When I first heard of the MTV production Resist the Power, Saudi Arabia my thoughts were running along the lines of the effect of such a program on those featured in it. But I respect them for their courage and their undoubted sacrifice. Frivolous and young some people might find them to be, yes, true, but like Rima Faqih, they are pushing established boundaries. The more young people “rebel” against established cultures and traditions, which are designed or have evolved to marginalise whole swathes of society (women, religious minorities, expatriates, etc.) and societies that skews basic human rights under cloaks of religiosity, the better our future will be.
Cultures and traditions never were static. By necessity they must change and be attuned to the current era. Resisting the inevitable shift in cultures and traditions is futile and counterproductive and results in nothing but either being left behind or even extinction.
The risks for these young people are huge, or course. Our particular society is a complex one which still revolves around nationalism and tribalism. Therefore, I was particularly touched by the featured young men and woman and their recognition of the situation that they are sure to find themselves in, and the sacrifice they were making in just appearing in such a program. I was sure that immediately such a program hits the airwaves, the wave of anger will start and as usual, “the righteous” will start hurling epithets aplenty and baying for blood. Those calls will definitely accuse them of being “traitors and kuffar” at worst, and questioning their nationalism and loyalty at best, while belittling the issues they discussed. After all, they should never have aired dirty laundry, should they. No, for us, laundry even if it stinks and festers, it should never be aired. Because we could do no wrong.
As I expected, the outpouring of anger and righteousness started barely a day after the video was made available:
The majority of Saudis who watched the video was offended and said it was a major insult to their traditions and customs.
There you have it. The standard all encompassing answer. Insult to traditions and customs.
But I wish it would stop at that. Some even more righteous gents took serious umbrage at the situation and now are hunting the featured young persons to take them to court:
Ù…Ù‚Ø§Ø¶Ø§Ø© Ø³Ø¹ÙˆØ¯ÙŠÙŠÙ† Ø¨ØªÙ‡Ù…Ø© “Ø§Ù„Ù…Ø¬Ø§Ù‡Ø±Ø© Ø¨Ø§Ù„Ù…Ø¹ØµÙŠØ©” ÙÙŠ Ø¨Ø±Ù†Ø§Ù…Ø¬ Ø£Ù…ÙŠØ±ÙƒÙŠ
Ù‚Ø§Ù„Øª ØµØÙŠÙØ© “Ø§Ù„ØÙŠØ§Ø©” Ø§Ù„Ø³Ø¹ÙˆØ¯ÙŠØ© Ø§Ù„ØµØ§Ø¯Ø±Ø© Ø¥Ù† Ù…Ø¬Ù…ÙˆØ¹Ø© Ù…Ù† “Ø§Ù„Ù…ØØªØ³Ø¨ÙŠÙ†” ÙŠØ¹ØªØ²Ù…ÙˆÙ† Ø±ÙØ¹ Ø¯Ø¹ÙˆÙ‰ Ù‚Ø¶Ø§Ø¦ÙŠØ© Ù„Ø¯Ù‰ Ø§Ù„Ù…ØÙƒÙ…Ø© Ø§Ù„Ø¬Ø²Ø§Ø¦ÙŠØ© ÙÙŠ Ù…ØØ§ÙØ¸Ø© Ø¬Ø¯Ø© (ØºØ±Ø¨ Ø§Ù„Ø³Ø¹ÙˆØ¯ÙŠØ©) Ø¶Ø¯ Ø´Ø§Ø¨ÙŠÙ† Ø³Ø¹ÙˆØ¯ÙŠÙŠÙ† ÙˆÙØªØ§Ø©ØŒ Ø¸Ù‡Ø±ÙˆØ§ Ø£Ø®ÙŠØ±Ø§Ù‹ ÙÙŠ Ø¨Ø±Ù†Ø§Ù…Ø¬ ØªÙ„ÙØ²ÙŠÙˆÙ†ÙŠ Ø£Ù…ÙŠØ±ÙƒÙŠ Ø¹Ù†ÙˆØ§Ù†Ù‡ “Ø§Ù„ØÙŠØ§Ø© Ø§Ù„ØÙ‚ÙŠÙ‚ÙŠØ©” (True Life)ØŒ ÙˆÙˆØ¬Ù‡ÙˆØ§ ÙÙŠ Ø§Ù„ØÙ„Ù‚Ø© Ø§Ù„ØªÙŠ Ø´Ø§Ø±ÙƒÙˆØ§ ÙÙŠÙ‡Ø§ Ø§Ù†ØªÙ‚Ø§Ø¯Ø§Øª Ø¥Ù„Ù‰ Ø§Ù„ØªÙ‚Ø§Ù„ÙŠØ¯ ÙˆØ§Ù„Ø¹Ø§Ø¯Ø§Øª Ø§Ù„Ø³Ø¹ÙˆØ¯ÙŠØ©ØŒ ÙˆÙˆØµÙÙˆÙ‡Ø§ Ø¨Ù€ “Ø§Ù„ØªØ®Ù„Ù”ØŒ ÙÙŠÙ…Ø§ Ø¬Ø§Ù‡Ø± ÙÙŠÙ‡Ø§ Ø£ØØ¯ Ø§Ù„Ø´Ø§Ø¨ÙŠÙ† Ø¨Ø¹Ù„Ø§Ù‚ØªÙ‡ Ø¨Ø¥ØØ¯Ù‰ Ø§Ù„ÙØªÙŠØ§ØªØŒ ÙˆØ·Ø§Ù„Ø¨ Ø¨Ù…Ù†Ø Ø§Ù„Ø´Ø¨Ø§Ù† ÙˆØ§Ù„ÙØªÙŠØ§Øª ÙØ±ØµØ© Ø¥Ù‚Ø§Ù…Ø© “Ø¹Ù„Ø§Ù‚Ø§Øª Ù…ØªØ¨Ø§Ø¯Ù„Ø© Ù…Ù…Ø§Ø«Ù„Ø© Ù„Ù…Ø§ ÙŠØªÙ… ÙÙŠ Ø£ÙˆØ±ÙˆØ¨Ø§”.
Saudis to be prosecuted on charges of “committing sins openly” in a U.S. program
The Saudi newspaper “Al-Hayat” stated that a group of religious police (mutawwas) planned to lodge a case at the criminal court in Jeddah (western Saudi Arabia) against two young Saudis and a girl who appeared in an American TV show entitled “True Life”, and criticised the traditions and customs of Saudi Arabia, and describing them as “backward”, while one of the participants declared his involvement with one young girl, and called for “creating opportunities for boys and girls to meet and have relationships similar to those occurring in Europe.”
I have no doubt that these young people will be hung out to dry. And it won’t stop there, their families will also be ostracised and their collected lives will be made hell. They have committed a cardinal sin: they dared to criticise their country, and showed their frustrations with engrained traditions and customs to the outside world. Unfortunately, I suspect that they will be made an example of.
Do you think that if we continue to live as we currently do that our countries and societies will continue to be sustainable? I personally don’t think so. The only thing that sustains us now is our natural wealth. Once that disappears, we shall too.
Unless, that is, we accept radical changes to our way of life.