Abdullah al-Eyaf, Ahmed Bin Baz

  • If you enjoyed reading about Abdulmohsen al Mutairi and young Saudi filmmakers, you probably want to read this interview with director Abdullah Al-Eyaf. His latest film, “Ayesh,” has been well received and won the first award of the Gulf Film Festival that was recently held in Dubai.
  • In the second part of a series on Saudi Arabia, GlobalPost runs this piece by Caryle Murphy who profiles the upstart scholar Ahmed Bin Baz. I have been reading for the young Bin Baz for a while now, so I’m not surprised by the opinions he offers in this interview. However, I’m a bit surprised to see Dr. Mohammed al-Hodaif, father of the late Hadeel al-Hodaif, likens Bin Baz to Paris Helton in the sense that he is using his father’s name to become famous. Totally uncalled for.
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Filmmakers, open letter to MoDo, muttawa hunt

  • Whenever someone asks me what interesting things Saudis are doing, I tell them to look at our rising group of young filmmakers. They are determined, passionate, and hardworking. Abu Dhabi’s The National caught up with my friend Abdulmuhsen al Mutairi when he was shooting his latest short film. “If you believe in art, you can make something, and in the beginning you will make very low, medium-quality work,” he said. “But if you continue to learn from your mistakes and the reviews of your audience, you will have something.”
  • Sarah Haji at MMW has an open letter to Maureen Dowd regarding her latest Vanity Fair travel piece about Saudi Arabia. “So unless you’re a self-righteous Times columnist with a history of thinking that thousands of years of culture and tradition should tremble in your Western wake, you should attempt not to project all of your customs onto another people,” Sarah writes.
  • Eman al-Nafjan aka Saudiwoman announced last week she was taking a break from her blog. Then she discovered she just can’t be away from the blog. How cute is that? So on her comeback post, she takes an expat friend who is about to leave the country to the mall on a Muttawa hunt. They got lucky in Riyadh Gallery, where they had a chance to witness a classic CPVPV raid on shoppers. Good times.

Malik Nejer profile, King Abdullah & Obama meeting

  • After reading his name on this blog, Caryle Murphy decided to meet Malik Nejer and then she wrote this nice profile of him for The National daily, which is based in Abu Dhabi. “Sometimes it’s scary when you’re alone and you feel like you’re rebellious against a culture and an entire society,” he said. But I don’t think this is the case anymore. Thanks to the internet, Malik and other artists and activists who challenge the conventional wisdom of our conformist society have come to realize that they are not alone, and that there are at least some people out there who are like-minded and have similar ideas.
  • Abdullah Alami will be happy to hear this:

    “I want to also thank our friends, the American people, and I also would like to thank our friends here in the media,” King Abdullah said at the end of his statement. “May God spare us from all of the bad things they can do to us.” As Obama chucked, Abdullah added, “And may God bless us with all the positive things they can do for us and for humanity.” Obama chimed in: “Well, that is an excellent prayer. Thank you.”

    Here’s the video. The quote above starts at 8:35.

Saudi-US relationship, Graduates taking jobs they don’t want

  • King Abdullah will meet the American President Barack Obama in the White House next week. In this piece for The Majalla, Caryle Murphy examines the changing nature of the Saudi-US bilateral ties over the past 20 years. The previously so-called “special relationship” has become what both countries now refer to as a “strategic dialogue.”
  • Rima al-Mukhtar, who recently said she hates free lance [sic], reports that many Saudi college graduates are taking on jobs that are unrelated to their degrees due to a lack of available opportunities and a loathing for being unemployed. Boo. But seriously, only seven percent of jobs are available to Saudi women?
  • KAUST’s Museum of Science and Technology in Islam (MOSTI) has redesigned their website. The Museum celebrates the contributions of Muslim scholars to science and technology during the first Golden Age of Islam. Admission to MOSTI currently is limited to the university community and its invited guests. No word on when it will be open to the public.