Fake News

Before my sister went to Saudi Arabia, she researched and prepared for weeks. And then she got there and realized that most of what she read and saw in North American media was a lie or an exaggeration. So much of what goes on in reporting is ridiculous hype, and eventually people lose trust and don’t take anything they read seriously.

My sister wasn’t even asked to cover her head while she was there. And the very stylish abaya came in very useful because stupid Air France (truly the worst airline in the world) lost her suitcase and she had nothing but a pair of pijamas bought at an H&M in Riyadh to wear under the abaya. It’s ok to wear makeup, men do offer handshakes to women, there were women smoking outside the conference center, it’s ok to take photos and videos, and it’s also ok to walk around with a man who is not your husband.

Saudis are trying hard to change and be relevant in a changing world. It’s not an instantaneous thing. There’s still a lot of stuff that Westerners don’t get but it’s not going to help if we keep looking at Saudis as crazy savages running around with the goal of slaughtering everybody in sight.

Saudi Arabia is a very rich country that has a unique power to mess with the oil prices and hence sabotage the world economy. It’s best to welcome their attempts to change and get better, even if those attempts are slow and uneven, than to bark at them for not being exactly like the West (like the Canadian foreign minister did recently.)

The world is complicated. Other cultures are extremely complicated and hard to understand. People blab a lot about diversity without even trying to understand what it really means. I’m not saying, let’s forget everything and celebrate the Saudis. I’m saying, let’s notice a positive trend if it exists and not sabotage it needlessly.

My sister’s talk in Riyadh was sold out and there was a long line of people hoping to get in even after it sold out.

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10 thoughts on “Fake News”

  1. My sister wasn’t even asked to cover her head while she was there. And the very stylish abaya came in very useful because stupid Air France (truly the worst airline in the world) lost her suitcase and she had nothing but a pair of pijamas bought at an H&M in Riyadh to wear under the abaya. It’s ok to wear makeup, men do offer handshakes to women, there were women smoking outside the conference center, it’s ok to take photos and videos, and it’s also ok to walk around with a man who is not your husband.

    Your sister there for a conference they invited her to and was traveling on a Canadian passport. This matters. And Saudi women buy all kinds of makeup and designer clothes. Check out Vogue Arabia.

    The horror stories told about Saudis in Saudi Arabia have to do with women living in the country or working there as domestic servants or blue collar workers or caught up in a child custody dispute with a Saudi national. It’s not about Westerners living in enclaves.

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  2. // My sister wasn’t even asked to cover her head while she was there. And the very stylish abaya came in very useful

    But doesn’t abaya provide head covering?

    According to Google photos, it does.

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  3. Why does Merkel care? Because of Muslims in Germany?

    // EXCLUSIVE: MERKEL URGED ROMANIAN PRESIDENT TO NOT MOVE EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM
    Germany refuses to say if Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

    A Western source told The Jerusalem Post that Merkel lobbied the Romanian president to put a halt on the relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem. It is believed that Merkel called other European politicians as part of a campaign to block the relocation of European embassies to Jerusalem.

    When asked if Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the Merkel administration spokeswoman declined to answer directly. She said that the “status of Jerusalem should, in the framework of an agreement, be clarified.”

    https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Angela-Merkel-urged-Romanian-president-to-not-move-embassy-to-Jerusalem-572032

    I believe not recognizing Western part of Jerusalem as Israeli capital only promotes conflict by giving Palestinians false hopes and by strengthening Israeli stance of “everybody is against us.”

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  4. I am now reading news and discovering new things. And people talk of Scandinavian countries as if they were paradise:

    “Jews make up less than 0.2% of the population of Sweden, yet they are a major indicator of the shaky state of law in this ultra-liberal country. Sweden is the only country in Europe where a Jewish community, the one in the town of Umea, decided to dissolve itself due to neo-Nazi threats. Quite a few other examples of antisemitism can be cited as indicators of Sweden’s poor state of law and order.”

    Do neo-Nazis love Arabs more than Jews or what? Sweden was the only country except Germany to receive huge numbers of Syrians and other Muslims, but they seem like unable to tolerate the tiny difference of a tiny Jewish community. Interesting what lies beneath slogans of human rights and Swedish morality.

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    1. “Do neo-Nazis love Arabs more than Jews or what? ”

      It wasn’t the Neo-Nazis who brought in the “Syrians” it was the progressive establishment who think that as soon as somebody crosses the Swedish border they acquire Swedish values… AFAICT they still honestly think that (they seem very unaware of contradictory evidence….

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