Editorial: We stand by our Christian brothers

A nun cries as she stands at the scene inside Cairo's Coptic cathedral, following the bombing, in Egypt on Sunday. (Reuters)
Updated 12 December 2016

Editorial: We stand by our Christian brothers

Though the atrocious attack that targeted Sunday mass at an Egyptian St. Mark Church complex is yet to be claimed, it did not take Daesh supporters long to rejoice and show their true — and disgusting — nature on social media.
It must be clearly reiterated that these sick-minded individuals are alone in their celebration. There is no race, religion or rationale that could ever justify, let alone cheer, taking the lives of 25 innocent people — of which the majority were women and children — in their sacred place of worship.
It is definitely positive that condemnations were almost immediately issued by the likes of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), among many others. However, mere statements are no longer enough.
We, as people, must actively do more to protect our Arab Christian brothers and sisters. They, as fellow citizens, have an equal right to live peacefully. Furthermore, we should never forget the noble and patriotic positions they, as a community, took in support of Arab — and even Muslim — causes. 
A great example of this occurred only a few weeks ago, when a Palestinian church defied a proposed Israeli ban on the Muslim call to prayer and decided to sound the Adhan from within its own walls.
Yet Christians across the Arab world remain targeted by deliberate, cowardly acts, either by terrorist attacks — such as what happened in Cairo yesterday — or by “wannabe” regimes such as Daesh.
This is why on a military level, Saudi Arabia — which is leading the Islamic Coalition against Daesh — should intensify efforts to combat this wicked group. What could facilitate this is that a new US administration, which seems intent on taking more serious collective action against Daesh, is coming to power. Furthermore, we should do more not only to protect but to celebrate our Christian and/or Jewish minorities in Arab states that have them.
If any good came out of the evil that was done yesterday in Cairo, it was seeing crowds of Egyptian Muslim young men and women gather in protest against attacking the church complex. This is the true spirit of Egypt, and so long as it persists, we as Arabs will always have something to be hopeful about.

EDITORIAL: Jeddah floods a reminder of why we need the anti-corruption drive

Saudi drivers take a flooded street in Jeddah on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 22 November 2017

EDITORIAL: Jeddah floods a reminder of why we need the anti-corruption drive

It has happened again. The roads, streets and many underpasses in Jeddah were flooded with rainwater on Tuesday. Many areas were turned into lakes because of the heavy, though forecast, downpour. In some areas, water was knee-deep while in others it was chest-deep. People were stuck in their vehicles and many were seen pushing their vehicles to the side of the roads with great difficulty. In low-lying areas, citizens struggled to remove their belongings from flooded houses.

For the residents of Jeddah, rain has, more often than not, brought trouble and devastation. Whenever the skies open up, thoughts go back to that “Black Wednesday” of November 25, 2009, when more than 100 people lost their lives and property worth billions of riyals was destroyed. An investigation was opened into the disaster and some of the guilty were taken to court and tried; some of the small fry were even jailed. As has been the case in the past, the mighty arm of the law could barely touch those at the top who enjoyed immunity from prosecution.

And so it was business as usual until the rain began to wreak havoc again, reminding us that the laws of nature take their course and that hiding your head in the sand does not chase the clouds away.

Having said that, it must be admitted that, yes, lessons were learned. A disaster management team was set up. The weather forecast department became active in issuing alerts. In fact, Tuesday could have been far worse had it not been for the timely alert from the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) and a prompt decision by the Ministry of Education to suspend classes, schools and universities in and around Jeddah. That helped in keeping people and vehicles off the streets. At noon on Tuesday, it looked as if the city were under some kind of curfew.

The questions that are on everyone's minds right now are: Why is it that rain renders the city helpless and immobile at this time every year? Why have efforts to create effective rainwater drainage systems not borne fruit despite pumping billions of riyals into new projects such as dams and canals? Why is it that the authorities are found wanting whenever heavy rain occurs? More importantly, what is the solution?

Here is the answer. These floods are a stark reminder of why the current drive against corruption is so essential. It is required in order to instill the fear of law into high-ranking officials and heads of construction companies and civic bodies who have failed in their responsibilities. Those who have cut corners and have pocketed public money, those who have not delivered on the projects and who have provided substandard services must pay for their sins of omission.

This is exactly what is happening. No one is above the law. The guilty, whoever they are, however high up they are, will have to pay — and they are. In this new era of transparency and accountability — initiated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — word has gone down from top to bottom that no one is immune. If you are guilty you will be punished. Those responsible for the havoc of the floods on Tuesday will have no rest either.