Can You See the Rest of Us?

Janadriya festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The King inaugurated yesterday the two-week cultural extravaganza at Janadriya village, 45 km north-east of the capital. The festival will offer a variety of cultural dances, a massive open-air operetta, plays, seminars and more. The festival is organized by the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG), and has claimed even more significance since King Abdullah ascended the throne. After all, SANG is King Abdullah’s institution.

Out of the many events that take place during Janadriya, the operetta attracts most of the media’s attention. The operetta features the country’s finest talents in poetry, music, and acting. The King takes a front seat at the show every year, and the event is transmitted live on television.

Tonight Dubai-based MBC will broadcast the operetta, entitled “The Unity of Nation,” and during last week the satellite channel has been showing this promo over and over again:

The official name of Janadriya festival is “The National Culture and Heritage Festival of Saudi Arabia.” Does this promo represent what this festival is all about? Does it really convey the message of this event? I don’t think so.

For starters, apparently no one at MBC has a problem with the mispronunciation of the national anthem’s lyrics. Like it or not, I think this is just plain wrong. Now coming to the desert theme. Not only it is cliche and overused, it’s also a misrepresentation of our country. How many Saudis ride horses these days anyway? I keep telling foreigners that there is much more about Saudi Arabia than desert and camels, and then MBC come and give me this?!

The operetta is entitled “The Unity of Nation,” but I’m afraid that MBC could not see anything in this nation except for Najd. Where are the mountains of Aseer? Where are the palm trees of Ahsa? Where are the beaches of Jeddah and Dammam? Where is Makkah and Madinah? Where is the rest of Saudi Arabia?

Dear MBC, why can’t you see the rest of us?