Tuesday, July 01, 2008


No. Not really. In the news the past few days have been numerous reports of some "701" terrorist "suspects" that have been rounded up. It has made the headlines all over... Of those "701" that were arrested, 181 have been released and 520 are "still in detention." 468 of the 520 that are in detention are Saudis. These "terrorists were planning to attack an oil installation in the Eastern Province." We live in the Eastern Province. This is where the oil is; this is why we are here. "We," as in my DH, me, and our two Kids, along with many, many more Westerners and their families, all "invited as guests to work" in this country for the sole purpose to work in the oil industry in some way, shape or form.

Actually, although it is in no way "comforting" at all to know that there were terrorists planning to attack, it is reassuring to know that they were caught before anything could happen. You have to give credit where credit is due, and that authorities were somehow able to thwart the activities of the terrorists is comforting. To say the least!

I never, ever should have seen the movie, "The Kingdom." Nope. Should not have watched it - but I have - at least a dozen times, now. [It was on Showtime, here, two weeks ago, and played for seven entire days every two and a half hours... I had seen it before, but could not help watching it, repeatedly, when it was on. Like driving by an accident - you have to look...] Say whatever you want about the movie, but it hit home just a little bit too closely with its attack on an American compound. There are several scenes in the movie - especially at the beginning - which depict very, very closely what life is like living in a gilded cage - that of living on an American compound in Saudi Arabia - where you are confined by fences and barbed wire [razor wire] surrounding your entire community - and guarded by Security and gates and checkpoints.

I have said before, and will say it again, Security, here for the most part, I think, does a very good job. They do what they can with their hands tied... As much as I would like to see fewer "locals" living on our compound - more specifically - fewer Saudi boys, if this were, in fact, a totally Western Compound we may as well cover it with a big red and black bullseye... We would be the perfect target.


  1. Personally I'm not all that worried about an attack here. Especially by some 700+ terrorists rounded up recnetly. More press showing how great the government is doing in its crack down on terrorism in the kingdom.

    Do have to ask.. don't you know any nice saudis at all?? Beyond the nieghbors from hell (I've had a few on the compounds I've lived none of which were the saudi neighbors) do you know many saudis?

    Your comment about the locals not living on your compound (considering this is their country) did rub me a bit wrong. But than I have to wonder, how many saudis do you actually know? Other than the ones throwing rocks in your back yard and being total arses overall.

    Just wondering

  2. Fair question Nzingha, and yes, I do know quite a few Saudis. The men that my DH works with - and there are a lot of them. Of them all - only two have rubbed me the wrong way - but that could happen anywhere with anyone. And I do know quite a few women. Shortly after we arrived I started having coffee with four or five of them - and smoking Sheisha with them - every couple of weeks or so - we don't get together any more, but it has to do with "life," not the fact that they weren't nice Saudis... There are a couple of others as well, one of which I consider a very dear friend - her son is 14 - almost 15 - and Saudi - and the nicest young man you could EVER wish to meet. So yes, I actually do know quite a few nice Saudis. As far as actual neighbors? None.

    Let me be very clear that the monsters that surround me - if they were American - I would be complaining just as loudly. The difference is, if they were threatening my Baby, Security would have given them a very, very clear warning. I never caught the kids throwing rocks and toilet paper in my pool. Yes, I suspect the two Saudi boys who live behind us - but suspecting and accusing are two different things. We are surrounded by Saudi boys. If they were all as well behaved and as nice as Ahmed, we would not be having any problems, whatsoever.

    Do American boys - teenagers, young men - harass women at the malls in the States? I'm sure they do, but society's norms are just a bit different there - and I personally have not been harassed by young men in the States at the malls - but then, there are no abeyas and head coverings, either, so my going without covering my head there does not make me "ripe" for harassment.

    This may be "their" country, but "they" invited us all to work here - we are all professionals that were sought after. We did not beg to come to work here. They begged us. And we were promised a Western compound. This compound was built to accommodate the guest workers. And that, in the past couple of years, has changed dramatically.

    There are cultural differences. One of those differences is the way boys and young men are treated. I have said before - read through my archives - that I strongly believe that if sexes were not segregated that the boys and young men, here, would have different social skills - instead, they lack them completely.

    If American boys get in trouble - they are gone. Given "exit only" visas. It happened this past spring. A group of them were caught burglarizing houses and that was it. None of them are allowed to come back here. This is the way it should be. But if Saudi boys are caught doing something - and believe me - they've been caught - it is "hushed," and nothing is done. All wrong. They, too, should be told "you have forty-eight hours to be off this compound." They are not. It is not the fault of the Security forces here - which do a very good job, as I have also said, repeatedly - their hands are tied. But, until that changes, we are going to continue to have problems with Saudi boys.

  3. Glad to hear you do know some good Saudis. I would hate that all you got from Saudis is your crazy neighbors. I am wondering if any of your Saudi friends might help to intervene with your neighbors. Maybe speak to the father or mother let them know they need to reign in their children. Of course there are some parents in the world that just don't give a hoot, Saudi or not.

    The difference in how a Saudi is treated vs another nationality is quite sickening. I fully agree with you. Is there not proper management on that compound? Or is it a company compound?

    As for the harassing in the malls, I am one who speaks loudly against the perverts. I have no problems calling security or the police on any of them. I personally don't think segregation is the cause of the sexual perversion in this culture. Segregation has existed here for many years, the way in which things are now are so foriegn to my husband who was a homronal teenager here at one point. I do think the added mixture of being bombarded with sexual imagry as well as a failing from parents who think their children can do no harm is a major contributer to what goes on here now.

    I also tend to take the view that even if Saudis begged someone to work here there is still the option of leaving if things are so bad. One does have to admit, even though things aren't quite like we want them, we have our own incentives for working here. We take advantage of all that is offered to us and make the decision to not only come but stay.

    Yes the face of the expat community has changed here drastically since the attacks. And it doesn't look like it will change anytime soon. What is deemed 'western' is selective and put in place by people who have no idea what western is. I deal with this all the time on our compound (Oasis) which is suppose to be 'the' western compound. yea right.. like several years ago. times have changed.

  4. Company compound Nzingha... And, trust me, I have said I am leaving more than a few times. [I often wonder what the divorce rate is for ex-pats that live here. If there have been studies done, it would be interesting to see the "numbers."]

    Which attacks are you referring to? May 29, 2003? That was Oasis, wasn't it? There was a small exodus of families from here after that...

    I read quite a few of your blog entries. Will check back for the photos you've promised, there. Don't make us wait until your daughters get married [4:00 P.M.!] to see pictures! Interesting post about your former driver...

  5. Ahhh company compound.. explains why your complaints don't mean much.

    Yes the 2003 attacks here. I would describe it as a 'small'exodus for the entire face of expats have changed. And Oasis was one of the compounds under attack, in fact they were ones that were majorly affected. Which would explain why this compound went from Western to Arab. I don't know many Americans who like to come here anymore for the coffee mornings or resteraunts.

    I just updated with a pic of my girls for the wedding. :) It takes a mother of five some time to get organized.


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