Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An Open Letter from Ali Alyami to His Royal Highness, Prince Khalid, Governor of Makkah, the Saudi Kingdom

His Royal Highness, Prince Khalid,
Governor of Makkah, the Saudi Kingdom
First, let me congratulate you for this splendid initiative. It takes a lot of courage to open one's self to unfiltered questions, especially from a population who has a lot to say, but who understandably lives in a constant fear from autocrats who control all power, money and decision-making processes?
The following are some of my guarded questions which I hope you will answer candidly and your paper, Alwatan, will publish for all to see.
1, When will women be allowed to feed themselves, drive their children to schools and be free from the denigrating male guardian system?  2, When will religious minorities be free to practice their rituals as they wish? 3, When will there be accountability, transparency, power sharing, independent and non-sectarian judicial system where the rule of law replaces the whims of judges who consider women, Shia and non-Muslims heretics and inferior?
4, When will the Shura Council be elected and accountable to the people instead of the king? 5, When will Jeddah have a sewage system? 6, When will water and electricity be sufficient so people don't die from heat and thirst in a country that should have the best public service in the world? 7, Incidentally, why does not Saudi Arabia have the best public services in the world, given its small population and huge revenues? 8, Are things mismanaged as some people say or is it just a big lie to defame the ruling family? 9, Are religious police really religious or they use religion to terrorize and humiliate people?
The most important question your Royal Highness is:  When will people be free to think for themselves and criticize the squandering of public wealth without being rounded up and sent to the basement of  Prince Naif’s Ministry of Interior for an unforgettable physical treatment or as some say be fed to wild animals?

Ali H. Alyami, Ph. D.
Executive Director, Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia
1050 17 St. NW Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 558-5552; (202) 413-0084; Fax: (202) 536-5210
ali@cdhr.info ; www.cdhr.info