The rise of states, the establishment of state entities, and the efforts to guarantee their continuous ascent toward the best are very similar to the process of the establishment of businesses, whose foundations are laid by one or several individuals with common and harmonious visions and aspirations. Such endeavors usually achieve their goals with ease despite the inevitable obstacles and efforts they face along the way. After all, those who believe their blessings could last forever without making even the slightest of efforts usually wake up one day filled with regret for failing to maintain their blessing for themselves and those who may succeed them and squandering it with mismanagement and the lack of solid foundations. History is filled with examples that prove that solid foundations must be deeply entrenched to be able to hold up and reinforce what will be erected above. Briefly put, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the key contemporary examples of the realism and credibility of such a statement.
Last Thursday, Saudi Arabia celebrated its National Day with a momentum that carries the meanings of refreshing and reactivating the legacy, if we were to use the terms of the young, internet-savvy generation. Why? I will answer with a question that perhaps clarifies best what I mean to say: Isn’t the current Saudi reality too transparent to need any explanation? It is indeed. The facts are clear in all that is happening in the Kingdom in the clear light of day and at all times. These facts say this is a kingdom of a young generation that aspires with big hope to building a stronger present to achieve a better tomorrow. Perhaps contemplating the images of Saudi men and women celebrating their national day is enough for all illuminated minds to understand that a revitalized and re-enlivened Saudi society is here. These are the young men and women of Vision 2030. They are its beating heart and its strong arms, flying high and shining bright in the space of internet globalization, while keeping their feet firm on the ground and the values of their ancestors in their hearts, drawing from the valuable legacy of the founders and keeping in mind every event that led to their country’s unification and their kingdom’s establishment 91 years ago. As such, these young men and women are well aware that change does not mean forgetting their roots or denying their forerunners’ favor.
That is precisely what is meant by the young generations’ refreshing of the legacy, a legacy of loyalty to the decades-long connection between Saudi generations. This is a feature of utmost importance that many Arab intellectuals of all currents have failed to understand throughout the different stages of modern history, be it when the so-called pan-Arab expansion prevailed, or during international then liberal thought, or when Islam was stolen and kidnapped under the false claim of returning to the age of Salafism. Most intellectuals in these currents have failed to understand the nature of loyalty rooted in most Saudis, first vis-à-vis the mosaic of their social fabric, and second vis-à-vis the relation between the guardian and the parish. It is a relation of paternity that was difficult to understand for many in the Arab world. Does this mean that there were no attempts to muddy the waters of this harmonious relation? Surely not. But then again, when has a family or society not suffered the malicious endeavors of those who seek to destroy and divide?
Everybody knows that Saudi Arabia has lived through many storms that sought to wring its components apart and destroy its foundations. But everybody knows as well that the approach of King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, which was initially founded on the noble approach of Islam, established a model Kingdom that would shield Saudi Arabia in the future, and shield it did. This is the blessing in which the young Saudi generation is currently rejoicing under King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and will rejoice in the coming decades.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.