Suspensions and censorship

Huda Al Hamd, an anchor on Saudi’s channel has been suspended from work. On her morning show this Saturday she took up the unemployment problem in Saudi Arabia. She had on the show two extremely outspoken writers, Saad Al Dosari and Dr. Hasan Al Ajmi. Mr. Al Dosari made many statements such as that it is an outrage that 12000 Saudis apply when only 45 positions are announced. He also said that there are people or a mafia benefitting from how things are run. He even likened the current foreign labour system to human trafficking. He demanded that ministers do something about it, that they go to the King and show him how desperate the situation is by tearing their thobes (cultural gesture of desperation). Then Dr. Al Ajmi weighed in by stating that ministers only drive around in fancy cars, enjoy the centralized air conditioning and smell the most expensive Cambodian incense. He declared the ministries of Labour and Civil Service complete failures and the Ministries of Education and Financial Affairs disappointments. He said that it’s not employers who mistrust Saudis, its Saudis who mistrust employers. He urged ministers to inform the King truthfully of the situation and assured them that the King will support them.

According to Sabq, Saturday night and until the early hours of Sunday, meetings and calls from decision-makers were going on at the Ministry of Information and Culture. Sunday it was announced that the Ministry’s spokesperson Mr. Haza’a would manage the channel for the next six months; he’s the same person who caused an uproar after he suggested that Saudi bloggers register and get licenses to blog. Also Ms. Al Hamd’s suspension was followed with the suspension of her colleagues Samira Madani and Mohammed Al Radaini.

I have written on unemployment before. The situation is desperate. It’s bad for men and much worse for women. You can read my last post on it here.

I recommend you watch the video even if you don’t speak Arabic, the passion and anger of the guests goes across languages. This controversy resulted in a hashtag on Twitter #hoda2alhamed in support of Huda Al Hamd

Some of the tweets include:

Thumar Almarzouki

With my rejection of the suspension and what happened, nothing will ruin the country more than Al Ajmi and Al Dosari when they say demeaning jobs and jobs that are beneath Saudis, that’s bull.

مع رفضي للإيقافات وماحصل، لكن ماراح يدمر البلد إلا عقليات العجمي والدوسري، ايش مهن حقيرة، ووظائف لا تليق بولد البلد، كلام فارغ #hoda2alhamed

Abdulaziz Fagih

Calling these people human traffickers is an insult to human traffickers.

وصف هؤلاء الأشخاص بتجار الرقيق هو أهانة لتجار الرقيق #hoda2alhamed

Esam Mudeer

The Ministry of Information’s message is clear, anybody in the media who takes up unemployment transparently and boldly will soon join the unemployed.

رسالة وزارة الاعلام باتت واضحة: كل من تسول له نفسه من الاعلاميين تناول ملف العاطلين بجرأة وشفافية سوف يصبح منهم #hoda2alhamed


Filed under Freedom of speech, Injustice, unemployment

11 responses to “Suspensions and censorship

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention New on the blog: Suspensions and censorship : --

  2. susan temairik

    It’s a long battle but there are some wonderful people in it.

  3. Thanks for raising this, Eman. I did a quick look thru the English papers and not a peep, tho not surprising, of course. Is it just me, or does it seem like “controlling the message” has become more important than dealing with reality of late?

    I went back and reread your previous posts as well as the Booz & Co report – stunning, no wonder some folks want to keep it (and our heads) buried in the sand! Thanks for not allowing that to happen.

    Prayers for protections to both yourself and Ms Al Hamd.

    Lori @ SGIME

  4. SmurfBurkan

    Maybe they’ll issue another women’s fatwa soon if this doesn’t go away quicly enough 🙂 Don’t want people questioning or speaking up, do we? By the way, did this happen just before issuing the last fatwa you commented on?

  5. Politico

    Although admirable and courageous, that type of criticism was unthinkable just a few years ago, there are one point that sticks out like a sore thumb in his talk,

    – he is blaming the foreigners, yet again. In my years in the Arabian peninsula, the anti-Ajnabi sentiment was all too palpable. Nearly every societal, economical or political problem was blamed on the Ajanib.

    Who are these elusive Ajanib? The labourers from the sub-continent? The other Arabs? All of whom keep the country running?

    I find it condescending that instead of urging the population to finally do its own dirty work, the people who earn close to nothing are being blamed.

  6. Mary

    I love to read your blog..but I have this comment to make..
    we all know how bad things are, and can get in Saudi, but isn’t there one good thought, action, or something positive you can share.
    I visited Saudi last year, and yes all of the things you wrote about happen .. we all hope and call for change, someday it will happen.
    My comment is can you share some good things that are in Saudi of good effects to the people and the outside world..surely they are there.
    Give advice :
    what about the future of Saudi, the children who are being raised by those maids with no qualification.
    The current and future mothers of Saudi who will bring good generations to come that might help make the change.
    Driving, changing the color of the abaya, blog control, tv control are issues of no value to the role that each person needs to play to help make the change. How did it get done in profit Mohammed’s time ?
    Share the writings of Islam and let us, the ones who live abroad, see and hear of the goodness of that religion ( I am not a good writer otherwise I would)
    How is your stress level? do u worry about your health, heart etc 🙂 all those nagging issues to write about !!
    Donot get mad I like your postings but there have got to be good things out there.
    All of your comments is fueling those non Saudis, living in Saudi or out of Saudi, to view their totally uncaring, false need to change the kingdom, that is not their task nor it is their right to do so.
    Come and see the problems of freedom in the great west.
    Keep posting for I will keep reading.

  7. Again, people sencuring others are afraid. They are afraid to loose power.

  8. Ali

    So sick of this subject! Been talking about it in newspaper, blogs, all discussion.. everywhere since 2003… and the solutions is RIGHT there, EASY and FAIR!

  9. Ali

    So sick of this subject!
    Been talking about it in newspaper, blogs, all discussion.. everywhere since 2003… and the solution is RIGHT there, EASY and FAIR!

  10. Abbas

    There is a big aspect to the unemployment problem here which many fail to address; Saudis themselves. While administrations and government play a role in this, I won’t start blaming them anytime soon, not until most Saudis start working seriously. Many of them want really good jobs with benefits and a high salary, and not much work, and unless they get that, they refuse to work. These make up most of the people who “can’t find jobs”.

  11. angel

    nice to hear the saudis queens speak.
    I come to conclusion that many saudis dont follow the islam that is preached in saudi by the scholars ..there are people who like these scholars in other countries it’ll be good that these people be repleace whit ones who want to live free with out any restrictions..well the issues of unemployment are more serious than the women driving issue which needs to be addressed ..and if saudis them selves are responsible as they don’t have skills that are required and people are hired form out side to do the work and saudis with their arrogance just sit and cry .Isn’t govt providing the saudis best of education ?i think the standard of education in saudi is of the USA.

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