August 10, 2012


My take this week: Wojdan and samar, we're proud of you
Friday 10 August 2012
• I felt very proud watching 16-year-old Wojdan Shaherkani competing at the Olympic games. However, I can’t understand the amount of insults Wojdan and her family received from her own people for “challenging strict traditions“! Actually, Wojdan challenged all of us by maintaining her strength for 82 seconds on the mat. I’m delighted that Wojdan’s father has hired a lawyer to go after all those who attacked our national hero. It is indeed an honor for all of us that Wojdan had represented Saudi Arabia in the games. I’m also happy that Wojdan will start training for the 2016 Olympics. Since I am in good mood, I’m going to share with you one more success story. Saudi Arabia’s equestrian show jumping team won a bronze medal in the Olympics. 
• Let me share with you another success story. A Saudi female student from the US has conducted advanced research in solar technology at the Abu Dhabi-based Institute of Science and Technology. Samar Alqatari is an engineering physics student with a focus on renewable energy at Stanford. The results of Alqatari’s research will have significant applications in electric devices, flexible electronics, and solar cells. I am convinced that if she is given the opportunity, Alqatari will have a great impact on developing prospects for Saudi Arabia’s solar energy.
• It became common practice to publish incidents about foreign labor committing crimes in the country. The problem is that we tend to generalize, which is neither true nor healthy. I have to admit that many of these expatriates regardless of their skills, have helped build our roads, schools, hospitals, and the actual country’s infrastructure over many years. Yes, there are incidents here and there once in a while, but we should be thankful that these guest workers helped build our country while hundreds of thousands of Saudis receive unemployment benefits because they don’t want to do “menial” work.
• Sheikh Abdul Latif Al-Asheikh, president of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, said in a meeting with reporters that his strategy, which is based on showing leniency and mercy to the people, is yet to be implemented in the proper way. It is refreshing to hear such remarks from Al-Asheikh, we sure came a long way. What is important now is to translate these honest words into deeds. It is crucial that members of the Commission exercise transparency and good manners in their dealings with all people.

Tweet: “It was an honor for my daughter to participate in this competition and to have represented Saudi Arabia.” Siraj Shaherkani (Wojdan’s father).

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