Ten Most Beautiful Saudis 2014

These are the top ten most beautiful Saudis in descending order. This list does not reflect my personal opinion. It is the result of extensive consultations with dozens of Saudis on social media and off. Enjoy!

10- Nadine Al-Budair

Al-Budair has her own show on the Rotana Network. She is known for her socially liberal public stances especially concerning women rights and  the religious police.

Nadine Al Budair

Nadine Al Budair

9- Razan Alazzouni

Alazzouni is a fashion designer whose dresses have been worn by celebrities like Paris Hilton, Emma Roberts, and Kelly Osbourne. Besides being extremely talented, she’s also very disciplined and passionate about her clothing line.

Razan Alazzouni

Razan Alazzouni

8- Saud Al-Dosari

Al-Dosari is an interviewer and radio show host whose heart-throb status spans generations.

Saud Al-Dosari

Saud Al-Dosari

7- Abdullah Al Jumaah

Al Jumaah is an author and university lecturer. His book signing at the 2013 Riyadh Book Fair was cut short because he was mobbed by women. Saudi women have spoken.

Abdullah Al Jumaah

 

6- Khalid Al-Faryan

Al-Faryan uses his looks for good. He started with mini-sermons on Keek and then moved to Youtube and Twitter.  He does them in both Arabic and English.

Khalid Al-Faryan

Khalid Al-Faryan

 

 5- Reema Abdullah

Abdullah is an actress who shocked Saudi society by taking on the role of a woman who marries four men. The scene when she explains to a friend why three husbands aren’t enough is unforgettable. This season she performs the leading role in a Bedouin series. This photo of her in costume drove a man to offer a reward of half a million riyals to the person who convinces her to marry him.

Reema Abdulla

Reema Abdullah

 

4- Turad Sindi

Sindi started his career as presenter but since then he has become a Youtube star with his show Hashtag.

Terad Sindi

Terad Sindi

 

3- Suha Nuwailati

Nuwailati is a newcomer but she’s hard to forget once you’ve seen the show she co-hosts with three others called Subscribe.

Suha Nuwailati

Suha Nuwailati

 

2- Princess Ameerah Al-tweel

Al-Tweel came onto the world stage as wife to one of the richest Arab men, HRH Prince Waleed bin Talal. Since then they’ve divorced but she’s kept her status set to influential. She’s currently chairwoman & CEO of Time Entertainment and chairwoman co-founder of Tasamy.

Amira Al-Tweel

Princess Ameerah Al-Tweel

1- Badr Alzidane

Alzidane is what you get when you combine killer looks and social media savvy. He started as a radio show host but did not become a household name until he started Keeking. He currently has over a million followers on Twitter and a game show on the MBC network.

Badr Alzidane

Badr Alzidane

 

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The Big Reveal of the Ten Most Beautiful Saudis 2014

It’s been a tough couple of years and the topics I’ve posted about recently range from bad to horrible. Since Eid is almost upon us, I’m posting something cheery and fun. One of the most popular posts on this blog is a ten most beautiful Saudis from 2010. So I thought it’s time for the update below. I’ve password protected it to consult with other Saudis before it’s made public on July 26th. I hope you find it worth the wait.

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Put Your Money on #FreePalestine

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Many Zionists like to think of themselves as modern day pioneers who have had the burden of taking over land and resources of those who are too “savage” to appreciate them. They claim they made “the desert bloom” conveniently ignoring the fact that the Arabs had built great civilizations with rich history on the land that Zionists now occupy. They consider it hypocritical of Americans to condemn how Israel was created when they themselves created a country on a land that already belonged to another. Their justification of since it happened in the past, it’s alright to repeat, is idiotic. This isn’t the seventeenth century and Palestinians are not Native Americans. I love how Gladwell writes that when two countries go to war, there is a 63.6% chance the weaker side will win if they use unconventional means. And if you read the book you’ll find that he goes on to give as his prime example how the Arabs overcame the Turks.
From Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath:

Suppose you were to total up all the wars over the past two hundred years that occurred between very large and very small countries. Let’s say that one side has to be at least ten times larger in population and armed might than the other. How often do you think the bigger side wins? Most of us, I think, would put that number at close to 100 percent. A tenfold difference is a lot. But the actual answer may surprise you. When the political scientist Ivan Arreguín-Toft did the calculation a few years ago, what he came up with was 71.5 percent. Just under a third of the time, the weaker country wins.
Arreguín-Toft then asked the question slightly differently. What happens in wars between the strong and the weak when the weak side does as David did and refuses to fight the way the bigger side wants to fight, using unconventional or guerrilla tactics? The answer: in those cases the weaker party’s winning percentage climbs from 28.5 percent to 63.6 percent. To put that in perspective, the United States’ population is ten times the size of Canada’s. If the two countries went to war and Canada chose to fight unconventionally, history would suggest that you ought to put your money on Canada.

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Saudis’ reaction to Waleed Abulkhair’s fifteen year sentence

Today judge Yousef Gharam Allah Al Ghamdi of the Specialized Criminal Courts used the new antiterrorism law to sentence human rights activist Waleed Abulkhair to fifteen years in prison, two hundred thousand Riyal fine and another fifteen years travel ban upon Abulkhair’s release.
For more background on the Abulkhair case and the new antiterrorism law, click here.
Here is some of what many Saudis on Twitter have written about the court’s verdict:
 
1- Waleed does not deserve this and we do not deserve someone like Waleed defending us. God help him.
 

 
2- How are we supposed to create a civil society that supports the government with all of Saudi’s civil society’s leaders behind bars?
 

 
3- Fifteen years prison for Waleed Abulkhair and before him Albajadi, Alhamid, Alqahtani, Alkhadir, Alsaeed…etc. Reformers and rights advocates are taken down one after the other.
 

 
4- God knows that Waleed is a noble man and a champion of the oppressed. All we know of him is honor and honesty.
 

 
5- These sentences against citizens who peacefully demanded their rights transforms them in the eyes of the people to activists and symbols of freedom.
 

 
6- Words seem small against the siege of antiterrorism laws and arbitrary sentencing of a national and peaceful human rights activist.
 

 
7- Only in my country are human rights activists and reformers imprisoned while Al Qaeda terrorists are set free and religious police thugs are acquitted.
 

 
 
8- God help you and your family, Waleed. You are known for your fight for freedom and justice.
 

 
9- Change will not come from nothing and we will not perish as long as there are free men like Waleed in this country.
 

 
10- We are extremely harsh with those who speak against the country’s policies and then wonder why extremism is born here.
 

 
11- Human rights activists like Waleed prove that the government is not interested in moderates and reforms.
 

 
12- Waleed did not carry a weapon and he did not declare his desire to decapitate men. His only sin was to tell the truth. He will rise above. Please do not forget in your prayers the (imprisoned) members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association.
 

 
13- Waleed is peaceful and loves peace. He has not killed and has not committed any sin. His gun is paper and his bullets are words. This is not a verdict, it is spite.
 

 
14- There is nothing left to be said. Everything is clear now. This country is heaven for the corrupt and a ditch for reformers.
 

 
15- No free man, no matter his linguistic and cultural talents, in the current circumstances, has the ability to vindicate Waleed. All glory to Waleed.
 

 
16- Prisons have become an honor and an aspiration for every person who straightforwardly speaks his mind. God help the oppressed.
 

 
17- Terrorist and traitors are rehabilitated and then released while human rights activists are imprisoned.
 

 
18- Orders of arrests are issued now and again for both liberals and conservative with the purpose of shutting up all Saudis.
 

 
19- The men in power are creating a heroic figure of Waleed in a country where 60% of the population are under 35 years of age and have much in common with him.
 

 
20- In solidarity with Waleed Abulkhair.
 

 
21- Did you know that a father who rapes and kills his own daughter is sentenced eight years while human rights activists get more than ten years.
 

 
22- When will the judiciary understand that imprisoning Waleed for his peaceful activism increases frustration and pushes youth to resort to means of violence and extremism?
 

 
23- In plain Arabic, in this country you cannot open your mouth or else you are destined for prison.
 

 
24- If Waleed’s prison guards realized how much he has sacrificed to defend human rights, they would kiss his forehead and apologize for their inability to help.
 

 
25- Today we are all Waleed Abulkhair.
 

 
26- Those who call for the rights of people are imprisoned and fined while those who rob the country of its wealth are at liberty.
 

 
27- Waleed is a husband, a father of a month-old girl, a lawyer, a hard-working family man and an active individual in the community ..
All I know of him is his conscientiousness.
 

 
28- In the law of tyranny, reform is a felony that calls for imprisonment.
 

 
29- There was no betrayal. They are peaceful advocates for justice and freedom with a great love for their country. And the result is a fifteen year sentence for Waleed. How can you justify that?
 

 
30- Reform and freedom of thought is a bigger crime here than bribery and theft.
 

 
31- My country, you have jailed a good man who loves you. How strange you are to rehabilitate bombing terrorists and imprison peaceful activists.
 

 
32- Read contemporary history and look around .. Has the oppression of peaceful activism led to its termination and social stability or the opposite?
 

 
33- This is violent oppression of those who use peaceful methods and then we are shocked when others resort to assassinations and bombings.
 

 
34- Waleed called for reforms and justice and this is the court’s verdict! He is now on the path of the activists and constitutionalists who have gone before.
 

 
35- This verdict has shaken all who fear for the security and stability of our country. The ruling is shocking and frustrating.
 

 
36- When a country is too small to contain the free, prison becomes an honor and distinction.
 

 
37- It is to be expected. The greater the government’s fear of rights activists, the greater its thirst to imprison them. As long as the fear remains, so do their names.
 

 
38- They keep making the wrong wager. They have never won since Albajadi, Alqahtani and Alhamid and now Waleed. Waleed’s ideas and words pledge that every day there will appear a new free patriot.
 

 
39- Waleed, we will remember your name while the names of the oppressors will be forgotten or will fall in shame. The story of your faith and resilience will always stand.
 

 
40- Waleed, I rule that you are free and will never be conquered. I rule that you are more of a patriot than all of the MOI’s employees behind the fake Twitter accounts combined. This is my ruling as one of the people.
 

 
41- People who instigate jihad and terrorism deserve prison and not patriots who want reforms and the betterment of our country.
 

 
42- ISIS is knocking on our doors, Egypt is exploding in anger, Bahrain is unstable, Kuwait is witnessing civil movements and we are pursuing people and imprisoning them.
 

 
43- I worry that such harsh ruling on those who have never taken up violence will have dire consequences in the end.
 

 
44- Governments that fight peaceful human rights activists so that they succumb to it, push the naive to violence. However this fight will only increase the resilience of the free and highlight their causes.
 

 
45- God help Waleed! He shouted the truth while we remained silent. He championed the oppressed while we failed them. He defended the imprisoned while we cowered.
 

 
46- Waleed Abulkhair is a defender of human rights who we are proud to say has consistently defended human rights for years. He has defended many and today we must all stand by him.
 

 
47- Fifteen years for speaking about corruption cases and reforms? He never defected, incited violence, stole or murdered! How can this verdict be?
 

 
48- ِEvery day Waleed spends behind the bars of the oppressors will be another day of victory for Waleed. Waleed will not be the last station in the peaceful struggle for dignity.
 

 
49- Time will prove that the banner of freedom has not fallen, and the struggle will continue. The bet is on the resolute!
 

 
50- Your smile is stronger than their shackles. Waleed was sentenced to fifteen years for calling for reforms. He never carried a weapon. He was concerned for his country and so he was repaid with prison!
 

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NYT Op-ed: Saudi Arabia’s Duplicitous Legalism

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — The authorities knew all along that Waleed Abu al-Khair was guilty. They just needed something better to charge him with. So on April 15, even as the prominent human rights lawyer stood before a judge, accused of harming the country’s reputation and other offenses, they had him arrested right there in the courtroom for something that would really stick: breaking the country’s new antiterrorism law.

Saudi Arabia has been hugely successful in combating terrorism — there have been no major attacks within its borders since 2004, when militants assaulted the American Consulate in Jeddah in an incident that left a dozen people dead. Thus, many people might be puzzled why the government has even bothered to pass the Law for the Crimes of Terrorism and its Financing, which went into effect in February. But like so many government actions of late — including the legal fishing expedition against Mr. Abu al-Khair — the legislation has little to do with fear of Al Qaeda and much to do with fear of the Arab Spring. Click here to read on.

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Saudi activists ‘hibernate’ after series of arrests

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The first time I came across Waleed Abulkhair’s name was about five years ago, when I was following Samar Badawi’s case. Badawi was being abused by her father, and despite medical and psychological reports from Saudi hospitals and shelters proving this, a court ruled in her father’s favor and sent Badawi to prison on charges of disobeying her father.

For seven months, Waleed Abulkhair desperately tried to get her released, but to no avail. He then proposed that they go public, with an online campaign about Badawi’s situation. She agreed, and the ensuing publicity shamed the courts into releasing her within six days from the start of the campaign, which immediately went viral. Abulkhair proposed marriage to Badawi, and it took six months of court procedures to release her from her father’s guardianship to Abulkhair’s. One of my favorite interviews is a 2011 BBC radio program featuring the couple, during which they talk about their love. Badawi is currently eight months pregnant with their first child.
Read on by clicking here.

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Sixth of November at the Riyadh Book Fair

Today at the Riyadh Book Fair, Dr. Aisha Al Mana and Dr. Hissa Al Sheikh sat down to sign their book documenting the first demonstration to lift the ban on women driving on November 6th, 1990. Dr. Madiha Al Ajroush was there too with her camera and was kind enough to share the photos she took here. Dr. Al Ajroush had participated in the 1990 demonstration and is the only Saudi woman to take part in every single demonstration and movement to lift the ban on women driving since the first one. She’s also a renowned photographer who has at this year’s book fair an aisle named in her honor.

I’m currently in the process of translating the Sixth of November book. Scroll down to read a sample of the book in English.

Dr. Aisha Al Mana (left), Aziza Al Yousef (center), and Dr. Hissa Al Shiekh (right)

Dr. Aisha Al Mana (left), Aziza Al Yousef (center), and Dr. Hissa Al Shiekh (right)

Dr. Madiha Al Ajroush under the sign for the aisle named in her honor.

Dr. Madiha Al Ajroush under the sign for the aisle named in her honor.

Security guards make sure that book signings are gender segregated.

Security guards make sure that book signings are gender segregated.

A view of the crowd lining up to say hello and get their books signed.

A view of the crowd lining up to say hello and get their books signed.

Sample from the book:

At around 2:30 in the afternoon of November 6th 1990, a good crowd of women started showing up at the parking lot of the Safeway supermarket. Some were driven there by their drivers and others were driven their by their husbands or sons. Once at the parking lot, the chauffeurs, husbands and sons relinquished the cars to the women. The number of women outnumbered the number of cars available. There were forty-seven women and fourteen cars taking part in the demonstration. Not all of the women knew each other and some had never met before that fateful day.

Every woman with a valid driving license obtained from abroad assumed the driver’s seat in each car while the other women got in the passenger’s seats for support. As the prayer call for the afternoon prayer began, the women started their cars. Their husbands, sons and drivers stood in the parking lot, in silence, watching. The simplicity and justice of the movement lent it a reverence that enabled the women to trust in each other and have the courage to act together in their shared cause.

The women started driving their cars one after the other. At the head of the demonstration was a car driven by Wafa Al Muneef followed by another driven by Dr. Aisha Al-Mana. They started on King Abdulaziz street and went on to Ouroba street and then took a left onto Thalatheen Street. The stop lights slowed some of them down. The cars at the beginning of the movement would every once in awhile slow down so that the cars behind could catch up, as they had decided that they would stay together. The scene drew spectators both pedestrians and other car drivers. They stood in shock and disbelief but did not interfere with the procession.

Emboldened by the fact that the police had not stopped them or paid them any attention, the women at the head of the demonstration decided to drive another round. It was at the beginning of the second round that the police finally intervened and stopped the women. The police stopped the women’s cars one by one in a line against the pavement in front of The Riyadh Palace Function Hall on King Abdul Aziz street. The presence of members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Religious Police) shortly followed the appearance of the police.

The first thing the policemen did after stopping the demonstration was to ask the women to produce their driving licenses. One woman quickly handed over a valid driving license she had obtained from the U.S.A. Faced with this awkward situation, the perturbed policemen called for their superior who arrived just as the members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice did. The Commission members requested that the police entrust the women and the investigation over to the Commission. The women opposed the idea completely and the police refused as well.

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