Last night, I attended another one of the cultural activities accompanying the Riyadh International Book Fair. It was a panel on the censorship on media, and the speakers included Dr. Mohammed Abduh Yamani, the former minister of information and one of the country’s prominent intellectuals, Dr. Mohammed Al-Romaihi, the general secretary of the Higher Council of Culture in Kuwait, and one of my favorite writers, and Nahed Ba-Shatah, a columnist that I linked to her writings on several occasions. The announced program also included Abdul-Rahman Al-Rashed, manager of Al-Arabiya channel but he was not there for unexplained reasons. The panel was moderated by Turki Al-Sudairi, the editor-in-chief of Al-Riyadh newspaper. Like the two activities I attended before, the forces of darkness were present in the hall, and again, they ruined the whole thing.
First, Dr. Yamani talked about his experience with censorship as a minister, and then it was Dr. Al-Romaihi’s turn to talk. He made some really interesting points, but what I liked the most was his last remark. He said, “the more our education system fails to achieve its goals, the more we need censorship,” and I think it is very clear that education in our region is a major failure. Few minutes before Dr. Al-Romaihi finished his remarks, one of the sheikhs from the first row interrupted, telling him that time was up. Dr. Al-Romaihi did not take it very well, and asked the sheikh: “Are you the moderator of this panel or what?” It was really embarrassing. When these rude lunatics are going to learn how to be polite?
Next, Al-Sudairi said that due to the limited time available, they won’t be able to take all the questions by the audience. Here, the same shiekh started shouting at him, saying that he is acting some kind of censorship, and that he should not be on the podium. Al-Sudairi promised the angry sheikh that he will be given enough time to speak his mind, and that’s what actually happened after Ba-Shatah finished her presentation.
From this point, and except for two comments from the female participants, logic was totally lost from the hall. A sheikh named Ahmed Al-Farraj said they should have had a religious scholar on the podium, because censorship is a part of “the prevention of vice,” and that this era of media revolution and openness requires even more censorship. Another sheikh sitting next to him said that the moderator of the panel should be censored. “All programs in the media, and the people behind them, and the minister of information should be presented to a Sharia court,” he added, because he thinks that they have violated Islamic laws.
Nuha Al-Nasser said the answer is in dialogue and not censorship, while Laila Al-Uhaideb asked if we can depend on heads of newspapers to raise society’s awareness on censorship. Right after Al-Uhaideb finished her short comment, another sheikh asked to speak, and attacked her, accusing her of calling for sex education in her writings. He also attacked other female writers such as Maha Al-Hejailan and Samar Al-Megrin. At the end of his speech, he asked the government to increase censorship on media, and to sack Iyad Madani, the current minister of information, “because he is not capable for such position.”
It was clear that the panel was going in the wrong direction, and it would only get worse if the moderator gave another chance to the extremists and their propaganda, so he announced the end of the panel, even though they had more than 30 minutes left. However, that was not the end for the forces of dark, who continued their demagogic behavior. They went to the podium, surrounded Dr. Yamani, and started talking loudly with him. Dr. Yamani looked very angry when he left. The idiots! The man is old enough to be a father of all these stupid sheikhs, yet they showed not respect to him.
After leaving Dr. Yamani, they headed to Al-Sudairi and Dr. Al-Romaihi, but I could not see what was going on between them. Few seconds later, I heard them roaring: Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar, which was really scary because I was afraid that one of them might just blow himself up and kill us all, but thank God that did not happen.
This sucks! Those lunatics are just ruining it for everybody. They come to every panel and lecture, do their ugly thing, and then leave happily as if they were making a victory of some sort. They are so rude and impolite, and they don’t even know how to listen. I was planning to attend more panels and lectures, but if these creatures are going to come and make their crappy show every time, then maybe I’ll just stay home and read a good book instead.
22 thoughts on “Exclusive: The Crappy Show”
They are organizing themselves and encourage each other just to ruin the hell of the panels, their goal is obvious, to prevent any future panels.
You can see that when you visit some of their popular sites & forums on the net
All of the intellectuals are “3ilmainis” as they call them
Hey Riyadhawi, I just sent you an email. Check your inbox please.
I just wish if you didn’t use words like forces of dark ..
Anyone is obligaited to their own opinon!. If I don’t like their opinion I can attack the opinion .. not the people!..
Honestly, if I don;t agree with their ideas of the world doesn’t make them my enemies.. God .. how much I really hate this idea of just creating more enemies within our country. Even if they choose to label me and you and others with whatever names .. For me, it doesn’t justify that I start treat the thing like a battel!.
In the same time, no one shall accept rudness and being impolite. I very much can imagine the way they were speaking to Dr. Yamani and others in the panal. They are so much used to it and it always works!. In the mean time, they claim that being done in the name of defending Islam!!.
I think that unless we Saudis who have different opinions in almost everything try to work things out by any possible mean .. we gonna end up in more segregation of our society into real enemies .. and we gonna fight.. more than what is already going on!.
I agree with the term “forces of dark”. They do not just have another opinion, they want to force poeple to adopt it, they stand on the path of everybody else and they claim to represent the true Islam so what about others, are all of us kufar?
I do not know how you stand attending these panels with all the fawdha!! god helps you.
Didn’t I tell you they’re not dialogues at all? I love being right ;P
once you said women were there I knew at some point they would be accused of something sexual.
Forces of dark is a bit fitting, they are trying to keep people in the dark. They are calling for even more censorship that they agree with, they are calling for people to stop talking.. hence dampering any hopes to be heard. But I do agree name calling doesn’t get one anywhere.
Whats amazing is that people actually think censorship is Islamic.
Dr MA Yamani is an amazing person. I find it insulting the how many people in Riyadh (especially the forces of evil) label him as “Sufi” assuming that it’s something negative
god help us, when will these people grow up. just when u think we’re going forward, it gets worse and worse.
i was wondering what alromaidhi, a kuwaiti, thought of this?
Please don’t let them discourage you from going. Your report back is worth it. Keep up the good work
Thank you Ahmed for this excellent post. I felt as if I was there myself… I think though that you should never give up and keep on going to these events, if you dont, then the forces of darkness win!
All the best…
Well, all u said is true all in all, but brother that cocerning ur being scared by “Allahu akbar , Allahu Akbar ” is a bit as if it was attribution of these words with to terrorisim and violence, while Alhamdu Lillah i think u r as muslim as i am and know what these words mean, and we who think we are educated and modernised muslim should not reflect to our non arabic speaking non-muslim counterparts wrong ideas abuot such words.
Any how i did mean no criticism , but is some idea occured to, which i better conveyed to ur kind attention .
and would to thank u for this nice blog it helping me alot to improve my english to, u r a hell of writer brother .
I totally agree with you that the “forces of evil” are trying to ruin it all for the rest of us more liberal and progressive Saudis. The problem is that they are better organized than us and their fanaticism fuels their vocal protests.
I say to all reasonable minded Saudis: Let’s get together and speak up publicly about how we feel. That women should be treated equally, that foreigners are not weird aliens to be feared and maltreated, and that the Shias among us are just as Muslim as we are!
Ahmed, I think you should keep going, as a male, no one can say anything neither about your reputation or the way you dress at these events. As long as you get that much, don’t let them win.
kinda off topic, but not totally: I’ve gone to the book fair and let me tell you I did not enjoy one minute of it. I agree with Nzingha about how with women something sexual has to pop up. At the book fair I was harrassed.. NOT ONCE but FOUR times by the religious police. I wonder how a woman is to read if she does not uncover her face? What’s worse is that he wasn’t even addressing me, I wasn’t worthy of his words of wisdom.. my 14 year old brother, however, was. He kept asking him how he “let” me go out in such an abaya or how he “lets” me uncover just to read and how this is how and where it ALL begins.
My poor baby brother didnt know what to say, all he could think of was ” tayyeb khalas wallah asef.. khalas ebsher”
It got a little TOO harsh by the time he asserted that I was not going to heaven that I was “ma7roomah 3la al jannah” or some bull crap line of some such.
I wanted to blog about this.. but I’m also sick of bitching on my blog and the bitchy replies I get in return there.
I’m REALLY sick and tired of this. When will this end? Why must we be so belligerent? *sigh*
The epithet “forces of darkness” is spot on. You have to know that the rest of us have had to put up with your number one export, wahabbism, and it is more toxic than a spill from your number two export, oil. As a consequence, most people think of Najdis as representative of Saudi, whereas I think that the Hijaz is rather nice, especially the relaxed atmosphere of Jiddah. Nevertheless, we can’t stand you lot or the insufferable Islamists from wherever, especially Saudi Arabia’s satellite province, Pakistan.
Thank you for your column brother … you show great potential, motivation and energy. However, I’d like to share some thoughts with you on improving your style to make it reach professional standards. First of all, please be neutral and don’t take sides, present the facts and leave us (the readers) to form our own opinions. Secondly, please give both points of view. If you don’t understand both points of view, then you need to research whatever you don’t understand until you feel that you know where each party is coming from, because if you don’t, you will fail in presenting them fairly to the readers and it will show in your writing. This is a very important, because it sends us beyond the action to the thought behind the action, which is what really matters. For example: A guy speeding might be viewed as behaving recklessly, but when you know that he is driving an injured person to the hospital, you would relate better to his behavior, right? Please note that understanding a point of view and agreeing with it is too different things. Finally, you need to refrain from making judgments and/or using derogatory terms of hate like forces of darkness or any other … please forgive me for being to forward and blunt, but I hope my comments are of use to you … regards
First off, Mr. Anonymous, Saudi Jeans is not a newspaper reporter or a television news show. He is a blog writer, expressing his own feelings and observations. So, he doesn’t have to cater to your demands on how he writes and presents the subjects of his blog. If you want to read “fair and balanced” writing, then start your own blog, fullfilling your own demands.
Hang all the muttwahs in Saudi Arabia and your country will be free of infidels. The muttawahs are the infidels and they defile Islam, they poison people’s mind and terrorize the citizens and expats!!!
Re: Rasheed: …and that the Shias among us are just as Muslim as we are!”
How is it possible that someone who grew up in Saudi Arabia, could say that the raafidah shia are Muslims? The raafidah are on a religion other than Islaam. Read the works of the Imams of the past about them. Ibn Taymiyyah wrote a book Minhajus Saalikeen detailing the shirk and kufr of the raafidah. You are ignorant of your Deen and sadly you have the audacity to try to speak. Subhanallaah!!!
I know this will not help ..
But I most say this,
I’ve seen almost the same from Catholic priests this days and from communist party executives in the past (and my grandpa had same with local nazi).
Bottom line is It goes with dogmatic attitude, power and feeling I’ve got absulute truth.
I’m affraid it will take a long time to achive some improvement.
Dawud-Are you practicing your divide-to-concquer strategy on this page? Do you take these people for idiots? Plus, you do not sound like a sane American, if you are indeed one. *throws life* Go get it boy! in other words: get a life.-_-
Sad it turns out this way sometimes
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