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Saudi Arabia: 2007 Riyadh International Book Fair, Ahmadinejad's Visit to the Kingdom, and More

This week's roundup includes more on Saudi broken blogs, Ahmadinejad's first visit to Saudi Arabia, a humble letter to the Saudi Minister of Labor, the capture of suspects of the attacks on French citizens in Madain Saleh, male belly dancers, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles’ reassignment as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, the Saudi victory on MBC's show “Al Tahaddi,” what some bloggers thought of the 2007 Riyadh International Book Fair, and much more.

The Iranian president has recently paid his first visit to the Kingdom a couple of days ago. According to the Yahoo! News article, they “pledged to fight the spread of sectarian strife in the Middle East” and “stressed the importance of maintaining Palestinian unity and bringing security to Iraq.” However, we must realize that this is what the Saudi Press Agency said. Crossroads Arabia posted an article about the Iranian take on the talks with Saudi Arabia. Neal of Arabia has reported on Her Majesty's now-former-Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles’, reassignment to Afghanistan as part of the British attempt to expand diplomatic presence there.

NeeArt posted (in Arabic) her take on the situation of the recently-abandoned Saudi blogs, mentioned in last week's roundup. She thinks that the bloggers’ decisions have more to do with increasing tensions, divisions among Saudi bloggers, and hearsay than governmental or political reasons; it's a very interesting perspective. Raed Al-Saeed has posted (in Arabic) a humble letter to Dr. Ghazi Abdul Rahman Algosaibi, the Saudi Minister of Labor. His letter mainly addresses the issue of Saudization in the job market. His solution is to place Saudis and non-Saudis seeking employment in similiar conditions, instead of forcing policy.

Numerous bloggers have reported on the 2007 Riyadh International Book Fair. Before the actual date of the fair, Saudi Jeans (a.k.a. Ahmed Al-Omran) hoped “it would be a good assortment of brain food” and an opportunity to meet some bloggers. He also posted a list of the events he was planning on attending. As soon as the fair was inaugurated on March 1, Crossroads Arabia posted an article saying that the fair got off to a quiet start:

The opening of the Riyadh Book Fair has gone off quietly. Last year's fair—though not the opening—was disrupted by religious and social conservatives who shouted down a member of the Shoura Council who had tried to raise the issue of women's driving during a Council session. Let's see what happens during the rest of the fair.

Swalfy (translates to “My Chit-Chats”), who blogs in Arabic, thought the fair was a bit more organized than it was in previous years, and said that the number of people at the event was fairly large. He also met blogger Herbaz there. Herbaz, who also blogs in Arabic, also thought that the outcome of the fair was great. Mohammed Al-Shehri has recently posted (in Arabic) about another piece of interesting news, a team of Saudis won MBC‘s show “Al Tahaddi.” He thinks that saying that “the average Saudi has sharp intellect and an ability to address different aspects of a situation, along with a naturally-charismatic nature that aids in dealing with any problem thrown his way” should not be considered exaggeration or self-praise. Also regarding the show, Wireless Visions addressed (in Arabic) concerns that the competition was fixed.

Blogger Rasheed addressed the situation of the French victims of the seemingly-militant attacks in Madain Saleh from a totally different perspective. As a journalist, he addressed the press coverage aspect:

As the French reminded the press this week, they have a policy of not divulging the names of victims of acts of terror. This of course obviously made our jobs as journalists very difficult. Who were these French people, what were their names, ages, why were they near the ancient ruins of Madain Saleh, were some of them Muslim and on their way to Makkah to perform Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage)? These were questions that no one was willing to answer either directly or quickly.

According to Crossroads Arabia, two suspects of the attacks were arrested. An update on the post said that “Saudi authorities were willing to provide a reward of up to 7million SAR for information leading to the rendition of the two individuals.”

Now, to wrap up…

Crossroads Arabia updated on the case of the young Saudi stunt driver, who was sentenced to death. Obviously, the case involved more than just “joyriding,” it had three instances of vehicular homicide. The Observer posted about Arabic male belly dancers and his disappointment in the new Lebanese TV channel, Jaras TV, which specializes in scandalizing celebrities. Bassem posted about his latest encounter with the traffic police in Jeddah. Crossroads Arabia also posted an article about the US Department of State's release of its new report on Human Right in Saudi Arabia. And, finally, Saudi Jeans (a.k.a. Ahmed Al-Omran) posted about the failure of US attempts, including Hi Magazine, “to win the hearts and minds of Arabs.” Towards the end of his post, he suggests some ideas that just might work.

  • Lulaa

    I am from usa and I read your web page, it was interesring for me.
    I can feel the pain and suffering of the people because we black people are in the same boat.
    We don;t war we want peace.

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