Saudi Arabia: a blessing, not a punishment.

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As I have been born and bought up in the Saudi Arabia, I have come to love it like no other place. Its home.  Everything about it is soothing, peaceful and familiar. The perfectly built roads, the sky scrapers, the shawarma, the way Saudi’s pronounce ‘Bebsi’. It is a country that gave us everything. It blessed us with a highly sophisticated, luxurious life. But the time to leave home had to come, it was inevitable.

Once I proceeded further with my life and went to a new place. I had to pop out of my safe bubble as I was now out in the world, and I had started to realize how excessively dangerous it was. As days passed by, I came to the conclusion that my country, my home, was the most peaceful place on this planet.

But as I started interacting with people outside, I was deeply dismayed at the opinion the world held about Saudi Arabia. When I disclosed the fact that I had come from Saudi Arabia to people, their faces showed astonishment, and they gave me looks of pity like I had just mentioned the worst place for living possible. Then once the pity passed, I would be lined up with the most absurd questions that have ever been received about the country. “How did you live in such a prison-like place?” “Did you ever get to step out of your house?” “Do you have to wear those black covers and the headscarf at your home too?” I even got asked if the place had malls. I was so astonished at their opinion about the country that I had to pause for a minute, and think of a logical answer to their questions. But all that came out of my mouth was- SERIOUSLY?

I could not believe that people could be so ignorant about a certain thing or place. I knew Saudi Arabia has always had an image of being an oppressive country, but to this extent? My mind just could not process it. I turned to my phone, which, due to my continuous feeling of home sickness, was stacked with beautiful pictures of my city, and when I turned it towards them, they could not believe their eyes. Right ahead of their eyes was the country they thought was an oppressor, a country as backward as time could get. The country, which had just slashed every opinion they had ever had about it. They grabbed my phone and said, “No way! This is Saudi Arabia? We thought it’s a village!” Upon asking them what had shaped their opinions in the prior form, they all had the same answer, “The Media”.

As time progressed and my interest in the reading about the events happening around the world and the news progressed, I started to see it more and more each day. The media, almost all over the world, portrayed Saudi Arabia like it was the most confined place to ever exist on the Planet Earth. The amount of false stories that I have come across regarding the country and its rulers are incomputable. There were stories about the Princesses being held bondage at their own palaces, stories about women not being allowed to step out of their houses, stories about such immense amount of oppression that I could not help but laugh, laugh at what the world believes. Laugh, but still be deeply saddened about the kind of erroneous and deceitful information that was being dispersed to the people.

As a person who has been born and brought up in the country, I would like to narrate my side of the story. Saudi Arabia is by far, the most peaceful and pleasant place I have ever been in. No one has stopped me from stepping out of my house because I am a girl. In fact, the Saudi women are the most shopaholic women in the whole wide-world, and are always out with their girlfriends picking up the most lavish and expensive stuff. Which brings us to this, yes, Saudi Arabia has malls. And yes, every kind of clothing is available and not just the abaya and the headscarf. It is an extremely developed country where one can find every leading brand of every product; Gucci, Coach, Chanel. You name it, we have it. The capital city Riyadh, which is also where I reside, has one of the best planned road system. And no, the distances aren’t traveled by camels. Saudi Arabia is home to some of the best cars you could ever lay your eyes on. From gold plated Lamborghinis to Swarovski studded Harley Davidson’s, there is absolutely nothing that you cannot find here.

But due to the reason that Saudi Arabia is an Islamic nation, and also the most important part due to the presence of the two Holy Mosques and cities, Makkah and Madinah, the country is ridiculed and disgraced over every single issue. The fact that a woman cannot step out without an abaya in Saudi Arabia is considered oppression, but the fact that a muslim woman is not allowed to walk out of her house with a face cover in France isn’t. Freedom does not mean being able to walk naked on the streets, but it means being free and able to do what one desires to, whether it being covering yourself, or not covering at all.

I am not denying the fact that the country has some flaws. Yes, the restriction over driving for women is a very unfair rule, and yes, sometimes I wish I could step out without an abaya. But does that mean that the country has oppressed me? No. An oppressor is one who burdens its people with cruel and unjust impositions. If that was really the case, then why would people like me who have been fortunate enough to experience their life there be ever willing to go back to it?

Every person and every place has its own flaws, but overemphasizing a country’s flaws to this extent is just irrational.

I hope to see the day where the whole world will see Saudi Arabia for what it is, and not for the horrific picture of it that the media paints. And I hope to see that day soon.

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59 thoughts on “Saudi Arabia: a blessing, not a punishment.

  1. Ammar AlHindi says:

    Truly and exceptional comment Ayesha! I could not have read the description of our country better than yours in all my life. This should be spread all over the Internet and we will all help you in doing so! Hoping to see you write more.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Nabil Ahmed says:

        Yes a lot of the misconceptions are true and for sure needs to be addressed. but come on you call that home? LOL!
        A home is a place you can return to without needing an permit from another resident if that home. A home is when you are born in is considered yours. Unlike KSA, where you are forever a stranger and a foreigner no matter what- a second class citizen. Sista please be true to yourself!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I call it home. It has every right to be called home. It has provided me with a much better life than my own country would have. So I have every right to call it home. It has provided me with a place to live, it has given my family everything that we have and everything that we are at the moment. This life I have, would have never been possible if we were back in my own country. So yes, this is Home.

        If it is such a horrible country, then why do people from all over the world come here to spend their lives?

        If people have problems with all these issues then its better they stay in their own countries.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Khan Sahab (Eid Mubarik) says:

    There is an article ready to be written on the not so bad life of women in Saudi Arabia, but this definitely is not it.

    And there are hundred more articles ready to be written why life in Saudi can be a hundred times better for the women there, and you should think about those as well.

    You claim to love the way Saudis say ‘Bebsi’, and I can guarantee that you have never been to a Saudi house, and don’t have any Saudi friends.

    You claim that no one has stopped you from going outside, but you and I, we both know it very well that even if you can get out, you will be back in the house within 2 minutes, because you cannot travel without a mahram there.

    So quit your bullshit, and do something about Raif Badawi!

    Like

    • There are always two sides to a story, and this is my side. I write to let people know the kind of experiences I go through in my daily life.

      Yes, I love the way Saudi’s say Bebsi, I find it funny, it is a part of my childhood. And matter of fact, I have a whole side of relatives that consist of many Saudi households. I did not in any way say that life in Saudi is perfect, especially for women. But it is not as horrific as it has been portrayed by the world, and I know that well as I have spent my entire life here

      And yes, no one has stopped me from going out, in fact, I have just returned from a shopping trip with my mother and no mehram by my side. The kind of image you have about Saudi Arabia is the exact kind of image that I aim to change through this writing of mine, and I hope instead of judging things through ignorant opinions, people would start seeing the actual picture.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Zubair says:

      Khan Sahab, i do not know which part of saudi you live in but women do get out of their houses. Like Ayesha, I was born and raised here and by God’s grace, i was fortunate to have completed my engineering for free from the ministry of education. There are things Saudi has done for a lot of people and I would confidently say there are many many many families whose lives have become better back in their native countries due to the money remitted every month. We should be grateful for the security and peaceful life Saudi has provided and also thank God for giving us a chance to stay close to Makkah and Madina. At the same time, i agree the country has its own issues, women unable to drive is one of them but this is for them to solve. Lets all be concerned with the situation at home instead of Raif Badawi, do you personally know Raif Badawi or know ALL the details associated with his case?

      Like

      • Zubair,

        I do not know where you and Ayesha lived but I was raised in Riyadh too, if you think you can go anywhere comfortably as a woman you are lying to yourself. Yeah you got your engineering degree from the ministry of education — they needed engineers and you were cheaper to train than to bring from England, why are you so surprised by that?!

        As for the remittance, why would me working in Germany, Dubai or Saudi have any say on remittance, that money is going back anyways, what bugs me the most with you is that you would talk about remittance as if economic gain is more important that personal value. These peoples are being SLAVED upon to create remittance is nothing to be proud of!!

        I thank Allah for being near Makkah but I don’t thank the Saudi’s for that, just like I don’t thank them for the profit they make off Makkah and keep, nor do I appreciate how they have made Makkah Vegas to get more money. A hilton? Really?

        As for Raif Badawi who I actually know pretty well, you don’t know what you are talking about.. I would love to hear what details would make it ok for a man who posted a blog to be whipped publicly over multiple years? You are a joke for ever saying that! Home starts with the way they treat others, that’s what your missing, just because you got treated well..

        Like

  3. It has been my home for 18 yrs too… but i would have to totally disagree to it.
    The article starts by saying how Saudi Arabia is “the most peaceful place on this planet”. Me and my family as expats have seen and experienced many uncomfortable situations such as being robbed and physical threatening in the years we have lived. When such cases are taken to the authority, there is no heed and no action taken. The local people know that no action will be taken against them and they can do what ever they want.
    In the course of time lived there I have come to know a few Saudi families who are really nice and has helped us out during sticky situations. The label of good and bad does not come from your citizenship, it comes from the person you are.
    All the ” highly sophisticated, luxurious life” comes only from the oil reserve and the moment that ends(which will happen sooner that one would expect) the country is going see disturbances it has never seen before.
    The world is heading to a place where the use of private car would be minimalism and would stop their dependency on oil. And here we have Saudi Arabia trying to increase their collection of cars.
    Yes the media loves to gossip, but it also talks of the truth. It is necessary that one checks the credibility of the source. But in this case one also needs to understand that all the media and newspapers in Saudi Arabia is ‘shooshed’ from talking ill of the country. The King rule sees to it that there is no need for transparency in the system.
    And the author of this article is luck enough not to be stopped by Mutaween when she stepped out of her home without a “maharam”. Wearing an Abaya when one does not want to and has to follow it only because the country asks all the women to do so is not freedom. In that case pointing out to France is not an argument. Even after wearing an Abaya and covering one’s head, a small detail of wearing a Bindi on the forehead is seen as an offence. Freedom is definitely out of the window.
    Women shop there because thats all they can do! Multiple marriage being accepted and encouraged by the society there, the women looks for ways to rip off their husband. This is because once the husband has enough money with him, he looks for a second marriage. Women shop there because thats all they can do! They wear all the expensive clothes under their Abaya!
    Yes every person and place has its own flaws. But there is a space to expresses your opinions and try to make it better. Well in Saudi Arabia , you many not know when your head falls apart from your body for the voice that has risen for freedom.

    Like

    • As i mentioned earlier in my comments, there are always two sides of a story and this was mine. I was fortunate enough to lead a happy and good life in Saudi Arabia. I know there are a lot of people that go through hardships here, like in all other parts of the world. I think each of us should put our experiences out there so the world could know the country as a whole, it’s good and it’s bad and not just one.
      And the issue of Mutaween was a major one in the past but at the moment they are hardly even spotted anywhere. Women even walk outside withot headscarfs nowadays.

      And yes, polygamy is a thing in Saudi Arabia, but it is not followed by each and every Saudi. There are many who follow it, but there are also many who don’t.

      This country has always treated me good, but I have heard exactly the contradictory of it in the outside world, which is the reasin why i went ahead and shared my experience with the world.

      I encourage you to share your experience too, everyone’s voice should be heard

      Like

  4. Rofl says:

    I grew up in Saudi Arabia as well. Had many friends there, travelled away for University. I’m going to agree with you in the fact that it’s not as oppressive as the media depicts it to be. Not even a tenth. However, the fact remains that it is still unfortunately more oppressive than 99 percent of the countries at large (and I throw this random statistic because I would say it is the most oppressive country I have known bar maybe North Korea or some Communist countries and even then the level of oppression is comparable). The fact that it is an Islamic country ties closely with the fact that some rules in religion were made to shut out the bad from the good, thus creating overbearing situations in which bad, which considered by (aspiring to be) objective countries, is not necessarily good. Take homosexuality for instance. They’re not harming anyone. But they cannot be in Saudi Arabia. Other nationalities are subject to scorn and unlawful treatment by the structure of politics in Saudi that undeniably favour Saudi Citizens. Girls are covered to prevent harass but women are harassed more (and I will assert this dominantly here through the simple example of males cat-calling women in the streets and showering them with completely unwanted attention even though they are fully covered: i.e: a crowded mall with young men and ladies on the weekend). I could go on but risk writing a novel. This is why Saudi Arabia is oppressive, and though I am all for the opinion of making sure people know that it is not as bad as the media portrays it, I still cannot, with a clear conscience, spread the idea that it is half as decent as you make it out to be in your article.

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  5. malam says:

    Hey. I was raised in Riyadh, lived there for 11 years till grade 10 after which I moved to New Delhi. I was popular in school and had great friends in Riyadh.But I wouldn’t agree with your perception except for the part that it brings back my childhood memories.
    No life in Saudi Arabia isn’t amazing. It is luxurious, no doubt, peaceful for those residing there but in no way is it a ‘non oppressive’ society. My mother who worked as a doctor, lived in Riyadh without her mahram for 5 years with her two teenage daughters. Sounds outrageous right ? So believe me I will know it better than anyone else it is an oppressed and male chauvinistic society. It may have all the malls, and exuberant cars but face it every middle east country with that much oil and money shows that extravagance, not to mention they are also give their residents much more freedom to live and express.
    Your comparision with France is quite ironical considering Saudi Arabia doesnt give you any freedom to wear whatever you like let alone walk naked. France, on the other hand, gives you that right and much more.Also, correction, they banned veils at public offices as a part of security not the hijab.
    Riyadh is a peaceful place so far, but the Arabs with their extreme wahabbi ideology has also given birth to the terrorists and ISIS militants today taking away the peace in this world.Please don’t get me wrong, I am a Muslim and I love saudi Arabia for harbouring Makkah and Medinah but their protrayal of Islam is an embarrassment to the world.
    When I moved to New Delhi, people I met there were very excited to learn that I came from KSA. Infact, they wanted to know of my experiences there. They all knew how advanced the Middle eastern countries were so they were very happy to learn more. I, made sure I made it sound better than what it actually was.
    All in all, I cherish the ‘bebsi’, arabic spoken memories but there is all to it. Anyone who has lived there would know the harsh realities that society offers.India may have great problems but I would rather live in a democracy and express myself than lead a luxurious life in an oppressed society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Firstly, my one and only purpose for writing this article was to clear the misconceptions people have about the lifestyle of Saudi Arabia. I did so because I was honestly asked such outrageous questions about it that I could not believe that there were many people in the world who had a similar thinking.

      I, in no way, want to go into the political depths and the relations of the country as it is not my are of expertise. And also I think if we start looking into the political relations the country has before we start living, then no place in this world will ever seem live-able.

      I belong to India too. And yes, the country has freedom of expression. But most of the times the “freedom of expression” is slashed by the censor board or some other political party.

      And as I said in the article and many other previous comments, I in no way believe Saudi Arabia is perfect. It has many many flaws. But a horrible lifestyle isn’t one of them, as opposed to what the world believes.

      Like

  6. Read it, liked it, enjoyed it and I would truly encourage you to continue your effort.
    Just a suggestion for improving your blogging skills, you need a little bit focus on your grammar and to enhance it further, try more active writing than passive writing.

    All the best.

    Like

  7. I read this article, I also grew up in Riyadh! I think your article is horrendous, I tried not saying anything but it’s genuinely ridiculous how blind a bit of money in that country has made you, quite embarrassing too!

    First and foremost you don’t call someone special or great because of wealth, that isn’t anything to be proud of I assure you and especially when it is early through oil, it’s even harder to respect but fine, clearly you take great joy in pretending your part of that rich group but no oppression? Really?

    What about the oppression of poor migrant workers (whose unpaid, lack of respectful treatment and horrendous living conditions built this ‘great country’ you love)?! They suffer abuse, isolation and in most cases starvation without any say on conditions, work times, pay or even if they can go home. My fellow Pakistani brothers aren’t alone! Indians, Bengalis, Sri Lankans treated like slaves! See the 5% like you who go there and think your Arab accepted, your not! Your always going to be a pretender, so get a grip!

    But you say no oppression so I thought about minority religions? Shias, ahmedis, even non believers.. That’s not oppression no? The beauty of Islam is its a choice, unless your in Saudi Arabia! Where people’s heads are chopped off every Friday? Haha no oppression really, people just got it all wrong huh?

    Then let’s consider the average Saudi, the general population whose mums did not become princesses or queens, who still live in mud huts near the valleys in Riyadh and pushed to the outskirts, that’s not oppression no? That’s just fair, mine beats the poor right as you have made clear in this post multiple times?!

    Clearly your economic prove life’s couples with your social situation made you exempt to oppression, like you said you went shopping without being harassed so it must be a free country haha.. The fact your clarifying that sums up the situation 😉

    Maybe the writer of this post didn’t feel like she experienced oppression because her economic and social privilege – but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.

    I grew up in Riyadh too, still go back when I have to and I can assure you, what your saying is utter lies, maybe your a Saudi in which case your blind to reality anyways or maybe you just had too much money and totally missed the point, I can see above you blamed people’s ignorance for your post to ‘clarify’ but the only ignorant person here is you kissing serious Arab butt, get a grip and be real!

    Like

    • First off, the reason I used the word ‘luxurious’ to describe the lifestyle in Saudi Arabia is not because I have a bucket load of money in my wallet to spend. It’s because the lifestyle here IS way better and way more luxurious than in any other country. The amount in which I could live a very blant normal life in any other country, in the same amount I am able to live a very luxury filled life here in Saudi Arabia. And I know this from my very own experiences as I now reside in another country for my further studies.

      If you think I am labeling the country to be good on the basis of wealth, then it is your very own thinking that is flawed. Yes, I did mention that every kind of luxury is available in the country, but I did so to point out that the country has every kind of resources available for the people to use contradictory to what the people believe.

      And no, none of us in any way pretend to be Arabs, we do not fall into that category. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else to be happy in a certain place. Yes, I was fortunate enough to lead a fulfilling life in Saudi Arabia and I am very well aware that there are many people, specially the migrant workers, who suffer a lot. As I said earlier, this is MY side of the story. MY experiences. MY story. I am aware that the country has a bad side, but it also has a good side which I experienced but realized that a lot of people just see the bad side.

      I believe that the world should see every side of a place, whether it be good or bad.

      And if what I have described in the above post is utter lies, then I would want you to explain the tremendous amount of appreciation and shares I have received over this. 🙂

      I grew up in Riyadh and I will never in my life miss an opportunity to go back there again.

      And by saying that in case I am a Saudi I will be blind to the reality shows how very ignorant even you are about the place and it’s people.

      And if you really think this article is so “horrendous”, have the courage to go write your own about your own opinions instead of slashing someone else’s.

      Like

      • haha I would write my own but clearly it only attracts similar thinking fools since you got liked. This is a country that kills, starves, beats and belittles millions of your own Indians a year.. But it is beautiful? haha

        What resources exactly?

        Thanks 🙂

        Like

      • Kills, starves, beats and belittles?
        It is much more safer than my own India is. At least it’s not a country that labels itself as secular and never acts upon it.

        Anyways, I do not see any more reason to justify my thoughts to you.

        Like

    • malam says:

      i second you. The oppression we face living in that country is not even comparable to what immigrant labourers go through. Their passports are taken away and they are given just meagre wages to survive. Also whatever was said about KSA by other so called “ignorant” people is not even exaggerated.

      Like

  8. iram says:

    I recently had the good fortune to visit the country..honestly speaking, i loved it. I loved how it is possible for a person to practice islam in a better way easily just by imbibing things from culture.. being a muslim woman, i am happier being in a country that asks me to wear my abaya rather than one that looks at me with contempt for wearing it .. but please tell me the truth about trapped princesses’ story .. ever since i read about the hostage princesses , i cant get my mind off it .

    Like

    • I am glad someone shares the feeling.

      As far as I am aware of it, that story is false. One of my friends even told me once that one of the Princesses mentioned in that article had been a guest at an event that she visited. And that article also gained a lot of publicity right after the very recent death of King Abdullah, mostly to give the dead defense-less king a wrong image.

      Like

      • What!? You are sick, that trapped princess is real! the fact you would lie about a real woman’s life struggles just to make your silly blog better, thats disgusting..

        You really are deranged!

        Like

      • You claim that the story of the locked up princesses is true. What proof do you have? The stories published by the media? Yes it is possible that it might be true but how can you be so certain about it? Are you friends with the King?

        Did you ever try reading those articles? They claim that the 4 women are held hostage and they are deprived of their basic necessities, food, water and electricity. And then they claim that this information was provided to them by the princesses themselves via Skype. Yes, the King will hold them hostage and deprive them even of food, but he will provide them with a laptop and an internet connection, right?

        They claim that the princesses have been deprived of food for 60 days. And this information has also come from the princesses herself. If you try to research even a little bit you will find out that it is less likely for a normal well nourished human being to survive that long without food. And by the description of their life provided, it is very clear that the articles state they have always been deprived of proper food and water, hence they are under nourished. Do you really believe the fact they were undernourished and still they could survive for 60 days without food and yet be capable enough to talk to the media and tell them about it? Via skype? While being held hostage?

        You have also been blinded by the western media just like the rest of the world.

        Like

  9. This Article is nothing short of ridiculous! The writer accepts that the country is flawed in the fact it is a terrorist supporting, slave shift running anti feminist state but she had a good upbringing..so it is totally ok 😀

    Great stuff..

    Like

    • I never claimed the fact that i believe that the country has terrorist supportings. I said I would not want to talk regarding that as it is not my areas of expertise. I agree to the fact that therr are certain flaws, like every other country. But it is not as ridiculous as the world perceives it to be. And there is a huge amount of population who considers blessed to be given the opportunity to spend their lives in the country.

      Like

    • I never claimed to agree to the fact that the country has terrorist support, I said that I do not wish to talk about that matter as it is not my area of expertise. I agree to the fact that there are certain flaws, like every other country. But it is not as ridiculous as the world perceives it to be. And there is a huge amount of people who consider it a blessing that they got to spend their life in this country, myself included.

      Like

  10. As an Indian who spent his childhood in Riyadh, I can totally relate to what you have written so beautifully. I could not have put it better if i wished to. I firmly believe that Saudi Arabia is one of the best and most beautiful countries in the world although there are restrictions for women.

    Like

  11. Abaan Asfan says:

    Wonderful article. I seriously felt like these are my words because I experience the same thing here in America when I tell people I’ve come from Saudi Arabia. Thank you Ayesha for putting out the word and letting everyone know what Saudi Arabia really is. Also your blog is wonderful!

    #LongLiveSaudiArabia

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Charlie says:

    Hi ayeshanematkhan and everybody. I read this article and I agree absolutely we the author regarding to the amazing culture and people. I also have great memories of my stay in Riyadh when I was young. Unfortunately, I am in the obligation to say that even if Saudi Arabia has such great sides, one cannot deny the fact that rights of freedom of speech are far from doing well and that “politically, Saudi Arabia is a strict monarchy. The king has absolute authority over all institutions and thus controls the kingdom’s legislative and judicial bodies.” [http://www.democracyweb.org/rule/saudiarabia.php].

    I know what you want to say here is that it is unfair for this beautiful country to have this horrible reputation all around the world. However, even if there are other countries elsewhere that are not necessarily doing better regarding to democracy, we still cannot say that Saudi Arabia has only “some flaws” when talking about human rights. I am not accusing the people of Saudi Arabia for this situation but their leaders which ARE oppressors. Yes, the media and leaders around the world manipulates the news in a way that falsify the real cultural identity of Saudi Arabia and that is a real shame but we always must try to fight and to defend the freedom of speech all around the world and for every citizen.

    I keep Saudi Arabia in my heart, I will always love this cordial culture and tell good memories about it in my entourage but it is dangerous to decrease the power and the authority of leaders that could hurt you and even kill if you don’t think like them. This is actually worst then the PROHIBITION of driving and the OBLIGATION to wear an abaya for women, we cannot simply consider them has “some flaws” (the real problem here is not the act itself but the absence choice).

    I have to say that my own country is not an example of democracy and freedom of speech but I think it is an obligation for us to defend it everywhere and when we can. Over all, I am happy to have been able to read your opinion. Best regards to all.

    Like

    • Hello Charlie.

      I really appreciate your opinion. I agree on what you have to say. There are a few basic rights that must be available to every human being on this planet. And I really do hope there comes a time when even Saudi Arabia will be a country which would allow freedom of expression, and many other basic rights.

      I think all the people in Saudi Arabia should work towards that instead of continuously cursing the country.

      I wish there were more people who would put forward their opinion the way you did, instead of using foul language and abusing the country. A contradicting opinion is always welcome, but there is always a right and a wrong way to do it. Wish people would realize that.

      Thank You. 🙂

      Like

  13. Muhammad Sanan says:

    Best post ever about Saudi Arabia.
    After a long time something positive about Saudi Arabia.
    Great Work Ayesha.

    Like

  14. Sameer says:

    I was born and bought up in Riyadh as well and share almost the same opinion as yours.
    In a recent trip to Rome, during a training session when I was giving my introduction and mentioned that I have come from Saudi Arabia, I felt a few heads turning towards me with expressions (weird ones). During break, a German guy asked me the same questions you mentioned in your blog, ‘how can you live in a country like that, etc etc’ and the one which was the funniest was, ‘I heard if women drive in KSA and they are caught, the police ask them to get out of their cars and start beating them with hunters on the street, is that true?’, I asked him if he thinks that is practically possible? he said that’s what he reads about the place over the internet.

    Like

    • It is just sad to hear the kind of outragrous views the media has created about the place in the minds of people. Sometimes when I myself try researching about the country, I come across some really idiotic stuff, that I cannot even understand how someone could believe. I hope everyone see’s the good side of our country soon, and get’s rid of the picture the media has painted of it.

      Like

  15. Sarah says:

    Thank you Ayesha !

    Nowhere is ever perfect, we are not in Paradise yet!
    and if we have any issue in OUR country, this is supposed to be OUR issue, and not the whole world’s, or the UN’s issue!

    Other “Developed” countries like US, &UK , etc.. have more serious and inhumane issues than the ones we have, BUT the difference is that no one in the world has the right to question them or “LABEL” them with the bad things they do!

    But when it comes to Islam or Arabs, and especially Saudi Arabia, Everybody thinks that they have the right to interpret, manipulate the news and the information they get from everywhere except from the real trusted sources (That come from us), and then produce ridiculous judgements about our own lives and countries. Then, good people feel responsible to rescue us from the prison we’re living in, and Hating people feel they have to do good to the world and get rid of us !!

    Another thing that I truly don’t understand is that people in Saudi Arabia are happy with their life the way it is because the Abaya, hijab, the modesty and all the other things that they do, they are happy doing it, Not FORCED!
    Because this is what the religion that they have chosen entails! they are not complaining about anything in their religion!
    Why is the whole world feeling sorry and worried!!? we are so Happy Alhamdulillah, even though we are not living in paradise, because there is no such place called paradise in this world, and every people, every community, every country, etc, has its own flows!

    People believe in different things, every belief has certain aspects that seems “unfair” to others who believe in a different thing. This a normal!
    But does that give us the right to act aggressively against people with other beliefs ?!!

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  16. me :) says:

    Hey Ayesha,

    Gr8 work. Dont pay heed to haters.This country is second home to us all Saudi born people. (Don’t care if the saudiz consider it so or not!) We love this place as a home should be loved. With its flaws. It does hurt when we are treated like crap. But that happens back home too. M sure it happens in UK, US too. (No offence)

    As for women driving, its a painful topic altogather :p n women going out… nahhh… I’ve been working in Riyadh since the past 9 years now. I travel to and fro from work ALONE. Yes I do have to face some unpleasant people on my way, but doesn’t that happen everywhere around the world? I travel to different cities in KSA. Its not as opressed as it is portrayed.

    As mentioned above, it has its flaws. If i start writing on that, this could turn into a novel! But what if some one starts stating the flaws in our countries? The rapes in India every day, the killings/blasts in Pakistan??? Lets not forget that every country has its flaws. Yes the system here is slavery, but the money is easy. If compared to other GCC countries, level of smallest bit of luxury is high. Even the labor class won’t sleep on an empty stomach (thou i agree they are treated like filth and paid a very small amont as wages. But i have seen the generosity of Saudi people. Nothing can compare).

    And last but not the least. Being a muslim, we are lucky to be in this country where you are given a chance to pray 5 times. You are given a day off without salary deduction if you are going to Makkah. Instead of spreading negetivity, lets appreciate the good in every thing and make this world a better place to live.

    P.s. By the way…(in response to the above few comments stating no Pakistani will ever agree to this) I am a Pakistani. Alhamdulillah.

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    • Let’s ignore the ridiculous way they treat Pakistani’s to be grateful for time off to pray?! Even Google give me a day off to pray at work, they aren’t even muslims so that makes no sense..

      Also flaws? I quote ‘YES the system is slavery but…’

      But what? You are a joke, people attracted to this blog are clearly the most vain selfish type haha, justifies the Saudi living, with like people. Pretty bored of it now.. As thick as the author.

      PS: You are the most embarrassing of Pakistani’s, happy to see your people suffer haha, what a human being you are..

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      • Every Pakistani or Every Indian isn’t treated like crap here, maybe you were. But as you can see the woman who posted this comment and me, a Pakistani and a Indian, were very well treated by the country, along with many many more.

        So please, keep your judgemental thoughts to yourself. This blog is not for ridiculing people, go do it somewhere else.

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      • No this blog touches on a point that affects many, so it’s open to discussion as you are shaping peoples views incorrectly?! Like it isn’t a secular state?!

        Also I know not EVERY Indian and Pakistani isn’t, but 70% who are the work force are! The fact you can big up the country that does that without any remorse including beating and killing these slaves, well what does that say about you? Other than a bit of oil money got you happy huh.. I shall go elsewhere the ignorance of your followers is heartbreaking haha. Ignorance follows ignorance

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      • There is a way of putting your opinion forward. There is nothing wrong with having a contradictory opinion. I think every single person’s opinions should ve put out in the open, so that the world could know what each person feels. But there is a certain way of doing it. If you had put up your opinion in a decent way without using foul language and ridiculing others, It would make a difference. But here you are doing nothing but that. I have justified what I was trying to convey here several times to you and I don’t think it is needed anymore. But I cannot tolerate someone being offensive to a person who has come here to share their opinion.
        If you want your opinion to be heard this badly, learn the right way to do it.

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      • With all do respect, I don’t mind not being heard on a blog, I just came across it and had to see which Saudi had written this. I cannot believe you would think a few shopping malls and a day off to go to Makkah justifies 1 million indians in slave conditions, maybe we have different types of conscience huh? I spend alot of time helping stuck people in countries like Saudi and when articles like this make it seem like money and some comfort can make a man forget the atrocities, then just no! Sorry you seem intelligent but that is not good enough.. I hope your kids or family are never in the position some of these families are, heartbreaking and the simple end to it is for the Saudi’s to be humane! But why would they be when Indians and Pakistanis seem content with being close to Makkah? Like they could stop us from going to Allah’s house.. be real and stand for what the prophet would have stood for at least!! If your blog is for good, then do good..Make a difference! Don’t waste the hours charities like us put in so you can make it look like a minor issue..

        Sorry for disrespecting you and great writing, I hope you make a difference somewhere 🙂

        Verily, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and He forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

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      • Look, I did not say that the country is peaceful because I have money and I got to live a good life here. I said so because i have had the experience of living in a few countries, including my own India, with the same amount of money and everything, but I never found peace. No matter what I did, no matter how amazing the place was, I never felt the kind of peace I did here. It wasn’t the money or anything else, but there is something about this place that makes me feel like hime. And that was the reason why it hurt me so much when I heard only and only negative comments about the place. I agree to the fact that there is a large majority here that is suffering, and if I could know what they experience, I would definitely want to write about their opinions too. But I don’t.

        All I don’t understand is that I know of a lot of countries where the poor are treated horribly, the labours are given the most horrific living conditions possible. But those countries are just seen for their good sides. But when it comes to Saudi Arabia, it is just seen for its bad side. I am not justifying the situatuon they have created for those people, it is horrible and it can never be right no matter who does it. And I hope someday even this country can over come it.

        I don’t consider myself as anything great, I am just like every other person trying to put their opinions out to the world, and I wish to be corrected if I am wrong, but pardon me your previous style of commenting really got to me.

        I really think you should write about the harsh experiences of people in this place too, I think the world should know about that as well. Even I would want to.

        May Allah forgive all of us for any wrong we have done.

        🙂

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  17. Hey! Are we like lost sisters?? 😊 I too was brought up in Saudi Arabia. Such and amazing place. Its my home…through out your post, I was like,’Omg! She is speaking for me’. I heart Saudi! More than my apparent nationality. Once a Saudi. Always a Saudi. ❤

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  18. Haris says:

    “It is an extremely developed country where one can find every leading brand of every product; Gucci, Coach, Chanel. You name it, we have it. The capital city Riyadh, which is also where I reside, has one of the best planned road system. And no, the distances aren’t traveled by camels. Saudi Arabia is home to some of the best cars you could ever lay your eyes on. From gold plated Lamborghinis to Swarovski studded Harley Davidson’s, there is absolutely nothing that you cannot find here.”

    It is funny how you find Gucci, Chanel and gold plated Lambos as factors that make Saudi great. Funny, yet typical of a member of commercialized, consuming oriented society. Quality of life does lies on more than that and i doubt if ti can be found behind the high walls of the Saudi houses.

    As for the best planned road system, pretty useless when polluted by drivers spinning with 180km/h and drifting carelessly. Road rage is a very important issue.

    Saudi could have been much better if the authentic culture of the people was not shadowed by the fancy sky scrapers you find so pleasant. Because for argument’s sake, Saudi hospitality and easy going approach worth to be mentioned 🙂 .

    Like

    • People reading this article really need to understand that the purpose of me mentioning the entire paragraph you just copy pasted was not to say that these things make my quality of life better. I am no princess with a constant supply of money to afford all these high end things.

      The purpose of it was that I have encountered a large number of people who picture Saudi Arabia as an old, under developed dessert with absolutely no facilities for a good life what so ever.

      When I shifted to UAE for my higher education, I had a lot of people telling me I must be in cultural shock and I must be feeling like I have landed in paradise because of all of the facilities that were available there, just because they had a very backward image of the country.

      This was the point I wanted to put out here. And I have said this over and over again that no, I am not saying it is a perfect place and yes sometimes even I wish the restrictions here were less. But I really find myself fortunate to have spent my life here.

      And regarding the road rage, the government is working on that by installing many cameras on the roads and the condition has become a lot better than before.

      Maybe the progress is slow, but it’s still there. 🙂

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