From the Saudi Gazette, a week a ago... "Expats everywhere yet nowhere." "There are about eight million expatriates from all over the world living in Saudi Arabia." You would think - honestly - that with this many of us that Saudis would be willing to acknowledge first and foremost that we were ALL asked to come here, perhaps not all in the same manner, i.e., groups of laborers from other countries come here in droves because there are jobs available for them, whereas professionals are actually hunted and sought after and "begged" to come. That said, one would think that it would behoove Saudis to treat us more as guests instead of as outcasts. That Saudis would be willing to bend some to let us live and let live without forcing us to assimilate to their mores and culture so strictly. Nope. It does NOT happen that way.
I don't agree with the entire article, but there certainly are some well-made points. The writer, Abdullah Bin Bakeet, invites people to go to his blog to discuss "How did such estrangement come about?" I have my own thoughts on how, but for the time being, will be keeping them to myself. Mr. Bakeet really doesn't want to know "how" from my viewpoint, right now, and I'm still just to angry with the kids in my neighborhood to keep my view narrow and concise and offer any solution - right now, I am just part of the problem... Oh well...
This article from Arab News offers more to validating some of my more recent opinions and thoughts... And Najeeb Yamani tells it just like it is:
"We travel east and west outside Saudi Arabia. While at foreign airports, we stand for hours waiting in queues. We abstain from smoking in public places such as airports. We respect signs and regulations, and encourage our families to do the same. We also smile while abroad, and when we stand in queues, we sing songs instead of cursing and shouting ensuring that we behave well and do not cause trouble."
"While eating at restaurants abroad [ed. note: where there are NOT segregated areas for men and families!] we eat and behave respectfully - something that is markedly different to how we eat in public places in the Kingdom. We also put things back in their proper places before leaving. We always have in mind that one can be imprisoned or fined for violating regulations while abroad. We avoid throwing rubbish on the streets and ensure not to run red lights, something we are never bothered about while being in our own country."
"... Outside Saudi Arabia we become totally different."
There it is!!! Exactly! Yes, it is a very, very different culture here. Didn't I tell ya?!?
"We become polite enough to greet strangers. We get rid of our anger and rigid feelings. ... We start respecting women and do not harass them."
"But, once we head toward the Kingdom, we are a changed people. We replace the smiles on our faces with a stern look. We start to look for trouble with others. On planes we create problems with flight attendants and make a big deal about our women sitting next to unrelated men."
"Men start creating problems, because they want all their family members to sit next to them. Families let their kids play inside airports and disrupt peace. [Understatement, that is!] Women start creating problems with their husbands, accusing them of looking at other women."
"This is a glimpse of the contradiction that we have. There are surely more."
Oh. Yes. There surely are!!!