We are the world


Michael Jackson

When I first heard about Michael Jackson passing away, I was sad. But when a friend suggested that I should post about him, I said no, this blog is about Saudi Arabia and MJ is an American icon. However the more I think about it I find that there is no way that anyone could say that he is only American. He has had such an impact all over the world and a very special impact here in Saudi Arabia. In the eighties he was the first non Arab to penetrate the thick muttawa influence. I remember the huge VCR thriller tape that was obtained on the black market and considered so valuable that people would not lend it to anyone. My cousins and friends would watch it over and over until the tape would go gray and choppy and they didn’t even understand English! I remember a religious lecture I attended in which the muttawa lady was telling us about a Saudi who was led astray through listening to music. The Saudi, she claims, got in a horrific car accident while listening to MJ’s music and died singing along instead of saying al shahada. At the time, all I could think was wow this muttawa knows MJ!?  

Before the internet and satellite TV, most Saudis didn’t know the names of world leaders and got most of their information filtered by fanatical and political agendas, but MJ was the only person that was able to cut through all that and reach even here.  


Filed under Culture

5 responses to “We are the world

  1. Wow it’s amazing that a government can keep people so isolated that they don’t even know who the world leaders are. That to me seems a little scary!

  2. Chiara

    Michael Jackson was truly universal and many Saudis have talked about his importance to them. The Memorial service focussed on his drawing all people’s together, and in the end song “Heal the World” and the final prayer was explicitly unifying people across religions or no religion.

  3. Well, without a doubt, Micheal Jackson was a global icon. But personally, I think that people are over doing it. It’s not like he was an active singer or living legend. His status as a legend had stopped at least 15 years ago! He’d been done with for a long time! I was sad that he ceased to be the musician he was in the 90s but now he’s dead it doesn’t make any difference to me!

    I know, death is not a laughable matter. I’m sad for his children. Losing a life always makes me sad but, again, it’s not like music had lost something.

  4. Y Q

    my friend had an accident while listening to this dude.. did not put his songs while driving then. he did NO good to the Saudi society. its just that people are forcing themselves to believe that he did, but he did not.

    next thing we know Saudis saying “oh we have a dark skin and so did he, Oh my Goshhhh he had such a great influence on me and my parents”

    and people only watched him cuz they thought its “cool” to watch thriller cuz that was one big thing back then… like how some guys dress up like 50 cents and face tons of difficulties managing all those accessories but they still enjoy it all for hours..

  5. He just beat it…with bunch of kids in his old age. Likewise you can dance and sing and have your hoha beaten here too… sadomasochism anyone…?

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