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.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Royal Rubbish 

Temporarily disconnected from most of his pipework, King Fahad inspires us with his vision for the future.

Actually, it looks as though Abdullah, on the left, is operating the Johnny Walker pump

Reforms to Suit Saudi Needs

RIYADH, 21 June 2004 — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd pledged yesterday Saudi Arabia would tailor reforms to its own needs and set out a comprehensive package to foster economic growth.

That's the Good News

The king’s annual policy address to the Shoura Council recalled a promise of partial municipal elections, but did not set a date for the first ever poll in the country — in principle due to take place later this year.

...and that's the Bad News. The first faltering steps towards democracy, the "partial municipal elections", had been promised in October 2003 to tke place within a year. Obviously it's not going to happen. "In Principle" must mean they would have taken place, had they been promised by someone with principles, and not promised by an unprincipled liar.

Oh well, give him another shot of Red Label. Let's see what else comes out.

The speech reiterated that Saudi Arabia was introducing the reforms it perceives as adequate — a reference to the government’s view that reform must come from within and not necessarily follow a Western pattern.

“Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead on the path of development and modernization in a manner compatible with the interests of its people, its needs, its specifics, its Arab identity and of Shariah,” on which the entire system is based, the speech said.

What Reforms? There aren't any Reforms! There are zero Reforms! So what are the "reforms it perceives as adequate"?

The government promised in October 2003 to organize elections within a year to elect half the members of new municipal councils. Reports around that time said elections would also be held within three years to fill one third of the Shoura Council’s 120 seats and that half the members of regional councils could be elected within two years.

...and now you've cancelled them. So what Reforms? Give him another shot.

He pointed out the government set up a higher commission on women’s affairs, guaranteed women participation in the recent National Dialogue Forum in Madinah and in the National Human Rights Commission and would consolidate this participation further.

Ah well, the National Dialogue Forum was a great success, it agreed to change nothing, the "team photo" had no women in, anyone with any sense left in tears. It was about as successful as our soccer team in the World Cup, and ten times as boring. So that was this year's reform?

. (glug)
. (glug)
. (yawn)
. (zzzzz....)

Afraid so. Looks like that's it for another year. No reform, no modernization. Just inertia, decay, and destruction from within by religious lunatics. Welcome to Saudi Arabia 2004.

Time for a vacation.

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