

  169. Every place has its share of problems, though some more than others.

    The job crisis is more of a worldwide problem, I believe, because of globalisation. People who have received undergraduate degrees and have a hard time finding work is a huge problem in Spain, for example, and also a problem in many other countries as well. The economic cycle is referred to as a cycle because it has its highs and lows.

    I have to agree with broke saudi in that if you are going to point out problems with any situation, you should also be working hard towards finding solutions.

    So I do think people are a bit harsh sometimes in that they point out problems without providing ideas for solutions. Additionally, I find that people in general tend to be more negative and it would be nice, IMO, to see more positive comments about the good things in Saudi Arabia, and about the world in general. People, generally speaking, haven’t changed all that much throughout history.

  170. @Strangeone,
    You seem to have this attitude of equivalency. Balance out the negative with the positive. That doesn’t reflect reality sometimes. The Saudi system on balance is NEGATIVE. And sometimes, though people can see the problem they do not have a solution. That doesn’t mean they don’t pretend their is a problem.

  171. Sarahmd,
    So you think that talking about the serious, very serious problems in KSA is not important? That bringing dark deeds in the sunlight does no good?
    Just one example, I got interested in KSA because the case of the girl of Qatif.
    A girl who was gangraped and then was raped again by the Saudi ”justice system” with a judge who punished her for the crime of being raped, with torture and a prison sentence. Her husband and her laywer (the brilliant Abdul Rachman Al Lahim) considered this a death sentence: her frail and abused body, her mental state would not let her survive torture as well.

    This girl was saved, not by Saudi law, not by Saudi justice, but by the whole world standing up and protesting. By the fact that this heinous crime against humanity was brought out in the open.
    Saudi blogs and Saudi bloggers, and Saudi commentators brought this out into the open. the people all over the world who came to know about this and expressed their abhorrence of this heinous treatment of a victim, they are the ones which forced the release of this girl.

    And if this were the only case, if by just talking and bringing to the light injustices like these, we can save only one human life. All this rambling on blogs has served a purpose!!!

  172. Im curious as to how non Saudis can find solutions to problems Saudis themselves have a hard time acknowledging. The issues with Saudi women being seen as children and second class citizens can only be rectified if the ones viewing them this way (Saudi men) decide their views are wrong and actively change it.

    How can WE (non Saudis) change that in any way shape or form. We can help when asked.. but nobody is asking. That’s the problem.

    In order for the problems of Saudi to be fixed…Saudis have to want to fix them. We on this blog can only discuss them and be frustrated by them…and for those that live there…be affected personally by them…but other than that…not a whole lot can be done.

    The women of Saudi will never see a positive change regarding them until they get enough Saudi men to care to want to change it. Period.

  173. @Sandy,
    I believe there is good and bad with everything. I’m not referring to only the Saudi government system, but to everything that makes the country unique such as the culture, the average Saudi citizens, etc. If there was only bad in KSA as a whole, then chances are that there would be a lot less foreigners marrying Saudis because the culture would have negatively influenced the people themselves. As there are so many sweet, loving Saudi men I have met, I can’t help but think that the culture has something to do with this. I can’t comment about Saudi women as I have not yet had the opportunity to get to know any personally yet. (Sorry! :/ )

    Also, I don’t like to hear people complain all the time about the same things. If you have a problem with something, then invoke discussion to find a solution. Going on complaining about an issue over a long period of time without at least working towards a solution is pointless, wastes people’s time, and gets annoying after a while.

    Obviously, there are things wrong with KSA, but I guess the question would then be to list them as some people have done above, and to promote discussion on each one in order to reach a solution for them. What is the problem? What do people affected (or potentially affected) by the problem want? What is the best proposed solution? How can we work together to make it happen? These are some of the questions that need to be asked and discussed, IMO.

    @Aafke,
    I think the situation you proposed is an example where people were working towards a solution by raising awareness on an issue. I believe that is a very good example of doing something to promote positive change.

  174. Mq, Aafke
    First of all, I have never said that KSA has no problem, in fact, I did say that like all other countries, KSA has its problems too. This is not unique to Saudi alone. But the “caring” people are not doing justice to solve the issues.

    I am a little confused: Are we debating or trying to solve the issues.

    Let me make myself clear to those who say they “care”. Just imagine a patient having some kind of ailment. His doctor who CARES (and I mean really cares) approaches this patient and – as is the way with doctors – will explain to him in what he sees is wrong with him. He does not speak in harsh terms neither does he bash him and spread hatred about this patient to all and sundry, he will not list all the bad things he has done in his life – because this is not the way of someone who cares. Instead, the doctor will be open with the patient and will have the doctor-patient confidentialty. He will sit with him and his family (if necessary) to talk about the treatment.Now from the patient’s side, he will be at ease and comfortable and much better able to cope with the changes that is about to take place or even able to ACCEPT/ACKNOWLEDGE what is happening to him and so make him more receptive of advices and suggestions given to him. If the doctor, treated his patient harshly (no matter if this patient is a criminal), do you think, he would listen to the doctor, have the same respect or even trust him? It will certainly put him on the defensive mode.

    I hope I am clear. This is how a Saudi would feels.

    To sincerely “care” is a noble character and it must be selfless feeling coming from the heart. How many here have that enough to find a solution?

  175. @StrangeOne,

    About the best way to treat Saudi issues online is to educate people about them. This is what people are doing in forums and blogs. It does work as the more people who are aware the more pressure is directed at the government to change. I feel this is what people are doing in blogs. Why do you see anything wrong with it?

    @Sarah MD,

    That analogy just does not work.

    We are talking about a government and a system that is abusing its people and others under its care. They are also exporting their ideology to other places.

    Staying with the hospital example. A better analogy is a Dr that is mistreating his patients, while over charging them for that lousy care. He is also trying his best to teach others how to provide such lousy medical service. Now start with this and work it in your example.

  176. I am not talking about the gov of KSA, I am talking about how people here who say they care.

    So you have changed the topic by brushing it off saying “it does not work” here and turned the table. Why not not start from where I have started – after all it is we (people here on this blog) who are wanting to find a solution – not the other way round. The gov is not asking us to find an answer.

    Change must come from the people of Saudi wanting that change. And do the people want change? Yes they do but the way the media sterotypes them and people bashing them does not help – it does not help.

  177. “So you have changed the topic by brushing it off saying “it does not work” here”

    That analogy does not work, because it assumes we are bashing the Saudi people not presenting the problems of the system. You are simply starting with the wrong assumption, so all that long example is a waste of effort.

    The discussion on this thread has been about the question regarding people being harsh on Saudi. Most of the comments have related to the behavior of the Saudi system.

    The answer to whether the Saudi people want change or not, is unknown. People that do not have liberty cannot voice such opinions. When you can show that Saudis have liberty then you can use that argument.

    We are voicing the opinion that we see many problems with the Saudi system. Learn to live with the fact that free people will speak against injustice. If you want to be an apologist for injustice, have at it, but do not expect to get my respect for such a position.

  178. I am not sure if I am not clear or you are pretending not to understand and move away.

    Anyway, I am not going to argue about this. My example was only to show how a Saudi would feel and about how people say they “care”. Nothing ws wasted unless you want to ignore what I am saying and move to what you want to talk about. How can it be wasted when one voices his opinion?

    I accept the problems – so what are the solutions?

  179. There is no quick sweeping solution unless you advocate violent change. I do not agree with that.

    So the alternative, is education.The more people understand the problems the more they question the authorities the more things change.

    Arguing that people do not have the right to voice the concerns or dismissing the issues as the ramblings of uncaring people is working against the purpose of education.

    Note: education does not stop at Saudi people. The Saudi government also responds to external pressures. We saw that in the case of the Qatif girl when the government was shamed by the international press and organizations into issuing a pardon. We also saw it in the changes the Saudi system is implementing to improve the religious curriculum. We are seeing it in the limitation of the influence of the religious organizations.

    I for one will continue to advocate change through education. You can dismiss it as complaining, but I am not necessarily interested in changing your mind. You are already too far gone into a conspiracy world, where normal human logic does not apply. I think there are others that can get the point.

  180. Education is of course the key for change. You are assuming that I automatically disagree with you.

    Also we have to understand that we cannot always believe media news. As we know news blows things out of proportion and sentionalizes information.

    How do you propose we educate Saudis? If there are enough people demanding change (not by harsh methods but by dialog), through TV live programs where people call in live and discuss matters – maybe it could be a baby step.

  181. Moq,
    Education is important, but I have to agree with what Sarah Md has said in this situation.

  182. Sarahmd and Strange One, you need spelling this out:

    Sarah Md has given an analogy which is completely besides the point. She is not interested in changing the immense problems of KSA because she considers it a kind of Islamic utopia and wants to keep it as it is without regard for the suffering the system generates. SarahMD does not care at all about the Saudi people, she cares for and supports the Saudi system.
    So she tries to put up a spurious ”explanation” as to why the people here do not really care but are Saudi bashing and they do no good anyway.
    Strange one is too naive to be believed and because she knows sooo many loving and caring Saudi men she jumps on any comment which apologizes for the abuses done to the Saudi peole.

    So I will put it in simple language just for you two:

    -Internet makes huge difference in Saudi
    -Internet gives a voice to the Saudi people.
    -Internet rallies have saved Saudi people from prison, from death
    -People on the internet are a tool to help and rescue lives in Saudi
    -Pointing out the horrible problems in KSA helps Saudi people.
    -Pointing out the horrible problems in KSA is part of the solution to those problems

  183. The internet is the only place where Saudi people or people who live in kSA, or people who just care for other human beings, can talk freely about the huge problems Saudi is suffering.

    And, StrangeOne, the rescue of the girl of Qatif did not change the system, the huge international outcry saved one girl, but not the system which keeps abusing the saudi people and especially the Saudi women.
    With every miscarriage of justice in Saudi people on the internet, in the media, on the planet, have to rally again to try and save another human being.
    And so we do make a real difference by talking and rallying on the internet, but we have to do it again and again for every single case.
    And we have to keep on educating people.

  184. Aafke
    I think you are a bit blinded by your own thinkings and so you do not really understand what people write and want to read what you want them to say. Where did I say that we should not change or help Saudi system. Do you read that in my comments? You sweep away my opinions just to fit your thinking! You do not know me to throw all those accusations.

    “SarahMD does not care at all about the Saudi people, she cares for and supports the Saudi system.”
    Where did I say this? In fact I said: “Education is of course the key for change”.

    If that statment of mine reads to you as I do not want change, then it is pointless to deal with you.

    If you think Internet is one of the channels, then by all means we can use that. I do agree on that point but in Saudi there are many women who sit at home watching TV, so live programs is one way of breaking the ice. Now we agree upon education, TV and interent as ways of making a change.

    We can be civilised, you know?

  185. @Sarah MD,
    Most people here are not bashing Saudi. They are mentioning legitimate issues. This blog is about Saudi- no one here will spend much time on other countries. You are overly concerned with whether people are being mean- than whether they are mentioning a legit issue in Saudi. Even if every person here is a hater- that doesn’t make any bad thing about Saudi less true. People need to know the truth- and you spend your energy on whether people are being mean.

    @Strangeone,
    There are actually very few foreigners marrying Saudis. And of those that come to live here- many are absolutely miserable. The average citizen? 50% of those are basically owned by whatever man is their mehram.

    You may be tired of hearing people complaining- but many women suffering here with no means to let the world know what is going on, probably aren’t as bored with the idea that the world hears the truth about how it is- as you are. I have repeatedly said there are many wonderful Saudi people. But there is a system that sucks and no amount of meeting “sweet Saudi men” is going to change that.

    You appear to have so little imagination, or so little heart, that you cannot empathize even a little for the female half of the population of an entire country suffering day after day, year after year for their entire lives. You seem to value “not being negative” to facing the reality these women are living in.

    @anyone who cares
    And since it seems so important that people are “doing” something about it. I have worked in education in the past- I am currently doing my best to raise my kids to be productive, well-adjusted world citizens (the world would be a lot better if we all did at least that much)- and when I’m done with that I’ll go back into education.

    In addition to that I don’t sugar coat whats wrong with where I live because women (and others) here need help and as a start we need to tell the truth with what is happeing, and I don’t care if it hurts feelings because people are hurting in more substansive ways than that all the time. So toughen up. Shouldn’t a dignified, secure person be able to handle the truth?

  186. Sarah MD.
    You said education is the key to change. Change what. What do you think needs changing? I can’t recall you ever mentioning any thing specific.

  187. Here I am asking people to suggest ways to help the people they so care about – yet they are hooked on telling me my thoughts and opinions are incorrect. Why waste energy and time discussing how my opinions are wrong when you could be writing something positive.

    What needs changing? Well Mq has listed some and I acknowledged those.

  188. Why did you waste time telling me I was ungratefuL?

  189. @Sarah MD,

    Well lets start by sharing the opinion of a brave Saudi woman “Wajiha Al-Huweidar”

    Pass it along to your friends:

  190. Done!

  191. “every saudi woman has a sheherezad in her”

    that is a powerful statement…and could be extended to women generally around the world. Women throughout history have had to find ways to stay alive in a mans world…just to see the sun come up the next day.

    Notice the man sitting next to her…you just know he is wanting to shut her up but cant figure out how. LOL

  192. I’ve read so much about her- but haven’t seen or heard her speak. Thank you Moq.

    The man next to her didn’t seem happy. But he was savvy enough to realize if he tried to shut her up, he’d just look like a master- or society disrespecting a woman.

  193. thank you Moq for that post….she spoke so softly and yet with such power and truth.

  194. Thanks MOQ, Excellent video!
    SarahMD, good you shared it with your friends 🙂
    Sandy, haven’t you seen the driving video? It’s her most famous one:

  195. Thanks all, I also enjoyed the expressions on the man’s face.

    Sarah MD, Thanks for sharing with others.

  196. Are we too harsh on Saudi Arabia? In some ways yes and in others no. In regards to human rights I think we aren’t harsh enough. In regards to it’s customs and conservative interpretation of Islam I think people need to allow that there are cultural/religious differences that may not some peoples cup of tea but valid nonetheless. As a non-Muslim Saudi’s interpretation of Islam means squat to me but I can see why Islamaphobes and many Westerners are afraid.

    Unfortunately, no matter how loud peaceful Muslim proclaim how “Islam is a religion of peace” what the jihad Islamist actions have done has all but drowned out that message to most middle of the road Americans. Since Saudi Arabia is Islam’s birthplace as well as where Mecca is Westerners can’t help but look there and go “so that’s what our world would be if Muslims took over the world”. In general I think a lot of Westerners (some Muslim immigrants included) are horrified by the thought of the US or Europe or any other democratic sectarian country turning into one giant Saudi Arabia. Goodbye freedom of speech, goodbye women’s rights, goodbye freedom of religion, etc. Things like this don’t help matters.

    http://xrdarabia.org/2010/11/01/another-saudi-step-backward/

    Sad and I agree with John a step backward for Saudi Arabia. I had hoped with King Abdullah trying to reign in fatwas things like this wouldn’t be coming up anymore. Do Saudis even realize how embarrassing the fatwas about women breast feeding men are? Or how stupid they look when the make it seem as if men and women can’t control themselves so therefore need to be segregated? As if billions of people around the world haven’t shown that men and women can work together without wanting to sin. If I were Saudi I would be insulted by this ruling since it assumes that I’m so lacking in personal morality that I can’t function in normal society without wanting to jump every guy I see.

    Unfortunately this world still runs on oil and so my country will continue to prop up Saudi Arabia so in that respect I think the US is too lenient on Saudi Arabia. Too bad. I hope that more and more countries will start to realize that sending it’s people there to be abused even if there is monetary gain is not a good idea. What would happen to Saudi Arabia if it’s millions of third world workers go home? It can’t function on the higher level without the help of highly educated expats and it can’t function on the lower level without the unskilled workers. What the hell does that say about it’s society? I’ve heard multiple times how proud Saudis are and can’t help but wonder about what? What are they so proud about? What exactly does Saudi Arabia contribute to the world besides oil and money from oil? The exportation of conservative Islam? Thanks but no thanks.

    I’ve had a fascination with Saudi Arabia since I was in my young teens. Sadly the MORE I know about it and the MORE I interact with Saudis (be it in person or online) the more I’ve disliked it. If you had asked me 10 years ago to go teach there I would have jumped at the idea. No longer. I’m not even sure I’d go there as a tourist but at least I still want to. I do wonder at what will happen to that country when the oil runs out or the rest of the world doesn’t need it anymore.

    And to those who would just deride my criticism as “hate” criticism is not hate. The first step in change is the ability to look at something critically and realize there is something wrong. Too many Saudis want to turn a blind eye as if that will make the problem go away. We’ve seen multiple times now that international condemnation and embarrassment has created change. In this increasingly small world Saudi can’t hide it’s wrongs anymore.

  197. OnigiriFBo…

    I was thinking about you the other day. Good to see you back!

  198. @aafke,
    Sorry for being late in responding, I was very busy. Massacre is in the sense that many Saudi women will suffer from family pressure, family break, left out alone etc. I mean that they will pay a high price for the sake of gaining their rights. The question is, are they ready to pay the price for freedom or do they prefer to be secured by their families? The Saudi woman in that video stated that, Saudi woman will pay a high price if she rebels against her family and her society. So she prefers to enjoy the welfare that her family provides than rebellion against her family and her society for gaining more rights. I think you remember Iman who was interviewed by AB. She paid a high price and she lost her family in Saudi because she rebelled against her family and her culture. The same thing will happen to any Saudi if he rebels against his culture and his family. So this will happen to every Saudi perceived socially as a rebel against his society. To be honest with you, I do not agree with many things regarding women in Saudi. I said in a post earlier that there is a systematic discrimination against women in Saudi. I differ in how we help Saudi women out without causing problems to them in Saudi society. So I am against pushing things forward. I prefer gradual changes even if it is slow but it is a change and we should work on it. The Saudi society changes day by day. You can not change a culture in one day, especially if it is a collective culture based on tribal traditions and religious dogma. The change should start first by securing women rights advocated and quarantined in Islam.

    @sandy,
    Saudi society is a collective society in the sense that the priority of group goals is over individual goals. So, there are no rights secured for individuals, the rights are only secured for the group. I as individual sacrifice some of my rights just to be part of my society but if I insist to gain my rights as an individual, I will be perceived as a selfish rebel posing a threat to the group, consequently, I will lose many things in my Saudi society, such as my family, my friends, my job etc. so, I am obliged to sacrifice my some of rights to enjoy the group’s welfare. In Saudi, you should forget that you are an individual living in Saudi society; you should consider yourself an individual belongs to a collective group. In America, it is upside down, group’s rights are secured through securing individual’s rights first. In Saudi, we are different. Individual’s rights are secured through securing group’s rights. So, the group comes first in Saudi while individual comes first in America. Hence, America is based on individualism while Saudi stands for collectivism.

    @strange,
    pleased to see you again here and pleased by your post (: .

    @OnigiriFBo,
    I am sorry to read that you developed negative attitudes towards saudi. I would like to tell you that Saudis welcome any constructive ideas and constructive criticism. We are like any other society. We have problems yes and we have good things too. If you think that Saudis have nothing to offer except oil, I am sorry to say that you are wrong. We are ONLY against stupid and ridiculous posts that are derogatory and full of hate, prejudice and arrogance.

  199. Sorry Medina,
    Saudi is not based on “collectivism” (which by the way could still grant many basic human rights Saudi denies). It is based on tribalism and PATRIARCHY. What is the group goal of oppressing half the population? Is it an incredibly productive society? Intellectual society? Inventive society? Please- what collective good has come of the Patriarchy?

    And women pretty much give up ALL their rights. Not just some.

    And for those that wonder why so many of us keep repeating ourselves it’s because so many people are in such deep denial about the realities of Saudi society.

  200. Thanks Oby. The midwest had a rainy summer so my medical condition which doesn’t do well when the weather gets rainy took a big down turn. I’ve been busy dealing with that and haven’t had much energy to do much. I’ve been catching up on the conversation here. Interesting how some things never change. I got a good laugh out of the threads/comments about foreign women and Saudi men. How many does that make now that come here with rose colored glasses and then disappear when they don’t hear what they want? I think I agree with Aafke… it’s getting old and why bother saying anything anymore.

    @Medina

    I’m interested in hearing what Saudis have to offer besides oil. Have there been any Saudis who have won the Nobel prize in any category? Have there been any writers who have won awards? Have there been any scientific/technological advances that have come out of Saudi Arabia not related to oil and not because high skilled expats? Is there anything that has advanced human society in any way? You could perhaps say Islam (it’s still my opinion it gave women some rights long before Christianity/Judaism did) but I’m not sure Saudi can claim that since it wasn’t even a country back then. The scientific advancements the Muslim empire kept record of and gave back to the Western world wasn’t found in the Arabian peninsula but in other Muslim areas.

    Saudi Arabia has a unique culture and in that aspect I think I would probably enjoy going to Jeddah. If the archaeological spots were upkept I would probably enjoy those also. I’m sure there are beautiful desert spots and generous people but those can be found elsewhere without having to deal with the restrictions found in Saudi Arabia.

  201. @Sandy,

    Great comment. Collective rights is just another word for tribalism. If you take it to a state level we are talking fascism. In either case it does not represent something you will aspire to in the 21st century.

    Regarding the issue that Saudi as a culture needs to change slowly and not overnight, this slogan has been used since the 70’s (i.e. for over 40 years that is one long night 🙂 ). Not much has changed in the rights of women. It is the opposite the Saudi system actually strengthened stripping off women’s rights by developing administrative procedures for the Mahram system in all of its institutions. They also push the same on private companies.

    It gets worse not better. Even small gains like allowing women to work as cashiers are stripped away as we saw in the recent fatwa.

    Medina, like always, provided us with a good example of why these issues have to be discussed constantly. The system keeps producing new generations that deny the issues and will not work to resolve them. Just another in a long line of apologists for the system. Even introducing a new definition for the word Massacre!!!

  202. Welcome back OnigiriFB. I hope your health improves.

  203. @Sandy,
    There are a lot of barriers to foreigners marrying Saudis and it has to be worth the challenge and risk to both people to continue the relationship. It is not a decision that is easily made.

    It is not that I am tired about hearing people complain as it is that I’m tired of people complaining and not offering solutions to the problems. I understand that there are many problems with the government system there.

    I actually have a vivid imagination and a large, caring heart. I am told by people who know me well that I need to care for myself more and about others less. Don’t judge me if you don’t know me and/or understand me please. I care deeply for others, but if I allowed myself to worry about these situations all the time, I’d be so saddened that I wouldn’t be able to focus on the things I need to do in my own life. And yes, this has happened to me before. I am an optimistic person, though sometimes cynical, and tend to prefer optimism to pessimism. This has nothing to do with how much or how little I care for others.

    @Aafke,
    I will be the first to admit I am a bit naive at times. I am also a bit cynical at times. Go figure, right? 😛 LOL. I was just discussing this with someone the other day.

    I agree that the internet makes a difference. Obviously, acknowledging there is a problem is the first step towards finding a solution. However, it is not the only step towards fixing the problem. That is my point.

    All,
    When I mention finding solutions to the problem, I mean coming up with ideas and solutions by first finding out what people want and then working towards goals, some ideas that come to mind are the following. I have no idea how realistic they are as I am not familiar enough with KSA to say. That is up to you all to decide.

    For now, I will use the issue of women’s rights in KSA as an example. Things that could possibly promote change might include the following:
    -Start a blog based solely around this issue (with possible chat rooms for further discussion)
    -Promote female businesses (although I realise they’d need the permission of their male guardian). Maybe it would be best to promote business in fields that are seen as more of a female industry in the country
    -Promote education of women (both formal and informal)
    -Promote women networking with other women within KSA. One thing I thought would be cool, if at all possible, would be for a language exchange between expat women and local women in KSA. This could also help to bridge some cultural gaps and promote understanding between different cultures and subcultures
    -My father once said that laws exist because “fathers have daughters”. I think it is also important to use this way of thinking to help men create a better life for the next (and current) generation of women.
    -Online (and offline) support networks might also be useful. You never know when someone you know might know someone who could help you with a problem.

    Medina,
    It’s nice to see you again, too. 🙂

  204. *Female-Owned (or at least operated) businesses is what I meant. I’m not sure on all the laws regarding females having their own businesses in KSA, how this is seen by others, etc.

  205. @StrangeOne,

    All of those ideas do exist in Saudi.

    There are many Saudi women who are trying to advance the cause and improve conditions. They encounter huge hurdles with the system and advancement is extremely slow. What is helpful is for people to continue educating others about the blight of Saudi women. The constant pressure on the Saudi government has its results. Many of the small changes you see today only started after 911. That is when the issues of Saudi started showing up on the radar for most Westerners.

    The Saudi government aspires to become part of the world community and to be an active member in decisions. The government knows it has to improve, if world opinion is against its dark age practices. So education is key.

  206. @Onigirl,
    I am glad you’re feeling better, too. 🙂

    Personally, I find it is better to wear rose colored glasses than to wear dark-tinted glasses. Listening to some things on this blog actually hurt my relationship with my love, which is no one’s fault but my own. Luckily, everything is better now.

    Some of the differences I pointed out in culture are based on recent experiences of mine. I have to constantly tread this fine line between Western cultures and Saudi (and similar) culture. Then, there are also sub-cutlures and large variations of perspecitives on life within each. My friends from one culture don’t always understand the other culture no matter how much I try to explain it, so I think at this point I’m just wasting my breath if I try to explain why I did this or that in a particular situation.

    I can walk away from all the troubles of being in my current relationship, but it hurts more than it makes things better and my love is one of the sweetest guys I have ever met in my life. So, I’d rather just tought it out and see where life takes us. We are both aware of the risk we’re taking, but we’re also very committed to each other and to making each other happy in life. He is more open-minded than most men I have met, to include those from a similar culture to mine.

    So this is part of why I say people are too harsh on Saudi Arabia as a whole, particularly the people. This is also why I think there are some major cultural misunderstandings. This is my experience.

  207. @Moq
    Thanks!

    @Strangeone

    Thank you. Personally I think both rose color glasses or dark tinted glasses aren’t good. It’s better to look at things logically and realistically without blinders. Which generally isn’t something that happens when someone is in love. With the exception of a few on here (I really wish Jay would answer Radha’s question about what a Muslim can do but I doubt he has any real solutions besides Muslims/Islam sucks and my argument with Daisy started long ago when I was among the first to realize how she was getting a lot of her info from FOX news/Robert Spencer) I really don’t think people are too harsh. Realistic more like it. People are people all over the world, some good some bad. What makes the situation with Saudis unique is the incredibly different cultural background they have. I wouldn’t dismiss what people on here have been trying to say because a lot of it comes from experience. You aren’t the first young girl in love with a Saudi man that has come here looking for whatever nor probably the last.

    I agree with MoQ that all your suggestions already exist in Saudi Arabia. Education is the key and also interaction with the outside. Saudi Arabia isn’t some backwater corner of the world where things happen without others knowing about it anymore. The internet/mass communication has made it so that Saudis faults are discussed and criticized internationally. It has also opened the closed society in a way that was unthinkable 20 years ago. As much as the censors would like to keep out “forbidden” info I don’t think they really can stop the flood. I think more and more women will be stepping up and saying “wait a minute why can’t I do this?” Good example is the woman who recently went to court because her father refused to allow her the right to marry. Of course she just ended up with a different mahrem but hey at least it’s a step that other Saudi women can see.

  208. If one argues that people let comments on this blog affect their personal life, on the flip side it can be said that projecting life in Saudi or with a Saudi partner in a rosy manner can mislead non Saudis who are looking for reliable information.
    Many Western women married to Saudis in the non-internet era had few resources to make informed decisions. That led to some unhappy marriages and feeling of being trapped in relationships. Some of these women want to help this generation by making known what challenges they could face, what to expect, etc. Some woman are happily married to Saudis and they talk about what traits their Saudi has that makes their life easy and happy. There is no harm in sharing one’s experiences.
    For one negative comment, write 2 positive comments. But lets not discourage those who want to educate.

    Thanks,

    Manisha

  209. @StrangeOne,
    I hardly know what to make of some f your comments. Just because people over come the barriers and manage to marry Saudi’s in no way means it “must be worth it”. It means they were determined and had enough luck/wasta to get it done. And it usually means they “were in LOVE” and were naive enough to believe a nice guy and “being in love” is all it took.Believe me I know it isn’t easily done. I’ve done it, and so have many peole I know.

    Yes there are cultures and subcultures. But there is only one law in Saudi Arabia.

  210. I’ve to admit that I share the same feelings of many readers who believe that the comments section of this blog has been turned from a discussion area where people can respectfully share their views into an area of illogical and irrational allegations against Saudi Arabia.
    And what adds insult to the injury is that most of these people have never set a foot on the Saudi soil!!

    Saudi Arabia is exactly similar to each and every country on this universe, it has its mistakes just beside its achievements!

    Just a note, I try as much as possible to avoid reading the comments of some of the regular readers of this blog because I do not really like to waste my time!!!

  211. Medina, Rights are never given. Especially not by those who withhold them and those who have a vested interest into keeping the status quo as it is. Rights are fought for and earned. (just like ”respect”).

    Equal rights in Europe and America have cost many women their lives, and many more have endured prison and torture and many other punishments to bring it about. This did not happen so very long ago either. So if the ones who benefit from the status quo in KSA and who are the ones who wield the power wish to they can deal out suffering and death to those men and women who decide to fight injustice and suppression.
    And it is true that a great many of those who wish for change will be to cowardly to instigate it.

    So what’s your point?
    Where do you belong?
    You are one of the cowardly and do not wish to finally start the fight to give women back their human rights?
    You are one of those who benefit personally from the status quo and therefore do not really want change?
    You are one of the heroes for justice and consider justice and stopping suppression worthwhile enough to fight for?

  212. Breathing Machine,
    I am also happy that people comment their experiences on here. I just wish people wouldn’t try to convince others not to date someone from Saudi Arabia simply based on his/her nationality and present a very negatively biased view on dating/marrying a Saudi. Every relationship is different.

    Sandy,
    I am not sure how to better explain myself. :/ My love and I find that our relationship is worth it. I had to think long and hard about what I was getting myself into and found in the end that I’d rather be with him than be apart from him in spite of all the difficulties. I just feel it’s meant to be, and no, it’s not like how most people describe being “in love”.

    No relationship is perfect. No country is perfect. Neither of us are sure where we will end up living. I honestly want to live in KSA for a while when the timing is right to get to know his family, culture, etc. This is important to me. He just wants us both to be happy wherever we are.

  213. One woman, Wajeha Al Huwaider is already fighting for human rights for women, do you support her? All you have to do is support her and say she’s right in her cause.

  214. Medina, the word here is Justice. For everybody, not just for men. And you seem more worried about your own position than the oppression and injustice meted out to 50% of your fellow Saudis.

    I find this sentence especially fascinating:
    *I as individual sacrifice some of my rights just to be part of my society but if I insist to gain my rights as an individual, I will be perceived as a selfish rebel posing a threat to the group, consequently, I will lose many things in my Saudi society, such as my family, my friends, my job etc. so, I am obliged to sacrifice my some of rights to enjoy the group’s welfare.*

    You know, this is pure medieval thinking! I mean that literal.
    This is exactly how people in Europe thought in medieval times. Also known as the ”Dark Ages”.
    Why Dark?
    Because peoples personal rights and individuality were ignored, the religion was all powerful and suppressed everybody, and women were considered a second rate, almost subhuman species.

    And here I see a human being from the 21-st century, writing on a computer on the internet voicing and living that Dark Age mentality.
    It is both fascinating and scary.
    Fascinating because it is like a voice from the dark past, and scary because with the help of oil-money this dark age evil mentality is being exported and re-invigorated all over the planet, pulling us back into darkness, ignorance, suffering and death.

    And yes, the dark ages were a bad barbaric age, a time when women were burnt by the millions on trumped up charges of witchcraft. When people were ruled by superstition and suppressive religion. When people were imprisoned and tortured without a justice system to protect them. When women were to be silent in the company of men, and were married off against their will, often as children, and they died like flies trying to give birth to babies their unformed bodies were incapable of supporting.
    A dark time when girls were not taught anything or very little.
    A dark time when religion ruled supreme and did so with an iron fist.
    A dark time when the concept of ”individuality” was not even recognized.
    A dark time when diseases combined with religious superstitions ruled.

    We think back of the Dark Ages and are grateful that we have been born after the Age of Enlightenment.
    And even then our ancestors had to fight for, and suffer for, and sometimes even die for 50% of the population to gain the right to vote and to be seen as rational, sentient human beings.

    And you, in Saudi Arabia, are still full in the Dark Ages. And that is not a good thing. That is a frightening thing, and a state which calls for compassion and support.

    And meanwhile it is fascinating to be talking to somebody who is a throwback of the dark ages, yet fully contemporary.

    So excuse me but when we look at Saudi Arabia we see small girls being sold to old men, people being arrested and tried on the charge of witchcraft, corrupt judges defending themselves with superstition and being ”hexed”. Women being treated like infants.
    And it’s exactly like looking in the past.
    We look at Saudi Arabia and see the Dark Ages.
    And we want to support the people in Saudi Arabia who want to get out of the Dark Age, hopeful that with such support it will lessen the suffering our own ancestors had to endure.

    Wake up!
    The only thing which separates you from a truly medieval life is a bit of oil and a border. Look at Yemen, because that is what you would be if not for the oil, and that is what you will be when the oil runs out.

  215. Wow Aafke, that was powerful!

    How does a tribal society exist in a healthy way for all citizens in modern times? I think the tribal mentality may have been necessary for survival when it was a desert society. How does one evolve out of that, leaving the bad, and currently disfunctional aspects, and keeping the good? That’s a tough one.

  216. Aafke…

    I think your example of the dark ages is a great example of how societies run by religion and despotic rulers didn’t advance. All the knowledge that the world had gained from the Greeks got buried under the church and it’s “iron fist”. I see that in a way to KSA/Islam. they went through a period where they had a lot of open thought (golden age) and Ijtihad…then this more conservative Islam took over and the light got snuffed out. Like in the Catholic church everything was sinful and the clerics had a great deal of power. In many ways it wasn’t very much different. The “lords and landowners” took most of the wealth of the country and kept the people under their thumb by fear and intimidation. In today’s time it manifest itself in a bit of a different way. It is very interesting to look at the parallels between the two times.

    And actually I think you hit the nail on the head for me with a comment:

    “this dark age evil mentality is being exported and re-invigorated all over the planet, pulling us back into darkness, ignorance, suffering and death.”

    That is one of the things that really worries me about/for Muslims. Instead of moving forward it feels that it is moving backwards especially when it comes to women…Women in western countries who convert give up a lot of what made them normal and seem to be taking on the more extreme dress (and I am not talking about hijab) I mean the whole KSA outfit. It changes how they see people who once were their neighbors and friends, how they think of themselves within their communities, and things like that. Women have enough issues to deal with. Why go backwards instead of forward? And frankly, I worry that these same women will let men who run the show tell them how they should think, behave and BE. When these same women would have never done that before conversion. Women need to fight too hard for independence…as you rightly pointed out women fought hard for it…no man gave it to them. They stood up and took it. If it weren’t for those women I have no doubt we would still not have rights. And you are right when you say they were beaten, jailed, marriages were destroyed etc. But what a gift they have given the women that followed them!

  217. @ Strangeone,
    You seemed to be speaking generally not about yourself specifically before.

    I understand about deciding it is worth it. It was for me and it has worked out. Yet I see nothing in what you write that gives me a sense that you have any sense of what you are getting yourself into. Nothing that indicates any care or concern for the female half of the population-which one day may include you. You seem completely unrealistic. To me that seems like you just upped the risk factor one-thousand fold.

    You may be very happy. You may be one of those people who when outsiders ask “how is it?” say it’s a great country and all the problems are overexaggerated. I see women like that here. They have theirs and to hell with everyone else.

    I’ll give you one last bit of practical advice. It seems to me the single biggest indicater of how your situation will be. How do his mother and sisters live? Do they have a driver? Are they allowed to go out freely? Do they work if they want to? Are they encouraged and enabled to get as much education as they can? Are they forced to wear hijab?

    This is generally more important than what he tells you he’ll allow you to do. If the women of the family aren’t doing it- it’s likely you won’t be either- whatever he says and however sweet he is.

  218. Sandy,
    I speak both generally and specifically depending on what I feel is appropriate. I am sorry if that confused you. I give examples based on my experiences to back up whatever it is I am trying to say. In this case, I am saying people are too harsh on KSA and Saudi citizens.

    I am not sure what I’ll have to say about KSA if and when I live there. If and when it happens, I can let you know. I am not an average person and do not think like most people, so I think this confuses you sometimes. I know it confuses a lot of people who know me (LOL), but they accept me for who I am.

    I have already mentioned that I agree women in KSA should have more legal rights. However, I also believe that some of the issues are over-exaggerated in Western media and/or not put into the proper cultural context. Never having lived there, I can’t say for certain, so I try to comment based on what I do know. In this case, it is that many of the Saudi men I have met are rather nice, gentle, intelligent, sweet people. The ones that travel and study abroad seem to be more open-minded, too.

  219. @Strangeone. We are all unique, so I accept you for who you are- but I doubt you are so incredibly unique as you think, however, maybe you need to get some help, if you have problems processing things correctly.

    I would love to see an example of what specifically you’ve seen in the media that is overexaggerated.

  220. Sandy,
    I honestly don’t watch the news,etc. much b/c I think it is a bunch of propaganda all the way around. I’ll try and find some examples later when I have more free time.

    I am not saying am incredibly unique, just that I am one of those people that never really fits in 100% anywhere but most people seem to like me anyways. I see the hurt and the pain in life but try to remain optimistic in spite of that. Optimism and humor are my defense mechanisms, I guess. Some people think I don’t see the bad things or choose to ignore them, but that’s not true. Part of this probably has to do with growing up in places where my idea of a safe neighborhood was one without drive-by shootings.

  221. Sandy,
    So I guess what I’m saying is that I learned to accept (as opposed to ignore) that bad things happen all around the world from a very young age. It’s not that I’m ignoring potential problems so much as accepting that they are there. Rather than get upset over it and make a huge fuss, I’d rather just work towards gradual change if it’s important to me.

    Sorry all that this is a bit off-topic!

  222. @sandy, aafke
    Let me ask you some questions to highlight the welfare the Saudi women enjoy. You are saying that Saudi women are oppressed and as Al Huwaider sated that there are slaves and masters; Saudi women are slaves and Saudi men are masters?!. Let us see who the master is and who the slave is. Why Saudi husband pays the dowry, flat rents, Electricity bills, phone bills, water bills, gas bills, etc. why the Saudi woman never offers any help? Why she just saves her money in a bank and never withdraws a cent from her bank account? Why the Saudi guy buys her clothes and food? Why does the Saudi husband have to bring a maid to his single wife who does not know how to cook or clean? Why does he have to drive his car and drop her every weekend in the shopping malls and wait till she calls him to pick her up? Why does not she takes a taxi and come home and if he ask her to take a taxi she get upset? Why he stays up very late till the morning every weakened to pick her from the wedding party? Why he has to buy new dress for her for every party? Why the Saudi policemen become very kind and nice and never stop me in the police checkpoint when my sister is me? Why they get the hell out of me when I am alone? Why I have to change my seat when I am in a plane because some oppressed Saudi women want to sit together and enjoy my window view? Why I have to stand up in the airport bus sleepy and tired while a Saudi lady enjoys sitting on three chairs? Why can not I sit on the chair next to her and if I sit next to her, she will feel not comfortable and maybe offended or she may call the religious police? Why the hell I could not find a flat to rent because most of the buildings are specialized for families? Why everyone says to me that this building is for families and single guys are not welcome to hire a flat here. Why they kick me out if I enter any place specialized for families? Why are the religious police always asking me not to enter any mall if I am alone? Why all doors are opened for families but not for singles male Saudis? Why the hell the Saudi guy have to pay for everything while the Saudi lady just enjoys the furniture, internet, food and provided with maid and private car and private driver. Why do you call this welfare oppression? Saudi women are expected to do one thing which is not to bring shame to their families because reputation equals life in Saudi social context. Is this too much? Many people think that Saudi women are left alone. They are not left alone, they are provided with everything they need. They are not expected to spend a cent for family, or for themselves. And they are not expected to work and offer help. What do you want more? Who is the slave now? The guy who works all the day, or the lady who just enjoy this welfare? I understand that slavery means, slaves work and masters enjoy the welfare.

    Group objectives:
    They think that if women mix with men, adultery, rape, sexual harassment, moral corruption, vices will increase sharply in the society, they believe that women should be protected and never exposed to any situation or environment that could facilitate rape, adultery, sexual harassment etc. so, these are group objectives and women are expected to sacrifice some of their rights to create a free crime/sin society for the sake of God. Most Saudi women are happy of this situation and there is no study proves the opposite except some voices that are influenced by a culture based on individualism. So, many Saudi men and women believe that such voices do not represent the silent majority in the Saudi society.

    You can call it medieval thought; you can call it dark age, whatever you call, the most important thing is that people are happy of it. Are you happy in your life? This is the point.

    Aafk and sandy, I will tell you one thing, you are bringing ideas and thoughts that have never ever come to Saudi women’s minds. They are raised up in their traditions and this is their culture and this is their religion. Why do you want to judge them according to your individual standards, values and individual culture? My sisters will sacrifice to see me happy and I will sacrifice to see them happy. We share things in Saudi even though males hold all burdens. So, in Saudi society, people are not selfish. You can find them ready to sacrifice for helping others because everyone sacrifice some of his rights for the group security, welfare etc. you want to break Saudi families and cause chaos in the society? You want me to find my sister living alone in her flat and the other sister is broke up with her boyfriend who run away and left her with a baby out of wedlock. Is this what you want to see in the Saudi society? You do not care about us? You do not care about our families’ unity? You do not care about Saudi women if they lose the welfare that their family is giving to them? Or it is just you want to see your cultural norms exist in the Saudi society? I am speaking on behalf of the silent majority in Saudi society. I do not speak personal opinions here. As I said before, if I am not happy of something, I will just leave it. I will never impose my thoughts on other people. I will never try to convince someone to live my life. If he/she is happy of his/her life, I will be happy for him/her. Aafk, you may think that I am not open-minded; I am open-minded more than you can ever imagine but I spoke with people here. I discussed with them, most of your ideals and thoughts, they thought that I am crazy and I am brainwashed. They said one thing, we are happy here. What do you want now? I said nothing, I am happy for you too. They said thank you and please be quiet.

  223. Oni,

    I did answer the darn question. I said I don’t know. Sorry, but you are right, it wasn’t much of an answer.

    I do think we had all grow very thick skins and talk, but even then it probably wont make any difference. We are all collectively headed to doom and destruction and “it won’t make any difference” (that last line quoted from the little girl, Newt, in Aliens).

    Jay

  224. AAfke,

    Your “dark time” comments were powerful, almost poetic. Good prose.

    I give you…
    Round about the caldron go;
    In the poison’d entrails throw.—
    Toad, that under cold stone,
    Days and nights has thirty-one;
    Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
    Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
    (Macbeth)

  225. Jay,
    I posted a response to your comments in the debate page (as it is off-topic), but made my question more general in that I am referring to the world rather than just KSA. I would welcome a response from you or anyone else for that matter. Cheers! 🙂

    Also, there is being thick-skinned, and then there is dealing with rude comments. Different people have different views of what is an acceptable and unacceptable way of conversing.

    Medina,
    Thanks, as always, for your explanations. 🙂

  226. @oni
    I feel sorry that you have no idea about Saudi except oil and Islam. have you ever heard about more than 23 successful operations done by Saudi medical staff for separating conjoined twins coming from more than 15 countrie such as Malaysia, Iraq, Egypt, Poland, Jordan, Palestine, etc, to Saudi Arabia and for free? Google Abdullah Alrabiah, saudi minister of health. Saudi is the most specialised centre for separating conjoined twins and for free to the whole world. This is only one example in medicine. You can also Google the Saudi female scholar Hayat Sindi. Saudi doctors are one of the best in the world especially surgeons. In other fields, mention one and I will give you more information. Just hint, the rulers of the first two Islamic empires are originally from Hejaz (western region of Saudi Arabia), bani omyah and bani al abas. Recent event, Saudi intelligence saved thousands of lives in EU and America.

  227. Medina…your very long explanation of who is master and who is slave means absolutely nothing when faced with just ONE simple fact. Woman in saudi can do NOTHING without the express permission of her mahrem. So, this means she is not free. Madina, if someone decided to restrict your life to the extent that you needed permission for absolutely everything you did…or face dire consequences….would you still view paying all the bills and and and and as a fair trade off for loss of your freedom?

    A Saudi man will never know what it feels like to be a Saudi woman…or any man for any woman for that matter. So why even bother yourself to give such a long comment when you just dont know what it feels like?

  228. @Coolred38,

    Spot on.

    What he failed to mention in all his long rant is,, when a less educated Saudi woman does not have a brother, a husband, a father, or an uncle to take care of her, she cannot earn a decent living. Even the low paying jobs as cashier will be taken away. The system is not setup to allow women to live a decent life without being dependent. There are many women who scrape a living by begging.

    Of course Medina is blinded to all of that suffering, he is the victim here since he has to pay the bills for his family.

    The element which is constantly missing from the arguments of the defenders of the system is that when things go wrong for women, they do not have options.

  229. Medina, you didn’t get the point…
    Get a book on the Dark Ages and read up.
    Get a book on the Age of Enlightenment and read up.

    And you are a student right? So I bet somebody is paying your bills right now, only you don’t have to give up your rights for that because you are male.

    What if I were to pay all your bills?
    But in return I would have power over you, I would be your mahram.
    I will pay for your food and clothing as well, and maybe I will allow you even internet and a phone. But only if you don’t say anything I don’t like.
    And you will never be allowed to drive a car again, never be allowed to leave the apartment unless I allow you and escort you. You will not be allowed to study or work unless i say so. You will not be allowed to go to a doctor unless I say so.
    You will not be allowed to go to your friends unless I drive you (and I am busy) You will not be allowed to have your friends visit you unless I say so.
    You will have to wear the clothes I want you to wear, and they will be very uncomfortable and will restrict your movements severely, you will have to cover your face no matter how hot and uncomfortable it is.
    I will give you a lot of luxuries if you are good and obedient, but you will have to ask for every little thing.
    Maybe I don’t like what you are studying right now. Maybe I will tell you to go and study cooking and housekeeping because I think that is more suitable for your feeble mind.
    (To be honest I would probably put you on a humanities and philosophy course). You can’t whine about it because in that case I will take away all your ”privileges”.
    And you better not get ill because I might not allow you to go and see a doctor. But if we do I will be doing the talking and deciding if and what kind of treatment you will be getting.
    And I will not allow you to marry whom you like. You are not allowed to meet women anyway.
    Which makes me think, I may know an awful selfish unpleasant woman, she is quite old, ugly and cantankerous, but she is rich, and I want a new car, and she is capable of paying your bills and keep you in luxury. Of course she will keep you a bit tighter on the leash as I would. And you would have to do whatever she wants.
    I think I will marry you off to her for the right dowry.

    So, be honest, would you like that? Would you give up your freedom for that? Would such a life make you happy?

  230. @Medina,
    Others have pretty much answerred. Your long post pretty well described the Master/Slave dynamic. Slaves don’t have to buy their own food and clothing either. So you may be a kind master. But not all the men are kind masters. But even kind masters are not as good as partners.

    Saudi women are mostly not happy. Islam does not require the Master/Slave dynamic as you describe.

    I don’t know why you think the western lifestlye is so decadent and hard on women. I have a very close family, we support each other when times are tough.
    In the case of divorce-as in most things we are much kinder to women. And not all Saudi women have a family with a kind master, or even any master at all.

    I am speaking as to the system here. Yes their are some awful people in the west who treat their families horribly. ANd yes some Saudi’s are very good.

    That verse in the Quran, about “men having a degree of advantage over women”. That is just a fact of the way the world is. It is not an endorsement to keep control of your women. I don’t talk a lot about my husband here- but let me just give an example of what this can mean. He has the advantage over his female relatives, and he does not have the power to make laws change. But he did insure that all the women who are his responsibility had the opportunity to take driving lessons and get a driving license. They are ready. I know not every family has the option to go somewhere to learn to drive, but it is an example of how that “advantage” the man has is to be exerted. That is true “taking care” of women. Not treating them like a child who can never grow up.

    I understand Medina, what you say about the time you spend taking care of the women in your family. How much nicer it would be if they could go do their shopping when you were at work- so you could enjoy the weekends and your free time together or with friends. It amazes me that men would rather work themselves ragged- rather than let the women in their family grow up and be adults rather than children.

  231. Waw, Sandy, very good comment!

  232. Dear Afaak,
    I honestly believe from my deep heart that you want the good for Saudi women but I am afraid that you will harm them unintentionally. Please understand our culture deeply. Come here to Saudi and I will let you face people concerns by yourself. You will understand what I am speaking about. Most of what you said in your previous post regarding study, travel, phone, etc, it is already secured for Saudi women according to the system. It is already secured by the ministry of labour that Saudi females can work as cashiers and they can work in shops that sell clothes for women. This is already secured for Saudi women. Saudi woman also can have the Saudi national ID now and she can enjoy the same rights that I enjoy now equally as a Saudi male. So this problem is already solved. I will give you an example of the real obstacles. All my nieces have Saudi IDs now but they can not act against their parents’ wills and wishes. I told you about my niece who wanted to join the college of health to be a nurse but her father refused her wish at first although she can go and join the college according to law. Why he refused? He is afraid that she will expose to sexual harassment and her opportunities to get married will decrease sharply in the future because she will work as a nurse. So, he refused because he wants to protect her because she is a piece of him. The problem is partially not in the law but it is within the Saudi families. People are scared to let their daughters drive, join colleges of health and medicine. This is the main problem. Saudi religious clerics create negative stereotypes and negative attitudes towards any professions do not enjoy gender segregation. I am speaking to you as someone studying in the west and expose and immerse in the western culture. But when I go back home and I bring the western culture with me, it will not work because people are scared to behave the same way as western people behave. If a Saudi girl takes off her Hijab, she believes that she will go to hell after death. She is afraid to speak to non related males because she believes it is a sin and haram. She believes that it is a sin to upset her parents. I kiss my parents’ hands and heads every morning when I wake up and I seek their satisfaction. This is not only about Saudi women, it is for males too. You should think of all these beliefs when you are in Saudi and act according to people beliefs. So, we are conservative because we are too passionate and very emotional. Do not be surprised to find a father says to his daughter, I will imprison you here but not to give a chance to a stranger to harm you. At least I will be kind with you even if I imprison you. Aafk, address people concerns first before you speak about the law and ask for imposing things on Saudi families by force which could break our national security and cause a lot of troubles. Make people feel that their daughters will be safe if they let them drive, make people feel that what they are doing it is not haram. Make people feel comfortable first. That is if you really want to help Saudi women. Create reasonable public opinions addressing all these points that I mentioned now. Please note if you push things forwards, there will be a clash between Saudi as government and the Islamic clerics. We do not want such a clash; we want to live in peace in Saudi. Please understand our concerns aafk and do not be a selfish feminist.

    Last note: to be honest, I will give up my life and my wishes and my goals if my family including my future wife is in need of me. I will sacrifice my life just to feel that my future wife, my parents and my sisters are happy. I can not leave them out alone and look for my happiness. my happiness is to serve them and to feel that they are safe.

  233. Thank you Aafke.

    @Medina,
    I would like to add a couple more points.
    Yes, there are Saudi women who are not comfortable not being the slave. Especially when they have a good master. They may not want things to change. I know some older women who have never had to take care of anything and the prospect frightens them. You seem to think most women are happy. Lets assume for a minute you are right. If most people are happy with this system, why not allow it to be a choice? Most people would chose to continue as they do- but those very few women who would like to grow up would be allowed to. Those women with no mahrem and kids to feed would be allowed to work. I don’t see what the issues are. If only a few women work, drive and grow up, nothing stops everyone else from living the way they like.

    Unless of course most peolpe DON”T like it the way it is. I will believe that most Saudi women are happy with the way things are, when, given a choice, most of them chose to continue having their Mahrems do everything for them.

    What’s wrong with them chosing?

  234. Sandy,
    While I think it sounds like a great idea to allow those that like the system to live according to it and those that want to opt out to do so, this idea is not practical in a society that values the group over the individual. You are putting emphasis on the individual over the group, and Saudi culture is not that way. You may be all for it becoming a more individualistic society (I don’t know as I’m not you), but there are also many benefits to valuing the group over the individual. For instance, if you need anything you have a large support network (granted that it is a good support network). This is not as common in individualistic societies. Most importantly, though, Saudi culture is not individualistic and that should be respected as this alone is not a good or bad thing, IMO. I think a mix of independence and interdependence is the best option, but that’s not really found in Western or Saudi cultures. However, it is found in some families in both.

  235. Strangeone…

    Your comment is not true. No other islamic country has the same system and even India which is very much about family and family units have very independent women who don’t have to depend on men for every thing. One can maintain the “group dynamic” and allow women to grow up.

  236. It is not about society over the individual. Saudi men make decisions for themselves all the time. It is about control of others plain and simple.

    The west has a lot of features of an interdependant system as well as independant. The infrastracture, roads, police, fireman, safety protecals, regulations and standards, the rule of law. All of these things help a society. The respect for basic human rights is VERY important to a healthy community.

    Saudi is not about “collective good” when it comes to the treatment of women. And shame on you for trying to make it seem that way. But I guess since you have your freedom, who cares about them anyway?

  237. @Oby,
    I think concern for what is “true” for StrangeOne is not really a concern. Saudi is to be defended no matter what. When I think of the women I personally know that have suffered and continue to suffer under this system, it is beyond me to believe that someone who has had the freedom to be a woman and live her life- holds the lives of other women so cheaply. Either that, or her self esteem is so in the gutter that she truly believes this sort of life is acceptable for people, because it would be acceptable to her.

  238. I am not saying it’s a bad idea, it just doesn’t sound very likely that it would work this way. I am all for people having more freedom around the world, including women is Saudi Arabia. Free will is very important to me. I just don’t think the way you are proposing would work well in Saudi culture. Just because I don’t complain about it or happen to criticise your way of going about change doesn’t mean I don’t care. It just means I don’t agree with your method and am pointing out the possible major flaws I see so that better ideas can be developed that may actually work in Saudi culture.

    And the US society as a whole IS more individualistic. For example, although it’s changing slowly now, it is quite common for parents in the US to expect their children to be able to fully support themselves from the age of 18 and/or immediately after finishing their undergraduate degree. And sometimes, when parents choose to support their children past the age of 18, they are criticized for it by friends and family members. I am speaking from what I have watched happen. It is seen as a good thing to force children to care for themselves at the age of 18 because parents are “teaching” their children how to be “independent” and care for themselves. I find this to also be an extremist, poor way of thinking.

  239. Sandy,
    I just like to present other perspectives. If I disagree with someone or don’t quite understand something, I ask questions and explain what I think on the subject to promote dialgoue to learn more. I tried to be more polite in the beginning and was treated like a child so now I try a more direct method.

    Do you think your ideas are better than that of others? Why do you immediately attack someone else if they disagree with you? As soon as I disagreed with you directly, you attacked my character. I know you aren’t the only who does it, so I guess this question could be asked to quite a few on here. Why do some of you do this?

  240. You put a lot more energy into excusing or dismissing or denying Saudi Arabias systematic human rights abuses, than recognizing any of them. I have seen nothing from you that suggests you care at all. You have neither acknowledged any problem except in the most general and minimal way and you have offered no solutions because you barely if at all recognize the issues.

    All relationships face a better chance when they are based on reality. You act like a woman wearing sugarcoated, Pollyanna glasses because you are in love. So you bend reality to be like you want it to be. Again, I don’t know if it’s low self-esteem or lack of social conscience or something else entirely.

    You seem like the kind of woman who would come here and do one of two things. First if things work out and you’re happy- you will become an enabler and apologist for the system, because it works for you and who cares about everyone else? Second option it goes very badly and you moan and whine because you’ve lost custody of your children, or your husband has a second wife, and you’ll want everyone to care about human rights all of a sudden and help you.

    There are many criticisms I could make about the US but they are not relevant at all to this discussion about Saudi Arabia.

  241. I was writing at the same time as your last post. I don’t think I am so much attacking your charactar as commenting on the charactar you show.

    I will admit I get angry and I am not interested in “other perspectives” on abuse. So if that is what you want to spend your time on, rather than addressing abuse, that’s a choice you make, and to me, it says something about your charactar.

    We all have opinions about each other. I may be wrong but you seem like a lovesick girl who is so invested in Saudi not being bad that she can’t see straight. This is my opinion and it influences how I respond. I suppose I could keep it to myself, but it would still be my opinion.

    Why am I so angry? Because this is not theoretical. People including those I care about are suffering NOW and people like you are trying to “understand a perspective” that says that it’s ok for those people to suffer.

  242. Sandy,
    Please look for my reply on the debate page.

  243. @sandy,
    Please do not use the terms, slave and master. It is unfair. Slavery is a horrible thing and it is associated with hate, racism and discrimination while women in Saudi, they are associated with their male relatives’ care, respect and love.

    “what is wrong with them chosing?”
    The tendency of the decision makers is to see things alike. If one of us wants to do something, we should all do the same thing; otherwise, he is not allowed to do it. It is a parental society even though the government gives the rights for women to work in shops. Women can grow up even if they are in caves if they decide to do so.

    I do not understand why you do not see the huge opportunities available for Saudi women to grow up in the Saudi society?!!!. she just needs to mediate things with her family, then, everything will go well with her.

    Your angry response to strangeone, who is always very polite and very kind in her posts, will not give your argument a credit but it made me ask you this question, are you angry for Saudi women or you are angry for yourself because it seems that you can not submit to the Saudi collective group’s goals as Saudis do especially you were raised up in an individualistic culture?

    @strange, I appreciate your understanding of what I am trying to say here (:

  244. Strangeone,
    Sandy say ” I have seen nothing from you that suggests you care at all.” – I got that thrown at me as well. It does not matter that we care, but we must alos agree with “their kind of care”. Otherwise you will be one of those who did nothing to help or provide solutions even though you did suggest some ideas.

    Sandy, you ask what is wrong with giving a choice. I think that, if there was a choice such as that, menfollk will take that chance to avoid their responsibilties, knowing that the womenfolk can do it by their choice. So the women who are happy now will no longer be happy.

  245. Medina said
    “I do not understand why you do not see the huge opportunities available for Saudi women to grow up in the Saudi society?!!!. she just needs to mediate things with her family, then, everything will go well with her”

    And right there you have described the problem. Why should grown adult women have to “mediate things” with her family any more than a man must? That is master/slave. Some slaves with have good masters some poor. Women are suffering all the time in Saudi, so I don’t see why the slave/master analogy is bad at all. Did you watch the video a few posts up? That is why I used those words.

    I am angry for Saudi women. I don’t know why that is so hard for you to understand. I know women who have lost custody of their children to abusive fathers and there is nothing they can do. I know women who have been prevented from traveling when they wanted to. I know women who are threatened with the spector of divorce and lost child custody if they don’t do whatever their husbands want. I know women whose children have been turned over to step-mothers that take out their revenge on the child. I know women whose hearts have been broken by polygamy.

    I know of sooo many men that don’t love, care and respect their wives and children. And the women have to take all that crap.

    Sarah MD,
    You actually have a valid point. For the generation of women already raised to be dependant on their men, they would be at risk of their men avoiding the responsibilities if they had the chance. And you are right- there are lots of Saudi men who really don’t care for their women at all and only care for them because they have to, or for the power it gives them. In fact some men already don’t take care of their womenfolk.

    All the more reason the next generation needs to be raised to be independant. For women raised to be adults, they don’t actually need a man to be responsible for them.

  246. If a woman is not allowed to do anything without getting ”permission” from a person who has this power over her she is in effect nothing else but a slave.
    if she is being fed and housed but not allowed to do these things for herself she is still to all intends and purposes a slave.
    if decisions are made about her future without her permission and without her consent she is a slave.
    If a woman is married off against her will, or kept from marrying who she wants or at all, then that woman is treated like a slave.
    If society accepts that small immature girls are being sold off against their will into ”marriage” to old men then that society accepts the purchase of girls for the purpose of sexual slavery.
    If a society accepts selling girls like cattle than that society sees and acts as if women are slaves by default.

    Any mahram in Saudi can do almost anything he wants to any woman under his control, he can make her study or stop her from studying, he can allow her to leave the house or stop her from leaving the house,
    All against her will.
    He can marry her, allow her to marry or make her marry or stop her from marrying, all against her will if he chooses so.
    He can decide if she gets medical treatment or not, against her will.
    Women are being ”kept” by men. They will have to ”mediate” for anything they want, and the ultimate decision lies with the men. Women cannot decide for themselves if their decision is against the will of the man who is their official mahram!
    That’s why a mahram is not a ”guardian” but an ”owner”.
    Women are expected to be obedient and submissive to the man who holds ownership. They can even be put into jail if a judge decides they are not ”obedient” enough to an abusive owner.

    This is the very essence of slavery.
    You are being taken care off, you can do nothing without permission, your life and future to the most intimate and personal detail is being decided by other people, if these decisions are made against your will there is nothing you can do. You can even be sold in exchange for money or goods to another master. It doesn’t happen to all women, but there is always the possibility.
    That degrades women to the level of posessions, to goods, to cattle.
    This is exactly what slavery is about.
    And yes, it is a very ugly thing.

    Now it may work for some women, and they will resist change to their utmost, it naturally suits a lot of men as well. And of course there will be good masters who do their utmost to give their ”dependants” a good life, but it doesn’t change the fact that men are slave owners and woman are slaves.
    There really is not other way of putting it if you are honest.

  247. Here is how I see it (for anyone who might be interested LOL!)

    Although I am not married to a Saudi I am married to an Indian and I am here to tell you that in many ways the countries share some characteristics…one of them is the concept of “saving face” and honor of the family which seems all important in Saudi…in India (though it is changing a lot) even TALKING to a girl/boy was tantamount to saying you were engaged and it was HIGHLY discouraged. Segregation was not needed to be enforced because family pressure and societal pressure kept people in line. Marriages were arranged and alliances forged by families just like in Saudi. If a girl got engaged and then she didn’t marry for whatever reason she was looked at as “used” goods…even if she was still a virgin and had never even gotten married. Tribalism is tribalism and patriarchy looks and smells the same wherever you go. Women are allowed to work (if they choose), they are treated equally as the boys and education is available to all. There are no “girl careers” or “boy careers”. If you are great at something you can pursue it freely regardless of sex. Parents are hypevigilent about their kids education because with the population there it is INCREDIBLY competitive…that goes for boys AND girls. Those kids often immigrate to the West and do FAR BETTER than the born Americans due to the education they receive and the hard work ethic they have. It is almost a joke here that so many Indians are engineers or doctors or entrepreneurs owning many hotels or gas stations etc. Per capita Indians out earn Americans across the board. This DIRECTLY reflects their work ethic and it applies to BOTH sexes. In India Men are expected to be the provider and the ones I know anyway take on that role without issue. My sister in law works in India as an eye surgeon and she works with and operates on men. No hanky panky has gone on…they treat her with respect she deserves it because she earned it. I could go on and on..

    The BIG BIG difference is that the country is not run by clerics who wrap everything in religion. It is a secular state that gives the women a choice. Many choose to stay home as did my mother in law and live the life that you describe in KSA. Complete with maids etc. The difference is it is a choice…men are expected to take care of the family . The women have a CHOICE. It is exactly the situation that Sandy describes…and believe it or not women are not acting like sluts and bringing shame on their families. They understand that dynamic and manage themselves with decorum and dignity…

    Do you know where it is more like the situation in KSA? In the backward villages of the country. Where the women are kept more secluded and not allowed the same freedoms as men. Yes they have them by law but the men hold them down.

    Women CAN have freedom and conduct themselves with dignity and not bring shame on the family. Also the entire identity of the family does not rest on the females shoulders. A male can bring dishonor too… and maybe that is one of the differences. Even though it is tribal the woman is not SOLELY responsible for the family reputation and that is why BOTH sexes can live together in society and women don’t have to be hidden under all the coverings. India has managed the balance very well.

  248. @SarahMD,

    In today’s Saudi a man is required to provide care under the perceived laws. However, in reality the woman does not have many options if she is not taken care of. Think about what is a woman’s chances if she takes her guardian to court for not taking care of her?

    Actually, we have such case recently. A father was abusing his daughter (not just denying her care). She went to court and instead of receiving a just ruling, the judge threw her in jail for disobeying her abusing father. It took several months before another court changed her guardianship to someone else.

    I do agree that most Saudi men take care of their families and try to do their best to provide for them. However, the only reason for laws is to deal with issues when things do not go well. In Saudi the courts do not protect women in most cases. This safety net that you perceive, does not exist.

    It is much better to allow women to have options for supporting themselves when needed. The Mahram system is backwards and it does create an environment where women can be enslaved. It is a clear cut case of subjugation.

    Adding all these side arguments is noise. Removing, the system does not mean that families have to suddenly stop caring for their female relatives, it just means that adult women can make decisions for themselves.

  249. “”Removing, the system does not mean that families have to suddenly stop caring for their female relatives, it just means that adult women can make decisions for themselves.””

    Exactly MoQ!

  250. People here seem that they do not listen very well. Saudi women can have their Saudi IDs now anytime. The Saudi ID for females automatically cancels the Mahram system.

  251. The Saudi ID does not cancel the Mahram system. Women still need permission to go to school, travel, marry who they want etc. Why do you think the ID changes any of that?

  252. Well why didn’t you say so Medina..you didn’t say(that I saw) that it makes the mahrem system null and void… a step in the right direction. but if they cant go against their parents wishes does that mean even when they get older and out of the childhood stage? Is it illegal? And if so how does that make the ID card worth anything. Please explain further.

  253. @Medina,

    Sorry, having an id does not cancel the Mahram system. Women still have to deal with getting their mahram’s approval to travel, to register at school, to get a job, etc. Nothing changed here in the same way that a woman getting her own passport did not allow her to leave the country without permission (that happened decades ago by the way).

    You are throwing around another false assumption, like the last time you said including the age of the bride in marriage contracts will stop underage marriages. Since then there were a few cases in the news about child bride marriages.

    I hope you do not go into a long rant talking about unrelated topics, instead of addressing how you came up with your conclusion. I would really love for the Mahram system to be gone, if you have information that we do not have please share.

  254. oby, sandy
    My friend is married and his wife has the Saudi ID card and a passport and he is studying in Australia too. His wife goes back to her mum for a visit and comes back to Australia while he is in Australia. No one asked her where your husband is. My nieces have the new Saudi IDs. They can travel to all the GCC countries alone. They can apply for passports too. My niece applied for a job two months ago. No one asked her about her father ID when she gave them her national ID card. parents’ pressure on their kids are domestic issue and it could happen everywhere. If her father put pressures on her, he can stop her of course but this may happen to males too. Many Saudi males’ goals have been stopped by their parents.

  255. You need a special document to fly out of the GCC area giving you permission, unless something has changed VERY recently. She must have had something indicating she had her husbands permission. So if a woman wants to travel to a GCC country and her father says no and she does it anyway, can she be put in jail for disobeying?

    How old are they? If there are some new rules in play I know some people who would be very interested.

    And you are right. Young men are stopped legally ’til the age of 21, and pressure is put on them to conform as well.

  256. Another set of anecdotal stories to generalize that things have changed.

    For those interested, Saudi does allow Mahrams to write an open travel approval for the women under his control. This can be used at airports to leave the country. However, it is done as a convenient for open minded Mahrams. It does not change the procedures which requires a woman to show such approval before she can travel.

  257. They can also write open travel approval for children to leave with their mothers.

  258. sorry, Mahram’s approval is still required for travel abroad for women and Saudi males who are under 21 years old but there is a good step in which the new ID for females can be obtained without Mahram’s approval. They ask for Mahram’s approval before to obtain the ID. Now Saudi lady can travel by this new ID to the GCC countries. I have to check this information deeply regarding travel to the GCC countries without Mahram’s approval. Mahram’s approval is no longer required inside Saudi except for marriage and maybe some professions related to military bodies because they ask Saudi males for father’s approval too.

  259. Medina…

    Please let us know and if you have a link that would be great.

    Sandy…

    If this change works out the way it sounds as medina explains it that certainly would be good news…even if it a partial change it is better than no change at all. He is saying the Mahrem’s power seems to be limited…do you know more about this?

  260. It’s not that I disbelieve you Medina- because I know women that travel and it has become much easier internally and within the GCC. But I also know a grown woman was just jailed for disobeying her father. A woman might be able to board a plane to a GCC country, but I think her mahrem could press charges if he didn’t want her too.

    Anyway, it is a very small step but yes, in the right direction. I know a very smart young woman that wants to go study abroad- she can’t because her father won’t let her leave the country, so perhaps when she is 21 she can go- though her first choice is the UK not GCC.

    A mahrems approval I believe is still required to rent a place to live. If a woman wants to rent an apartment or home her mahrem has to do it for her. He also makes the educational choices.

    Of course Mahrem system is only part of the probem for women. We still cannot drive and work as we like.

    Also, though we’ve focused on women’s issues on this thread- there are also other issues such as freedom of religion. True to a patriarchal society people think religion is “inherited” from the father. Of course religion is actually what a person believes and has faith in. So while people are free to convert to Islam in this country they are not allowed to convert out of it. Freedom of religion is a universally recognized human right. Even the Quran is quite clear “there is no compulsion in religion.”.

  261. @Oby,
    It is a bit easier- but if women can be abused by their mahrems with impunity or charge their women with “disobediance” it really just makes it easier for the peolpe that already had permission.

    But yes, I am in favor of any thing that moves in that direction.

  262. Thanks Medina…

    I wish they didn’t have to get permission to travel because if they don’t get it they can’t go BUT I am all for something that empowers women a little bit more.

  263. oby, step by step, you get on top. please highlight the benefits of this card inside Saudi now. Women do not need mahram any more if they get this card. This is very important step. Travel without mahram still faces strong opposition from the religious establishment and people.

  264. […] 2010 American Bedu decided to write about perceptions of Saudi Arabia with “Are WE Too Harsh About Saudi Arabia?” This post resulted in a dialogue consisting of 265 […]

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