Jihad is Bad For Your Health
Puff Away

The Curse of the Black Gold

I have waited a long time for a Saudi to say this:

Any other country, I'd feel sorry for these guys. But it's not as if they don't have a wide choice of jobs anyway, jobs that someone in Cairo or Damascus or Amman would jump at if they were available in their own towns. And there are 1.25 million foreign drivers employed by Saudi households, we could 100% Saudiize those tomorrow, and I bet every single one of those guys can drive, even if he can't do anything else; the only obstacle would be their own vanity.

Yes! The entire nation of Arabia is swimming on oil. Why would any Arab even bother to work? The black gold, which many Muslims think of as a gift from Allah, has not made them culturally rich. In addition, almost the entire Saudi society is intellectually barren as it was before the discovery of crude.

The general Saudi attitude towards 'work' always reminds me of a scene from Lawrence of Arabia. Near the end of the movie, Lawrence is trying to divide labor among the different tribes. He tells one guy from a certain tribe to carry water to- and the guy immediately replies something like, "We don't carry water!" As though it's somehow insulting to transport water in a desert.

This contrast in work ethic is even more clear when one sees the numerous Third Country Nationals who slave away in the unforgiving heat of Arabia without a word of complaint. One truly has to see it to believe it.

The Saudis think that they are endowed with moral and spiritual superiority (don't laugh). This attitude mixed with a nonexistent work ethic has created a warped society. They import workers from Asia to do the dirty work and highly skilled labor from mostly America and Britain to keep the oil flowing. Yet, instead of learning from these 'aliens', the Saudi loath both these groups. The pressure to hire more and more Saudis to do local jobs is always present but for decades not enough Saudis have stepped up to fill the shoes.

For the Saudi society to improve, first their mindset will have to change. They will have to admit that they are not at all perfect.



Pop psychology time ... I wonder if these Saudi men suffer, at bottom, from profound feelings of inadequacy. If your self-esteem is good you don't feel demeaned by doing menial tasks. You don't have to continually put others in their place, either, or constantly insist that others have to respect you.

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