Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Two Sides of a Sword

16/05/2012

 

Saudi Arabia is known as the country with the highest oil reserves and as the largest oil producer. The country started exporting oil since 1939 which means it is been more than 72 years since then. The infrastructure of the country was significantly developed and the face of changed as a result of the income of exporting oil for all of these years. However, corruption was there along the way resulting in a lot of waste and improper management of the huge available income.

 

More people are aware today of the fact that more than 30% of the Saudis are less than 15 years old. In the other hand, King Abdullah is about 90 years old and none of the ministers is less than 50 years old with one single exception. In many countries people talk about Generation Y and how much different they are compared to Generation X and older generations. Saudi Arabia is not an exception here. Younger people in Saudi Arabia have their own needs and expectations. Without meeting those needs and expectations, things in the future might get more difficult in different aspects.

 

As unemployment is on the rise and more youngsters are graduating from universities not only local ones but also prestigious schools from around the world, the pressures are getting more tense on the government. The fresh graduates who choose to come back home were exposed during their years abroad to new cultures and political systems that are faraway from what they’ll find home. Surely not each one of them will have the guts, time or interest to demand implementing similar changes in their country. However, some might find it the most important thing they could give back to their country and to their future kids. Many of these students are actually females. Given the current situation of females in Saudi Arabia, I don’t expect many of those female graduates to accept the statuesque. Not only the government will struggle with that, but also the more conservative groups of the society as well.

 

Social Media brought to Saudi Arabia a vibe of change like nothing else in the past ten years. Many people experienced the freedom of saying what they really feel without a lot of concern. Many realized that the country is not what they personally believe in and that others might not share with them the same views. With the impact of the Arab Spring, individuals in Saudi Arabia know that they are part of the equation and ignoring them is not really an option. It is true that Riyadh streets did not experience any protests, but many use Social Media as Saudi Arabia’s Tahrir Square. Almost nothing could stop that. The question is how far and for how long such protests will remain a cyber-phenomenon.

From another angel, such challenges to the future of Saudi Arabia can be considered as strengths and catalysts for change and better future for the country. The financial wealth available is great, however the real assets of any nation is its own people. The country has no choice but to bring more inclusion of its citizens in running things. The Royals cannot run everything and might not have the right people in the near future who have the wisdom to keep things together. Going into the future without a vision will make the country very vulnerable to any internal or external risks. The stability Saudi Arabia experienced for many years might be at risk very soon.

 

Oil and money can be here today but they are not assured for the future. Educated and dedicated citizens will not ensure the sustainability of any country. Saudi Arabia today is facing the two sides of a sword. Either it will bring prospers future or it might mean the end of any hope in the future.

 

 

Advertisements

Gaza is still waiting

17/06/2010

It is amazing how one event can change the course of prior events. The Freedom Flotilla sailed from Turkey towards Gaza in a peaceful attempt to break the Israeli siege on Gaza is one of such events. It was really great to follow, through the social networks sites Twitter and Facebook, the support to the mission of the Flotilla and the strong condemnation of the Israeli crime attacking the Mavi Marmara ship which resulted in killing 9 activists.

Yet it really seems odd that the Gaza siege is been there for almost four years. It was supported by the quartet in addition to the Egyptian government and the other so called moderate Arab governments. What happened now to make the siege of Gaza inappropriate and useless? Is it the fact that 9 Turkish citizens were killed? Are they really more worthy than 1.5 million humans living in Gaza? Was it twitter & social media? Or it might be the impact of President Obama (though he is been in the White House since the begging of the year). I’m not really sure, but glad that the world realizes now how unfair is the siege.

Writing more than two weeks after what happened allows a more rational view, I hope. The siege was unethical since day one because it was politically motivated and yet clearly directed against the people rather than the de facto government in Gaza. Resorting to a siege against the winner of a free election, this time happen to be called Hamas, sends the wrong message to the Arab World saying “Either you elect political parties that are up to the Western desires and wishes or you’ll seriously suffer”. The people at this part of the world get lectured a lot on the importance and value of dialogue, yet find out that the lecturer is unable to walk the talk.

On the other hand, I think that the wide delight over the Turkish Prime Minister Mr.  Ardogan action seem a little exaggerated and immature. However, in the Arab World we lack leaders who‏ ‏show much of value or even respect to their citizens. As a result, Mr. Ardogan’s reaction seems heroic. What I’m sure about is that Mr. Ardogan is a professional politician, regardless of his possible ideological drive for such reaction.  He’ll care most for the reaction of what he says and does in Istanbul much more than in Riyadh, Cairo or even Gaza.

Maybe it is very important to mention that the Israeli aggressive action against the Freedom Flotilla demonstrates the normal daily aggression faced by the Palestinians for as long as Israel existed. These actions keep shattering any real hope of diverting the position of Arabs opinion in favor of peace, someday.

On the other hand, some of the newspaper writers in Saudi Arabia who are, rightly or wrongly, considered as liberals did not feel that good about Turkey’s strong reaction to the incident and went into bazaar explanation such as their usual pointing to Iran and showed their worries over the Turkish involvement in the Palestinian-Israeli problems. Their highest concern goes to the worry over the potential influence of Turkey in the region in a manner that makes the reader feel like Turkey is a stranger to the region.  Such point of view reflects the anxiety of some of the regions governments over losing their regional influence, if much of it is really left.

What happened resembles a very strong humanitarian call to everyone around the globe to reconsider their view of what is happening not only in Gaza but also to the Palestinian cause and the usual Israeli claims that keep failing once they face reality.  Individuals can make a difference and collective efforts of individuals in the form of civil societies such as Free Gaza are able to create greater impact. It is true that in Saudi Arabia we lack such societies, yet we can learn and adopt such practices and in the same time create greater pressure into our government to allow the formation of such societies in the near future.

As it is important to realize how much the new media and social electronic networks allowed people to know what happens anywhere momentarily. It is important to realize that it makes it more difficult to be honest and sure about the news that goes around. I must admit that a point of time, I re-twitted a message saying that more than 40 people were killed as a result of the Israeli attack on the Flotilla. Killing one person or ten is surely a crime. Yet, being objective and reliable must be part of using such wide reach communication means.

It is been more than two weeks since Israel killed the nine activists, yet nothing changed much for the people of Gaza. The pressure to lift the siege shall be maintained to allow the people of Gaza to live at the minimum of proper human conditions.