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Saudi Arabia: Government Cracking Down on Bloggers, New Saudi Ambassador to US, and More

A Press frenzy over Saudi school curriculums, a govermental campaign targeting a number of male Saudi bloggers, Anna Nicole Smith, Kareem Amer, forced divorces, a new government program to fight corruption, and much more are keeping the Saudi blogosphere lively.

Khloud did a great job at summarizing a recent BBC article that talks about King Fahad Academy's regret over some books, parts of which label Jews as “repugnant” and Christians as “pigs.” Ash, who happens to have spent 12 years in that school up until 1999, claims that it's all a “damn lie,” and elaborates on the recent hysteria:

It started when a teacher Colin Cook, who taught my brother btw :P decided to take legal actions against my school after being dismissed in 2005. Honestly I don’t really care if he wins or not he feels he was unlawfully dismissed that’s his problem and he has to deal with it, BUT to drag my school's name through the mud?!?!

According to Bloggers Observatory there has been a recent governmental campaign against 4 Saudi male bloggers, Fouad Al-Farhan, Riyadhawi, Mashi Sah (translates to “On the Right Track”), and Rajul Al-Huriyya (translates to “Man of Freedom”). This did not go unaddressed by other bloggers; Al-Failasouf (translates to “The Philosopher”) has written (in Arabic) a post about it and titled it “A Letter.” He began it with: “Our silence, as Saudi bloggers, in itself, is a shameful thing.” Aya addressed a similiar case; the sentencing of Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Suleiman (pseudo name: Kareem Amer) to four years in prison for “the crime of insulting the president and inciting hatred of Islam.”

Crossroads Arabia have also been very busy recently. In one week, they updated on the recent Valentine's-day-related punishments, Adel Al-Jubeir's formal assignment as Saudi ambassador to the US, HR groups protesting Saudi beheadings, cyber activism by Saudi women, and both forced divorce cases of Fatima and ex-husband Mansour, and Rania and ex-husband Saud.

Regarding the most-recent death of celebrity Anna Nicole Smith, Yazeed seems to have had it with the obsessive media coverage of the case. He is disappointed with CNN's Larry King and said: “Every night, every single night (I like to have CNN on when I sleep) that's all he talks about, he has the same guests (almost), talking about the wacky case.” He also said that he is changing his “sleep channel” to Fox News. This whole craze has certainly turned some heads. Aya thinks that the media regards Anna Nicole's death more important than Iraq. Speaking of Iraq, Ubergirl87 raised some very interesting questions, in a recent post, regarding the wartorn country.

Our favorite couple in the Saudi blogosphere, Two Dykes and a Closet, return once more with some news; The L Word DVDs are being sold right now in Saudi. Maybe these two girls would like to know that Crossroads Arabia is, yet again, sharing a very interesting article with its readers; “Saudi Lesbians Coming out of the Closet.”

Now, to wrap up…

Sous posted about the hassles of getting a maid in Saudi. Sam linked to an article that talks about a Saudi being sentenced to death for joyriding. Personally, however, I'm not really sure that the car was stolen. Syed was evoked by a funny picture to talk about Saudi marriages and related divorce rates. Green Tea posted (in Arabic) about a national strategy, devised by the Saudi Council of Ministers, to “protect integrity and fight corruption” amongst government officials, regardless of rank. Here is a related English article on the Khaleej Times Online website.

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