The return of the entertainment industry
A society that lacks recreation becomes a place where crime spreads
It is wrong when people link entertainment and prosperity, because societies can entertain themselves even during wars, and entertainment is present in poor societies such as in Africa and Asia. It is a complete industry that helps establish social righteousness and supports political stability. A society that lacks recreation becomes a place where crime spreads, and where life is distorted, disturbed and devoid of generosity, art, laughter and joy.
In Saudi Arabia, we have all the capabilities to establish creative entertainment that leads to yearning for life and enjoying it. The return of singing concerts to the kingdom reminds us that there is an interest in developing recreation via Vision 2030 and the establishment of a committee for recreation.
There is no point postponing entertainment until there is absolute stability and no war. This objective is impossible and unjustified. Entertainment helps societies overcome crises and disturbances. A society that cooperates in entertainment is more able to confront difficulties, as it achieves an integrated contractual obligation regarding the legitimacy of entertainment via theaters, concerts, comedy shows, painting and other forms.
The role of the committee for recreation is to provide a systematic, economic and human infrastructure to create recreation and turn it into a daily and natural practice. It is impossible to force these projects on everyone, but no one has the right to deprive another of his or her right to entertainment. Legally, one has the right to entertainment just as he or she has the right to life, work and a homeland.
Legally, one has the right to entertainment just as he or she has the right to life, work and a homelandTurki Aldakhil
It is states’ responsibility to sponsor entertainment, and the Saudi leadership has become aware of that. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s statement that lack of recreation in Saudi society is “unreasonable” was spontaneous. This is true as there are very few entertainment programs available to society. There are few humble plays during feasts, and there have not been singing concerts for 11 years, for no reason.
The conceptual flaw is linking entertainment to prosperity. We can sing and be joyous even during the most difficult circumstances. Man has always danced during wars for motivation, and after wars to celebrate victory. Man has entertained himself no matter what the circumstances.
Fortunately, a culture of joy will be restored with official support. This will increase people’s love of their country, lessen the burden of travel for the purpose of watching a play or concert, and encourage spending inside the country rather than abroad. Entertainment enhances social stability, which is politically important amid the spread of extremism and violence, and the dominance of crime-related news.
These are the true cultural and intellectual bases for turning entertainment into an integrated industry. Saudis are capable of that, as they are a community with a sense of humor, and a history full of music, dance and colors.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Aug. 16, 2016.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.