January 16, 2007

Saudi 30

December 27, 2006

Hope you all had a great Christmas. I bought myself a 12-string guitar and a computer
Scrabble game. I do not have any plans for New Year’s Eve.

Once I told you there were no privately owned airplanes in Saudi… I was wrong. There
are no SMALL privately owned airplanes here, but there are a lot of privately owned
747s set up with dance floors, business center, wow.

It is Friday with Saddam heading to the gallows, perhaps as early as today. I know the
guy killed lots of people, but it has an eerie feel to it. No sitting on death row for 14 years
for him. And, sounds like it will spawn more violence. More violence.

January 1.

Saddam is gone. It is very sad that those who executed him chose to take the lower road
by heckling him as they got ready to kill him. Don’t think any of this will end until
people realize that more blood won’t solve anything.

Hey – on a brighter note, did I even tell you that the ads on TV here usually are not about
products? Nope. Programming announcements, previews of movies on other channels.
There are a few. Some are really excellent – on empowering women (a Care.org
commercial) and AID/HIV alerts. Mercedes Benz has a short one about their armored

Other ads suggest traveling to other countries: Armenia, Croatia, Malta,Egypt, India,
Hong Kong, Singapore and some African countries. Other advertisers want people to
invest in countries. Nigeria and Poland for instance. The Kuwait Fund boasts investment
in African countries which are helping pull Africa out of poverty.

January 2, 2007
Well, whoever allowed partisan Shiites to participate in the execution goofed. Apparently
the executioners danced around the body. Not good.

I was quite disturbed while watching a BBC end of the year/next year discussion group.
Two panelists were adamant that Saudi Arabia is a very negative influence in the region.
One accused it, again, of state sponsored terrorism and being the source of Al Qaeda.
The government here goes to great extremes to find Al Quaeda people and though there
maybe individuals who contribute to that cause, I’m sure, if caught, they are stopped. Bin
Laden wants to over throw the royal family and install a fundamentalist Islamic
government.. There may be conservatives here who want that, but no one I know. Jeddah
is a more liberal city. The King wants to modernize some of the policies here. Dar Al
Hekma could not exist under a fundamentalist regime.

I’ve only been here 16 months. That doesn’t make me a middle east expert… I know that.
But, Saudi Arabia is not the evil country some people try to make it and neither are the
Saudi people. Dunno. Lots of sabre rattling. Doesn’t help that the King did say they
would support Sunnis in Iraq. Since Saudi Arabia is an ally of the US, that is seen as a
viable threat. It is true the Saudi government does not want to have a Shiite country (with
the Sunnis having been eradicated) being on a Northern border. The Saudis fear that
country with the help of Iran would invade Saudi Arabia.

If the current government in Iraq wants to unify the country, the PM is going about it the
wrong way.

So, 2007 is here. Somehow we made it into another year. Oh – one of my students
created a newsletter (the actual assignment for Editorial and Book Design, they could
pick their own topics) on war – keeping score on all the conflicts around the world. The
tagline is: War Watchers.

S of A

Posted by at 9:23 AM