This is for Talal

Talal and me

Saudi Jeans leaves much to be desired, I reckon. But I’m moody and lazy, and time is on short supply around here. I have been blogging for over five and a half years now, and lately I feel — you probably do, too — like I’m running out of steam. I can quit blogging for good; that would be an easy thing to do. But those who know me know that I don’t do easy. I hate easy. I just don’t think it’s time for me to stop. Not yet, anyway. On the contrary, I have been tinkering with some exciting ideas related to blogging lately, and my initial impression is really positive. Now keep in mind that I’m usually very pessimistic and I don’t use the word “positive” lightly.

All of this came to my mind earlier this week, when I revived Riyadh bloggers meetup after long months of hiatus and several requests by friends to bring it back. It was great to see the guys, as always, and the discussions were interesting and thought-stimulating. In the middle of the meetup, someone I don’t know called me up and asked me if I could speak with him for a minute. He then introduced himself: Z Theory, a longtime commenter on my blog. I invited him to join us but he politely declined. Holding his coffee-to-go in his hand, he said some nice things and then quickly excused himself and left. It was great to finally meet you, man!

After the meetup came to an end around 10:30 PM, I went to the nearby mall to buy dinner. I was standing at the counter, waiting for my food to be prepared, and at the other end of the counter there was a woman carrying her one-year-old baby. I noticed she was looking at me, but I’m used to being stared at, so I didn’t mind. Then she suddenly asked: “are you Saudi Jeans?” Um, yes, I said. She asked if she could take a picture of the little boy with me. “Sure,” I said. Except for these two words, I was speechless. I was embarrassed and I just didn’t know what to say.

Moments like these are strange and nice. Of course you can easily dismiss me as D-list celebrity wannabe, you can insult me and call me names, you can make fun of me and my obvious lack of social skills. If that’s going to make you feel better about yourself, by all means go ahead and do it. But for me, it’s much more simple. It is about doing what I like to do, and then being recognized for it. Fame? It has never been about fame, although, like my friend Abdulrahman al-Lahem, I don’t mind becoming famous for doing something I believe in. In this age, when some people are famous for being famous, being famous because of a blog is not such a horrible thing, I guess.

However, I certainly don’t blog for fame. I blog for myself, first and foremost. I’m selfish like that. But when I get frustrated and feel like this blog is a worthless piece of crap because nothing will ever change, I’d like to think that I’m also blogging for Talal, Joori, Mohammed, and Khattab. I believe that they deserve a better country, and we must not let them down. We cannot afford to let them down.

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25 thoughts on “This is for Talal

  1. Dude, you are a leader whether you want to acknowledge it or not. If you stopped blogging, you would feel smothered. Obviously, you need to express yourself and as the saying goes, :the pen is mightier than the sword”, or something like that……..but please don’t deprive us of what’s on your mind. Your efforts are making a difference. It’s just that the difference at this point isn’t in the form of what you deem it should be. Let that “difference” grow and move in it’s own time. Sometimes we have to be the seed planted and let others take it from there. Just my thoughts…..

  2. Hey, Ahmed. If I run into you in a Riyadh mall, I will smack you a kiss. I am sure you would not mind. I would do it for my son Talal.

  3. Nice post Ahmed. Your blog is in my permanent Chrome load list. Pleasant blog with original ideas and interesting perspective.
    I will say hi to you – but no kisses here – when I spot you somewhere in the Khobar area – I hope you walk around here.
    (and please don’t quit).

  4. I am sad to hear that you might stop blogging. You presence and voice, and collection of comments is essential for the maintence of hope and faith for females across the Islamic world.
    Even if you feel at times, that you do not have support – or followng or impact – it is not so.

  5. HEy!! i am a very recent reader of your blog and i got hooked to it…..tht i chek it every day if thr is nything new posted by u!! i know it sounds a bit sad as in i have tht much tyme on ma hand but i think its wat u write nd teh way u write makes us wana keep reading!! i m not a saudi but sombody who has lived a looong time thr nd feel it as ma own!!
    I truly agree tht if u get fame by doing wat u believe in …….is the true fame!!! we don’t have many deservable famous ppl in our communities so i say u earned it rightly :D!!!
    I wish u the very best in wateve u do cuz i think u’ll b on top in whr ever u be……thnx for those 5 nd half yr of ur life too :)

  6. You’re not just blogging for Saudis, you know. I look forward to your posts. As an American, I knew nothing of Saudis and Saudi Arabia until I found your blog. I realize that now. Thank you very much for reaching out to the world.

  7. It all sounds rather normal to me, in that even one’s passions wane unless there is a new stimulus, in the form of a new approach or thread, whatever; and that doing anything only for oneself without some recognition for it, and a feeling of community about it, eventually leaves one feeling stale even if one is not really.

    I very much enjoy your blog and learn from it, including about blogging as social activism. I do think yours is one that is uniquely situated as a genuine insider’s view that appeals more broadly, and has a clear social activism agenda. Remember that the best change happens slowly, incrementally, and lastingly. It doesn’t make for the best films but it does make for better societies.

    All the best, and take Souma up on the offer, for sure!

  8. Ahmed,
    Please don’t stop blogging. Even prize-winning columnists for the New York Times and Washington Post have “off” days. Anyone can say something insightful 3 or 4 times a year. It takes real talent to have something to say twice a week, and you always do. — Mark

  9. ارجو ان تستمر في التدوين … فالتغيير يتم ببطء دائماً..ووطني يستحق منك الافضل

    شكراً لك على لباقتك

    ’’اتمنى ان يكون ابني مدون جيد في المستقبل’’’0’

  10. You’re already famous Ahmad ofcourse you know that. And in my opinion you deserve all the fame you have. To me you’re an inspiration, coming from the same background as all of us, yet doing something different, intelligent, and interesting (you’re from my bloody university man, i know how it feels). Keep it up and never quit, you’re good.

  11. Saudi Arabia is going through changes Women of Saudi Arabia went from total blackout where they can never be seen to a situation where it became normal to see their faces especially in the newspaper . Tomorrow (inshallah) you will be able see them members in ” Shoura” council ,and working in government offices .Keep the hopes up. let’s be there when such things happen , when normal life is restored to Saudi Arabia .

  12. Don’t stop blogging! It’s completely normal that you have periods where you are less involved in a blog. Keep up the good work!

    And what a lovely photo!

  13. Very touchy blog Ahmed :)
    Keep up the great work. Joori will thank you someday for caring about her and all other kids of this country we love so deep.

    I’ll be looking forward for your new blogging ideas since I share with you the “pleasant” nature of being very pessimistic.

  14. Happy New Year Ahmed – May it keep you safe and healthy in these difficult times. May God bless us all, each and every one.

  15. Keep on blogging bro, until u cannot blog anymore…

    Then get some needed R&R and blog again :)

    As I like to say… blogging ain’t easy, but somebody’s gotta do it ;)

  16. ما شاء الله

    All the best for you Ahmed.

    In a crazy big world like this. At least you can make a little difference with your work.

  17. It was a truly pleasure meeting you Ahmed, even if for few moments. I would’ve loved to sit and chat in more colloquial settings.
    What you are doing serves a higher calling that continues to echo with your and other blogs. You should be proud of what you have done thus far, and what still yet to accomplish; I know I am.

  18. Ahmed – You are a logical, fair and sane voice that needs to be heard in this crazy world. Please don’t stop blogging. There is so much work that needs to be done. I love that you feel an obligation to the young people of this country to help make it better for them. I know you are also working for the little Emans, the Lujains, and the Rawans too! Thank you for everything you do.

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