Saudi Arabia is terribly misunderstood, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Let's see how enlightened we are at the end.
For many Westerners, Saudi Arabia is such a big mystery. They don't understand it. They don't know much about it. They know we have oil, much of it, and they think we charge them a lot of money for that, which is not true because we don't really control prices.
Really? OPEC can change the price of oil because it controls most of the supply. Saudi Arabia is, by far, the biggest member of OPEC.
It is astonishing how multiple tides of foreigners who flooded our country after and during the oil boom have failed to understand and/or open up our society.
Question: How can they open up your society? Unless, by "open up" you mean to put light on Saudi society. In that case, I've written a few posts. Also see this famous entry at Rants and Raves by a guy who lived in Saudi Arabia.
Most of the foreigners in Saudi Arabia are third country nationals (TCNs). Their workload is often harsh. I highly doubt that they would have the luxury to sit down and "open up" the Saudi culture to the world. Plus, why would they want to spend their little precious free time discussing such a depressing topic?
I don't know whose idea was to build residential compounds for foreigners where they can live behind high walls and closed gates. It was a cleaver idea in the past probably, but it had some very negative implications.
A few points on this matter:
- If Saudi society wasn't so xenophobic, then these mostly infidel foreigners could live outside.
- A foreigner can't own property in Saudi Arabia. What do you want these smart kaffirs to do? Rent apartments and move practically every year when the landlord jacks up the rent!
- The Muttawa, the religious police, are not to be found in the residential compounds. The foreign guys and gals can wear shorts (gasp!) in the summer without being physically assaulted by a Dark Age merchant.
- Have you not noticed the numerous times terrorists have tried to murder these infidels? The compound allows the regime to have cameras at every signal and check everyone at the entrances. Not to mention that the mini-city is protected by radar and what seemed to me to be surface to air missiles. Overall, I think it still is a "cleaver" idea.
More from Saudi Jeans:
The way many Muslims view this country as the model Islamic state has given the wrong impression to some Saudis that, considering the place of their country, they are better Muslims than the rest of Muslims in the world.
More like the rest of humanity.
With all this stereotyping, many of us find it very difficult to accept criticism, not even from ourselves, let alone from others.