July 09 Panorama

  • ” When you have a sister, you have someone who cares about you, thinks of you, and never forgets you” said Dhiya  AlSuliman when we had a conversation about the advantage of having a sister
  • “The movie contained pornography content, you were closing you eyes and you missed all enjoyment and the pleasure” two guys from UAE talking to each other in the lobby about the recent movie they watch.
  • “I believe it is fair to say that in America most Americans have grown up hearing their mom’s and dad’s say “Clean up your plate.  There are children starving in the world with no food at all.” from American Bedu blog in her post Dining:Saudi Way vs The American way
  • “In comparison with capitalism, which reconstituted man as an economic animal; in comparison with Marxism, which found man an object made up of organized matter; in comparison with dialectical materialism, which saw him as unwitting plaything of the deterministic evolution of the means of production, Existentialism made man a god” Dr. Ali Shariati from his book Marxism and other western fallacies
  • ” I don’t want anything more than to be able to walk in the streets and shops without finding someone gazing at me or giving me a comment or flirting me” from najla blog in her post امنية
  • “… joy and sorrow are inseparable. . . together they come and when one sits alone with you . . . remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.” one of my best quotes of Kahlil Gibran
  • “It’s creepy but I live with the knowledge that my cousins were the victims of a selfish society.” said Coralbead in her blog‘s post
  • “I have learned from poor people that even if you don’t have enough money to buy the breads, you can still enjoy the smells of it” me talking to one of my friend
  • “They say one shouldn’t get upset over something that they never had. What a falsehood! For the deepest sorrow and pain comes from something that could have been but never was” Said my friend Terra Bliss
  • “The girl has died because we are a cowardly society, because we are afraid of pointing out the causes of the problems, because we are afraid of asking someone to fix it, because we don’t fight for out basic rights” Fouad Alfarhan’s comment on the death of a saudi girl in Jeddah’s beach because of  irresponsibility of governmental agency.
  • “I felt proud to be a Saudi woman in US, but as soon as I arrived to Saudi, I suddenly started to only portray myself as the American woman married to a Saudi. That way, I can get away with so much more” comment by Tasneem on my post Saudi Women in US.

Saudi Women in US

Throughout my life here in Portland, I have met many Saudi girls who are incredibly genius, creative and talented. In every discussion I have with each one of them, I always feel sorry for my society for never recognizing this treasure, for never giving enough space for women to show their ideas and thoughts.

Saudi Arabia was always represented by men and never by women and I can say this: If we change just a little bit in this formulae, in this representation, and make it more balanced to give more space for women to represent this country, I can assure you that the we would a have a different society, more modern and civilized one.

When I listen to Saudi women when they talk, When I see their dreams as they walk around university buildings, When I see their ideas as it reflects freely in the reality without restriction , I realized that it is true that you just need one woman in order to change the direction of a whole society.

I remember one time I decided to give a workshop about ( exchanging ideas, blogging & open discussion) and I knew from past experience that Saudi guys will never show up because they never care! I went the class and I found most of the attendance are mostly Saudi women (and only two Saudi guys came to the workshop)

In general I can summary my observation and my interaction with Saudi women in following:

  • Saudi women in US don’t have that much interaction with American men but they do have a great interaction with a whole society.
  • I feel that Saudi women are better off when they aren’t that much socialized with each other because first, each one of them get to have a unique experience, and second, getting socialized with each other sometimes creates tension and sensitivity among them. That is true for Saudi guys too.
  • Saudi women are doing better job in the university than Saudi guys. They have a higher grade than Saudi guys most importantly, they never cheated or plagiarized while many saudi guys do.
  • Most of Saudi women feel that Saudi guys here in US are chaotic and gives a bad representation of Saudi Culture.(I agree with them in that)

At the end of my post, I would like to thank Saudi women whom I have met, worked or studied with: They are

  • Aysha Alkusayer, She is philosopher and psychologist, Intellectual and knowledgeable in any area. I met her when she gave a presentation in one of Saudi event at PSU. She encouraged me  a lot to start blogging. In fact, the name SaudiAlchemist was picked from her blog post.
  • Hanan AlSaif: I always seeks her advise whenever I have any new idea or project. She has a great perspective in every fields. She looks at things differently and I think that is the secret of her creativity.
  • Fatima Alkhars: I have worked with her in PSU Volunteer group. She astonished me by her organized and hard work in the club. She has done a lot volunteer work ( cooking for homeless communities, cleaning school garden, writing letter for ill children, etc) Everyone in the school is proud and amused of her work.
  • Fatima Al-Mousa: She has done several great events in our university. She is creative and makes something from nothing. From the first time you meet her, you can tell that she will have a great future a head of her.
  • Alia Kabbani: She works in a way that would surprise everyone. She transform her dreams into her reality in artistic way. She learn from everything and everyone and she leaves her footstep behind every journey.
  • Fatima Albar:  She is pursing her master in double major (engineering and something else) She is such aspiration person to many of us.
  • Kholud Alsaif: She inherited her dad’s dreams as well as his amazing thinking.
  • Soha Alsharifa: I refer to her as a woman who is stronger than 10 men. She came to US to study journalism. She is kind, brave and funny in the same time.
  • Leena Neyaz: She has done a lot for the Saudi Club and I always see her as an example of women who never gives up. She recently moved to Florida to complete her master degree.
  • Byan Daker: She works part time job at PSU international office and whenever I come by, I always feel proud of her because she represent a great image of Saudi women in her workplace.

Do Saudi Men Understand Saudi Women?

Studying in US has given me a great opportunity to observe and understand  people from different backgrounds, cultures and religions but most importantly it has enabled me to observe and study people from my own country. I was curious to explore the level of understanding between Saudi men and Saudi women here in the open and free society where both men and women have the freedom to interact with each other without restriction or fear. What I found out from my experience is funny, interesting and sometimes sad. I will answer series of questions from my own experience in working and studying with both Saudi men and women.

First Question: Do Saudi men understand Saudi women?

Saudi men in back home didn’t put any effort to fulfill the gap of understanding between them and women because first and for most they don’t see any needs for that since they have the (social) power in their side and second because of the separation issue. Now here in US, I have encountered some Saudi who felt the need for fulfilling that gap of understanding to correct many of their assumptions. So, they go and interact with saudi girls like brothers and sister and best friends. They work together for Saudi event, they interact openly and they exchange stories and experiences.

I have also encountered Saudi guys who couldn’t accept the idea that Saudi women would have equal power to them. I remember one time I was talking with a Saudi girl in the university campus and once I finished my conversation with her, a saudi young guy came to me and told me that he wants to marry that girl ,although that he has never met her before. Surly, in that guy’s mentality, woman would never say no and even if she said no, she is for sure the loser! Now, how can I deal with this mentality? I didn’t say anything to him and went to my class

Another saudi young guy I have met has another interesting and funny story. He told me that he thinks that one Saudi girl has fallen in love with him and when I asked him how, he told me with full confidence : ” She smiled at me last week”??

I have met  three Saudi girls who complained about other Saudi guys and their mentality. “Whenever I walk around campus, I see Saudi guys gazing at me” She told me. Another girl told me that she is  felt tired of receiving continues love E-mail from another Saudi guy. There are plenty of stories of this kind and it made me despair sometimes but once I encounter a saudi decent guy who would improve the whole image, I renewed my hope again!

I have spent a lot of my time trying to understand the cause of such behavior from guys but I failed to get to any conclusion. For example, I thought that might be due to separation between male and female but then I realized that even students from UAE and Kuwait  at our university have exactly the same problem. I think I would need to study in depth the psychological and social factors that led to this problem.

Up Next,

Do Saudi women understand themselves? Did they succeed in representing new image of strong and smart women to the public and Saudi?

The Beauty of Pain

Pain, as so many of us call it, is in fact a source of power, a source of transformation and moving from one thing to another. It is the gate for our happiness. I don’t understand why people freak out whenever they have any feeling of sadness or frustration.

Be sad, get frustrated, cry as much as you can, and count every tear on your eyes

because these are, for sure the ones  that would change the direction of your journey.

A lesson that should be learned

Picture 2

I was watching CNN last night. It gained my attention a story about a church in Florida posting a sign of “Islam is of the devil” in front of the church building. What interesting is that people from different ages, races and religions protested against the church because of the discriminatory and racist sign. Those people stood up because they believe that it is a civil right issue. They stood up because they are against discrimination of any kinds to anyone in any place.

This is a lesson to be learned for us Saudi. When we see someone discriminating another person because he belongs to one sect or another, we should stand up against that no matter whether we agree with that sect or not. When we go to Jumu’ah prayer and heard the Imam insulting jews or christian people, we should stand up and make it clear to the imam that we are against what he is saying. When we go to work and sees that our managers or friends are discriminating  against women because of the gender issue, we should stand up and make it clear that any insult to any woman is an insult to us.

I can’t be a man unless I fully respect and recognize women rights. I can’t be a muslim unless I respect all other religions and faiths. I can’t be a human being, a real human being, unless I stand up against discriminations of any kind to anyone in any place.

what size ,,please!!

Saudi-Lingerie Boycott

One of my American friend has asked me whether or not male employees still work instead of women in Women shops and clothes’ stores in Saudi. I told him that it should be obvious that anyone in my conservative society wouldn’t allow his wife or his sister to go to the male cashier holding underwear or bra or to ask him about the better size for the panties that she want to buy. But wait, I said to myself, doesn’t my country always have this type of contradiction. I mean there are always things that don’t make any sense to us and yet we accepted as our holy values. So,before I confirm my answer to my american friend, I went and asked a couple of my friends from Saudi. They all told me the answer that I don’t want to hear. It is that women aren’t allowed to work even in the women shops and clothes stores, only men do. One my friend told me that his wife feel miserably embarrassed whenever she goes shopping for her clothes. The scene  of a man employee coming to a woman and asking her if she needs any help finding a better size for her panties is so humiliating for women in a way that many men aren’t conscious about.