I'm still taking time out in New Zealand. I have two weeks left of my holiday and then it's back to the land of the sand. There was a suggestion that revolutionary activity planned within the country, a carry over from what is happening elsewhere, would force me to extend my time out a weeny bit longer. I think I knew deep down that was unlikely.
Although only a recent resident to the Magic Kingdom I have gleened a couple of pertinent things (actually I'm aware of lots of things, but for now I'm talking about this one thing) which is, and if I have this wrong I am, as usual, happy to be corrected, Saudi's don't really like to make a huge fuss about things - except perhaps family responsibilities and hospitality. Making huge noise and carry on is considered quite....undignified.
Marching has never, not since I've lived there anyway, struck me as a Saudi kind of thing to do. Other Arab nations are hard core marchers and demonstrators. Saudi's, generally speaking, at this point in time, are not.
Well, that explains the non-event of the Saudi uprising. Simple really.
That and the army, the national guard and threat of arrest....and apparently it was raining.
I have gathered, in my short time in Riyadh, that Saudi's prefer a more respectful, thoughtful, educated approach to dealing with issues, any issues, not just reform issues.
Noise and fuss is out, Thoughtful, respectful and educated is in.
Actually, the governments threat of cutting off the internet for a week was probably more of a deterrent to protest that army presence on every street corner. This young generation is loving the net right now. It's a way for them to hear and be heard....which in the first instance is what they want - to be allowed a voice and not sent to the corner for 'Time Out' like naughty, insignificant children.
Surfing the net one night I read somewhere that the locals have every right to request an audience with their leader if they so desire. Given that there's about 20 million or so locals, fulfilling this obligation would keep the king a rather busy man.
I wonder if it has occurred to the Powers That Be that cutting off the new generations means of communication (the internet) will only exacerbate their need to be heard, not squash it.
If they were bright cookies, The Powers would set up a website of their own where locals could send in suggestions for a better nation. Of course, it would have to be manned by people who didn't take constructive criticism personally...(Hmmm....where might we find peeps like that in Saudi?)
From a western protest point of view the Saudi way of doing things can seem like 'you're goin so slow you're goin backwards.' I guess if you're a Saudi wanting change it can feel like that too. Actually, the Saudi approach to reforms reminds me of Cat Stevens song 'Father and Son'.
OMG! That's unbelievable Kiwi.
I know...I never thought I'd say something like that.
I'm looking forward to seeing hubby again - that's top of my list (he will be surprised).
I'm looking forward to catching up with my fellow expatriate friends and Saudi ladies and hearing what they have been up to.
I'm looking forward to having a swimming pool at my back doorstep again and warm sunny days.
And I'm looking forward to some new activities.
Yep, I think I'm ready to head back into the fray of Saudi's slow, unusual yet somehow fascinating life.
Of course, to keep complete boredom from setting in, which it has a tendency to do in Saudi, I have a strategy - I'm signing up for Distance and Online study courses. Online courses may be a little difficult, what with the Powers That Be always threatening to cut the internet, though I'm keeping a positive attitude.
There is a chance that in a couple of months I may look back on this entry and wonder 'what the heck was I thinking looking forward to going back to Saudi...I must have been nuts.'
I have a strategy for that too...another time out trip. Now where do you think I should go for that?