Saudi Arabia awakes from Obscurantism
Saudi Arabia is a large country that occupies almost the entire Arabian Peninsula. It is also the only country in the world named after a dynasty. Saudi Arabia is ruled by the Saudi dynasty, which is also supposed to be the guardian and the custodian of the two most Holy Shrines in Islam, namely Mecca and Madina. Ever since the Saudi dynasty came into power, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, they have held on to their rule by keeping people and masses enmeshed in obscurantism and beliefs that are no longer compatible with modern society and age. This insular form of Islam, that did not allow any modernization to take place led to discrimination against women whose actual status was just about that of an animal or pet. Sometimes the Arab men in Saudi Arabia preferred a camel as far as status is concerned to a woman.
Oil and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia was just living in a world of its own and extremist Muslims like the ISIS were against it. The Saudi dynasty, to perpetuate rule was holding onto old values and social norms that discriminated against women.. Saudi Arabia continued on this path smugly, simply because their entire economy was bankrolled by revenues from oil. This was to change and now we know that oil is not something that can last for perpetuity and the Saudi have realized that there may come a time when oil may not sustain their economy.
One man who has come into power in Saudi Arabia is the Crown Prince Salman bin Saud. It will not be out of place to say that the rise of Prince Salman is the best thing that has happened to Saudi Arabia. The Prince noted that a country steeped in obscurantism cannot move forward and must have an alternate source of revenue. If Saudi Arabia has to move ahead the way of life has to change. An example is Dubai which has become the powerhouse of the world. It must be noted that Dubai has no oil as the last drop of oil dried up in 2016 and yet Dubai is the economic Powerhouse of the Middle East.
Prince Salman had a tough task because the massive royal family consisting of nearly 1000 members was like a parasite living on revenues of the state government.This had to stop and he has started stopping it.
Prince Salman has also realized that the state cannot in perpetuity continue to rely on labor from the subcontinent. To move forward it is important to have the local population to shoulder responsibility. It is imperative that women also join the workforce. This can only be done if the factors that bind the women down in Saudi Arabia are removed.
Prince Salman has set about removing these practices and doing away with retrograde policies that have held the country down for centuries. This is not an easy task but the prince is full of enthusiasm and he has gone about the modernization with a vengeance. His first step was in allowing the opening of 600 Cinemas in the country and allowing women to set up their own industry, drive a car, watch sports and also hold beauty contests. The world is changing Saudi Arabia and the prince has wished to emulate Dubai by making a similar resort cum business city on the Red Sea.
The task ahead is arduous as Iran the leader of the Shia Islamic movement is the great opponent of Saudi Arabia and confrontation between the two is on in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. But prince Salman has started CHANGe and one hopes that elements that want a return to the old Saudi society are defeated. They are lurking and the biggest danger to the modernization of Saudi Arabia.
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