Our ‘State of the Union’ Address?

King Abdullah will open the new cycle of Shoura Council with a major speech that he will give on Tuesday. The speech is expected to highlight the goals, programs, and aspirations of the government for the current year. The King will also speak to the Shoura members about his vision for the country’s domestic and foreign policies.

But let’s pause for a moment and go back to April of last year, when the King addressed the Shoura, and many were anticipating significant announcements. Unfortunately, that speech carried nothing major. Is this a good reason not to expect much this time around? Maybe, but the recent changes in the government could be a sign that we are in for something different this year.

This is all speculation, of course. Many rumors are flying around town but no one is certain about anything. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Not holding my breath, though.

UPDATE: No big announcements in the King’s speech. Focus was on Arab unity and the international economical crisis. Read more…

How Dare You Criticize Me?

First you have some people who believe that the government cannot be criticized simply because الشيوخ أبخص, and the government know the interests of the citizens better than themselves. Then you have some officials in the government who believe they cannot be criticized because, well, they are the government, falsely thinking this gives them some kind of immunity. And now you have a Shoura member who believe he and his fellow members cannot be criticized because he claims that almost no one out there know anything about the nature of work they do under that big dome.

However, Abdullah Al Twairgi is not jut asking for immunity, but he also seeks establishing a law to punish those who dare to talk bad about the Shoura Council. Obviously the right honourable member was so offended by an episode of Tash Ma Tash that was aired in Ramadhan and lightly touched on the performance of the council, and now he wants to ban reporters from attending the council discussions until they come up with something that can silence the critics. Way to go doctor!

At least I’m glad I have not elected you.