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« on: May 31, 2010 07:42 AM »


MTV show about Saudis angers many

ARAB NEWS

Published: May 28, 2010 23:33 Updated: May 29, 2010 15:34

JEDDAH: A documentary featuring young Saudis that was published on Monday on MTV’s website has been criticized by local residents.

The documentary was made by four groups of young men and women talking about their personal social concerns. The video quickly gained popularity among Saudis through social networking sites.

“The group spoke about their own concerns, which I think other members of Saudi society don’t care about,” said local resident Fatima.

“Saudis have bigger issues that need to be discussed, like unemployment, underage marriage or even education, but those groups chose to discuss issues that many Saudis don’t find important or a priority.”

The one-hour “Resist the power, Saudi Arabia” documentary was part of a program called “True Life”. The documentary was filmed in Jeddah, where the producers and cast met with a number of young Saudis who spoke about elements of the Saudi lifestyle that bothered them.

The majority of Saudis who watched the video was offended and said it was a major insult to their traditions and customs.

The video featured the short story of Fatima, who said she was against black abayas and wished Saudi women would start wearing colored ones. It also showed her going to the market and buying some colored abayas and trying to sell them on to her friends and family.  Later in the show, Fatima and a friend took their abayas off and rode their bicycles on Jeddah streets.

“I really don’t know what she was trying to prove. I really wish I could meet her and tell her that this was her own issue as no one had complained about wearing black abayas. I myself have been wearing colored abayas for years now,” said Ayah Shata, a student.

Another story in the video features the exploits of a young man called Aziz. He spends his time browsing the Internet looking for a relationship with a girl. At one point in the video, Aziz takes the cameras to the Red Sea Mall in Jeddah to meet the girl of his dream, but the security guard at the door does not let him in.

“I was really offended by Aziz’s story. I couldn’t help but wonder, is that what he is living for?” said college student Abdullah Nasser. “Those groups make Saudis look shallow and depict them as having no real concerns. They are just interested in meeting girls, listening to music and wearing colored abayas. What’s the point of this? People need to know that we have bigger issues and worries than these shallow people.”

The third clip featured a rock band struggling to go public and charts their efforts to hold a live concert so they can share their love of music with others. “I agree with this band, Saudi Arabia needs to give more freedom to those talented people who want to show off their gift and share it with others,” said another student, Mohammed Nagadi.

“My only concern is that if I were to film a documentary that will be shown globally, I would talk about how young men are forbidden from shopping or dining without our family members for instance, because I believe this is a bigger problem.”

The last story was of Ahmed Sabri, a young man who was fighting for women’s rights. His suggestion was for women to be able to vote and speak their minds in Jeddah Municipal Council. “Maybe Ahmed’s proposal was the best of them all. I support his pitch 100 percent as he is the only one that has discussed a real social concern,” said Saudi citizen Hanan Mohammed.

A local newspaper reported on Friday that a group of conservative Saudis are planning to file a lawsuit against the group, claiming they are making their sinful activities public. A member of the group was quoted as saying that this case was similar to another case that happened in October.

The case he was talking about involved Mazen Abdul Jawad, a young man who appeared on LBC channel talking about sexual issues and his sexual experiences.

He was caught and jailed for five years, in addition to a thousand lashes. He was also banned from leaving the Kingdom for five years after his release from jail.
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2010 08:45 AM »

as salaamu alaykum,

What came to mind when reading about this documentary is a very interesting clip I saw recently called "The Danger of a Single Story".  In it, a Nigerian writer talks about how when we know or constantly hear only one particular story about a country, people, religion, etc then our understanding becomes narrowed to only that.  Two very powerful statements she says:

The single story shows a people as one thing - as only one thing - over and over again and that is what they become.

The problem with the single story is not that it is untrue - but that it is incomplete.  They make that single story the only story.

I think this is what we often see with coverage of the Middle East.  The young people are restless and dissenting, activists are shut down and shut out, women are unhappy, etc. etc.  While these things may be true or have elements of truth in them, especially in the countries run by oppressive and unprincipled government, it is unfortunate that that is what the Middle East has become in its entirety - as if there are no other layers or history or context.

In short: it's been done MTV.  How about some depth or taking it from a new angle?

(Watch the clip here: http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html)

salaam,
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2010 12:14 PM »

MTV show about Saudis angers many

 “Those groups make Saudis look shallow and depict them as having no real concerns. They are just interested in meeting girls, listening to music and wearing colored abayas. What’s the point of this? People need to know that we have bigger issues and worries than these shallow people.”


is this true? people tell me it is.  i only know the saudis who live abroad. they are probably not representative of the general population
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