We Would Like to Breathe

For some reason, Arab News chooses not to name KSU when they write about the stifling restrictions Saudi Arabia’s oldest university impose on their female students. Considering how this country is obsessed with segregation, there is no surprise here. And the ironic thing is, they say the university “is supposed to be a place where young women experience greater freedoms.” Says who? Wake up girls! This is freakin’ K of SA you are living in. The university, as you may expect, claim that the point of these restrictions is to protect the students. Again, no surprise. Welcome to Saudi Arabia, where everyone claims moral authority over the rest.

In the other hand, the newspaper chooses to name another university in Riyadh, Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University, which supposedly is even more strict than KSU. It is said that IMSIU is to launch a new college of medicine, but according to Ali Al Mousa in Al Watan daily, the university president could not answer the question of whether female students would be accepted in the new college. Al Mousa tends to cut the president some slack because answering that question might put him in confrontation with the extremists who would, for sure, use the ‘segregation’ card. Let’s wait and see how this drama is going to play out.

And in case you didn’t know, the extremists are not only controlling the campuses in Saudi Arabia, but they also managed to extend their notorious control to the press in neighboring Kuwait, where this article by Dalaa’ Al Mufti was banned from Al Qabas daily, apparently because Al Mufti dared to comment on the ridiculous decision of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice to spend SR 700,000 on a study that examines the mingling of the sexes and its “harmful effects” on the society. I’ve told you that these people are obsessed, right?

Love/Hate

Let’s face it. Despite what Philips may try to tell (or sell) you, life is not simple. We usually try to simplify it by generalizing and using stereotypes but that doesn’t always work. This has much to do with the fact that we human beings are very complex. We are not simple creatures folks. And this, I believe, where this kind of love/hate relationships come from.

1 – Riyadh
I love it because living in this city has given me opportunities I would never had if I stayed in my beloved hometown back in the EP, but I hate its hypocrisy, rudeness, sharp contrasts, restrictions and traffic jams.

2 – KSU
I love almost nothing about it except that some of my favorite intellectuals such as Khalid Al Dakhil, Hatoon Al Fassi and Matruk Al Faleh supposedly belong to this entity. I hate almost everything about it especially that these very same intellectuals are not allowed to teach here because someone thinks they will corrupt the minds of our youth.

3 – Relationships
I love them because they can provide you with a sense of security and peace that you can’t feel it on your own. I hate them because in a society like ours they are risky, shaky and so complicated you usually have little or no control over how they progress.

4 – Religious TV channels
I love watching them every now and then because they offer a form of entertainment rarely found anywhere else: laughing at something not intended to be funny. I hate them because in most cases they promote a very narrow-minded agenda that would actually hurt the religion they claim to represent.

5 – iPhone
I love the multi-touch large colorful screen, the amazing UI and immediate responsiveness, the SMS app, YouTube, etc. I hate the Apple lock that makes it hard to use for regular people without some hacking and geekery, no SMS forwarding, the inability to copy contacts from the SIM, and few other little things. But now that Apple have to offer the iPhone in France unlocked I hope most of these problems would be solved soon.