culture, discussion, Gender, Observation From Inside, Politics, reflection

Saudi Arabia With No Makeup

I watched recently the MTV episode “Resist the Power! Saudi Arabia.” The episode represents an inside story of young Saudi: Fatima who fights to change the traditional clothing of Saudi women,  Ahmed who fights for women rights, Aziz who wants to date and see his girlfriend with no fear, and finally the music’s group who want the freedom to play their music and songs in public.

My thoughts of the episode:

  • First of all, the episode is more for an entertainment than for a documentary purpose.
  • I think the young Saudi in the episode represent their individual perceptions and observations of Saudi society which is open for a discussion and debate.
  • It is impossible to make a realistic judgment about any society or religion based on small selective groups of people, or blogs or news.
  • There is no diversity in the participants of the episode. They are all from Jeddah. They are all against the tradition or the society.
  • I think there is a mixed understanding between what is religious and what is traditional in Saudi society. I think the presenters themselves weren’t sure about where to drew the line between religion and tradition.
  • I think it is very good and healthy to have people showing their opposition or agreement on social and cultural issues especially in Saudi Arabia.

My opinion on Fatima part:

  • Her story was very interesting. I thought she did a good a job in presenting her own observation of the Saudi society.
  • I don’t think she represent a large number of Saudi women. She is from rich family. She has her own driver which many Saudi women don’t. She can uncover her face outside while many saudi women get  in trouble for uncovering part of their face in many cities of Saudi.
  • I really like her colorful abaya’s business. I really wish that these beautiful colorful Abaya will replace the black ones in KSA.

My opinion on Ahmed role:

  • I really like his part the most. He was very confidence in speaking about his thoughts and ideas. He stated clearly his vision of change in Saudi society.
  • I think his story possibly represent a specific group of young Saudi who are well-educated and concerned about women rights along with the civil issues of Saudi society.
  • I think he did a good job overall.

My opinion on Aziz role:

  • I thought he was so funny.
  • His story is very common among Saudi teenagers, talking and having fun with girls in the chat rooms or in the messengers then, falling in love and then arrange for a meeting and then one of them may not show up, or maybe both of them show up but they end up getting in trouble or maybe they decide to get married but then their family will oppose the whole thing! You know, happy ending are rarely predicted on this type of stories 🙂

My opinion on the devil music group*:

  • I think the guys were confusing. I have never heard or saw music group similar to theirs in Saudi Arabia before. It was very interesting for me to watch and listen to their stories.
  • Their music and their clothes are unaccepted by the majority of Saudi society.

How do Saudi viewers react to the episode:

Many Saudi (men and women) felt upset and offended by this episode for many reasons. Some think that the episode focuses only on the negative sides of Saudi society and ignore all the positive sides.  Many Saudi don’t like to see any criticism on their culture exposed to the outsiders. Part of that comes from the old belief that the west are conspiring against Saudi culture or that some religions will try to destroy Islam by presenting a bad picture of muslim society.

Other Saudi think that it is perfectly fine to let people share their individual understanding and observation to the world even if it disagree with our observation. In the time of internet, the world has become a very small village and things can’t be hidden anymore.

I personally think that it is better that we become open and honest about our problems. The mask strategy is no longer practical and Saudi should appear to the world with no makeup. We aren’t the best country in the world and certainly not the worst. There are many Saudi who view life and society differently. I think everyone of them should have the right to speak up his/her mind. We may agree or disagree with what they say and think, we may think that they are completely right or wrong but none of us can deny their right to share their own observation about the world around them.

* Clarification: I am not referring to the music group as the devil. I am referring to how the music group is called and perceived in Saudi society. In the episode  summary, they made the same reference as to explain why Saudi society oppose such type of music. Thanks for Hammad for asking me to clarify this point.

Observation From Inside

Forming Our Own Web of Beliefs

Let’s start our journey of the Observation From Inside with this week’s news. The former Saudi ambassador Turki al-Faisal shook the hands of Danny Ayalon, the Israeli deputy foreign minster. Now the incident itself isn’t important for me as observer because, remember, our goal is to understand and analyze the human behavior, not anything else. So what is important for me here is to observe how Saudi react to this incident, how they perceive it and how they interpret it.

  • Observation:

From my observation to people in twitter, I have noticed three different reactions. When person A heard about what happened, He went and made his own judgment before seeing the video or asking for any additional information. When person B heard about what happened, he chose not to believe what he has heard and decided to wait until he sees the video and after that he made his judgment. When person C heard about what happened and then saw the video in YOUTUBE, he chose to wait for prince Turki Faisl’s  explanation before he made his judgment.

  • My Analysis:

My observation of the three people can represent the dynamic of how people build their web of beliefs and how they make their judgments. Some people accept information without any questioning while some people question and then they accept the first answer they get. Some people question and remain skeptical of any answer they get.

  • The disapprove of my observation.

Person A‘s behavior doesn’t necessarily mean that he accept any information he gets without questioning. Maybe he made his judgment based on his previous old information and facts.

Person B‘s behavior doesn’t necessarily mean that he always questions the information he gets. Maybe if he has heard that that a Syrian ambassador shakes hands with Danny Ayalon, he would made his judgment without questioning because he might be biased toward that person.

Person C‘s behavior doesn’t necessarily means that he is always skeptical about any answer he get. Maybe he is skeptical only in politics while he might believe anything he heard in his religion without any skepticism or questioning.

Now, this example illustrated exactly what I means in Observation From Inside! I hope my idea now is clear for everyone. Please share with me your thought about the observation.

Observation From Inside

Observation From Inside

If there is a list of societies that can be the best target for psychological’s  and sociological research and observation, Saudi society should be in the top five of the them. You have gender segregation and you can easily do a psychological observation about how women  are perceived by men and how men are perceived by women in segregated society like Saudi and then compare that to mixed society like USA.

You can also study the sexual behavior of the people, how do they express their sexual desire and how is it interpreted by the society ! Does the sexual behavior of the human being get strong in the open society more than the closed one? You also have religion, Saudi is known to be very religious country! you can study how religion impact people’s life and how can people play around it!

If you have an interest in any of these topics, then you are most welcome to join me in a journey called “Observation From Inside.” In this journey we (you and I) will do the following:

  • We make an observation!

An observation is very important concept. To understand the logic and the reason behind every human behavior, you have to observe it first and pay attention to every single detail about it.

  • Gather data and information:

You can’t just make a judgment based on one single observation. That is what most people do and it is really wrong. You have to gather data about it and compare it to other studies and observations.

  • Approve and Disapprove that observation:

Because we are naturally bias, we can’t just make a judgment only based on our observation and our information. We have to think of both sides. We have to find what approve and disapprove our observation.

How do you participate in this journey:

You can send me an email via Contact Me to tell me about your observation on specific behavior. You and I open the discussion in here in my blog. Everyone share his analysis then everyone make his/her own judgment based on his reason and logic.