MTV, beauty queen camels, flirting with books, and more…

  • As part of their True Life series, MTV has broadcasted a one-hour documentary on Saudi youth last Monday. Even before it was aired, Resist the Power, Saudi Arabia has attracted big attention. Over the course of last week, I have received many emails asking me to watch it, and more emails later asking what I think of the episode. I have not watched it yet. I will probably watch it, but only after this silly hoopla dies off. Local media, as expected, jumped in with the usual mixture of conspiracy theories and anger caused by the documentary. Very typical. There are rumors that some people who appeared in the show could be prosecuted, but nothing is confirmed at this point. Many bloggers reacted, and most of what they said have been balanced and well worth a read: here, here, here, here, here, and here.
  • Forget about MTV, and watch this short video by local artist Abdulaziz al-Muzaini which pokes fun at Riyadh rains:

  • Remember the guy who was suing Aramco over the death of his beloved beauty queen camel? He has actually won case. Saudi Gazette reports that the General Court in Khobar has ordered the oil giant to pay 1 million riyals to the heartbroken owner. Aramco’s lawyer said they intend to appeal the verdict with the Court of Cassation.
  • Based on her experience with a public library where she lives in Dubai, Badriya al-Bisher believes that opening more public libraries will encourage Saudi boys and girls to flirt with the books instead of flirting with each other. That’s an interesting theory which I would love to test in Riyadh. It will make for one hell of an experiment.
  • The first patch of graduates from private medical colleges in Jeddah were previously told their can intern in university hospitals. Now they are told they can’t, and that if they want to intern then they have to pay SR60,000. Unbelievable. Shada Ahmadi, a student who is yet to start her internship, told me “it’s a big frustrating issue in our college.” UPDATE: Intern doctors graduating from government universities, who had their monthly reward cut in half by a decision from the Council of Higher Education five years ago, have launched an online petition asking the government to reconsider that decision.
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12 thoughts on “MTV, beauty queen camels, flirting with books, and more…

  1. So basically Saudi Arabia has joined the rest of the world in strange suing cases? (ala suing Mickie D’s for hot coffee spill?)

    I need to get hold of a lawyer, I once accidently stabbed myself with a bowey knife while walking through a mall once.

    But in all seriousness, if an oil company kept a huge hole with crude oil in it in some pastureland anywhere in the world they deserve to be sued. That’s just crazy.

  2. Are you saying there are no public libraries in SA? Or just a few?

    I find it hard to imagine growing up without public libraries (and school and college libraries). However, nowadays there are plenty of free books in text file format on the web, for instance at Gutenberg.org. One can browse for anything that looks like an interesting title, download it, and either print it out or read it on screen.

    This doesn’t help with books that need pictures, such as books on art, natural history, archaeology, films, or sport.

    Yes, you need libraries. But would they be so censored that they would be useless?

  3. I really do not see the big issue in the camel’s case! It is the camel owner right to sue whoever caused the death of his source of living! I believe that if this Saudi tribesman was a White American and this camel was a husky dog , you will write a blog criticizing the court for not giving the white man $ 2 millions !!!

    • Of course the guy has every right to sue Aramco. I did not say he does not, and I’m certainly not taking sides here. What is absurd about the ruling is this: if it was the tribesman’s son, not camel, that died and he sued the company then he won’t probably get more than SR100,000 in blood money.

  4. The MTV True Life episode really impacted me. It really caused me to redefine what the word ‘freedom’ really means. Looking forward to hearing what Saudi Arabians think about the episode.

    • tthat I think of the Saudis who were in the show is the following . They have no proud in their local lifestyle, this is up to them, and they lived for some period abroad , most likely in the U.S or Canada , and this was clear from their accents. Thet represent a small number of people in Saudi Arabia. ANd they have no rights to ask us , as Saudis , to change o be like the westerners. These people want to have American lifestyle. It is up to them and no one talk to them ( do not believe the bullsh** about the religious police, I have lived my whole life in Kohbar, Saudi Arabia and I saw the religious police 3 times only!! ) but these people in the show want the whole society to be like them and this is just not right!! Every community in Saudi Arabia have their long established traditions and way of life that suit them. You can’t come and told us to act and live like a westerner! I may adopt something form western cultures but I am not going to replace my culture with a western culture just because they have better economics !

      Persons like Ahmed ( the writer of this blog ) and the ladies and gentlemen in the show want our society to be Americanized. They think that the American ( or western culture for this matter ) is a superior culture and it is the right way way for living! which is no right at all.

      There is some problems n our country , but which country doesn’t? , and we fix our problems our way not the American way , not the British way , not the French way and not even the Kuwaiti way. We fix our problems the way we think it is right.

      We define ” freedom” , ” human rights ” and all the other pretty words based on our dictionary not the French or the English ones!

      Peace and love to you all,

  5. ahmed

    you know that what r u saying is not true at all! if somebody killed a person, the killer must be killed unless the person’s family do not want 2 , then they ask for a specific amount of money or they forgive the killer ! your blog abt the camel’s case shows your racism against the others in your country and city ! this is clear for me in your sarcasm of the camel’s owner suing the oil company.

    • And you should know that I was not talking about murder. I was talking about the cases of قتل بالخطأ because this is what the camel incident looks like to me. Thank you for accusing me of racism though, it makes your argument much stronger.

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