The phenomenon of Eid al-Yahya
Yahya does not only want to highlight his own country’s heritage
When listening to Dr Eid al-Yahya during his lectures, video segments or his show “In the Footsteps of the Arabs,” you realize you are before a unique phenomenon who is not limited to TV appearances.
The homeland is Yahya’s primary cause. He took it upon himself to address society’s concerns and affairs, and is positive in tackling them. He encourages people to be joyous and hike, and warns them against vanity and arrogance towards land. The peak of loss and treason is when man is arrogant toward his homeland.
There is a Gulf dimension to the issues he raises. He shoots episodes in Saudi Arabia, but he also lectures at the council of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), about Saruq al-Hadid archaeological site. He notes how ancient civilizations extended from Al-Ain, Hatta, Dubai and Fujairah in the UAE. His lecture on Sheikh Mohammed’s discovery of Saruq al-Hadid was significant.
The Gulf dimension of the issues he raises shows how Yahya does not only want to highlight his own country’s heritage. He says the view of the Gulf as tall buildings is due to ignorance of the history and archaeology of the Arabian Peninsula.
Yahya displays honest positivity. You see him in the wilderness shooting a scene in which he urges young men not to disrespect their homeland when they go to Europe. This video went viral.
Yahya does not only want to highlight his own country’s heritage. He says the view of the Gulf as tall buildings is due to ignorance of the history and archaeology of the Arabian PeninsulaTurki Aldakhil
Saudi weather is very hot, but why defame your city when visiting a cold one? Yahya notes that Europe’s weather is only nice for two months, but Saudi Arabia is unique for its nine months of good weather. He says winter in Europe, with its storms and severe cold, is intolerable. He uses shock tactics to influence viewers.
Yahya facilitates happiness and achieves results. Knowledge of the country’s heritage leads to positivity, and positivity creates national happiness. Some youths on social media talk of immigration and slander their countries. They spread negativity in an indescribable manner.
However, if they think maturely, they would realize that this land - with all its bounties, headwaters, shores and desert - is a haven. The homeland is man’s mother. One may emigrate to a faraway place and for a long time, but he knows that the land that embraced him since birth is his haven.
National happiness achieves regulation and commitment to the laws of public facilities, and of not attacking animals or disrespecting other nationalities. It allows the overcoming of psychological crises that cause unrest in societies and pollute the environment.
There is also a theatrical dimension to how Yahya presents his footage. He chooses attractive costumes to produce different scenes, and carries a stick as he walks in rugged places and searches the desert for a trail or Thamudic script.
He is a positive and vital model. His works are not repetitive as there is always something new. He is an energetic, smiling and giving character in an era of complaints. His approach echoes poet Elia abu Madi’s verse:
O you who complain without an illness
how will you do if you become really ill?
that who is the worst on earth
is that who look for leaving before it is the time
and that who see thorns in a rose but not see
the dewy crown above it
and he is a load upon life that ..
who see the life as a load for him!
This article was first published in al-Bayan on Aug. 17, 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.