From the Editors
Riyadh feels a little less stale since the Tunisian people toppled their dictator-president Zine El Abidine Bin Ali on 15 January 2011. In cafes, restaurants, and salons (majalis), friends and colleagues greet me with a smug smile, congratulations, and a ‘u’balna kulna (may we all be next). On my daily afternoon walks, I overhear Saudis of all ages and walks of life analyzing the events that led to the overthrow of the Tunisian regime. Everywhere I go, people are hypothesizing on whether the same could happen to “them,” referring to the possibility of a Saudi Arabia not headed by the Al Sauds. Although most concur that it is highly unlikely, they are nonetheless more convinced than ever of the power of the people to bring about change. They know that they can no longer sit back and wait for their government to hand them their basic political, economic, and to some extent, even human rights.
It is not surprising that Saudis are jumping on the bandwagon of optimism which has swept the Arab world in the last two weeks. That they are expressing their discontent and criticism of the Saudi regime in public spaces, however, is. Last week, several “gatherings” (tajamu’at) took place at government institutions in several Saudi cities. Groups of seventy to one hundred Saudi men (no exact numbers are available) peacefully stood in front of different municipalities as well as the ministries of Education and Labor. The men were silently protesting their deteriorating living conditions, rising unemployment (in one of the strongest economies in the world), and increasingly corrupt and stagnant bureaucracy. These public protests have received little press coverage, but the fact that they have occurred for several days speaks volumes as to the increasing willingness of Saudi citizens to challenge the Saudi regime.
This article is now featured in Jadaliyya's edited volume entitled Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of An Old Order? (Pluto Press, 2012). The volume documents the first six months of the Arab uprisings, explaining the backgrounds and trajectories of these popular movements. It also archives the range of responses that emanated from activists, scholars, and analysts as they sought to make sense of the rapidly unfolding events. Click here to access the full article by ordering your copy of Dawn of the Arab Uprisings from Amazon, or use the link below to purchase from the publisher.
4 comments for "Saudi Arabia's Silent Protests"
If you prefer, email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hot on Facebook
"We have the luxury, even if we don't have the right, to say that not all solutions are going to be better than what exists today."click | email | tweet
Jad NavigationView Full Map, Topics, and Countries »
Jadalicious / جدلشس
Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat Debates the Tactics and Ethics of Warfare on PBS Newshour http://t.co/Mni3VlCoR8
yesterday at 10:36 PM
RT @4Bassam: US Tax-Payer Dollars at work: BBC News - Gaza UN school shelter hit, 'killing 15' http://t.co/11292FCHFX
yesterday at 12:07 PM
Media on the Margins: An Interview with Sky News' Sherine Tadros on Reporting the Israeli Attack on Gaza http://t.co/oo9MztEZEr
yesterday at 9:34 AM
New Texts Out Now: Mohammad Ali Kadivar, Alliances and Perception Profiles in the Iranian Reform Movement, 1997... http://t.co/CBbMAEyIZ6
yesterday at 9:03 AM
yesterday at 8:59 AM
Latest EntriesView All Entries »
- Press Release: From Tel Aviv to Toronto, Los Angeles to London, Chicago to San Francisco, Jews Say No to Israeli Genocide
- The Palestinian Resistance and Its Enemies
- Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat Debates the Tactics and Ethics of Warfare on PBS Newshour
- Media on the Margins: An Interview with Sky News' Sherine Tadros on Reporting the Israeli Attack on Gaza
- O.I.L. Media Roundup (24 July)
- A Debate on Gaza: Democracy Now! Interviews Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada and. J.J. Goldberg of the Jewish Daily Forward
- New Texts Out Now: Mohammad Ali Kadivar, Alliances and Perception Profiles in the Iranian Reform Movement, 1997 to 2005
- Fractured Space: The Case of Souk al-Ahad, Beirut
- Al-Diwan Roundup: News and Analysis in Publishing and Academia from the Arab World
- Can Palestinian Men be Victims? Gendering Israel's War on Gaza
- Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (July 22)
- Israel Mows the Lawn
- نون"... حرف واحدة تكفي فاتحة للخراب الاكبر في العراق"
- Mohamed Bouazizi, l'ouvrier agricole : Relire la « révolution » depuis les campagnes tunisiennes
- Egypt Media Roundup (July 21)
- Video: US Aid to Israel - The Real Deal
- بغايا بغداد التعيسات
- Last Week on Jadaliyya (July 14-20)
- HRW Whitewashes Israel, The Law Supports Hamas: Some Reflections on Israel’s Latest Massacre
- Press Release: UNRWA Commissioner-General Press Briefing on the Situation in Gaza Strip