“You learn, that names are names and stereotypes are stertypes, but ignorance goes both ways” Jon Stuwart
I live in a society where going out of the norm is not welcomed, almost on any front, improving the existing is ok, but it also depends. Example: a car instead of a horse/donkey/mule/camel is not a bad idea… again, things being what they are, whoever was riding the animals when the machines came in, is whoever is driving the machines now, and this is stating the obvious of course.
Forming a new hierarchy of this, that, or the other is frowned upon, and including women in the shura council is something that requires committing a forbidden act (according to the religious establishment) to show discontent.
Because rebellion itself, is an act of rebellion, no matter what the rebellion is about.
Music, one of the forms of evolving creativity, is stagnant for as long as I can remember in the region, even knockoff shows like Arabs Got Talent or Arab Idol, require that contestants be as close to the real song as possible, which makes them all similar to Elvis impersonators in Vegas… Elvis of course, has left the building.
Young guys now all have the same unkempt haircut, the same pants, the same everything, depending on the cluster they fall in… and now the mohawk, which comes from the soccer player, because there is no other sport in Saudi.
So how do you move something like that? and I do not mean the superficial facade of western civilization of fastfoods and products with planned obsolesce, all of that made even the jungle animals fat (well in an animation anyway), and our kids as well.
Now, this is the measuring stick, everything from political to artistic is measured with it, the rest, is just variations on the theme.
(source of picture: business week article)
King Abdullah appointed women to the shura council (advisory council), a historic move in modern day Saudi Arabia, which was founded by King Abdulaziz who is known to have to call himself “brother of Nora”, his sister, a woman he often consulted for her wisdom, and recently had a university built in her name.
The role of women is steadily and surely increasing, and King Abdullah is making sure it happens as fast as it can, even though it might seem slow, but remember, it took us a while to get here. Women were given scholarships to study abroad, able to stay in hotels without needing a male guardian, now have more opportunities to work, and many more things that women regularly do and probably take for granted in other neighboring countries with similar conditions.
Women now represent 20% of the shura council, and according to the pareto principal (the 80-20 rule, or the law of the vital few) let’s hope this 20 percent is more effective at targeting issues.
At least now their voices are being heard, and some of the names I read are very inspiring and influential in Saudi.
Of course this did not stop people from mocking the whole thing, sexism is alive and well in the most open of societies, ask Julia Gillard the Australian prime minister, or check American politics, no one is immune.
Whoever says this step is not huge, do not know what they are talking about.
I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I say that the more I think about a video I saw circulating on twitter and which was sent to me on google+, the more I feel uneasy.
Here is a guy, with a good number of following, threatening the minister of labor Adel Fagieh that he will pray to god to curse the minister with cancer. He also goes on to say that be has done it before and God almighty gave the late minister Dr. Ghazi AlGosaibi cancer as an answer to his personal prayers.
What is scary is how his followers shouted “allahu Akbar” after he said his prayers caused cancer to the late Minister Dr. Ghazi AlGosaibi, not that they won’t be hallelujah-ing his achievements, they are there because they follow his teaching, but nonetheless it is as scary as it was for me when I saw a KKK march in downtown Tucson in the mid nineties… Maybe a little less scary since this is just a video, but still more scary since I have to live here, I knew I was leaving AZ sometime.
As much a people want change over here, there are many more who want little to no change, or even the reversal of all the new spoon fed modernization that they just seem to see happen around them with no participation from their part.
Of course the reason why he prayed that the late minister would get cancer, and why he is threatening the current minister? They do not want women to work.
One of the things I wish I could do is draw. Abdullah Jaber @jabertoon is a Saudi cartoonist with almost one hundred thousand followers on twitter and his cartoons are published in Saudi newspapers.
What Saudi development is really like, you can have the nicest buildings, but Human Resource departments will tell you it is not the buildings and offices that count
And the government websites, I recently tried to register in one of the government websites and after registration was over, they told me I have to visit an office in some building for verification
You can guess this, official car going through the streets, seeing a picture, not reality.
Most problems, if not all, cost money to fix, yet it is the way money is used that solves the problem, not the money it self (this is an Arabic cartoon, read from right to left)
And of course, freedom is not free, and lady liberty is high maintenance if you know what I mean.
While the bride holds the bouquet, the groom carries the loans he has to repay (Saudi Marriages are expensive)
I am against the protests and riots that are happening due to a film about Prophet Mohammad.
The film is stupid in its videography, acting, and everything that could be wrong with how a film can be made… I have seen better made videos with camera phones, had there been a riot for bad film making I would’ve joined.
However, some people are mad at whole countries and nations for the work of one man… which is not something only Arabs and Muslims do… Comedian Chris Rock nailed it when he said on twitter “Muslims vow to make USA pay because of one really crazy man. Can you imagine us doing that to a country? Oh yeah we did. Iraq & Afghanistan.”
None of this makes it right, and I for one, do not believe two wrongs make a right, movie making was shunned as Haram from the get go, overlooking the fact that it is just another communication medium… which has become the most powerful medium of them all… and now the library of movies and documentaries is empty when it comes to having positive and influential material, good thing some people trying to make some, like the Omar series, but that too had it’s share of opposition.
What should’ve been done? well… complete ignorance, the person who made it has no respect for movie making, and it was obviously made to instigate a response, which unfortunately it did.