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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kingdom Come or Kingdom Gone?


Last night's ABC Foreign Correspondent program "Saudi Arabia Uncovered" was a real eye-opener to me despite having lived and worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for some years and thinking that I knew enough about it.

Mind you, I knew almost nothing about the Arab world when I first went there in 1982. I had heard about the Alhambra and that there had already been street lighting in Cordoba one thousand years ago. I had also watched the epic movie Lawrence of Arabia and could whistle a passable rendition of its theme music.

But I had yet to come face to face with Saudi Arabia's religious police run by the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice who hit my legs with wooden sticks and chased me back inside the hotel the first time I emerged wearing my regulation PNG attire of shorts and long white socks.

And it was not for another year that I had fully read (and barely half-understood) T. E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom which ought to be required reading for anybody who wants to know about Arabs and their dogmatic black-and-white religion - see here - which, like any other religion, is used by those in power to stay in power.

Click here to watch last night's ABC program on iview (although it may be barred from being viewed outside Australia.

P.S. As a special treat for all Lawrence of Arabia devoutees, here's a full-length documentary:

(and here is another potted history)