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Saudi Arabia…If Only I Could!

Saudi Arabia…If Only I Could!

Wednesday, 3 March, 2021 - 08:45
Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Last Saturday evening, after the sky of Riyadh echoed the sound of missiles fired by Iranian Houthi agents, my son Salman (16 years old) asked me: Have you heard what happened? I said yes. He said: Why is no one talking about these missiles?

I replied: It was reported by the media. He raised his cell phone, saying: Nothing in the American or British media! I couldn’t answer, and it shook me.

I said to myself if I could only issue an immediate decision to grant foreign journalists an entry visa to Saudi Arabia, within hours.

The visa will be granted to any journalist, regardless of his country, even if some of them are spies, as we have nothing to fear. We have security services that are beyond suspicion. Whoever violates the regulations - even a spy - is asked to leave immediately.

If I could only make visiting Saudi Arabia the easiest destination for foreign journalists, so they could hear by themselves the opinions of the Saudis about their country’s path towards reform, openness, and the real fight against extremism and corruption… So that journalists hear the views of the new Saudi generation of their Kingdom’s achievements, amid Western media attempts to distort this with malicious campaigns.

These campaigns support merchants of slogans, extremist Islamists, who do not believe in democracy, moderation, or stability, while they are only concerned with seizing power in our countries, as did the Khomeini regime when it hid behind the naïve leftists and others to reach power.

If Western journalists visit our country, they will realize that the change that is taking place is real, appreciated, and supported by most of society. Yes, there are criticisms, but they are not kept secret, but declared in open councils, during workshops, meetings and some of which I personally attended! There is criticism and talk, but it is to push change forward and correct the outcome, and not to claim false slogans, which we know well in our region.

Today, after the malicious campaign against Saudi Arabia under the pretext of human rights - which Washington and the rest of the region ignored in Iran - even our enemies have broken their silence and started to enumerate the importance of Saudi Arabia, warning of American recklessness.

They became aware of the danger of playing with fire and started to count the advantages and the weight of Saudi Arabia.

What if foreign journalists came and saw the real change that is taking place, and heard the people who are the fuel for this transformation, which seeks the interest of the Kingdom, its population, and the region?

We know our region and we live in it. It is a region that does not care about human rights…where the powerful prevails. So let them come to see and hear real change, from fighting extremism and corruption to positive social change supported by the people.

If I could only open the door to international journalists, even for a year subject to review.

We do not have anything to hide, rather we have a lot of what we are proud of. Let them come to see the difference between the Saudi project, the project of the future, compared to the Iranian project, the project of backwardness and collapse!

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