I’m proud to be a Saudi

kidsWhenever I’m talking to other Arabs and even fellow Saudis about Saudi Arabia, occasionally the question why is Saudi Arabia called Saudi comes up. And of course the question is not asked for a real answer but rather in a condescending manner. As though it somehow hurts our dignity to be called after the person who unified us. My view is so what? It has always been so in the Middle East. Ottoman Empire is actually the name of the ruler who first unified it and before that Al Umwyeen who reached Spain and the list goes on…etc.

King Abdul-aziz al Saud dedicated his life to realize the largest country in the Arabian Gulf and that was before oil and all its riches. To have the country named after him is only natural, especially considering that that was the way it was back then.

Yes there is corruption and yes we have issues as does every other place on Earth. However when you consider the alternaking abdulaziztive, we could have done a lot worse. We were a people in the middle of a desert in which even the Turks were not interested, let alone Western colonist who at that time were grabbing land left and right. The majority was illiterate and each region was ruled by a different family. And then in 1902 came along King Abdulaziz who had a vision of a country that he fought for and eventually won in 1932. And that makes this September Saudi Arabia’s 77th birthday. For a 77 year old we have come a long way. In 77 years we have turned this desert into a beautiful and modern country. And that is an accomplishment that I’m proud of.

And if you are one of the run of the mill Saudi-bashers, please respect this occasion and refrain from commenting.


Filed under Sept 23rd

34 responses to “I’m proud to be a Saudi

  1. Good one… My mother says the exact same thing. She was a history teacher so she knows what she’s talking about.

    Good one… One more time.

  2. A very depressing post to people who believe in freedom and human advancement. I’m surprised that you’re justifying by comparing to the worst examples.

    “It could have been worse”. What a devastating argument.

    If you’re a looser, don’t worry, it could have been worse.

    I guess I agree with you on that. Probably, we do not have a dream. We just like it this way. We are better than a lot of other non-oil poor countries. It could have been worse, yes. We didn’t do well, but we should be happy, because it could have been worse.

    “It could have been” could have been anything else. Just by itself. Because we do not have any control on our situation not to mention our destiny. We never say “we could have done”, No! we love to say “it could have been”. Things for us just happen by themselves. We never have control.

    That’s the point, the situation for us is always going from worse to worse. But it’s ok for us all the time, because in every situation there is a worse situation. So, we always thank God for not being even worse.

    Ambition is not even in our dictionary. Being the best, being number #1 is a ridiculous idea to think about. Dreaming of being better and leading the world is non-Saudi.

    The whole world during the 20th century has changed. It has advanced and it continues to advance. We are part of the world and we did advance with it in all aspects and because we got something that the west wanted we had an advantage over some other countries. It’s not because we made a nation and not because we’ve done planning and not because we have a vision, it’s not because we worked hard. It’s simply because everything else is advancing and it’s becoming a smaller world, and because we are part of it.

    Things were actually going this way anyway, we have not influence on the sequence of events at all. Oil has, but not us definitely.

    Actually, we haven’t exploited this opportunity of human advancement. We only advanced a little relative to our potential.

    You know something, I believe that we could have done better. I believe that it could have been better!

    No, I’m not so proud.


  3. Maria Aini

    No freedom of speech?

    • saudiwoman

      There’s a time and place for everything and to say that a stable and prosperous country of 20 million + has nothing good is an outright lie, racist and a preaching of hatred. Show me your perfect country before you shoot down mine.

      • Maria Aini

        I think you totally misunderstood my message.

        Alhamdulillah, it’s good to see Saudis driving Western-made cars, tall buildings in the mid of the desert. Good achievement, thank Allah for the growth you achieved without doing hard work, and westerners building the whole system to drill and buy “Black Gold”. Well, if you call that as an achievement then Israelis has achieved far more than the Arabs. Development means manufacturing own cars, quality education institutions, military equipments, a strong army to protect its citizens etc. A nation whose wealth and resources are spread across 5.000, or more princes/princesses with a highest level of bureaucracy (waasta), is that an achievement?

        I am amazed you calling me a racist for my opinion. In no way I talked about your colour, race, or origin.

        Of course, I do know that Ottoman Empire has not shown much interest in the development of some Arab nations but my argument was that Muslims lived under total security and peace. Now Muslim lands are invaded, and their dignity has been made a mockery, and the so-called “economic giant” is happy of it’s development in the mid of the desert.
        You know, the moment Black Gold drains, it’s your turn, unless Allah replaces your leadership.

        To your question of a perfect nation, it doesn’t exist anymore, the last one was under the Caliph of Salahuddin Ayubi. I strongly recommend you to ponder on my message, before it’s too late.

        Now you can delete my message. Eid Mubarak.

  4. No doubt about it, there are many reasons to be proud of being a Saudi. Sometimes the work that still needs to be done overshadows that which has already been accomplished in such a short time. Saudis should be proud of their heritage, no matter where the name of the country comes from.

  5. SaudiAspire

    I couldn’t agree more with you, Qusay, and SusieOfArabia.
    Proud to be a Saudi.
    This happens to be a very special birthday. King Abdullah University for science and Technology is going to be inaugurated and a new age is going to begin. I hope it would be the transition point the King Abdullah strives for.
    Happy 77th birthday to our beloved nation. And happy Eid to all of you 🙂

  6. SaudiAspire

    It is obvious that no time should be wasted on someone who uses one of the most corrupt nations in the world (Israel) which depends on American and European knowhow and technology as well as handouts in order to survive.
    The economic giant of the middle east (Saudi Arabia) is happy. It’s wealth is distributed to whomever needs it in the country (including the 2400 members of the Royal Family) and all of us are happy with that.
    So die of your agony and jealousy and continue selling your land to your Israeli friends and blame the whole world for it.

  7. I’d like from you all to speak for yourselves, please. I’m Saudi and I love this country but hell if it makes me proud! I know I’m gonna be understood so wrong in so many ways but I’m gonna say it anyway. The only reason we’re fine and going is that because we, somehow, developed an instinct to ignore problems. We are racists, bureaucratic, corrupt, ignorant (though very intelligent), egocentric and locked down. Nevertheless, I like what’s gonna happen in KAUST and certainly love what has happened to the two Grand Mosques but, yet again, they’re not as nearly as perfect as all of which should be. We selectively depend on statistics, if we’re good then we’ll just leave it that way if we’re bad, on the other hand, then we choose not to believe in the numbers.

    I hate to say all of this but, in my defense, I am all in for developing this country further more. Yet again, we’re in a really bad shape but some little things makes us proud and ignore the real deal!

    I know you have, specifically, asked us not to bash but it’s unfair for us and for everyone in the world to give a false image. If you want to unapprove this message, by all means, go ahead I don’t wanna ruin your Eid!

    O kol sana winti tayyiba!

    • amrush “We are racists, bureaucratic, corrupt, ignorant (though very intelligent), egocentric and locked down.”

      yet I’ve found saudis to also be caring, giving, kind, open, curious, fun, family orientated, easy going, and generous. I can give a further list of adjectives if you like but I do hope you get my point.

      While yes there are issues, Allah knows there are issues, there is also good within Saudi and among Saudis. Criticism is should be welcomed but one also needs to recognize what is good in a country and a people as well.

      I think anyone can read this blog and not come to the conclusion that a ‘false image’ is being presented. But in all that may be wrong, there is much good and any saudi woman or man should have reason to feel good about that.

      • I agree, but you missed my point. All what I was saying is that we think we’re fine because we have some good traits which make us blind to our faults. We, again, selectively acknowledge our qualities!

  8. I wish KSA to be the real civilized and people-oriented country that “all” Saudis deserve… I agree that we came a long way since King abdulaziz united the country, an effort he must be recognized for, However, I disagree on the use of the word “we” as the subject or that “we” have turned it into beautiful and modern country, I quote here what a wise man once said ” In order to attain a color of the greatest possible perfection, one has to place it in the neighborhood of the contrary color; thus one places black with white, yellow with blue and green with red” Leonardo Da Vincci… Indeed Truth of things are only apparent by comparison, of what we could’ve done and what we have now…

  9. To all you Saudi bashers – Stop the bitchin. If you don’t like Saudi, just leave.

    • Maria Aini

      “Descent” language from the girl who preaches Islam.

      Just to let you know it is not the matter of liking or disliking, it is about simply speaking the truth. There are plenty of countries that have big time problems but we focus here on the “land of Islam”, on the land that does not belong to any family or group. It belongs to the Ummah, and things will be sorted, inshaAllah.
      What I understand is that some Saudis don’t stand criticism, I am sure they are people out there who understand where I am coming from. Peace.

      • Chiara

        Eman–please correct me if I am wrong, but I thought your blog focused on the country of Saudi Arabia, yes home of the 2 holy mosques, but also that of the governing Al-Saud, not on a “land of Islam” which is a phrase more reminiscent of other countries which self-identify as the land of a religion.

        I doubt that the country belongs to the Ummah which seems a contradiction in terms to me. Please correct me if I am wrong.

      • saudiwoman

        You are completely correct. Only the Kabaa part belongs to the Ummah. I cringe to think that other people especially non-Arab Muslims (Arabs know better) look to us Saudi citizens to represent what a model Muslim should be like. It’s way too big a burden.

      • Chiara

        Thank you. I didn’t realize that about the Kabaa, or I had forgotten. Yes, burdensome indeed to represent the pure religious model. Even the Pope, for all he is Catholic doesn’t pretend to such perfection.

      • Medina

        Salam Chiara,
        I lost you in bedu blog. glad you are fine.

  10. Chiara

    Congratulations to Saudi Arabia in its birthday month. There is indeed much to be proud of, especially for a nation so young.

    Regarding corruption, Transparency International, which uses multiple ratings sources to come up with its annual index puts Saudi at 80/180. African, MENA, South Asian, and Latin American countries are the main ones scoring more poorly than Saudi on this scale.


    I think public education, and public health are most commendable, and most countries restrict these to their citizens as Saudi does, except the US which does not extend public health care to all of its citizens, and may not do so unless what passes for the far left there prevails, and brings it up to speed in this area with all the other Western industrialized nations.

    In the course of researching for the series of Royal posts I did/am doing on Tara’s blog “Future Husbands and Wives of Saudis”, I learned a great deal more than I knew previously about the Al Saud, and particularly the life of King Abdul Aziz, those who preceded him, and have succeeded him. The unification of an independent Saudi Arabia at the particular juncture in time when it was effected (the rise of European Empires in the 19th and 20th centuries; a still strong and expanding Ottoman Empire) is impressive indeed. That the country functions as well as it does so soon after strong tribes and disparate regions were brought together under one government is impressive.

    The diversity within the Al-Saud family, of tribes, nationals, and citizenships (the point of the series of posts) is remarkable to those who were previously unaware, like myself. This is of course partly in accordance with the custom of marrying intertribally to consolidate alliances, but not always and is remarkable nonetheless. The philanthropy of the rich is notable, and I have a whole new impression of Prince Bandar, and Prince Al-Waleed because of this. While it is easy to be cynical about philanthropy (tax deduction, pittance relative to wealth) it is hard to criticize the choices of where the money has gone (education, health, crisis intervetion, women’s business development).

    While oil was no doubt a major change factor, managing the revenue, and nationalizing Aramco were major achievements, of several kings. King Abdul-Aziz was forward thinking, and so is King Abdullah. It seems a future of greater diversification and liberalization is in the making.

    • saudiwoman

      It is really frustrating. I’m all for constructive criticism but to throw out the baby with the bath water?! As anyone can tell from my blog, I’m by no means a Saudi apologist. However when I got all those cynical comments on a truely happy occasion I felt depressed. What’s the point in writing in English to include more people when it seems they’re just circling like vultures hungry only for the ugly?

      • Chiara

        It is sad to have “spoil sports” at a celebration, and those who cannot see the positives along with the room for improvement that any society must constantly make.

        It is remarkable how much has happened in so short a time for the country, some of the current ills being growing pains, and some the result of broader international events (for example, it would be hard to underestimate the impact of Khomeini on the region, and on increased conservatism in Saudi). There are national affairs which need to be addressed (including minimum age laws for marriage, as you have talked about elsewhere), but that could be said of any country. I see a lot of hope in many recent events for these types of change to come in a more stable evolutionary, rather than a volatile revolutionary way.

        Keep writing in English for those of us who wish to learn and discuss beyond the limits of our rudimentary Arabic (rudimentary being a generous term LOL 🙂 )!

  11. Dear Iman,
    Don’t get depressed, I’m sure we all wish for the same things for our country, we just have different views and expectations, We sure need to work harder and get more involved before we can conclude our utmost satisfaction, but nevertheless we sure are happy and proud to be united across Arabia under a new era of laws and equity, we just need to enforce equity and the role of just laws to all, and I think with people like you, this is a doable thing…

  12. As Salaam Alaikum,
    Its been a long time since reading these blogs…

    Well Alhumdulillah i am pleased to read this post by Saudiwoman. Yes you must have love to your country.

    But what i see today is people of two extremes, one extreme hates and loves to bash the Kingdom for all baseless reasons and they utterly hate the kingdom for some of its core ideals.

    And the other extreme is the one to loves saudi arabia too much that they fall into the “Shirk” of practicing “Qawmiya” and also “Asmiya”. Qawmiya and Asmiya, is where you love your country and race above all else.

    But if you had read the creed of Islaam, it is that you must love Allah and his Prophet (PBUH) above all else.

    So what i would like to see and advocate is that the Saudis must associate themselves with Islaam more than just being Saudis. Yes the kingdom does good dawah work and maintaining Al haramain, but there is more scope for improvement always.

    Alhumdulillah yes being a Saudi is a great thing as you can get to stay for ever next to Al haramain. I wish i was a saudi so that i and my children can live in Makkah or Madinah forever, but you know being a “khariji” does stink at times, i wish something is done to people of my status as well…

  13. Chiara

    Medina–I missed you too. Come visit at Tara Umm Omar’s blog “Future Husbands and Wives of Saudis”–focussed on Saudi culture and life as it impacts Saudis and non-Saudis, particularly from a multicultural perspective, and about what mixed Saudi/non-Saudi couples need to know–where I am a regular contributor of posts, and a regular commentator.

    Eman has already helped improve one of my posts in a series on Royal Saudi/non-Saudi marriages with her comments, as has another Saudi commentator Khalid.

    We would appreciate you sharing your always well-informed and well-expressed comments, and your own bicultural perspective. The URL is: taraummomar.blogspot.com


    • Medina

      Thank you Chiara. The problem is that I am very busy these days. I will try to comment on that blog as well as soon as I have time. I was just wondering where you have been and by chance I found you here LOL.

      take care

  14. Chiara

    Eman–sorry, I am trying to comment in order at the end of the whole commenting section but the comments including yours seem to pop up out of order.

  15. Chiara

    Medina–thanks. Whenever you are ready! Good to find you commenting here as well. Eman sets such excellent posts so stimulating of thought!

  16. Canuckistan Bob

    While I am a Canadian, I grew up and spent many years living in the Arab world– primarily Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco, and have been in pretty much every “Arab” country (whatever that is). Because of my job, I have traveled the world extensively, for example I think I have visited every African country but three. I have been to Tibet, Burma, Cambodia, Somalia, the old USSR, and many other odd places. I have even had the pleasure of being detained by the Shin Beit on my one (compulsary) visit to Israel (and boy was that fun).

    I have to say, and this is not in the negative sense, I think that Saudi is just about the strangest place I have ever been (and remember I grew up in the Middle East) of any country in the world that I know of.

    Abdul Aziz was a pretty amazing guy, and the history of him playing off Churchill and Roosevelt is amazing and hilarious. (The guy actually kept his first oil revenues in gold coinage in a box under his bed, yet was sophisticated enough to totally fox Churchill, not an easily foxed guy.)

    There is certainly much to criticize about Saudi Arabia, but also much to respect. A good example is this: while I strongly disagree with capital punishment, I strongly agree that if you are going to do it, you should do it in public. As a teenager I went to see the execution that day in Riyadh, and it made me feel deeply and physically ill, as it should.

    My great worry is that I do not think the current regime in Saudi is sustainable (I kind of specialize in failed states, that is part of my job). When or if it goes down, the consequences are going to be very bad, not just for Saudis, but for the world. I think most other countries realize that; consequently, I suspect that there will be intense international effort to prop things up. Which may, in the long run, make things worse.

    I suspect that oil is as much of a curse as a blessing to any country: currently, I am living close to the Canadian Oil Sands (which are way up North and about as opposite to the Saudi oil geographical situation as imaginable) which may have (according to who you believe) several times as much recoverable oil (at far higher cost) as the Kingdom has, yet the recovery of that oil will almost certainly have catastrophic environmental effects.

    Anyway, congratulations to Arabians on their National Day, and belatedly, Salaams and blessings be upon you, and darn, but I love that I stumbled into your blog, Saudiwoman. Good for you, for a presence that reduces the stupidity of the (mostly Western) public about Islam, Arabs, and women living in other parts of the world.

    Just about one of the best things for the future I can think of, is for Muslim women to speak up, and the internet is just about the perfect way for them to do it; how can anyone find shame or sin in simple words? (yes I know)

  17. It wasn’t the way back “then” which is the early 20th century. No Arab country is named after it’s rulers despite being founded in the same timespace as us.

  18. ADNISA

    Beauty Peagent in Saudi Arabia


  19. Abdullah

    …and also while you’re at it, stop distorting history. The name of the body of water bordering the Arabian peninsula is the Persian Gulf.

  20. Pingback: Origins of Saudi-American Relations « Mohammed Abbasi

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