MIDDLE EAST

How Saudis refused to suppress patriotic joy

In 2005, Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz acknowledged that as of the 75th National Day, the occasion will become a national holiday celebrated annually.

The Saudi National Day is celebrated on every September 23 to commemorate the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by King Abdulaziz in 1932.

Establishing the holiday saw multiple opposition attempts from groups that sought to thwart every act aimed at bolstering national pride and identity. Joy for the holiday, unfortunately, was shy. Saudis were not used to freely express their happiness celebrating independence.

Also read: On its National Day, some quick facts about Saudi Arabia

Shortly after, Saudis began rejoicing in a homeland that united them after dispersion and started expressing suppressed and forbidden joy openly.

The joy spread nationwide, young or old, men and women, and even a large group of those who initially criticized and rejected the whole idea have become part and parcel of a national system commemorating a dear memory to all. National pride and joy filled every Saudi home.

Clearly displaying double standards, they even celebrate national independence days in other countries, as if Saudis alone hold the dim duty of suppressing national pride

Salman al-Dosary

Promoting fatwas

Muslim Brotherhood cells played a major role in promoting fatwas prohibiting the celebration of the National Day. They aimed at spreading a culture of frustration among the Saudis, despite knowing that national pride for Saudis is untouchable given.

The idea of removing any manifestations of renewed loyalty to the nation year after year contributes to the promotion of several negative concepts marketed as criticism of enforcing strong national state institutions.

OPINION: Bringing honor to our National Day

They hope to reach the ultimate goal of destroying confidence in the state little by little. What is more is that those who often oppose celebrating the National Day in Saudi Arabia do not hold the same views for neighboring.

Clearly displaying double standards, they even celebrate national independence days in other countries, as if Saudis alone hold the dim duty of suppressing national pride.

Brotherhood’s influence

As soon as a policy was adopted to actively diminish the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence, patriotic feelings surged all over the kingdom. The celebration went extended beyond Saudi Arabia to all who love and admire the kingdom such as Kuwait, Egypt and others also rejoiced, in a reflection of the size and influence of Saudi Arabia.

This exclusive and unprecedented joy has become a “registered trademark” for Saudis as if they want to make up for what they missed. Saudis and their sincere willingness to express their patriotism this year, in particular, seemed amazing and striking.

Also read: Saudi cities turn green and white for National Day

It was a terrible blow to anyone who believed in a false ability to manipulate national feelings in the hope of achieving dubious goals or undermined the statehood of Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom’s public spoke in a loud voice that the rules of the game had changed and it was no longer allowed for the terrible exploitation of religion to deprive them of patriotism. They completely stood against any agenda promoting a pro-group and an anti-state ideology.

Absurd equation

It is enough for Saudis to rejoice in their homeland and take pride in their kingdom without looking at their living problems as the “Brotherhood” works on spreading this absurd equation.

Yes, the Saudi citizen has a fair share of living problems. Yes, Saudis have many worries about life, but all this doesn’t collide with sincere patriotism, which has long been stifled.

Whether oil rates rise or fall, whether daily worries worsen or disappear, there is a big difference between a citizen making demands of his state as a natural right and his government’s right to improve their living conditions, and that this is exploited horribly to reduce patriotism.

The greatness of Saudis is awe-striking! In just two years they managed to demolish an organized and years-in-the-making project to put a barrier between them and their homeland.

This article was first published in Asharq Al-Awsat.
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Salman Aldosary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets @SalmanAldosary.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 27 September 2017 KSA 09:36 - GMT 06:36
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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