MIDDLE EAST

A fast-paced, ever-learning Saudi Arabia

Almost every week, there is a news piece on Saudi Arabia that has to do with sculpting a renewed image of life in this vast country that’s rich with diversity.

Anyone who has recently visited Riyadh or Jeddah and had last visited the country 10 years ago or more will be shocked by this fast pace of change.

For instance, the General Authority for Entertainment, which was newly created by the state, recently launched an interesting program called the Quality of Life, which includes a number of initiatives and tools that improve people’s daily aesthetic lives in the kingdom whether in sports, culture or others fields.

There is no time to waste. Those who want to keep up with the Saudi rhythm must and adapt or else, the laws of survival of the fittest will apply to them.

The secret

Can mistakes happen while the country moves forward towards greener pastures?

Yes. However what is amazing here is that the Saudi leadership is completely aware of this. Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his interview with The Atlantic: “I’m curious about your youth. This is a complicated job for a young man.”

The prince answered: “I believe humans learn to the last days of their life. Anyone who claims he knows everything doesn’t know anything. What we are trying to do is to learn fast, to understand fast, to be surrounded by smart people.”

This answer is exactly what forms the secret of the new Saudi Arabia. It’s bravery that’s accompanied with reason and committed to learning and that moves fast and listens to intelligent advice.

This reminds me of something that one of the “intelligent people” who worked with founding King Abdulaziz wrote.

Sheikh Hafiz Wahba said: “King Abdulaziz hated flattery. He loved discussing important affairs and extremely hated what people used to say that rulers know best. He always said: We are humans, (sometimes) we do mistakes, (sometimes) we do what’s right, so if we know best, then why do I ask and question?”

“One of the things that made him great is that he admitted his mistakes when he made any. God granted him great reason and a sharp insight, and his consultants’ opinions made him more experienced,” Sheikh Wahba said. (Page 41 of Wahba’s book Fifty Years in the Arabian Peninsula)

Abdulaziz’s grandson, the godfather of the new vision is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, the great founder, with the terms of this day and age.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy

 

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Last Update: Monday, 7 May 2018 KSA 10:31 - GMT 07:31
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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