Princess by Jean Sasson: Book Review

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A Little Something by Arsh Azim

Princess by Jean Sasson- Book Review by Arsh

One of my favorite books so far, Princess is based on a true story of a Saudi Princess who is considered worthless for being a woman beside having all the wealth of the world. It is about the life of Princess Sultana Al Sa’ud who belongs to the royal house of Saudi Arabia. Being a woman is a shame for Saudi Royals and they keep it a secret when they’re born or bury them alive or if not, they are worthlessly caged. These women are considered slaves of their male masters, the youngest ones get married to the old men and are brutally murdered for smallest allegations.

This book is totally heart-wrenching and you’d want to finish it in one go. It took be 4 days to finish it since I had no time, work and all but still every time I opened the book to read it, I didn’t…

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Saudi Heroes

These are all great human beings who help humankind.

Saudiwoman's Weblog

Dr. Ghazi Al Gosaibi’s passing got me thinking. There are certain people in every generation and era that make a person honored to have lived in their time. People who courageously push a nation forward even when the majority of their countrymen are standing still or worse pushing back. These people are rarely appreciated in their lifetime and their initiations only truly valued long after they are lost.

Besides Dr. Ghazi Al Gosaibi, these are today’s people who my grandchildren and great grandchildren will celebrate and honor, people who will be included in history books and classroom discussions. My future Saudi Arabia will be built on the foundation that they are laying. I can’t predict the future, but I can dream.

Wajeha Al Huwaider

An outspoken pioneer of the Saudi women’s rights movement. Unfortunately due to the standing ban on her writing in the local press, many of the women…

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Adopt Skylar

Hope someone has this sweet doggie by now! IF NOT, please take a look if you are living in Saudi Arabia. He has such an intelligent and friendly look!

Saudiwoman's Weblog

My sister rescued this male dog from abusive kids in the street.His name is Skylar, and he is highly intelligent and has a great sense of humor. He is friendly, playful, and fiercly loyal . Skylaris vaccinated and we had himchecked out completely and the blood test came out perfectly healthy. All heneeds is a loving home. If you are serious about adopting him please send an Email with your details and contact info to Saudiwomanblog@gmail.com

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TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LATER: RETURNING TO KUWAIT

So lovely to meet the Emir of Kuwait, someone I greatly admire and respect

So lovely to meet the Emir of Kuwait, someone I greatly admire and respect

AFTER TWENTY-FIVE YEARS, JEAN SASSON

                                     RETURNS TO KUWAIT

 

The last time I was in Kuwait was in March, 1991, when I was an invited guest of the Kuwaiti government’s FREEDOM FLIGHT, an organized flight taking guests into the war-torn country after liberation to see the result of the invasion and occupation. I had written the book The Rape of Kuwait, the only book written that told the world what happened to Kuwaitis on the day of the invasion on August 2, 1990.  I chose to remain in the country nearly a month after the departure of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States and other invited guests had left.  I felt a close attachment to Kuwaitis and yearned to meet with individual Kuwaitis, including freedom fighters, as well as others whom had been imprisoned in their country during the occupation.

That was a difficult time for anyone with a feeling heart, for I was an eyewitness to the grief and horror left behind by Saddam’s Iraqi military. I spoke with the parents who had lost their children, innocent Kuwaitis murdered for defending their country.  Much of the country was in shambles with burned out palaces, government buildings, and ordinary homes.  The oil fires were burning, blackening the skies and destroying untold animal life. Banks had been emptied of all valuables, including cash and gold.  The entire country had been looted.

The small country and its citizens clearly showed the horror of war. Most striking, I learned how Kuwaitis never ceased fighting the invader.  Few people in the world know how the Kuwaitis formed an underground fighting force and coordinated with their government working from Taif, everyone working together to engage the large Iraqi army that was occupying their small country.  There was tragic loss of human life.  The courage of Kuwaitis created enormous admiration and respect for the people of Kuwait.

After departing the area, I often thought about Kuwait and the Kuwaitis I had befriended during the time of invasion and occupation, and followed the news of the country, for I had never forgotten those whom I had met. Yet, I had not returned to Kuwait for twenty-five years, nor had I seen those friends, although there were occasional telephone calls or e-mails.  And so when I received an invitation to visit Kuwait from His Excellency Ahmad Fahad Sulaiman Al-Fahad, the Director of His Highness The Amir’s office, a very unique and kindly man whom I had met at the Kuwaiti Embassy to Saudi Arabia in 1990 when I was gathering information from Kuwaitis who had been in Kuwait during the day of the invasion, I did not hesitate.  Feeling keen curiosity to see for myself how Kuwait had recovered from the damaging ordeal of being a country occupied by a revenging army, I packed my bags and boarded a British Airways flight and returned to the country and the people who had won my heart over twenty-five years before.

I was fortunate to be able to renew old friendships, to see many of the Kuwaitis I had befriended during the time I was researching and writing the book about the invasion. It was especially nice to see His Excellency Ahmad Fahad Sulaiman Al-Fahad once again after so many years.  I was unaware that he occupied such an important position working for his Emir and his country, but was not surprised as I recalled his devotion and love for his country, along with his exceptional work ethic and perfection from the first time I met him in Riyadh at the Kuwaiti Embassy in Saudi Arabia.

I was pleased to see Soud A. Al-Mutawa, the young man who had organized Kuwaitis to escort the media around the country, and who had personally orchestrated my itinerary while in the country during those dark days. Soud was a banker by profession.  I discovered that he is still a banker.  Soud was one of the boldest men I’ve ever met, something one does not expect from a banker!  He and I had sneaked into Southern Iraq, being caught by the American military more than once.  The officers there finally gave up after catching us for the third time and told us we could stay BUT TO BE CAREFUL!

Soud was my translator and organizer during my time in Kuwait in 1991 after the liberation of Kuwait

Soud was my translator and organizer during my time in Kuwait in 1991 after the liberation of Kuwait

I was happy to find that Soud and his lovely wife Fatima are the parents of six children and twelve grandchildren. What a lovely, noisy and wonderful family life they have. Those three evenings I spent at their home were some of the most enjoyable evenings of my life.

I had been speaking to a fine young Kuwaiti man named Fares Al-Ayadhi for several years after he read one of my books and wondered if I might be the right person to tell the world about Fares’ search for his father, a world-renown song-writer and poet who had been captured while defending his county with inspiring songs and messages to the people. So we were both happy to finally meet in person after years of talking over the phone and sending e-mails.  It was doubly lovely to meet Fares’ mother, sisters, and nieces and nephew.  I look forward to a life-long friendship with one of the nicest families it has been my pleasure to come to know.

Fares Al-Ayadhi, the son of one the most famous songwriters and poets

Fares Al-Ayadhi, the son of one the most famous songwriters and poets

And, I met other new friends, as well, far too many to name here.

It was lovely to be welcomed with such genuine care by all Kuwaitis I met, and I’ll never forget how H.E. Al-Fahad made certain that my return to Kuwait would be perfect, and it was.

My desire to see the country was satisfied when I was taken around the country to many beautiful and wonderful sites, to museums, government buildings, including the Kuwaiti Parliament, a building that had been heavily damaged during the war. All had been restored with loving care.

And, I received a most pleasant surprise to be invited to meet many high ranking dignitaries, including His Excellency Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs, who struck me as a very intelligent and dignified person.   I also was fortunate to meet the youthful and highly respected Marzouq Al Alghanim, the Speaker of the National Assembly, State of Kuwait.

Marzouq Al Alghanim, the Speaker of the National Assembly, State of Kuwait.

Marzouq Al Alghanim, the Speaker of the National Assembly, State of Kuwait.

But the biggest surprise was when I was invited to Bayan Palace to meet with Kuwait’s Amir, His Highness Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. I had never met His Highness prior to this trip, although I had met many royals during the research done to write The Rape of Kuwait, (including the Crown Prince Saad Al-Salim Al-Sabah, who had given me a most engaging description of what had happened to him on the day of the invasion, as well as His Highness Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the 13th ruler of Kuwait).

Since I had closely followed the news of Kuwait since 1990, I knew of the long and distinguished career of Kuwait’s Emir, His Highness Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. Most impressive are his endless good deeds.  I knew before arriving in Kuwait that His Highness is one of the world’s most charitable rulers, so generous that he was honored and decorated by the United Nations for his exemplary humanitarian mission work, and most especially with respect to Syria and Iraq, helping refugees from those countries.  The Emir’s good works assist millions of desperate people all over the world, some of them citizens of the country that once invaded his own land.  (What country in the world would be so kindly and generous to a country and people who has invaded them and attempted to destroy all that was Kuwait?  Not many!)

All my Kuwaiti friends were delighted to hear that I had met with their Emir, and were thrilled to hear how he had impressed me with his friendly smile and charming manner. I found that all the Kuwaitis I knew were proud of their Emir and held enormous affection for him.

They were even happier to know that I saw and recognized the victory all Kuwaitis have accomplished. Kuwait is a country that has successfully overcome very dark days to show the world that one does not need to be bitter, but instead, can be generous and kindly toward those who have committed bitter deeds.

I remember well how I was attacked for interviewing Kuwaitis, getting their stories, and writing the book, The Rape of Kuwait,” but I have never regretted reaching out for personal stories.  Despite the many wild lies told about the book by those who fought against the world helping Kuwait to be liberated, I believe that the book will be referred to for years to come, for it is the only contemporary book that tells what happened to individuals on the day of the invasion.  It’s easy to attack people and countries and write only the negatives, it is more difficult when one feels a need to speak favorably about the same topic.  This is because for some reason our world is now bubbling with so many negative people who receive their joy in life by belittling and attacking others.  Tis a pity…

Book I wrote about the day of the invasion

Book I wrote about the day of the invasion

Now I believe that it is important for the world to remember that Kuwait is not an aggressive state, yet they have shown kindness and good will to those who were aggressive to them. Yes, Kuwait is a conservative nation, but in a good way.  Women are working.  Women are driving.  Women are free to choose whether to wear the hijab or not.  Yes, Kuwait is a wealthy country, but they choose to share their wealth and help many helpless in the world.

When I left Kuwait, I knew that I would return, because the entire trip was a great revelation of just how good a country can be.

I want to tell the world that all the good men and women who traveled to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and risked their lives to free Kuwait from the grasp of a brutal dictator, that Kuwait and Kuwaitis give so much back to the world. Kuwait is a country and peoples deserving of freedom.

If all the Kuwaitis I met might meet you today, I know that they would say “Thank you for your help, all of you.” For sure, Kuwait has made the most of a second chance to rebuild, and in the process, to continue helping others.”

The Kuwaitis have succeeded, by doing it, “The Kuwaiti Way.”

MORE PHOTOGRAPHS OF MY RECENT TRIP TO KUWAIT:

Meeting my e-mail friend FARES AL-Ayadhi, for the first time.

Meeting my e-mail friend FARES AL-Ayadhi, for the first time.

Meeting the lovely people at Museum in Kuwait City

Meeting the lovely people at Museum in Kuwait City

As an animal activist since a child, I always find animals in need!

As an animal activist since a child, I always find animals in need!

JEAN SASSON AT MUSEUM IN KUWAIT CITY

JEAN SASSON AT MUSEUM IN KUWAIT CITY

HANGING OUT AT THE PALACE (big smile)

HANGING OUT AT THE PALACE (big smile)

With the nieces and nephew of my friend, FARES

With the nieces and nephew of my friend, FARES

 

My special friend SOUD happy with one of his 12 grandchildren!

My special friend SOUD happy with one of his 12 grandchildren!

 

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PART I: MEMORIES: Thinking back on the Books I have Written: THE RAPE OF KUWAIT

While 25 years seems a long time during the span of one human life, my memories of Kuwait and Kuwaitis are so vivid that the events of August 2, 1990 does not seem so long ago.  Yet much has happened, to me, to the Middle East, and to the people who call the area home, during this active 25 year post war period.

I was an American living in Saudi Arabia for 12 years previous to that date, and lived very near to Kuwait.  When I heard that Kuwait had been invaded by Saddam’s huge army, my mouth went dry and my heart lurched.  Who knew what would happen?  Would Iraq be allowed to occupy their neighbor?  If so, how would the occupation effect the entire region?  The horrific war between Iran and Iraq had devastated the lives of so many innocent people.  *War does have that effect.  Now I worried about Kuwaitis, and Saudis, for news bulletins were excitedly predicting that Saudi Arabia was next on the Iraqi dictator’s occupation list.

As news bulletins told of the ongoing violence, I was greatly worried and touched by the thought of what the Kuwaiti people were enduring.   Kuwaitis are known to be a particularly peaceful people and have not created violence with their neighbors.

I became so involved, calling people in the area, and wondering what I might do, I decided to return to the region and meet with the Kuwaitis who were pouring out of the country, protecting their families in the only way they knew, to escape over the desert.

And so it came to pass that armed with a letter of introduction from the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Washington, I traveled to London, Cairo, Riyadh and Taif for the purpose of meeting Kuwaitis and others who had left Kuwait.  The letter was simple, telling Kuwaitis that I was a writer and would be interviewing whomever was interested in telling the world their personal experiences.  The government letter put no pressure on anyone to speak to me.  The decision to speak, or not to speak, was up to the individual.

I first traveled to London where I met various Kuwaitis, some from the royal family, hearing their heart-rending tales of worry for their greatly loved country — worry for members of their families who were still in country.  From London I flew to Cairo, where I met with desperate Kuwaitis who were rushing back and forth to the Kuwaiti Embassy in that country, all desperately wanting the latest news.  My ex-husband Peter Sasson, and his wife, Julie, met me in Cairo.  Peter, who was a talented photographer, graciously agreed to take the photographs for the book I was writing.  After leaving Cairo, the three of us traveled to Riyadh, where I was a guest of Peter & Julie in the villa where I was once lived.  Once again, I met with Kuwaitis who were temporarily living in Riyadh.  The Saudi government and Saudi people had been extremely gracious, welcoming their neighbors with open arms.  All the Kuwaitis I met were grateful, yet all wished for one thing only, to be able to return home.  Many were separated from family members and feared for their safety.

From Riyadh I was invited to visit the government of Kuwait who had gathered in the Saudi mountain city of Taif, where all were working to bring peace to a peaceful land, and a peaceful people.  There I met and interviewed the Emir and the Crown Prince, among others in the royal family, and in the government.

I felt that the Kuwaiti people were in good hands, as it was clear that the only goal the Kuwaiti government had was to ensure the survival of their citizens, and the prompt return of their beloved country.  They were particularly concerned for the well-being of Kuwaitis, because horror stories were coming out of the country detailing events of torture and death.

After Riyadh and Taif, I returned to London, where I met more Kuwaitis.

While I will not go into the stories of the individuals I met, let’s just say that all the stories were compelling and heartfelt.  (While THE RAPE OF KUWAIT is no longer in print, it can be found in the used book sales divisions of a number of online sites.)

As most of us know who lived through that terrible time, various people and media organizations in America and other countries fought against the plan for other countries to assist the Kuwaitis to regain their home.  While Kuwaitis were as brave as a people can be, forming an underground force to fight the occupiers, Kuwait has a very small population and could not compete against the huge numbers in the Iraqi military.

I was all for helping the Kuwaitis.  Admittedly, no one in their right mind seeks war without a compelling reason, this was a compelling cause.  It would have been a disaster to allow Saddam to continue to occupy Kuwait, and to make the country a province of Iraq, which was his clearly stated goal.

Shockingly, many people wrote fabrications about any one who supported our president in his endeavors to help rid Kuwait of the Iraqi occupying army.  Once any lie is told, others repeat it.  I read so many false articles and statements about the book I wrote, and how the book came to be, that I shook my head in wonder that anyone would stoop to such a low level.  Such lies continue to this day, but none of the ones telling the lies were there, and simply don’t have the facts.  I have refused to get down in the dirt with those who lied so easily about something they knew nothing about, but I’ve always felt it important to simply state the facts.  Which are:

  1. The Kuwaiti government did not pay me to write the book.  Neither did anyone else.  IN FACT, members of the Kuwaiti government never once tried to influence me.  I never provided the manuscript I was writing to anyone other than my publisher.  The Kuwaitis never read a single word of the book until after the book was published.  I personally presented the Ambassador with a copy and that was the first time he knew that I had finished the book and it has been published.
  2. During that visit to the Kuwaiti Embassy in Washington, the Kuwaiti Ambassador was pleased about the book’s finish, but he seemed very sad, expressing his dismay to me that his country and the innocent Kuwaiti citizens still IN the country were being held hostage while the world squabbled about whether or not Kuwait should be helped!  I remember that he listened carefully to me when I mentioned my concern after reading that many soldiers from the west who were on already in Saudi Arabia had expressed misgivings — stating that they were not sure why they were there.  I remember brushing my hand against the book cover and saying, “I wish every soldier could read what happened to these innocent people in the book.  Then they would know why we are there.”
  3. Suddenly I noticed a gleam in the Ambassador’s eye.  Obviously he had an idea, but I did not know his idea.  He asked me for my publisher’s phone number, which I provided.  He called my publisher and asked for a meeting.
  4. Never did I dream that my comment would create such a plan for all soldiers to have a copy of the book.  When it was all said and done, the Ambassador paid for 500,000 copies of THE RAPE OF KUWAIT and had arranged to send the copies to the American soldiers stationed in Saudi Arabia, there waiting for battle.
  5. When I went into Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in March 1991, after the war had ended, I met many soldiers, (Americans, British, and others) who had copies of the book with them — all said that nothing had made them feel better about their sacrifices during war than knowing exactly what had happened to the innocent people trapped in war in Kuwait.  They were all very pleased that they had fought to free an entire nation of people.
  6. I am adamant that the Kuwaitis I interviewed told me the truth of their experiences.  While I am sad and sorry that many has sought to destroy the true stories of the innocent people who suffered and who shared their experiences with the world, I am not sorry that I traveled, interviewed, researched, and wrote the book.  This, regardless of all the lies that have been spread about The Rape of Kuwait.  Admittedly, the book is short, and that timing was so brief to write the stories that there was much that was not told.

For those who are interesting, the following is a brief excerpt from the book, telling the story of one Kuwaiti family as it was told to me:

KHALID and WAFA Al-KHAYAT:  KUWAITIS

Khalid and his wife, Wafa, were counting the days until September.  They had given little thought to the Iraqi dictator or his menacing army for they had their hearts set on a dream shared by many young couples worldwide:  A new home.   Khalid and Wafa had been married for nine years and during those years had lived with his parents.  Finally, after nine long years, they would have a home of their own.

As far as Khalid was concerned, August 2, 1990 was just another day.  He worked as an aircraft engineer with Kuwaiti Airlines and generally travelled a great deal.  But this was a Thursday and he only had to work a half day. 

On the way to work, Khalid thought that the city seemed strange.  The streets were busier than usual for a Thursday.  Suddenly his automobile began to make strange movements on its own. He stopped the car to check but could find nothing.  Then his car started to move again.  Suddenly he realized that he was hearing bombing, and that the bombing was shaking up the entire area.  He looked about to see Kuwaiti soldiers dashing about.  He stopped one of them to ask what was happening and was told that he must report immediately to the air force base.

Since Kuwait had a small population (in 1990:  826,586 Kuwaitis) all males from age 18 to 30 are required to be in the reserves.

At this point, Khalid was confused rather than frightened.  But when he arrived at the base, he realized that they were being attacked by the Iraqi military.  He rushed inside and listened for a time to the news, which was telling everyone to “Join the call to duty.  Your country is calling you!  Report to the nearest military unit!”

At home, Wafa and her in-laws were horrified by the attack, but calmed when they heard from Khalid and discovered that he was safe at the military base.  Still, Wafa’s younger brother had gone missing, so the family was in turmoil, wondering about his fate.

Meanwhile, the base was surrounded by Iraqi tanks.  The Iraqi army had come prepared to a nation that never expected to be invaded.

There was water inside the military camp, but no food.  Brave Kuwaiti air force pilots defied the Iraqis and flew the Kuwaiti jets to Saudi Arabia to keep them from being destroyed.

Finally the Iraqis overtook the base.  Khalid was convinced that the Iraqis would execute them all, but they did not.  In fact, the Iraqis were abrupt and businesslike.  They ordered everyone outside.   While a few of the men were allowed to leave to go to their families, Khalid was not one of those lucky men.

Finally Kahlid and 799 other men were transported by truck to a fended in fire station.  They were kept in the burning sun.  They were not fed for two days.  Food didn’t matter, but they all desperately needed water, but no water was forthcoming.

By this time Kuwaiti families were hunting their men.  Hearing that the Iraqis had imprisoned 800 men at the first station, brave family members came to look.  Finding their men, they too, defied the Iraqis by tossing food and bottles of water to the men, who were saved by this intervention.

Some Kuwaiti men, fearing they would be killed, tried to escape, but they were caught, and beaten for attempting to escape. 

Kuwaiti families started bribing the Iraqis, paying huge sums to get their men released.  In fact, when a wealthy Kuwaiti came to bribe the Iraqis for his relative, he could not find the one he was searching for.  Khalid whispered to him that his relative was one of the few who successfully escaped.  In gratitude, the man claimed Khalid as his relative, paying a bribe and taking Khalid out with him.

Sadly, some of the men who were unable to escape, or whose families were not in Kuwait to obtain their release, were never heard of again — therefore Khalid barely escaped with his life.

Meanwhile, the clever Kuwaitis had moved into action and were doing everything in their power to confuse the Iraqis.  Men gathered at night to slip through the city streets and removed all signs.  They stripped all the houses of their house numbers.  The Iraqis would have a difficult time locating anyone by an address.

There was yet another blow:  For years Khalid and Wafa had been doing without  to carefully save their money so that they could furnish their new home.  Sadly, the Iraqis raided all the banks and that stash of savings was gone. 

Although other family members did not want to leave Kuwait, Khalid was concerned that he had given his name and address to the Iraqis when he was taken prisoner.  He felt they would come looking for him again.  So Khalid and Wafa left with a relative lucky enough to have a four-wheel drive.  The couple felt hopeless when they left the only home they had ever known.  While driving out of Kuwait city, the saw enormous damage to homes and businesses.  Kuwait had been mainly destroyed. 

The were forced to take the desert road due to the large number of Iraqis shooting at moving vehicles.  Before they could disappear into the desert, they were stopped, held at gun-point and threatened with death.   TKhalid was terrified that he had put his wife in a position that might cost her life.  Thankfully their relative had cash and used all he had to bribe the soldier so that they could leave.  The Iraqi soldier even gave them directions on how to maneuver over the desert to get to Saudi Arabia.  His directions were perfect for only after a few hours they saw Saudi soldiers at a checkpoint.  The Saudis were welcoming and kindly, giving them food and water and telling them where to go to find safety and shelter in Saudi Arabia. 

Khalid called his family once he was in Saudi Arabia to hear the worst news.   Wafa’s younger brother who had been missing since the day of the invasion had joined the resistance.   But he was arrested by the Iraqis while defending his country.  He was quickly executed. He was only twenty-two years old, a delightful young man who never had a bad thought in his life. 

The couple was inconsolable, unable to imagine that Iraq had invaded their land, and now was killing anyone brave enough to defend the country. 

Exile was very bitter.

BELOW:   Photographs: 

Various photographs of brave Kuwaitis who survived the occupation.

The book, THE RAPE OF KUWAIT.

The Author Jean Sasson meeting the Crown Prince of Kuwait at a happier time.  (The first time had been in Taif, Saudi Arabia where the Kuwaiti government was conducting government business during the occupation.)  This second meeting was in Kuwait City after Kuwait had been freed.

The Author Jean Sasson holding a Kuwaiti baby who had been born in Saudi Arabia after the parents had escaped the tyranny of the Iraqi military in Kuwait.

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THE RAPE OF KUWAIT

 

Jean Sasson Kuwait City with Kuwaiti Crown Prince and Ambassador Saud Nasser al-Sabah

Meeting up with the Kuwaiti Crown Prince again in Kuwait City

 

jean in saudi arabia

Adventure in Kuwait & Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Heroes

These are all great people. Anytime in the history of a country when social, legal, and political change is brewing, the brightest stars rise to the top. There are some great heroes & heroines in Saudi Arabia and it is a pity that so many of them have been put in prison. They should be honored and brought into the government circle to bring peaceful change to Saudi Arabia. Two of the most brilliant men I’ve ever known were both Saudis — that should tell us something!

Saudiwoman's Weblog

Saudi Heroes was inspired by the original Saudi hero, Dr. Gazi Al Qosaibi. These lists highlight Saudis who take stances or work hard in the unselfish pursuit of the betterment of the Saudi people. In this sentence, you’ll find links to the first Saudi heroes post, the second, and the third.

Dr. Tawfig Al Rabiah

twzsRkeO

Dr. Al Rabiah, Minister of Commerce and Industry, is famously known as “the minister of the people.” He earned this title by mainly abolishing the usual ceremony that surrounds Saudi ministerial positions. He rarely wears the black and gold cloak that sheikhs traditionally wear as a status symbol. He enters the ministry through the front door instead of using a secret back entrance. He even makes a point of taking the stairs so that both ministry employees and the general public can have access to him longer as he enters…

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Prominent Saudis: Dr. Ghazi Al Qosaibi

I was fortunate to meet this fine man (my husband and I were invited to his home when he was Minister of Health) and there was a crisis at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre. Dr. Ghazi was in a feud with my former boss, Dr. Nizar Feteih and he wanted to ask me some questions about Dr. Feteih. (I had been interviewed by the committee investigating Dr. Feteih.) Although Dr. Feteih could be very much a dictator at the hospital, he loved the hospital and did everything he could to make it the best hospital in the kingdom. Also, I had worked as Dr. Feteih’s right hand in the Medical Affairs Department for a couple of years and felt loyal as he had never been anything but extremely nice to me and my husband, Peter Sasson. I never saw Dr. Feteih do anything illegal or bad against the hospital, although he was a man accustomed to getting his way and at times was too harsh with some of the employees. Despite the fact I was unable/unwilling to turn against Dr. Feteih, Dr. Ghazi was very gracious. I briefly met his German wife, and two sons and a beautiful daughter. I found it interesting that the sons looked German as their mother and the daughter was a dark-haired/dark eyed beauty who looked completely Saudi. I did warn Dr. Ghazi that Dr. Feteih had been exceptionally close to King Khalid during the years I was working at the hospital (King Khalid died in 1982, as we all know) and that Dr. Feteih was also close to King Fahd. Dr. Ghazi brushed aside my concern that he (Dr. Ghazi) would end up losing any feud with Dr. Feteih. In fact. Dr. Ghazi was fired as Health Minister very soon after Peter and I met with him in his home, although a poem Dr. Ghazi had written that indicated the poem was for the eyes of King Fahd, played a role in his firing. Dr. Feteih was later released from his duties at the hospital, so the entire episode was very dramatic and both men paid a huge price for their feud. So much was happening during that time but I’ll save further details for my memoir. However, I will say that I found Dr. Ghazi to be a very intelligent and kindly man, and was very sad to hear of his passing so young a few years ago. I’m going to go now and find the poetry book he presented to me on that night and reread it. He was a very talented poet…(as all Saudi Arabians know.)

Saudiwoman's Weblog

 

The most prominent of prominent not royal Saudis is Ghazi Al Qosaibi. This is a name that every Saudi knows, young and old. He initially became popular for the reforms he implemented as minister of health, that and his Arabic novels compounded to make him one of the shiniest stars in the Saudi sky.
The first phases of his education were in neighboring Arab countries, Bahrain and Egypt. He then went on to a masters in the US and a PhD from the University of London. He then came back to Riyadh in 1971 to work as an academic at King Saud University. However, that did not last that long because he later sat at many important desks in Saudi; Director General of Saudi Railways Organization, Minister of Industry and Electricity, Minister of Health, Saudi ambassador in Bahrain then UK, Minister of Water, and now Minister of Labour.
Before…

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