Tuesdays in Al-Ghad: Highly readable opinions of Khashogji and Sagheyeh

Tuesday’s op-ed page in Al-Ghad is always interesting. Two Arab liberal voices, the Saudi writer Jamal Khashogji and the Lebanese writer Hazem Sagheyeh always provide good reads.

Yesterday Sagheyeh was writing about how every political party in Lebanon (and the wider Arab region) usese God/Allah in its street slogans. He sees this an a sign of absolutist, exclusionist thinking in Arab politics and a clear symptom of immaturity. He adds, quite rightly in my opinion, that regardless of the ‘noble’ ideologies (be it Islamic Unity/Arab Unity/Democracy/Human Rights/Independence) espoused by parties from across the spectrum, Arabs today seem like someone who want to fly to the moon in a wrecked car. The conclusion is that Arabs today simply do not have the actual tools to attain any of the ideological ideals their parties put forward.

The huge gap between fat ideological aims and meager tools and resources to attain them is a prelude to disaster, Sagheyeh says. Comparing the Arab world to India, China or even South America is laughable, as Arabs today are still struggling to maintain the unity of their very countries in the face of sectarian divisions.

Khashogji, on the other hand, yesterday described the gradual movement is Saudi Arabia to relax some of the intellectual and social restrictions and the accompanying rabid reaction of the ultra-conservative forces in that country. He was referring to the latest book fair held in Riyadh (which had less censorship this year) and the accompanying series of lectures which witnessed heated attack from some attending ultra-conservatives. Women’s driving in Saudi Arabia was also tackled (yet again!).

For more info about what happened in the book fair read what Saudi Jeans had to say about it.

Sadly, these columns are not archived on Al-Ghad’s website, but I looking forward to next Tuesday’s edition.


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