Rewind! Need For A National Service Force! Reply

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Rewind! Need For A National Service Force!

http://www.muscatdaily.com/Archive/Gcc/UAE-brings-in-military-service-37l4

 7th November, 2007

Need For A National Service Force! 

I am watching this Television News coverage of a father in Turkey who is very proud of his son who is by his side and who is curtailing his further studies in University in order to join the Turkish Army to fight for his homeland with the perceived threat from The PKK – The Kurdish Workers Fighters – who are demanding for a separate home land or more autonomy; depending on your point of view. The Reporter makes a statement that the Turkish youngsters are all interested to join the Eastern flank where there are frontline activities with the PKK, rather than the Northern flank where there is no activity of any kind.

Apart from the sad and tragic fact that a supposedly majority Islamic army (be it secular in outlook and focus per se) is fighting a supposedly rebellious Islamic fighter force (something that seems to be now regular in other countries too), what else gives? Nothing new or strange here. We do not know what will happen next if Turkey will go ahead and attack North Iraq (Kurdistan), but we sure know now that Pakistan has declared a State of Emergency!

If you look at the Israeli Army, a population of less than 4 million peoples is able to put at bay larger Army population of several Arab countries. Forgetting for a moment that they are fully backed by The Western World, and even discreetly by even countries like Russia and The ex Eastern block countries (and some other countries of The rest of the world too for that matter); it raises a paramount fundamental question of how and why this is possible. Forgetting also the valid pertinent point that when you fight to defend your homeland, than the person who is attacking or maybe perceived to be attacking you for that matter.

If you look at our young Arab youth, and is not fair to assume, generalize and stereo type – but you will find that they are looking for quick gains, results and achievements at the shortest of time available and at minimum exertion, efforts and input too. Send some graduate for a professional course and he comes back saying he is now experienced and needs more power, authority and promotion.

I have interviewed in my career time graduates in some places, and they are all interested in what perks and facilities that they will get, instead of what inputs, efforts and drive they will have to put in before they can be respected, recognised and to be acknowledged. I am talking here generally – let me make myself very crystal clear. Youth are youth – I fully agree – whether Arab or Jewish! No dispute here. And true as human beings we tend to criticize and analyse more those we know better than those we do not know. The maxim ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ did not just come out from the blue!

For all fits and purposes, the young Jewish graduates may not be any different from the Arab one per se! No one amongst us can know or tell. But how many Arab youths have you seen that would volunteer to join a regular Arab Army and go and fight and die for a national cause? Forget for a moment the suicide bombers, who have been twisted their frames of minds and thoughts to kill, maim and murder innocent victims like children queuing up for chocolates and sweets, even if those sweets are from the ‘enemy’?. Or people looking for a job to feed their families are blown up into pieces. Or trying to sell or buy items in the market, or board a bus for whatever reason.

These are wasted and destroyed resources that could have been used and been utilized better, than such wastages, destruction and uselessness. The enemy is not your own brother or sister, even if he or she acts different from you or believes slightly different from you. There is a bigger cause and fight to be made, and not in this way. The enemy is the person who has invaded and occupied your country, not the one who is just hapless and innocent impotent person like that you are, though you have twisted minds and frames not to realize this. You are killing and wiping off the very same person who is against like you are, or striving to live and be as best as he can.

I have studied hard on my own the incidents of the 6 day war in 1967. I studied hard the one in 1973. I studied hard the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein. And I studied hard the invasion of Iraq by flimsy excuse and reasons of WMD – which up to day are missing. What should wake us all up is the fight and resistance put up by the Lebanese Hezbollah youth in the South against a regular Army force – the most powerful and most feared power force in The Middle East today – The Israeli army!

Let us forget for a minute whether we support or not their philosophies or outlook. They and Hamas and the Iranian youth. Like them or hate them, it does not matter. Even for them for that matter. They too have not forgotten the expression of ‘finish off the job’ to bring them down under control, ridicule, ruin and or reduce their areas of influence and control. Not all the things they did could be supported or cordoned, like sending off missiles blindly and inadvertently and unfortunately killing off and maiming Arab residents, be that they are Israeli Arabs or not.

What am I talking about here? I am talking about the readiness and willingness of Arab youth to be ready and fight for their countries, whether under direct threat or perceived threat. Look at Iran being under threat from powerful nuclear powers, but are not scared or afraid. You may like to call it obstinacy or whatever else. Like my late grandfather used to say – the child cries for a blade or a match box, do not deny him. He will cut or burn himself, which is the way they will learn!

Did we learn before in 1967? In 1973? Even lately cases like Kuwait invasion? Like Iraq invasion? No, we still are defiant and obstinate. We still use threats and defiant languages. We will stand our grounds, stay and fight – we say loud and clear. Necessity is the mother of invention, as the Kuwaiti youths found out to defend their homeland from Saddam army.

Let us try to learn from the enemy. What is it that they are doing that makes them fight, stand their grounds and gets them protected and preserved? It is the National Service that they have. All youth and of graduates and higher education joining the regular army for some years. They get trained and fight alongside the regular army. They become disciplined, cultured and matured by such training. And they become a recognizable and acknowledged force that can tackle almost everything on their own.

When they finish their compulsory military training, they return to civilian lives, but at a press of button can resort back to a reserved recognizable and acknowledged fighting force, to be respected and even feared too. Some of the Arab countries have such National Services. But I do not know I have to admit how it works. I know of a fact only that some Arab students I studied with in UK failed their examinations purposely and willingly – because they did not want to return home to join their National Service, and leave behind their British girlfriends and the UK way of life!

There are some counties in Africa who had copied the Israeli model. They join the regular army for 9 months, and go to work in civilian lives but still wearing the National Service uniforms for 2 years. Then they go for a pass out parade for one month, and become reserve forces. Some may even like the Army life, and look for a future in The Armed Forces or The Police. One sure way to reduce unemployment, and get more highly educated and trained youth in the military forces!

We can start the whole process by a Volunteer force, but we may need to encourage more to come by making it more attractive and enticing to join. When our enemies realize that we have youth in the populace that are disciplined, trained and ready to fight and die for the motherland, they will think twice if not thrice before trying to take advantage of us! It will no doubt instill respect, esteem, culture and values of society if the military training will include these subjects in the curriculum.

All the training must be accompanied with the right religious, social and national indoctrination in order to make the youth be away from wrong mind concepts and being hijacked and controlled wrongly in thoughts and mind by miscreants and ‘lost peoples’.. The National Service should include the women too, who can have their own forces separate from men, in line with our values, culture, heritage and customs.

An idea to seriously think about and consider, I should think?? 

Thoughts and views most welcome! 

N.B. The article was written on November 7th 2007 and was rejected by the newspaper – The Oman Daily Observer – as too ‘political cum radical’! 

Today UAE, Qatar and Kuwait are planning for A National Service for its citizens! 

See here – http://www.muscatdaily.com/Archive/Gcc/UAE-brings-in-military-service-37l4

The article is published in my book below – http://www.trafford.com/08-0890 – Pages 323 – 326

D - The Sequel

 

 

 


 

 

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Please Support Us The Omani Authors and Writers!

Special Recognition for my A Cry For Help! Book

Communications received from Trafford Publishing USA that they are investing 50% for Strategic Marketing and Advertising of my Arab Management Book – A Cry For Help! – Context and Perspectives! – Arabian Management Series by Majid Al Suleimany – published by USA Trafford Publishing!

This is the confidence that they have on the book!

As a special concession they have agreed that my 50% – USA Dollars 2700 can be split in 3 installments.

As you all know I only live on my Pension Salary now! 😦 !

I am also looking for support for my Road Safety Awareness books –

Being The Safe Driver! – http://www.createspace.com/4097374http://www.bethesafedriver.comhttp://www.myownmajid.com

Behind The Wheel! – http://www.createspace.com/4655681http://www.bethesafedriver.comhttp://www.myownmajid.com

For The Banks and Financial Institutions etc. – the CSRs of Corporates – please note that not all things in life is Money and that there are National Worthwhile causes that may be too slow and even may not generate even any profit – but the cause is still worthy of mention, recognition, merit and award.

I wrote an Appeal Letter to two high Prestigious Banks – and they just ignored me! One was an Islamic Bank!!!

May Allah God Direct us all to the Right Path and Ways Amin – Amen – and Restore our Compassion, Imaan, Faith, Mercy, Kindness and Compassion AMEEN.

Especially in This Coming Holy Month of Ramadhaan! Ameen –

If you feel that you want to help or contribute write to me in the Emails below –

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Lulu Book Fair – Bowshar. Reply

Majid New (2)

He looks Omani???

We have done it once again!

I was checking with my Book Distributor in Oman Family Bookshops if there were any demands from The Organisers of The Fair for any of my books – and they responded negatively!

What else is new?

We make great attempts to show constructive pragmatic National feelings to promote National Worthy causes – but by subjective and narrow minded approaches (polarization even!) we single out those we do not want to involve – yet have the courage, guts and the audacity to put in The National Press and Media such events and singling out those we want to omit not to be shown their products in such fairs!

If the purpose is to encourage Omani Children to imbed the habit of reading there is no better example than to see books authored and written by local Omanis – and see their photos at the back of the book!

Unless of course is only for Expatriate Children – then I guess it would be okay to miss out Omani Authors.

I am one of the Few Omani Authors and Writers with 10 Ten books – http://www.myownmajid.com and even interviewed in Oman FM Radio more than three times in different occasions by different people = please see below as sample.

Unfortunately we in Oman will always remain THE TAIL of The GCC because of our inward marginalized subjective polarized outlooks – supported by The Mafias and The Old Guards!

ALLAH KAREEM! GOD IS GREAT! AT LEAST ALLAH IS THERE FOR POOR PEOPLE LIKE US WITHOUT WASTAH!

Everyone in this world is responsible for one’s action – and inaction too!

Take Care!

Majid Al Suleimany

See My Books Here – http://www.myownmajid.com

Majid BBooks A Books B

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2 in Arab Management – 2 in Road Safety – 6 in Between Us Only! Series

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Rwanda Genocide – Twenty Years On! Reply

Rwanda Genocide – Twenty Years On!

Twentieth Anniversary today!

rwanda_2668146b[1]

Sayings –

History will always repeat itself because humans never learn from their mistakes

George Bernard Shaw: We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.

George Santayana: Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

George Wilhelm Hegel: What experience and history teach is this — that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles.

Maya Angelou: History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

Thucydides: History is Philosophy teaching by examples.

Unless we learn from history, we are destined to repeat it. This is no longer merely an academic exercise, but may contain our worlds fate and our destiny – Alex Haley

‘The world is too dangerous to live in – not because of the people who do evil but because of the people who sit and let it happen’. – Albert Einstein

Some Connecting Websites –

 

 

  • The world said – Never Ever Again! When over 6 million Jews were massacred in The Holocaust by Nazi Hitler Thugs!
  • The World Watched without shame – when The Palestinians were depopulated, massacred and their lands taken away with support of The West by the same peoples that were victims of The Holocaust!
  • In 1964 mainly Omanis were massacred in The Bloody Zanzibar Revolution – whilst those supposed to Protect Them  looked the other way! They too lost in the end of it all! They too lost Zanzibar!
  • This was Africa’s First Ethnic Cleansing!
  • 20 years ago – The World said NEVER AGAIN! when the Rwanda massacres took place!
  • And here we are all over again!
  • Myanamar (Burma) – Central African Republic – Syria – and others failing states following like even Egypt etc!
  • How terrible, tragic and said!
  • The human being will never ever learn – that is the terrible reality and tragedy of mankind.
  • The line between humanity and evil is so thin – and you can easily cross it anytime – especially if not looking!
  • The World – DO NOT CRY FOR US!

God Is Great! Allah Kareem!

 

Not A Question of Sour Grapes! Reply

 

Dear All & After Compliments;

Reference several posts here and at http://www.majidall.com   and http://www.majidwrite.com  concerning ending of my columns – I was able to create this website http://www.myshorttakes.com – after decline of the ‘requested Short Story’ – No Money For The Crayons for The Weekend Magazine!

As a result, my two weekly columns were killed off!

Frankly, if even the payments were regular, they amounted to OMR 300 Three Hundred a month for 9 to 10 columns a month.

Now with my websites added in, I do not have to suffer the absurd omissions of my columns – and the editing that went with some to unbelievable ridiculous proportions that even the gist of intended meaning and purpose got lost in the process.

True I have lost the monthly stipend – but I now no longer have to suffer the humiliations and marginalization with my new added website at http://www.myshorttakes.com

Please visit the site – and more here – 

http://myshorttakes.com/2014/04/03/more-emotional-touching-stories-here-2/

Enjoy! Happy Surfing!

Best Regards,

Majid Al Suleimany

Frankly I am more happier now – And definitely  Not A Question of Sour Grapes!

Never Give Up A  Envy 5  Envy 3

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Syria: The Battle Beyond 1

Syria: The Battle Beyond

Educated middle-class Syrian exiles share their thoughts on the revolution and their determination to return home.

Al Jazeera World Last updated: 19 Mar 2014 20:55

Syria The Battle Beyond

Double Click To Open

Three years ago, Syrians took to the streets   in protest against the government, and the resulting conflict has been longer   and more violent than anyone could have anticipated.

In this film, we follow the stories of Syrians   in exile who have all escaped the conflict with their lives.

The image the world often has of refugees is   of a downtrodden traveller or occupant of a squalid transit camp. But this   film is built around the experiences of educated, middle-class exiles of the   Syrian revolution – an academic, an artist, a playwright, a researcher, a   medical worker, and a women’s rights campaigner.

Now living in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, they   were all once activists in Syria. Some escaped to avoid arrest, others simply   fled the deteriorating situation.

All have individual stories – about being away   from home, missing their places of work and study, their neighbourhoods and   cafes. But they all have one thing in common – a fierce determination to   continue fighting for a ‘Free Syria’, each in their own way. They all believe   the war will ultimately end and that they will be able to go back to a free   country ruled by a democratically elected government.

In Syria: The Battle Beyond, we hear   their stories as they reflect on the struggles they face living in exile, and   their hopes of one day returning home.

Al Jazeera World can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 2000; Wednesday: 1200; Thursday:     0100; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 2000; Sunday: 1200; Monday: 0100; Tuesday: 0600.

Images – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

Syria 1 Syria 2 SYRIA-CONFLICT-EDUCATION Syria 4 Syria 5 Syria 6 Syria ASyria 8Syria 9 (1)Syria 9 (2)Syria 10

Images – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

Famous Expression

There is an East African expression that goes on like this –

Those with eyes are not told to look – those with ears to hear – and those with a mouth to speak!

An expression more near at home in Arabic goes like this –

There is no one so blind with eyes but cannot see – one so deaf with ears but cannot see – and one so dumb but with a mouth but cannot speak!

And the Romans old saying –

Those that the gods want to destroy make them not see, hear or speak!

Take Care!

By

Majid Al Suleimany

Time To Privatise The Oman Daily Observer! Reply

 

NEWS REPORT TODAY

 

1395160555036801300[1]

Quote – The government continues to march ahead with programmes to attract investments in various sectors, while at the same time trying to strengthen the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for these two factors play a key role in generation of employment, and enhancement of value addition to the economy. This was stated by Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council for Planning, while speaking at the fourth edition of Oman Economic Forum, held under the auspices of Darwish bin Ismaeel al Balushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs – Unquote!.

As an ex Omani Columnist, Writer and Author I would recommend to Our Leadership to seriously consider to PRIVATISE OMANISE The Oman Daily Observer.

This is the only way to increase efficiency, transparency and accountabilities! And backlogs and maladministration!

Also the cancerous cells of The Mafias and The Old Guards unending sagas!!

Sad – but THE TRUTH!

Loyal Faithful Citizen,

Majid bin Said bin Nasser bin Zahor Al Sulaimani

 

Be an Indian; But Not In India! The Real Story of The NRIs! Reply

Be an Indian; But Not In India! Real  Story of NRIs!

SAD BUT TRUE! *A MUST READ…*

*From an Indian to an Indian…*

BE AN INDIAN, BUT NOT IN NDIA!

Why do they succeed outside India? Do they do the same to the Locals in other countries??

From Yahoo – East African Circle – By Pradyuman Josh

*Forwarded as received. *

Received from an *NRI businessman’s’  Group* in India

NRI refers to Non-Residents of India

*VERY INTERESTING AND TRUE! *

This is worth your time. Who ever put this together, is no fool and has the right vision about India, makes sense and is an eye opener.

I remember Brits in our own country India before independence that when Indians use to address them ‘YES, SIR!’ and joining their hands and bowing to them, as if they (Indians) were servants and Brits ‘Masters’ in India. *Imagine being a servant in ones’ own country.*

What for? Because of the white skin, privileged masters? They used and abused Indians in their own country and reduced them ‘to being stupid, suppressed them and broke down their self-esteem way down and made themselves (Brits) the masters of the slaves.

No wonder Brit’s ruled the world with that attitude and took/made us fools!

India would have been freed from Britain if our ancestors had fought and revolted against the Brits as did the Americans in the USA in the 16th century. Remember ‘the Boston Tea Party’ and other historical events where people revolted and gained independence from the colonial powers?

*Thought Provoking reasoning:*

I would like to sum up our performance in the 20th century in one sentence. Indians have succeeded in countries ruled by whites, but failed in their own. This outcome would have astonished leaders of our independence movement. They declared Indians were kept down by white rule and could flourish only under self-rule.

This seemed self-evident. The harsh reality today is that Indians are succeeding brilliantly in countries ruled by whites, but failing miserably in India. They are flourishing in the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, far east, etc.

But those that stay in India are pulled down by an outrageous system that fails to reward merit or talent, fails to allow people and businesses to grow, and keeps real power with unfaithful leaders, corrupt politicians, and selfish assorted manipulators. Once Indians go to white-ruled countries, they soar and conquer summits once occupied only by whites.

Rono Dutta has become head of United Airlines, the biggest airline in the world with a Fleet size of 705 aircrafts and 381 destinations world wide. Had he stayed in India, he would have no chance to lead in the Indian Airlines.

Even if the top job there was given to him by some godfather, the corrupt, dominating politicians and trade unionists would have ensured that he could never run it like United Airlines. Vikram Pundit was head of Citigroup until recently, which operates Citibank, one of the largest banks in the world.

Rana Talwar has become head of Standard Chartered Bank, one of the biggest multinational banks in Britain, while still in his 40s. Had he been in India, he would perhaps be a local manager in the State Bank, taking orders from politicians to give loans to politically favored clients.

Lakhsmi Mittal has become the biggest steel baron in the world, with steel plants in the US, Kazakhstan, Germany, Mexico, Trinidad and Indonesia. Indias’ socialist policies reserved the domestic steel industry for the public sector. So Lakhsmi Mittal went to Indonesia to run his family’s first steel plant there. Once freed from the shackles of India, he conquered the world.

Subhash Chandra of Zee TV has become a global media king, one of the few to beat Rupert Murdoch. He could never have risen had he been limited to India, which decreed a TV monopoly for Indian gov’t company, Doordarshan. But technology came to his aid: satellite TV made it possible for him to
target India from Hong Kong. Once he escaped Indian rules and soil, he soared.

You may not have heard of 48-year old Gururaj Deshpande. His communications company, Sycamore, is currently valued by the US stock market at over US $30 billion, making him perhaps one of the richest Indians in the world. Had he remained in India, he would probably be a politician in the Department of  Telecommunications.

Arun Netravali has become president of Bell Labs, one of the biggest research and development centers in the world with 30,000 inventions and several Nobel Prizes to its credit. Had he been in India, he would probably be struggling in the middle cadre of Indian Telephone Industries. Silicon Valley alone contains over 100,000 Indian millionaires.

Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi has been the CEO of  PepsiCo Inc. since 2006, a Fortune 500 company.

Sabeer Bhatia invented Hotmail and sold it to Microsoft for US $400 million.

Victor Menezes, born in Pune in 1949, was number two in Citibank until late last year.

Shailesh Mehta is CEO of Providian, a top US financial services company.

Also at or near the top are Rakesh Gangwal of US Air, Jamshd Wadia of Arthur Andersen, and
Aman Mehta of Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp.

In Washington DC, the Indian CEO High Tech Council has no less than 200 members, all high tech-chiefs. While Indians have soared, India has been stagnated.

At its independence time, India was the most advanced of all colonies, with the best prospects.

Today with a GNP per head of $370, it occupies a lowly 177th position among 209 countries of the world. But poverty is by no means the only or main problem.

India ranks near the bottom in the United Nations’ Human Development Index, but high up in Transparency Internationals’ Corruption Index.

The politician-raj (rule) brought in by socialist policies is only one reason for Indias’ failure. The more sordid reason is the rule-based society we inherited from the British Raj, is in tatters today. Instead
money, muscle and influence matter the most.

At independence we were justly proud of our politicians. Today, we regard them as scoundrels and criminals. They have created a jungle of laws in the holy name of socialism, and used these to line their pockets and create patronage networks. No influential crook suffers. The Indian Mafias flourish unhindered because they have political links.

The sons of police officers, politicians, rich people believe they have a license to rape and kill and get away from being charged criminally or prosecuted. Talent cannot take you far amid such bad governance.

We are reverting to our ancient feudal system where no rules applied to the powerful ones. The British Raj brought in abstract concepts of justice for all, equality before the law. These were maintained in the early years of independence. But, sixty years later, citizens wail that India is a lawless land where no rules are obeyed.

I have heard of an IAS probationer at the Delhi training academy pointing out that in India before the British came, making money and distributing favors to relatives was not considered a perversion of power, it was the very rationale of power. A feudal official had a duty to enrich his family and caste.

Then the British came and imposed a new ethical code on officials. But, he asked, why should we continue to choose British customs over Indian ones now that we are independent?

The lack of transparent rules, properly enforced, is a major reason why talented Indians cannot rise in India. A second reason is the politician-raj, which remains intact despite supposed liberalization. But,
once talented Indians go to rule-based societies in the west, they take off. In those societies all people play by the same rules, all have freedom to innovate without being strangled by regulations.

This, then, is why Indians succeed in countries ruled by Non-Indians, and fail in their own.

*It is the saddest story of the century for Indians and India.

From Yahoo – East African Circle – By Pradyuman Joshi

NRI 5 NRI 4 NRI 3 NRI 1 NR 2 NRI 6 NRI A

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3. Fwd: FW: SAD but TRUE. A MUST READ!!
Posted by: “Pradyuman Joshi” papla1860@gmail.com
Date: Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:57 am ((PDT))

Date: Sat, Mar 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM
Subject: INDIANS & INDIA: SAD but TRUE…

Saudi officials shut down display at book fair Reply

Saudi officials shut down display at book fair

Summary 

At this year’s Riyadh International Book Fair, greatly anticipated by Saudi writers and intellectuals, a display by a new press run by Saudis out of Beirut was ransacked and shut down.

Madawi%20Alrasheed-001[1]

Author Madawi Al-Rasheed

Posted March 13, 2014

A man shows a book by Saudi writer and poet Al-Rotayyan during the Riyadh Book Fair in Riyadh

A man shows a book by Saudi writer and poet Mohamed al-Rotayyan during the Riyadh Book Fair at the International Exhibition Center in Riyadh, March 9, 2013.  (photo by REUTERS/Faisal Al Nassar)

*** Author: Madawi Al-Rasheed – Al Monitor

Posted March 13, 2014

Saudi Arabia boasts about the annual Riyadh International Book Fair, where Saudis can explore a flourishing book market, meet authors and engage in intellectual discussion. Every year, however, the book fair is transformed from an intellectual market into something more resembling a battle for the hearts and minds of Saudis. The gathering has become an arena in which multiple actors want to assert their presence, control the event and dictate what Saudis should and should not read. During the 2014 book fair, this struggle resulted in visitors on March 7 posting photos online of the destruction inflicted the night before on the booth of the Arab Network for Research and Publishing, a relatively new press based in Beirut.

Many writers and readers look forward to the annual book event, which breaks up the monotony of intellectual life in the kingdom and allows them to enjoy a different kind of consumption. The government promotes the book fair under the auspices of the Ministry of Information, while security agents, accompanied by members of the Committee for Promoting Virtue and Prohibiting Vice, otherwise known as the religious police, search for books to confiscate and destroy. They also look for any signs of mingling between the sexes and flirtatious behavior deemed to undermine public order. 

A group of young Saudi intellectuals, including Judge Abdulaziz al-Qasim and the journalist Nawaf al-Qudaimi, established the Arab Network for Research and Publishing to promote books offering new perspectives on society, religion and politics.

As the press’ director, Qudaimi worked hard to create a significant collection of books written by Saudis and other Arabs, all presenting new interpretations of history and religious tradition with a view toward reconstructing consciousness and promoting an examination of past and current knowledge.

The press also translates books from other languages, primarily academic English books on Saudi Arabia and other countries. Days before the book fair, Qudaimi had begun to promote the press’ 2014 list, tweeting short promotional materials and summaries of the awaited titles. He was granted permission to display the publishing house’s collection in a designated corner at the Riyadh book fair.

The press’ books arrived and were displayed as expected. Qudaimi’s early publicity effort was so successful that a number of Saudis were looking forward to purchasing copies of their favorite volumes. They were disappointed, however, when they arrived to find the ransacking of the press’ display a day after the book fair opened its doors. Books and papers were scattered and thrown from the tables set up for their exhibition. Thus, the press was only able to display its collection for a very short time before being closed down.

Among Saudi liberals speculating about the reasons behind the raid, the majority prefer to blame the religious police, absolving the regime from any wrongdoing. This is an easy way out for them, because they would like to think of the regime as a bastion of enlightenment working against a tide of religious conservatism, bigotry and radicalization.

They have exhausted this myth, however, and instead live under the illusion that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz is a reformer, working hard to open Saudi Arabia to new ideas and curb the influence of radical groups across the society. They cheered when a recent royal decree promised to punish radical groups and designate them as terrorists. The raid at the book fair affirms the myth’s collapse.

The raid not only proves that reform in Saudi Arabia is in short supply, but confirms that the regime is not serious about fighting terrorism. Freedom of expression is not by any means an unlimited right, but it is a precondition for open debate, including tackling the roots of violence. Without people being able to engage in free debate, read alternative interpretations and expose themselves to new ideas, the regime is fighting a lost cause. In fact, the raid proves that the government does not want to create the intellectual conditions for new ways of thinking and behaving.

The raided publications hardly contain any radical ideas, blasphemy or immoral material. In fact, several volumes deconstruct the roots of Wahhabi teachings, in particular those that would perpetuate repression at the personal and political levels, promote violence and suppress people’s rights. Many authors are critical of old Wahhabi teachings that promote rejection of democracy and civil and political rights.

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A tweet with a picture of the booth before and after (Twitter/ @Alqudaimi)

A common theme runs through many books in which some authors search for ways to free the Islamic tradition from the authority of religious scholars whose interpretations have become sacred, especially in Saudi Arabia. Rather than exporting Wahhabi ideas, these Saudi authors draw on the work of modernist scholars in North Africa and elsewhere to reconstruct Islamic interpretations suitable for modern society. Many volumes offer a serious critique of Islamists in Saudi Arabia, highlighting their shortcomings in preparing people for demanding their rights.

The book fair raid indicates that such a collection of books has been designated a threat to Saudi national security. The regime, however, cannot fight terrorism simply by arresting terrorists and criminalizing radical language that might incite violence. It should allow people to engage in alternative ways of emancipating themselves and freeing their conscience from the oppressive preaching that still dominates the country.

The regime knows very well, however, that this freedom is inevitably bound to sweep away the political repression that sustains, finances and nourishes those whose main objective is to control the hearts and minds of citizens. As a regime founded on a holy marriage with Wahhabism, one of the most rigid Islamic traditions, considered by some as Islam par excellence, it knows all too well that its survival is dependent on Wahhabism remaining a revered corpus of religious thought.

The Saudi regime is keen to prepare Saudis for the afterlife, but the raided books aim to prepare them for this life, hence they were targeted in a way that demonstrates how dangerous this perspective is viewed. Books that praise the pious rulers of the country, congratulate them on their development projects and commend their support of Islamic causes are well-guarded on the book fair’s shelves. Also those publications that teach one how to ablute during water shortages remain abundant, but those that prepare people to pursue their rights as citizens or deconstruct mythologized history are banned.

No historical or political change can be forthcoming without a paradigm shift that dismantles traditional ways of thinking and replaces them with new perspectives. The regime fears this shift and is determined to suppress its slow birth. The Saudi regime is fighting a losing battle in the age of new media, during which books can circulate in electronic form. Its raid only sparked curiosity and increased people’s determination to search for the destroyed publications online.

The iron curtain has already fallen, and Saudi authors are themselves the new archaeologists with sturdy trowels for excavating a fossilized body of religious and political thought. The famous 10th-century Arab poet Abu al-Tayib al-Mutanabi said that the sword is mightier than the pen, but weak and troubled regimes, such as the Saudis’, seem to fear the pen more than the sword

*** Dr. Madawi Al-Rasheed is a columnist for Al-Monitor and a visiting professor at the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has written extensively about the Arabian Peninsula, Arab migration, globalization, religious trans-nationalism and gender. On Twitter: @MadawiDr

Blacklist companies, not just punish corrupt officials – Saleh Al Shaibany 1

Saleh Al Shaibany

Blacklist companies, not just punish corrupt officials –

Sunday Beat – Times of Oman – March 16, 2014

Saleh Al Shaibany

http://www.timesofoman.com/News/Article-31123.aspx

RELATED STORIES 

  Sunday Beat: Oman   needs strict laws to combat corruption

  Sunday Beat: The   corrupt should not escape the consequences

Real justice will not be done until companies whose senior   officials have been convicted on corruption charges are either blacklisted   for a number of years from bidding for the government tenders, or made to pay   heavy fines.

We should follow the regulations the rest of the world   does to make companies accountable for the actions of their employees   representing them.

The excuse that the board of directors cite by saying,   “we knew nothing about it”, does not wash when it is their job to   know about it. It defies logic when hundreds of thousands of rials disappear   in the company’s bank accounts and the chairman says “it escaped my   notice” or simply that “it was hidden from my view” and the   courts believe that statement. A CEO or a managing director will not   authorise the accountant to use the company’s money to bribe a government   official unless he has approval from someone in the board. There is always   that prior arrangement of “you go ahead with it but I will deny it if   you are caught” type of thing which means the bribe had the blessing   from the top.

For justice to go around a full 360 degrees instead of   doing a semi circle, the Oman Tender Board (OTB) must ban the bribing   companies for at least 10 years from any future activities. It is no excuse   that these companies, just because they employ hundreds of Omanis, should get   away with it. If they are allowed to bid again, then they should pay a fine   equivalent to the bid value of the contract in which they were accused of   offering bribe.

Otherwise, it will be morally wrong when one or two   employees, acting under certain instructions, should be made scapegoats for   something bigger than them without any consequences to the company   itself.

The shocking thing is that while the company is being   investigated for bribery charges, it is still in the running to win the next   contract of the project they had bid for prior to the court case. It is like   telling a school boy “don’t climb this tree again but you can climb the   other one at the back but make sure you don’t fall this time.”

Then there is a question of the auditing companies. How   does it escape their expert scrutiny when a large amount of cash was not   accountable for? If a company is listed in the Muscat Securities Market (MSM)   or in the case of a government organisation, surely the auditors must spot   any financial irregularities. If not, where are they looking?

To say that the financials are hidden from their full   scrutiny is again a lame excuse for not doing their job or simply taking for   granted that “all is well” when it is not, as we now find out. For   listed companies, it is the investors’ money that is used to bribe for   contracts where the board of directors are the trustees. It is not business   ethics, as one insider speculated. “Bribery money is the board of   directors’ way of increasing profits for their investors.”

What about the role of the State Financial and   Administrative Audit Institution when it comes to scrutinise the accounts of   the government’s organisations and their employees? We expect such an   institution with wide powers to put under the spotlight any financial   irregularity committed by officials, especially those at the very top, to act   decisively and timely to win the public’s confidence.

If we argue if we should make board of directors of   private companies responsible for their actions, then it makes perfect sense   to make heads of the ministries take responsibility for the spate of   corruption cases in their patches. If their response is that “we were   not aware of it”, then questions should be asked about their competence.   Somebody else should be appointed who will be “aware of it” when it   starts to happen again.

To sum it all up, corrupt companies should not simply   plead ignorance and blame it on their managers to survive to make money   another day. Similarly, heads of ministries cannot shrug their shoulders by   claiming lack of knowledge. It is part of their responsibility and the buck   stops with them. The time for cover-up has long passed. 

You can get in touch with the writer: saleh@timesofoman.com

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