Many Questions, No Answers

Last Wednesday was the 79th National Day of Saudi Arabia. Most of what has been said, written, and sung, focused on celebrating what has been achieved over the relatively short life of this country. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in what we have accomplished, and we certainly have many things to be proud of. But what I’m proud of the most are the people, the citizens who put their country first, those who their pride won’t stop them from seeing the shortcomings and work to rectify them. I salute those who live by the ideals of this nation, and find the courage in themselves to stop, think and reflect, and then say: we can do better than this, we must do better that this, we are better than this.

That’s why when I read that groups of young men in different parts of the country decided to celebrate the National Day by acting like hooligans, I was disturbed but not surprised or shocked. As Qusay said, we can probably attribute this behaviour to many reasons, including the lack of discipline. But the fact that these terrible acts happened on this day in particular raises some troubling questions: have we failed to instill any sense of national belonging in our youth? What does it mean for those boys to be Saudi and how can they express that? Although we have a great country, we are yet to construct a plural identity and make those boys realize that what they were vandalizing is actually theirs. Our national identity has been tied to individuals, tribes and religion among other things, but never to the country which we all should belong.

Talking about nationalism is easy, but at least some of us know that it takes much more than a bland weekly tarbiya wataniya class and a few songs to produce upright citizens. People belong to the country only when their rights are protected. People belong to the country only when they have a say in how it is run. People belong to the country only when they know they can dream and that their dreams may someday come true.

At the very same moments when the hooligans were destroying storefronts in Riyadh and Khobar, a dream of our King was coming true in Thuwal. The $100m inauguration of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, aka KAUST, was attended by more than 3,000 guests, including world leaders, prominent Saudis, and Nobel laureates. The launch of KAUST promises a new dawn for Saudi Arabia, the beginning of a future based on knowledge and enlightenment. That’s the promise, but will we ever come to realize it or even just come near it? How can we make sure that KAUST will not end up, in the words of Rasheed Aboulsamh, as a west coast Aramco enclave, where freedom and progressive thinking prevail while the rest of the country remains hostage to a religious dogma controlled by a select few?

The celebrations of the National Day, the opening of KAUST, the acts of vandalism, and everything else that happened over the course of this past year left me with many conflicted feelings: aspiration and disappointment, hope and despair. But more than anything, this 23rd of September left me with many questions, and no answers.

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64 thoughts on “Many Questions, No Answers

  1. As I always say, we have “National Day” but without “Nationality” and we have “Universities” but without “Education”

    but at the end of the day, we can’t expect people to be more loyal to Saudi Arabia than their tripes or backgrounds as long as the tripe is the entity who provide protection to the individual not the government

  2. Free academic inquiry cannot truly exist easily in a situation in which severe control of thoughts and actions are in place.

    It will be interesting to see what calibre of academic personnel are hired and retained.

    I have my own predictions as to what the most likely outcome will be.

  3. I really think that KAUST is not gonna help much in developing the social intellectuals as you brother Ahmed hoped in your interesting article.

    I have a feeling that in the next decade Saudi Arabia will be so much improved and it’s not gonna be the same Saudi we used to know. . The problem we have is that some parents are illiterate and their dreams are some what limited. Our new generation does not have as much ties as our parents have. I personally belong to a very famous tribe, and I’m really proud to belong to that tribe, but I have been raised to be proud of my Muslim identity, and then my country and tribe.

    My hope doesn’t come from merely a feeling, but it is also based on facts. Saudi has been improved very fast in the couple of decades ago. Maybe faster than 80 percent of the nations around the world. Insh’Allah, we will work very hard for our ultimate goal by voluntary activities that we lack back home except in religious affairs.

  4. In response to Andrew:

    I have been studying at KAUST three weeks now, and, from my perspective, KAUST faculty are the most exciting and impressive group of people I have ever met. They are all very competent, but also very creative and entrepreneurial. The faculty are the best in the world, and great research will come from KAUST in time. My peers, the students, are also outstanding.

    If you are interested my perspective of life at KAUST, please visit my blog at http://saudiaggie.blogspot.com

    Ma’ Salama.

  5. Nathan:

    I am pleased.

    Yet, I continue to wonder what the longer term outcome will to be.

    I hope that your optimism is borne out by experience.

  6. Nice post! I agree that it would be unfortunate if KAUST were to become the exception that allows the norm to continue.

    I have been very impressed though with the philosophy of discovery, inspiration, interdisciplinarity, international excellence, and coeducation.

    I was also impressed with the calibre and diversity of the faculty.

    Nathan–Congratulations on your acceptance and good luck with your MSc. Nice blog –even if you didn’t include my post on KAUST here:
    September 23–Saudi National Day/Inauguration of KAUST
    http://taraummomar.blogspot.com/2009/09/september-23-saudi-national-day-and.html
    LOL :)
    Great list of Relevent Websites, including the Doha Debates! Yes!!

    Molecular Genomics course–fascinating, though I stick closer to the bioethics of genetics and the human genome myself!

  7. are you sure the inauguration cost only 100m dollars .. i heard it cost 3 times that much ..
    about kaust also .. some ppl have been saying it will be another dubai .. in other words it is a bubble which while impressive will burst someday ..

    also .. do you know if any media covered the “riots” on national day .. as far as i can tell it was only reported in saudi forums and blogs but not in the news ..

  8. When I first heard about these riots that occurred on the National Day, I immediately wondered if they were politically motivated. Am I baseless in this hypothesis?

    It seems odd that such a mass of youth with such an extreme extent of damage would do this out of pure boredom. If it was just a few kids, and a bit of damage, sure. But the fact that on such a symbolic day, with the damage focused on int’l brands, makes me wonder.

    But then, maybe I’m just reading too much into this?

  9. I think the tendencies of hooliganism and mob-mentality are inherent in any crowd-gatherings, though the lack of practice of this tool in Saudi does not allow for a distinction in the minds of the populous between anarchy and nonviolent demonstrations.

    The only opportunities for public rallying and expressions happens to be on our National Day and whenever we win in football. Unfortunately both cases have led to vandalism. We couldn’t even stand in solidarity with Palestine during its many crises in contrast to other nations who do not have a dog in the fight.

    Why is it that most of my compatriots whom I’m proud of are out of the country !? Ghada Mutairy a leading scientist at UC San Diego, Hayat Sindy at Harvard … etc.

  10. The government has done nothing for them so really, to them National day might as well be celebrated on the other side of the moon.

    KAUST is also another white elephant that only exists to cater to expatriates.

  11. It is really mind boggling how only 5% of the student populations at KAUST are Saudis!!

    Can you imagine Harvard, or Stanford has only 5% Americans. It just makes you wonder if this whole hoopla was for propaganda purposes or to serve Saudi youth.

      • Considering KFUPM on the east coast is a pretty damn good University nearly completely filled with Saudi Students…I don’t think that’s a problem here.

        This University isn’t like the American “save up for your whole life to afford to go to our university” style higher education. KAUST is ” We give you totally free education and stipends to study at this university” and if our government money is going to educate foreigners instead of our own youth then it might as well be closed down.

  12. “The university is not driven by education; it is going to focus purely on research.” -Nadhmi Al-Nas, interim executive vice president for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

    (http://arabnews.com/?page=9&section=0&article=126670&d=28&m=9&y=2009&pix=community.jpg&category=Features)

    It seems like students (Saudi or otherwise) are essentially an afterthought and that is more an effort (in the recent tradition of Saudi higher education) at Saudi boasting about how many pretty machines they bought (and they are nice machines!). They can hope for a trickle-down effect on impacting culture, but it surely doesn’t seem like that’s what they’re after.

  13. Mohammad, Its the same KFUPM where my “Marketing” professor dodged explaining the term “Storyboard” while the topic was about advertisements, hoping nobody would call him for it.. He actually explained the Storyboard part of creating an advertisement, that a company would put its story on a board at the walls while people wait for the metro underground.

    Why did the professor dodge discussing the part of an artist, who draws the scenes and actions of the advertisement to his “Saudi” students?

    We don’t lack the books, the material, the equipment, the staff.. I didn’t say that the Saudi are not good to be a part of it.. but we have to step up in our dreams. In our academic life we are conditioned into accepting our future reality instead of pursuing a passion to study a subject we like. Why did you choose your major?.. its the one I could get into, I didn’t have a choice.

    • Anecdotal evidence doesn’t cut it here. KFUPM is in the top 2% of universities world wide according to the THE-QS World University rankings is respected worldwide.

      Also, don’t blame anyone but yourself for your lack of choices in a major. You’re in Marketing which means you’re in the college of industrial management, therefore you didn’t do well enough in the Orientation year to get into Engineering colleges, which are the highest quality colleges on campus.

  14. Many of the best institutions/universities are set up as Research Institutes which have only graduate students AKA researchers-in-training, not undergraduates, or only a few undergraduate programs. They favour excellence and draw internationally from the best, whether nationals, citizens, or not.

    Some fields are probably new to Saudi at this level, eg. marine biology, and will train researchers in this field. Some intitutes hire the best of their own graduates, others have a policy not to until they have done further work elsewhere.

    KAUST to me seems very much in line with current thinking on centres of research excellence with other research universities/institues that I am familiar with in other countries.

    • Yes, but they don’t pay students to come here and heavily subsidize their education while hundreds of thousands of Saudi youth are graduating from high schools and are faced with only 7 main universities to choose from in a nation with a population of approx. 25 million. Israel on the other hand (a nation of 7 million) has 35 universities and several of them are internationally renowned far beyond nearly every Arab university.

      Sure, maybe in the future when we have enough good universities to cope with demand a project such as KAUST will seem like a good idea but not now.

      BTW, I checked KAUST’s website and they don’t offer degrees in Marine Biology (King Abdul-Aziz university in Jeddah does however so it’s not new to Saudi Arabia)

      • I totally agree with improving public education for Saudis at all levels, including at the university level. Usually having a local centre of excellence for graduate studies improves the calibre of undergraduate students and inspires them to further studies, especially those who may not be able to travel outside KSA for whatever reason.

        You are quite right that KAUST does not offer a degree specifically in Marine Biology, or Marine Sciences as they call it (to incorporate other sciences than biology and include engineering). They do have a research centre, the “Red Sea Science and Engineering”, headed by a Marine Scientist, and KAUST includes a number of Marine Scientists among the faculty.

        http://www.kaust.edu.sa/academics/faculty/faculty.html

        As their work is interdiscplinary they would be interacting with other centres and academic departments on a routine basis. What is new to Saudi is the primary focus on Red Sea Coral Reefs.

        http://www.kaust.edu.sa/research/centers/redsea.html?submenuheader=0#focus

        The research centre is complemented/ complimented by a research lab “the Coastal & Marine Resources Lab”

        http://www.kaust.edu.sa/research/labs/costal.html?submenuheader=1

        Thanks for the tip about KAU–yet another reason for me to organize a stint in Jeddah!

      • Hmmm. I left a reply with multiple links this AM. Maybe it is awaiting moderation or lost in Spam.

        In brief, I fully agree that a high quality public education should be provided through to university. An elite institution such as KAUST tends to improve the quality of undergraduate teaching and learning in other universities. Overtime it will probably incorporate more Saudi students of high calibre.

        You are right there is no Marine Biology degree offered at KAUST but there is the interdisciplinary Red Sea Research Centre with its “Coastal Laboratory”. A number of faculty including the Director of the research centre are Marine Scientists. The innovation is in the focus on local sea issues, especially the Red Sea Coral Reef.

        Glad to know KAU offers Marine biology degrees. Another reason to head to Jeddah!

  15. I might have not gotten to deliver my message correctly Mohammad, my point is about how reservations to not touch issues that would conflict with a Saudi student view still will leave our universities at a disadvantage.

    I don’t think that its a loss to attract students who are non-Saudi.. even with scholarships. I mean isn’t it how other countries who are leading in science and research do it? Do you think its without value? Its the most beneficial thing you can do.. it doesn’t mean your citizens will not benefit, it will in fact will attract many gifted students by setting a much more competitive environment.

    Also, diving into my privates, you apparently think I am playing point the blame game. I have already folded the chapters of my life at Kfupm and it matters little to me now and that anecdote is the least of Kfupm shortcomings.

    I am sorry about attaching the last sentence without a prefix, I was trying to convey a common answer to that question, I happen to be involved in interviews with graduates and some of them were sincere enough to give that answer.

  16. Z theory:

    “I think the tendencies of hooliganism and mob-mentality are inherent in any crowd-gatherings,”
    __________

    “Ranging from soccer crowds and political rallies to Bushmen and the pilgrimage to Mecca, Canetti exhaustively reviews the way crowds form, develop, and dissolve, using this taxonomy of mass movement as a key to the dynamics of social life. The style is abstract, erudite, and anecdotal, which makes Crowds and Power the sort of work that awes some readers with its profundity while irritating others with its elusiveness. Canetti loves to say something brilliant but counterintuitive, and then leave the reader to figure out both why he said it and whether it’s really true.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Crowds-Power-Elias-Canetti/dp/0374518203

    • Thank you for the book reference, Noga. I haven’t read it yet.
      My statement is developed out of Ibn Khaldun’s theory of statelessness, tyranny and the Caliphate consent. Which is a prelude to the social contract theories.

      My point is that Nonviolence as a philosophy famously practiced by the likes of MLK and Gandhi was born out from violent expressions of convictions, thus the latter is an evolutionary component of the former though it does not justify it. Yet it is true that these expressions,violent or not, are an indication to the dynamics of Saudi social life which does not allow for such expressions, hence the result of vandalism.

      • Thanks to both of you for this discussion and these references.
        Unfortunately passive resistance was met with more violence and one may argue that the passivity of the resisters is what in part provoked it , without in anyway justifying it.

    • Chiara, I totally agree.

      Noga, for more on Ibn Khaldun’s theory of the Caliphate as a consensual contract b/t the ruled and the caliph, see Antony Black; The History of Islamic Political Thought:From the Prophet to the Present (Routledge ed. 2001).

  17. What a strange post. “Short life of the country”? As an assembly of Semitic tribes, Arabia has existed for thousands of years. It what way did history begin only when the Sauds conquered it?

    “There is nothing wrong with taking pride in what we have accomplished, and we certainly have many things to be proud of. But what I’m proud of the most are the people, the citizens who put their country first, those who their pride won’t stop them from seeing the shortcomings and work to rectify them. I salute those who live by the ideals of this nation -”

    Sounds like a Bolshevik Commissar. (I just finished reading V. Grossman’s Life and Fate.)

    “- when I read that groups of young men in different parts of the country decided to celebrate the National Day by acting like hooligans, I was disturbed but not surprised or shocked.”

    Even without Jews present, you can have anti-Semitic riots. Because it isn’t what Jews do or say that matters, only that they serve as a useful (for the powers that be) and safe (for the attackers) outlet for the bitter, negative energy of the oppressed.

    The current Saudi King has been the real boss of the country for thirteen years, and has had some hand in the education of his subjects and others for over a generation. He prattles about interfaith “tolerance” and funds millions of dollars supposedly to achieve it, but these angry young subjects of his felt no need to learn anything of the sort.

    Is the King’s true legacy KAUST or the legions of young men primed with hate and ready to kill at the drop of a hat and destroy in the cause of religious bigotry?

  18. Just out of curiosity, I did some research on KFUPM and if Wikipedia actually means anything (at this point it doesn’t) then:

    As of October 2008, THE – QS World University Rankings ranked KFUPM at 338 out of the top 400 universities around the world.

    From Harvard college’s own website:

    US Students: 233 (63 % of MPH students)

    International Students: 136 from 39 countries (37% of MPH students)

    I don’t know if this means anything, but to the dude who was griping about KAUST serving expats and not Saudis, the day you guys are willing to:
    1. work as hard as us
    2. be able to change your own bed without the need of a maid (slave) from
    3. admit to yourselves and the rest of the world that YES KSA is ALSO a part of the continent of Asia (just like a Georgian, Indian, Thai, Afghani, vietnamese)
    4. that you don’t need to snap fingers at a waiter working for insulting wages
    5. that traffic rules are meant to be obeyed… ALWAYS
    6. that emergency stop lane (known by us “expats” as the Saudi Lane) is meant for EMERGENCY STOPS
    7. that you guys just rioted and it was us EXPATS that cleaned up after you (again).
    8. that your BULLSHIT attitude about expats is similar to some of the american uneducated racists
    9. that nationalism whether saudi or otherwise is AGAINST islam, is ‘asabiyah, is a sign of jahiliyah, and was considered as kufr prophet muhammad (S).

    when you can see the above and recognize that ISLAM was all about ittaqullah and tazkiah al-nafs, then there would never be a need to even have this discussion about kaust, riots, and the hatred towards us expats, most of whom are muslim. get it?

    • Great, you’re telling me about Tazkiah al nafs while at the same time calling me an ignorant barbarian.

      You PAY to go to Harvard (or receive a scholarship) but you DO NOT pay to go to KAUST.

      Instead, you are PAYED to go to KAUST from the goverments pocket.

      A government should pay for the welfare of it’s own citizens, not other nation’s citizens. That is in no way racist or xenophobic.

  19. I understand that some young men accused of rioting have been publicly whipped. I suppose that counts as an education “at the university of reality”.

    Yet these are young adults, not children. Does whipping teach them that what they did was wrong, or that they shouldn’t get caught? If they felt they were oppressed before, what do they think after this?

  20. If they were whipped, and they were rioting then let that be a lesson to them. They have no right to:
    1. harrass
    2. destroy property
    3. cause mayhem

    If they did the crime, let them face the consequences. Don’t waste anyone’s intellecual breath. YOUR UofR should be a bit … just a bit of truth about KSA. What I wrote to Mohammad S might not be answered at least by him because he is probably steaming between the ears. The saudi attitude toward work, expats, and themselves should be exposed to the rest of the world.

    I have always said, make me head of the traffic police, I will fix them ALL up.

  21. @Hassan A Al-Jeshi
    Slaam alaikum. I understand how it works. I am a member of a tribe myslef (though not saudi).I am sure as you know well RasulAllah was against the tribal system, and tried to both unify the tribes through marriage as well as establishment of Deen-Illah. He was also weiling to destroy the tribal system as well. The proof? The various gazawaat where family members were pitted against each other. Tjhe tribal system MUST be broken. To be honest if I was the traffic police chief I could care less about who belongs to what tribe. Did rasul allah care? Since Allah will not judge us on our tribe, and rasul allah fought even against his own tribe members, then NO ONE has the right to put these considerations into making decisions about obedience to the law. NO ONE.

    This is an example of what I mean:

    A man from the Copts(Copts are the Christians living in Egypt) came to Omar ibn al-Khattab in Al-Madinah, and said, “O Commander of the
    Faithful! I seek refuge in you from oppression.” Omar replied, “You have sought refuge where it is to be sought.” The Egyptian said, “I was racing the son of `Amr ibn al-`Aas, and defeated him. Then he
    began to beat me with a whip saying: I am the Son of Nobles!”

    So Omar wrote to `Amr commanding him to appear before him with his son. So they appeared before him. Omar inquired, “Where is the Egyptian? He is to take the whip and beat him!” Then the Egyptian
    began to beat the son of `Amr with the whip as `Umar said to him, “Beat the Son of Nobles!”

    Anas said, “So he beat him. I swear by Allah, as he was beating him we pitied his wailing. He did not desist until we stopped him.”

    Then Omar said to the Egyptian, “Now beat the whip upon `Amr’s bald head!” He replied, “O Commander of the Faithful! For it was his son
    who beat me, and I have evened the score with him.”

    Upon this Omar said to `Amr, “Since when do you enslave the people when their mothers bore them as free men?” He said, “O Commander of the Faithful! I was unaware of this, and he did not come to me (for justice).”

    I am getting pissed off as I am writing this so I better stop[ here.

  22. Setting aside the anti-Semitic/Islamophobic rhetoric, the natural phenomenon of tribalism is in absolute contradiction to the ethics of Islam and needless to say that the Quran and Sunna, while recognizing it, ostracized it to the point of abolition. The prophet, while from Bani Hashim of Quraish the most prominent tribe at that time, married Maria Alqibt’ya, a Coptic slave.

    Though, it remains a very effective political and military tool as history witnesses. The Umayyads used it and so has the Ottomans and the Brits (etc) to divide and rule, even through proxy, the tribes of Arabia. Each of these empires’ best interest lies on promoting tribalism to legitimize their own rule, and hence you see some tribal chiefs glorified in a way or another.

    Sometimes the social factor trumps the rational or religious, as in the case of Muslims in India still influenced by the cast system. The problem in modern-day Saudi is the shameless efforts of conceptualizing tribalism through twisting some reports of the prophet. Inevitably, the most grotesque depiction of tribalism seeped to the “legal system” when a judge dissolved a marriage on the bases of non-compatibility of lineage once the brothers of the wife sued, separating a family of 5.

  23. @ ZZ

    I don’t know what you meant by saying ” when you willing to work as hard as us”, first what is “us” referring to, anyway unless you have been living in a cave for the past decade or so, Saudi students can and are competing with the best of them. Many Saudi Students have graduated from Ivy leagues school in the US, and the UK with distinctions. And what does the percentage of student population which I was “griping” about have anything to do with domestic helpers, waiters, or traffic violations. I think you have some issues, deal with it.

    Realizing that KAUST is mainly a research center, still that doesn’t negate the need to have more Saudi students at the University, I do believe many more Saudi are capable and can compete at KAUST. I don’t know of any other University where the local students have very few seats in their own university. The rest of the students which 95% of the whole student bodies are on full scholarship/fellowship, and I believe they get monthly allowance to top it off. Don’t you think that very generous, Mr. Z?!

  24. @Persona_non_grata

    I am not living in a cave. I live (no sorry I work) in KSA. Are you saying that KSA is a cave? By “us” I mean people like me, expats. Tell me how many Saudi’s work in the positions that we do. Saudis bark about Saudization, yet won’t work the basic industries. Is there an effort to Saudize the street maintainers, the janitors, the mechanical laborers, the MAIDS?!? I say if the Saudis gripe about the expats here, then start at home. Hire a Saudia as a maid. Stop barking like a dog about the expats who you think get everything when you people are not willing to work even 75% of what we do.

    Come on smart guy, like I said, unless you are willing to work AS HARD AS US, There is a phrase in Asia ( you might not know about it since you most Saudis mistakenly believe they are not in Asia) “The acquisition of Halal earnings is Ibadat”. That means no legal job should be below you, or deemed dishonorable. Yet you only mentioned University students. I am talking about EVERYTHING, even the “dirty” jobs.

    You ask, “what does the percentage of student population which I was “griping” about have anything to do with domestic helpers, waiters, or traffic violations”. It has everything to do with it. Unless you guys understand that life is not about getting a handout from your government, that you are not exempt from the rules of life, and in this example the rules of the road, and that those who are the hardest working people are more honorable than those who tell them to work hard, you will ALWAYS have fewer students in KAUST (or any other university).
    Since you don’t want to talk about HARD work, let’s talk about university students. I myself was approached by my saudi “muslim brothers” to do their school work for them (“please help your brother in need”). So when you say they graduated with distinction, and I am sure they have (one advanced research biologist from KSA was jailed on charges of conspiracy to terrorism) but then just from my own observation I have to wonder what percentage of them took the easy route?

    As far as KAUST giving out stipends. KAUST is no different than any other advanced university in that regard. They ALL get stipends. So they are not more generous than the universities in the rest of the world. As far as having more Saudi students, they want to have the reputation that they will get only the best of the best students. So if a Saudi student graduating from KFUPM can compete against students from the rest of the world then let him have a place in KFUPM, otherwise go somewhere else.

    The rules in life are hard, they are not different and should not be different for you.

    You complain about KAUST. Fine then make it ALL open for everyone. Let a non-Saudi be a manager of sales, if he is qualified. Let him have the ability to FIRE a Saudi then. Neither of which is the case. You people get a free ride at work because no one can fire you, you work the least, which is why no one want to hire you. … go man.. keep complaining about KAUST. I am giving you the secret to make your country a better place and you want to talk to me about quotas. Now that’s a cave.

  25. @Mohamed S
    @everyone

    Did the phrase “ignorant barbarian” come out of my keyboard? @Mohamed S don’t read too much into, or get offended by, what anyone says. Most people have a problem with that, but in the end it is wrong.

    • Yes you tell us to “stop barking like a dog”, call us lazy,slave owners, have a bullshit attitude and even called me a kaffir for being nationalistic .

      While you didn’t write “ignorant barbarian” you surely meant it. The only hater here is you.

      And look, you don’t like the country, then leave. No one put shackles on people from the Indian subcontinent and forced them to work in Saudi Arabia, they all came here willingly and now that’s it’s been 30 odd something years they should know what to expect but they still keep on coming.

      Also, the have started Saudization of maids services and besides.

      Also stop using anecdotal evidence. It makes your entries seems like rants instead of debates.

      Also, you are crazy if you think all Universities give out stipends. Most people around the world save up for university when their children are born! Most university graduates pay off the loans used to pay for their higher education for years after they graduate so I don’t know where this bullshit idea that all Universities give stipends comes from.

  26. Sorry I have to make a correction:

    It should read
    if a Saudi student graduating from KFUPM can compete against students from the rest of the world then let him have a place in KAUST, otherwise go somewhere else.

  27. Persona,

    As far as I have learned from KAUST’s website, and a few students that are enrolled there, the admission process is very fair and the basis for it seems to be on previous academic qualifications. There are no ‘seats’ or any prejudice against any nationality. It seems to be the case that KAUST is enrolling the best applicants, regardless of their citizenship.

    Saudi students at KAUST are enrolled based on their qualifications. I’m sure if there were more Saudi applicants with relevant and competitive qualifications, they would have been conisdered.

    • Yes, I am not disputing that fact. The fact that I am disputing is why is the government paying to educate foreign nationals? If they qualify for the University then they should pay tuition fees like all other advanced Universities world wide.

  28. @Add
    Don’t worry about Persona_non_grata. It’s all about the handouts. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country”. They must have missed that speech.

    • LOL at that.

      Kennedy greatly increased funding for Education and economic aid (ie “handouts”) to rural regions as well as the first president to spend over 100 billion dollars.

      Also, he’s a democrat: The party of handouts.

  29. @ ZZ

    It seems that the whole point of your argument is your total distaste for Saudi Arabia, and its people. So may I add my voice to Mohammed and gently tell you if you don’t like here, there is something called “exit only visa” get one, and a one way ticket home. Problem solved.

  30. @Mohamed S

    >Yes you tell us to “stop barking like a dog”, >call us lazy, slave owners, have a bullshit >attitude and even called me a kaffir for being >nationalistic.
    1. When you complain about foreigners then you are barking
    2. Lazy is a most apt description…. Shall I give you documentation or will you accept what is right in your fact?
    3. Your attitude towards foreigners is BS, yes
    4. I didn’t call you a kaffir for being nationalist. PROPHET MUHAMMAD (S) said that ‘asabiyyah is KUFR. You have no right to criticize me for referencing him in its proper context. YOU need to change that attitude.

    >While you didn’t write “ignorant barbarian” you >surely meant it. The only hater here is you.

    Nah, I merely responded to the hate. If someone speaks to me in English, you think it would make sense for me to respond in German? Someone speaks the language of hate, so I respond in the language that he understands

    >And look, you don’t like the country, then >leave. No one put shackles on people from >the Indian subcontinent and forced them to >work in Saudi Arabia, they all came here >willingly and now that’s it’s been 30 odd >something years they should know what to >expect but they still keep on coming.

    Actually the problem is that they DO NOT know what to expect.

    Beaten, Locked Up for Refusing to Be a Maid
    Ebtihal Mubarak & Ronald Concha, Arab News

    Guest Worker May Lose Digits, Toes After Being Tied Up in Bathroom for a Month
    Hassan Adawi, Arab News

    Expat not allowed to attend mom’s funeral
    Hassna’a Mokhtar | Arab News

    Abuse of Authority
    Bushra Faisal Al-Sebaei • Okaz
    ….In yet another incident, the commission arrested 38 Saudi employees of a shopping center in Riyadh and then chained and beat them.

    Philippine Embassy Seeks Custody of Two Abused OFWs
    Arab News
    JEDDAH, 20 July 2005 — The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh said yesterday it wants to take custody of two Filipino women workers who have accused their sponsors of severely beating them up.

    Police arrest impersonators robbing expats
    Yousuf Muhammad | Arab News

    http://arabnews.com/?page=17&section=21&d=30&m=7&y=2008&mode=dynamic&sectionlist=no&pix=interact.jpg&category=Interact
    Murder of workers
    It is sad to learn that an Indian worker, who had gone to the help of a colleague who was being assaulted by his supervisor for a minor lapse, was beaten mercilessly and has died later after 11 days in hospital.

    Let me repeat what you just wrote….

    >And look, you don’t like the country, then >leave.

    Once again, the same idiot (you will accuse me of calling you an idiot, I am saying YES you are) racist

    >No one put shackles on people from the >Indian subcontinent and forced them to work >in Saudi Arabia, they all came here willingly

    They were lied to and deceived, and once they get here they are in SLAVE conditions where it is extremely difficult to leave. So YEAH it is slavery.

    >and now that’s it’s been 30 odd something >years they should know what to expect but >they still keep on coming.

    abuse, lack of payment and injustice

    >Also, the have started Saudization of maids >services and besides.

    Unless you provide documentation, It is ANECDOTAL rants. Prove me wrong. Show me the money.

    >Also stop using anecdotal evidence. It makes >your entries seems like rants instead of >debates.

    >Also, you are crazy if you think all Universities >give out stipends.

    I didn’t say that. I said Universities for students who are earning ADVANCED DEGREES (PhDs) give stipends. If I didn’t make that clear then my bad.

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