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.
Well, only one actually. Three others escaped, as they always do, because that is how it is foretold in the old prophesy from the Sage of Riyadh
"Tho' many be surrounded,
and the surrounding be complete,
all shall escape
but the one with bad feet".
I've now seen the footage of their assault on the building in Alkhobar, getting out of the helicopter. Well I must have missed a bit, when they first threw out their Zimmer frames. I thought it was absolutely scandalous. I was always taught that it was good manners to help infirm or old people out of a vehicle. Yet there they were, having to struggle out of that chopper all by themselves, nobody to lend a hand, poor old dears. Suppose one of them dropped their teeth on the ground - with their eyesight, they could spend all day looking. I thought for a moment that I'd spotted my old Grandmother, I thought "She'll kick the sh*t out of those terrorists, no trouble", but sadly she was snoozing in the next room. It's a good job there was an invalid elevator fitted in that building, otherwise they'd still be up on the roof even now.
There are many theories as to how the three escaped, and indeed whether they departed hours before the helicopter appeared. The Riyadh "Arab News", whose brave investigative journalism sends shudders of fear thru the Saudi ruling elite, notes that
Attacks Leave Many Questions Unanswered
ALKHOBAR, 2 June 2004 — With the worst now over and the body count completed, the injured are being treated and the traumatized hostages are working hard to bring their lives back to normal.
The security forces are on high alert throughout the country to make sure that there is no repetition of “Black Saturday” while the hunt continues for the escaped terrorists.
However, although they pose the question "Were the attackers at the compound and the Petroleum Center the same?", their curiosity does not stretch to asking "How did three terrorists, presumably soaked in the blood of their victims, completely surrounded by three rings of security troops in a medium-sized apartment building, vanish completely into the night (or day)?". But there are limits to the curiosity of the average "Arab News" journalist. He still thinks that babies happen when ladies take their veils off.
Nevertheless, the following captured Al Qaeeda document may give some clues. It is part of their Training Manual.
"Chapter 17. Evading Capture.
Scenario: You are completely surrounded by Saudi Arabia's Finest. As you are exiting by a back staircase, you run into an entire platoon of these fierce menacing killers.
Response: One of the following phrases will normally suffice -
"They went that-a-way"
"What? Us, terrorists? I ask you, do we look Jewish?"
"If you don't let us go we'll -
- scream and scream 'til we're sick /
- wet our pants /
- poo our pants"
"My Daddy is bigger than your Daddy and he'll beat you all up"
"Hey, Ali How you doing? Yea, we got rostered as Duty Terrorists today, what a bummer! See you down the Social Club tonite?"
"OK, fellas, you know the routine. One of us gets taken, the rest go. Eeny-meeny-miney-mo....."
"Hi guys, we'd like to stick around, but we're due for cocktails at Uncle Nayif's this evening. Let's do lunch sometime!"
"Let me hold your gun for a minute while you try this shawarma"
"You can open fire on us but first we have to agree the rules" (They won't have seen "Butch Cassidy" - too violent)
"Let us go or we blow up the building!" (holding imaginary detonator in hand and pointing at imaginary explosive - we said they were fierce, we never said they were bright)