More to the Kingdom and to Me

Monday, September 13, 2010
There is More to the Kingdom, and More to Me

Judging from many comments made on English language blogs about Saudi Arabia, one might conclude that the Kingdom is nothing but a hell-hole– a prison for women, a women’s prison in a cage that confines men, too, men who beat the women but do not beat the keepers of the cage. A prison in a cage, surrounded by the nourishing waters of freedom, but never cranking open sealed doors…

I’m not going to deny the social problems relating to women, the political danger to those who speak against the established regime, or the academic weakness of the educational curriculum. Real as they are, these issues coexist with other qualities. There is more to the Kingdom than female oppression, etc.

I am also not going to make lists of everything good and desirable in the Kingdom; I am not an apologist.

However, I do wonder of those who live there, or have lived there, is there anything right about this place? Have the Saudis any decent thing to offer each other or the rest of the world? If not, what are you doing there, or what are you doing spouting off on the blogs about the lack of freedom and Western-style choice in a country that doesn’t claim to offer it?

Emotional diatribes do not enrich my understanding of Saudi Arabia, Islam, the world, or my enthusiasm for participation, therefore I need to rein in my energies.  I started this blog mainly to collect my Riyadh memories, and to explore my relationship with Saudi Arabia and Islam as the years have passed.

I’m satisfied with my efforts so far, but I feel the urge to expand my purpose. I’ll be revising my blogroll on a continuous basis. Certain blogs have been informative, entertaining, and enriching, but the abundance of bitching and bashing in the comments sections have blunted my interest in those blogs. I’ll be adding blogs to the list, blogs that I read and that reflect my interest in diverse subjects— Italian language, Depth Psychology, Digital Imaging, Journal and Memoir Writing. If I lose readers, I’ll attract others.  I don’t have many I haven’t already lost, anyway. Though I write this blog primarily for myself, I do want readers; they inspire me and connect me in a way that writing cannot. Writing is completed by reading.

This blog is different from the essays I write  for publication elsewhere. It’s not more personal, but more spontaneous, of the moment, perhaps.

Future posts will bring more of the rest of my life into my blog.  I look forward to sharing aspects of my life that blossomed before I ever boarded my first flight to Riyadh, or my last flight out.

About Marahm

At first glance, I may appear to be a middle-aged American woman with kids, grandkids, retired from a job in a hospital, gratefully relieved from the responsibilities that come with all of that. Behind the image, which is true enough, I am fairly unhinged from much of American mainstream living, having spent twelve years in Saudi Arabia, years that sprung me from societal and familial impositions, and narrow bands of truth. I have learned to embrace my identity as a seeker, an artist, and a writer. I study Arabic and Italian language, because I love them, and I love their people. I still dream of spending more time in the Middle East and Italy, though the dreaming now seems more real than the possibilities. I am a photographer. I write, and sometimes publish, flash memoir, and now a blog or two.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Islam, Life, Rant, Saudi Arabia. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to More to the Kingdom and to Me

  1. susanne430 says:

    Although I occasionally get caught up in some of the bad (in my view) aspects of Saudi, I hope I’ve never condemned the whole culture, the whole country and everyone in it. I realize there are good things and people in EVERY country and have made some Saudi friends online whom I enjoy a lot. Nice post!

  2. Marahm says:

    Thank you, Susanne. I appreciate your reading and your commenting here. You’ve used your energy to cultivate Saudi friendships, not belittle the culture. You’ve used your writing and commenting to strengthen bridges, not to dig ditches. Please keep on !

  3. sarah says:

    I look forward to your new posts. I agree that on some blogs there is a lot of comment by people who have never even visited there. They are full of righteous indignation about the country and culture but unless that translated into actual action then it is all hot air.
    Islam always mentioes ‘believe and do good works’. The two are linked so just condeming by words is useless, if people care they should do good deeds too.
    I know plenty of Saudi women who are educated, funny, friendly and happy. There are resrtictive laws but they have a lifestyle and freedoms many women in the world can only dream of.

  4. Marahm says:

    Sarah, thank you! The last line of your comment needs to be repeated, and maybe expanded into an entire post: “There are restrictive laws but they have a lifestyle and freedoms many women in the world can only dream of.”

  5. Safiyyah says:

    Salaams Dear Marahm:
    I look forward to your new posts, too. And … to more digital art!

  6. StrangeOne says:

    I just decided to check out your blog via americanbedu’s blog, and so here I am! This post seemed to make a lot of sense to me, and I look forward to reading more of your entries on here in the future. You seem to have a lot of interesting interests as well. 🙂

    I understand your point about blog writing as I feel similarly about mine. It’s always nice to know that thoughts we may have are being communicated to others, and sometimes through the dialogue that occurs, we might learn something new. Or at least, that is how I feel.

  7. Marahm says:

    Thanks, StrangeOne! I appreciate your comment. It’s wonderful to visit the blogs of fellow readers of other blogs, and discover threads of resonance.

  8. persianxrose says:

    I love your blog. I find it really fair.

  9. Marahm says:

    Thank you so much, persianxrose. I appreciate your comment.

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