Good News, Bad News

Few months ago, Hassan posted this:

Most of Saudi bloggers, especially those who write in English, criticize their own people and government very harshly. There is no doubt some of their criticism is correct and realistic, and it plays a major role in the reforming our society. However, such criticism reaches the whole world, in the absence of what could give a good image about our country, because we don’t have any website to talk about the good aspects of the Kingdom. I get embarrassed when a foreigner asks me for info and photos on Saudi Arabia; where can I find anything good to give him? Do you support the idea of such a website? Or is it just that there is not anything good about our country?

There is, of course, some good things about our country. And when I find these good things, I write about them. The difference is: bad things get in people’s nerves. I know it is not easy for anyone to criticize one’s self, but in the end of the day, someone has to do it. How about you? What do you think?

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10 thoughts on “Good News, Bad News

  1. Here’s something to think about: Perhaps, it has become fashionable lately to criticize Saudi Arabia and Wahhabis/Salafis. It is easy to do so. Why is it easy? Because, they have obvious mistakes. However, they have many commendable qualities too, but for some reason, it is hard to discuss these. It is especially difficult, when the person highlighting these qualities would be branded a Wahhabi in less than a NY minute. God knows the sort of stigmas this branding would invite on the poor soul’s character, such as being unsophisticated, rigid, tunnel-visioned, regardless of whether or not this is true.

    It is simpler to present a point of view to an audience that is compatible with their views than to put forth an idea wildly different from their standpoint. Perhaps, these days, the push is to accept a Western perception. If you’re Westernized, you are in the club, if not, good luck.

    Saudi Arabia is a different country. An alien country – in all senses of the word – to the West. Saudis appear to have accepted this alien status; are feeling uncomfortable, and seem to be changing as soon as possible. It is possible, therefore, that any pride in the country has dissipated. When there is no pride, there is nothing good to be talked about.

    And, here is that something to be thought about.

    P.S.: History is being written. Many years from now, children will be reading about Wahhabis/Salafis in the same light they read about Hitler. At that point, there will be no room for objectivity.

  2. Ok, from the short period of time I was in KSA (2 1/2 yrs post Gulf war), I did find some good things;
    great shawarma ( I know, how superficial), even though there is segregation at this level depending on the kind of family you come from; family friendly, and not seeing children as a nuisance which sometimes is more noticeable in Western countries (seen but not heard?); lack of outgoing social live leads to close friendships, you have to rely on friends in order to deal with segration/boredom etc. There are friendly and hospitable people among the saudis, even if you might get seperated from you spouse when you visit, hospitality makes you feel really welcome. The country is fascinating because of it’s history, I was able to take pictures of this old village I believe it was close to Damman/Alkhobar somewhere (sorry forgot) and it was built architectarily to suit the heat;close buildings for windtunnels. In Jeddah, where we got the tour of the downtown or inner city part, the architecture was fascinating as well. let’s hope the extremists or extreme conservatists did not manage to bulldozer that down. Last but not least; Mekkah. I so wish I could see it because of it’s importance and history. It’s a shame that the EC’s hijacked that place to claim their own and outlawed non muslims..( I know, off with my head if I ever got caught)..those are just a few I could think off

  3. hi,
    sorry if this comment is partially (or totally) unrelated to your post, but i just wanted to ask you (and since i am technologically challenged – an understatement) whether you knew of any other middle eastern blogs in english around (other than toot).

    i am not wacked out or an agent of the us gov’t trying to find muhajideen, i’m just a westerner trying to understand your culture a little better.

    thanks.

  4. Hi Ahmed,
    Thanks for sharing my views.
    well, IT’s right that “bad things get in people’s nerves” and as i said i’m not against criticism.
    I think you are doing great job Ahmed
    and you are showing the world how we are progressing toward freedom and so on.
    BUT do u think that ur website for example is enough for “fsr” to know about saudi arabia and people there?

  5. Dear SJ,
    With all that is happening around us these days, it is our duty to highlight all positive things about our countries, but then again, its YOUR blog.
    Maybe leave anything about your country to the news and blog about YOU.
    Take care.

  6. Dear all,

    I’m a Portuguese guy who’s been living in Riyadh for a little more than a year. It didn’t take me long to realize that Saudi Arabia is a country with many positive aspects and a wonderful people.

    As a result, I’ve already written some articles to Portuguese newspapers talking about my experience here, and I’ve also created a website http://www.mundusincognitus.blogspot.com which includes many pictures taken in the Kingdom.

    Definitely, perception can be misleading, and at the moment there’s a wrong perception of Saudis in Europe. I’m sure everybody’s contribute can make the difference.

    All the best,
    Olindo Iglesias (olindo_iglesias@hotmail.com)

  7. There is good and bad in every country. I’ve tried to share both on my own blog about saudi life. But even with all the good things I can say about the people, the culture, and raising kids here there are still the bad that overshadows that.

    blogging is an opportunity that Saudis have to express their views on a more public level. I would expect more criticism than complaments at first.

    Heres a suggestion, why not make a group blog by various Saudis in English (since this was part of the complaint) that presents the positive of Saudi life. ????

  8. Just as in every society and country there are positive and negative things to consider. However, I think we, as Saudis, need a larger dose of self-criticism. It is important to bring up the issues that bother us instead of being engaged in a beautification and cover up process, there is much more being done on that side already.

  9. When i read your blog, the image i had of your country, which was negative to put it politely, instantly changed. I honestly didn’t know there were intelligent people in saudi. Sorry if that sounds a bit rude but i’m glad that i now know that the regime and image in the media do not reflect the reality of your country. Many people will be challenged by what you write but keep going because the saudi people’s voice is never heard and people start to believe that you are all backward and wahabbi etc and forget that you’re oppressed too. If i was saudi i’d be glad that you’re showing my country in a positive light.

  10. I read quite a few websites out of Saudi Arabia and I’ve formed a very positive impression of the people who are writing them – people who are intelligent, open-minded, and willing to criticize their society because they truly love it and want it to be better. We should all do that.

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