Sunday, October 02, 2005

Prince Talal bin Abdul-Aziz, brother of the late King Fahd.

The Associated Press, 20 April 2002, wrote about a Saudi Prince Who Wants More Openness.

Reportedly, Prince Talal is a democrat who does not believe in the royal family's monopoly on power.

Reportedly, Prince Talal wants:

1. a constitutional monarchy,
2. an elected parliament,
3. a sharp reduction in the clergy's powers,
4. more freedom for women

Saudi Arabia forces women to cover up from head to toe, bans them from driving and segregates them from men. Talal is the only influential male openly urging the removal of the restrictions, saying they were imposed by men who regard women as sexual objects.

``It's all about sex,'' he said in the interview in 2002 with The Associated Press.

Prince Talal bin Abdul-Aziz is a brother of the late King Fahd.

He is a confidant of the new King, Abdullah.

According to the Associated Press writer:

Talal's opinion counts among moderates within the ruling family, and for its conservative members he's posing questions they cannot ignore because they are coming from a brother.
Talal, who is in his 70s, has been pushing for a more open political system for decades. In 1962, he had to flee to Egypt because of his liberal ideas, which he insists do not contradict Islam or jeopardize the kingdom's Islamic credentials.

There were reports at the time that he was planning an Egyptian-backed revolt against then King Faisal. He became known as the ``Red Prince'' for his close ties to then Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was pro-Soviet.

Talal, a son of Saudi Arabia's founder, King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, was allowed to return in 1964 after reconciling with King Faisal.

He now heads a charity, the Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development Organizations.

He is the father of billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose gift of $10 million to a fund set up to help the families of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks was rejected by then New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Fifteen of the 19 alleged hijackers were Saudi.

Giuliani was furious after Alwaleed said the United States should ``re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause.''

While viewed as liberal by Saudis, Talal sides with the Arab mainstream on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rejecting Washington's classification of Palestinian suicide-bombers as terrorists. ``They're strugglers and fighters for their country,'' he said.

But he also said that any attempt by Saudi Arabia to improve its image -- which many Saudis say has suffered since Sept. 11 from what they contend is an Israeli-backed U.S. media campaign -- should include meetings with Jewish groups in the United States since ``they are players on the ground.''

On the home front, Talal said Saudis should shed their fear of speaking their minds and carry out a ``peaceful, nonviolent struggle'' for reform.

``We want to implement democracy gradually and on the basis of consensus between the ruler and the masses,'' he said.

He said a first step would be giving more power to the Shura Council, an advisory body appointed by the king. He said it should be more like a parliament, with oversight over the budget and Cabinet ministers' performance, and its members should have immunity so they could express themselves freely. Eventually, the council should be elected, he said.

``Since the establishment of the kingdom (in 1932), there hasn't been movement toward an open society,'' Talal said. ``We demand such openness, one that's in step with the 21st century.''
Talal also said the powerful religious establishment should stay in place, but ``should not act like a state within a state.'' It's a view many Saudis voice privately but dare not express openly for fear of retribution from the government or the clergy.

The Al Saud family's claim to the throne is legitimized by the religious establishment, which in return has been given a free hand in regulating social matters.

The most visible manifestation of the clergy's power is the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, an independent agency that acts like a government ministry. Members of the commission have the power to arrest people for a variety of offenses, such as women accompanied by men who are not their guardians or coffee shop managers who allow customers to remain in their shops during prayer time.

``The establishment should be a support for the state. If the government wants its religious opinion it can turn to it,'' Talal said.

On the issue of women, Talal said there is no religious reason why women in Saudi Arabia cannot drive or work side-by-side with men.

``It's all about sex,'' he said.

``Every time they (fundamentalists) see a woman, they see her (as a sex object). The strange thing is you're applying this to your mother, your sister, your wife.''

``These restrictions will lead to an explosion,'' he said. ``They cannot continue.''

On another touchy topic, Talal said he's worried there could be a power struggle among the next generation of the Al Saud dynasty because there is no clear succession for King Abdul-Aziz's grandsons. The sons of Al Saud, who include Fahd and Abdullah, rose to power by age and competence, but most are now in their 60s and 70s.

``There are no differences now, but we worry about differences after the sons of Abdul-Aziz (pass away),'' he said.



Blogger whoami123 said...


We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at this infinate goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
Dr. Whoami

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."

4:16 PM  
Blogger whoami123 said...

Thanks for visiting my blogs also...

5:28 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home