Many intellectuals here have celebrated the announcement of the new succession law issued by King Abdullah last week as an extraordinary achievement, and hailed the king for a wise decision that came in a time of economic welfare and under no pressure. “If there was any pressure, it was by Saudi people who whispered the matter in their private gatherings though nobody ever discussed it in public,” Jamal Khashoggi, consultant of the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. said during a recent TV interview.
However, it is worth noting that none of these so-called intellectuals has given even the slightest hint to the country’s need to such law since King Fahad passed away and until the new law was issued. Our very own intellectuals have failed for one good year to recognize the importance of what they describe now as a “necessity for any modern country,” and “a turning point in political reform.”
Rereading Khashoggi’s statement, we should probably ask: if none of these intellectuals and the elite of our society was brave enough to raise the issue, could we expect ordinary people to discuss it publicly? I am not arguing how such law is essential for the stability of the country. I simply want to point out to the hypocrisy of the Saudi intelligentsia.