The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.
In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.
Islam is the religion of equality. And Saudi Arabia is the spiritual home of Islam. So Saudis are the major proponents of equality? Well not exactly. This article gives a flavor of our social gradations.
Pride in Lineage and Prejudice Against Outsiders
In Saudi Arabia, we have one of the world’s most racist views about family origins and roots; the whole population is divided into different layers according to many revolting criteria. First, we have what we call families with “tribal” roots that go back to well-known tribes; they are considered “original” Saudis. Next you have families with “non-tribal” roots, meaning their origins cannot be traced to “original” Saudi tribes. The strange part is that even if your family goes back hundreds of years into history, you are still not considered “original”.
Even more peculiar is the fact that these two main branches of society cannot intermarry without causing a scandal. In fact, it is less scandalous — although not really altogether acceptable — to marry a foreigner than a “non-tribal” Saudi. So unacceptable is the “tribal/non-tribal” intermarriage that our society uses the 220 volt/110 volt analogy — 220 being tribal and 110 being non-tribal — to demonstrate the catastrophic results of such a union.
However, that's not the full story. I'll try to spell out the hierarchy.
1. The original tribes related to the House of Saud. They are trusted to be loyal, and so get all the jobs in the Armed Forces, Police, Airport security etc. You can spot them a mile away, they all have the same thin physique and rat-like faces.
2. Original tribes, but not related to the House of Saud. Usually do well in society, but are not trusted by the Royals.
3. Non-tribal Saudis - the so-called "110 volts". However they are still Arabs racially. OK as minor civil servants or shopkeepers.
4. Semi- and non-Arab Saudis, usually came here on pilgrimage several generations ago and stayed. Usually look "different", e.g. Eastern or Negro. Black Saudis are the ideal "fashion accessory", they are the most popular and best-paid drivers for richer families.
5. Westerners, respected for their professional skills and work ethic. However they are UNBELIEVERS.
6. Other Arabs. Seen as being good at sales jobs, but are looked down on, because they come from poorer countries.
7. Other Muslims. Pakistanis, Indians, Sri Lankans. Only good for the menial jobs that we are too proud to do e.g. building, cleaning, factory work.
8. Indonesian housemaids. Lowest of the low. Come here out of abject poverty. Saudi wives can vent their anger on them and beat them up. Saudi Husbands can sometimes rape them, then throw them out when they get pregnant. Saudi children learn their racial attitudes by watching the way their parents treat the Indonesian housemaid.
Me? I'm category 2. And no, I don't rape the housemaid. She's Filipino and lives here with her husband who is our driver. I like to think that we treat them well, but then my wife and I have benefitted from living in the West.