Dear Prime Minister,
I have thought a lot before writing this, after also learning that you are a pioneering liberal in your own country. This enables me to express my opinions even more freely. For liberalism is rooted in open-mindedness, lack of prejudice, and the favouring of moderate political and social reforms in any society. For your information, we are also dedicated liberals!
Everyone knows that the progress of any nation is a fragile evolutionary process. You are well aware of Saudi Arabia’s general reforms introduced during the last two years – particularly concerning women. These have been transformative and historic. And we all know that this is just the beginning of sensitive long-term change.
What surprises us is that for the sake of one irresponsible political activist, who primarily seems to seek self-recognition, valuable relations have been jeopardised.
For your administration to immediately deliver a statement of protest is surely over-reaction?
You should know that many Western governments representing greater nations, are wise enough to realise that the kingdom’s policies towards women’s rights are moving in the right direction – but need time to be accepted fully by society-at-large, because they involve such far-reaching reforms. And it is a fact that huge numbers of conservative-minded women are wary of such key transitions happening too quickly.
Kings are not dictators. They carefully assess the beliefs and psyche of their nations.
In fact we in the national Press, no matter how liberal, appreciate that such changes must be based on and blessed by the conviction, not only of Saudi Arabia’s present young generation, but also by their mothers and grandmothers.
Let us be very frank. We don’t want to end up morally bankrupt like many Western countries.
Our way of life has developed into what it is today through planned and pragmatic education, which never deviated from the essence of religion. In Saudi Arabia there are thousands of women holding important positions, who have been educated at the finest Western universities, as well as existing ones in the Saudi Kingdom.
You also ought to know that we strongly disagree with the anti-social behaviour and lack of morals shown by many women in the West – which actually embarrasses their parents and communities.
In other words, westernisation is not always a good example for many Asian countries with alternative faiths to follow.
Let’s look to India for example, the home of many religions. Christians there think, live and behave differently to those in the western hemisphere. Although India is the home of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, its traditions and culture dominate society. So what suits Canada, is not necessarily acceptable to others.
Before writing this letter, I have discussed the matter with many young Bahraini women, highly educated and very liberal in their outlook. They all agreed that we have to preserve our entity and sanctity, because it derives from deep cultural and religious values that cannot be compromised under the guise of westernisation. They clearly said that westernisation is not a religion, but is full of social gaps that have become the scourge of many Western societies – an entirely Man-made pattern.
Religion in the West, with the exception of the USA, has become a legacy of the past – totally outmoded and unfashionable.
In most Asian countries however, religion is the glue that holds communities together, and sustains them.
Furthermore, a true liberal-minded person would never impose, belittle, or intrude on another’s principles. Yet many in the materialistic West too often do not realise what they have lost in terms of values.
Mr Prime Minister, before I conclude, let me recount a personal story about an English friend whose daughter is married to a Bahraini. This highly-educated man, on seeing how his two granddaughters had been brought up in our conservative society, said to me: “I am so happy to see them both being raised purely and honourably, and protected by the virtue of a decent society that has great respect for women. Unfortunately, many children in the West lose their innocence far too early”.
Finally, Sir, Saudis know, much more than your administration, how to appreciate their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters!