Saudis should look back to draw inspiration

Khaled Almaeena
Khaled Almaeena
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Monday was the National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

While we celebrate it we cannot ignore that the world is on the brink of a great cataclysm. We must move forward but we are unable to do so alone, so we must wait to greet a destiny hewn from consensus.

Since we are forced to pause due to the current circumstances, perhaps the time is right to survey the path already taken, the mountains already climbed. We should look back, not to indulge in an orgy of self-glorification but in order to draw inspiration from the achievements of those whose vision transformed a vast expanse of uncharted desert into a modern state.

We must draw lessons from the experience of independent tribal units that were welded into a single nation, and to learn afresh how to keep in our hearts and our children’s a national consciousness that transcends all narrow loyalties.

Even in those long-ago days when we had limited financial resources and little prior experience on the global stage, the kingdom still rose to the challenge and stepped forward to shoulder its responsibilities in both Arab and international affairs.

Khaled Almaeena

For Saudi Arabia, many decades of development were telescoped into a few years. The pace of that progress is such as has been known by few nations in history. The story of that exciting journey, catapulting us from one age to another, has been retold countless times and will continue to be told. In retelling the story, we hold on to the roots we spring from, and remind the coming generations that what they have did not just “happen.” Sweat and blood went into building, and hard labor put every brick in place and shouldered each and every boulder and obstacle.

The credit for determining the nature and direction of that labor goes to the vision of one man who could see far ahead of his time: Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman al-Saud. Born to lead, he was from a rare breed of men who could move forward with the times and yet never lose touch with his roots. He united virtually the entire Arabian Peninsula under one government.

Interference on the world stage

Even in those long-ago days when we had limited financial resources and little prior experience on the global stage, the kingdom still rose to the challenge and stepped forward to shoulder its responsibilities in both Arab and international affairs. It was a founding member of the Arab League and the United Nations. While non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations is a basic tenet of its foreign policy, it has never hesitated to stand on the side of right and justice.

The generosity of this country is well known. There are few developing nations that have not benefited from the aid given by the Kingdom through its various agencies.

Wherever there is human misery, the kingdom has extended the hand of generosity. As a result of these consistent and compassionate policies, the voice of the kingdom is heard with respect in international forums, not because of the resources it possesses but because its voice is one of reason, logic, statesmanship and maturity, rather than of demagoguery and hysteria.
Today the challenges are different. It is not enough to contain them, there is a need to plan and forestall any eventual problem. Therefore we have to look at issues of overpopulation, health, education, the environment and scarcity of water. How we deal with these challenges will determine our future.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on September 23, 2013.

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Khaled Almaeena is a veteran Saudi journalist, commentator, businessman and the editor-in-chief of the Saudi Gazette. Almaeena has held a broad range of positions in Saudi media for over thirty years, including CEO of a PR firm, Saudi Television news anchor, talk show host, radio announcer, lecturer and journalist. As a journalist, Almaeena has represented Saudi media at Arab summits in Baghdad, Morocco and elsewhere. In 1990, he was one of four journalists to cover the historic resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia. He also traveled to China as part of this diplomatic mission. Almaeena's political and social columns appear regularly in Gulf News, Asharq al-Aswat, al-Eqtisadiah, Arab News, Times of Oman, Asian Age and The China Post. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena

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