Musical event takes note of where ‘Holland meets Hijaz’

Students pose for a group photo with the ambassador, BMG Financial Group CEO, headmaster of Jeddah Prep Grammar School and the organizers.
Updated 13 January 2017

Musical event takes note of where ‘Holland meets Hijaz’

JEDDAH: Visitors were taken on a musical journey stretching back more than 100 years this week, at an event centered on the Dutch people who lived in the Hijaz region of Saudi Arabia.
“From the archives of the past, Holland meets Hijaz” organized by financial services firm BMG Financial Group (organized by BMG Foundation).
The evening took place at the Jeddah Prep and Grammar School (JPGS) on Jan. 10 in the presence of Dutch Ambassador Joost Reintjes.
Amsterdam-based professor Anne Van Oostrum gave a lecture on the old Hijazi music and recordings made by the Dutch envoys to the region many years ago.
The oldest recordings of wedding songs of a female Hijazi choir, other music and poetry were made using Thomas Edison’s wax cylinders, which marked new technology at the time.
Oostrum took the guests back in time to the old days of Hijazi culture and presented vintage photographs and musical clips to bring back authentic songs to the memories of the Saudi audience, and introduce them to others present.
She offered a mesmerizing journey to the 1900s, when the Dutch Arabist Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje was responsible for making what are now known as the oldest recordings of music and speech of the Hijaz. Hurgronje’s perception and appreciation of Arabic music are studied as expressed in his work Mekka (1888-1889) and in his commentary on some songs included in his collection of wax cylinders.
The JPGS and BMG initiative aimed to highlight the cultural aspect and bridge the gap between the East and West.( JPGS is school that hosted the event not an organisation with BMG Foundation).
Basil AlGhalayini the chairman of BMG foundation, wished that people could “put all differences aside and create a peaceful world for all of us and for the generation to enjoy the future.”
Speaking to Arab News, Jonathan Warner, headmaster of JPGS, said the evening had been a success. “I’m really keen to do more of this sort of event, because I’ve always believed (that) a good school should be and can be a cultural focus, and just like the BMG Foundation we have an opportunity to bring Hijazi culture and Saudi Arabian culture to many people of many, many different nationalities and enjoy the experience and learn from each other. That’s what education is all about.”
Mohammed S. Sayed Ahmed, manager of academic affairs at the education-focused Al Kafi Company, was among the attendees who enjoyed the evening. “We heard of this occasion on the history of Hijaz in the 18th and 19th century, so we came here to have an idea (of) what this subject is about, and it is a very interesting subject,” he said.
Oostrum told Arab News that what interested her in Hijazi culture was the poetry and external influence.
“This kind of music is very, very beautiful… here it is very strong and it is a combination of the two, music and language,” she added.
The JPGS students were also actively involved in the event, where some of them wore Saudi and Dutch traditional clothes, played piano, performed the Saudi, Dutch and British anthems, and others recreated famous Dutch paintings, such as “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” “The Milkmaid,” and “Woman Peeling Apples.”

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.