Saudi beekeeper becomes internet celebrity

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Zuhair Fatani loves working with bees and points out that while they might appear scary, they are very good for humans. (Reuters)
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A Saudi man with his body covered with bees poses for a photo in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia on September 11, 2018. (REUTERS)
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A Saudi man with his body covered with bees poses for a photo in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia on September 11, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 September 2018
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Saudi beekeeper becomes internet celebrity

  • Bee stings and the honey they produce are very beneficial to the body and can help cure many diseases

MAKKAH: A Saudi beekeeper has become an internet celebrity after images showing him standing covered in a swarm of thousands of bees went viral on social media.
Zuhair Fatani, a member of the Saudi Beekeepers’ Committee, said he managed to last for 80 minutes with about 49 kg of bees completely covering his entire body. He was stung several times and his breathing was affected during the experience, which would be the stuff of nightmares for most people.
“The stings focused on my feet,” said Fatani. “I was barely breathing and it was hard for me to stay standing. I could not last more than 80 minutes and I could not speak because of all the bees in my mouth. It led to me suffering from muscle tension and inflammation of my respiratory tract.”
Despite this, he loves working with bees and points out that while they might appear scary, they are very good for humans.
“Bee stings and the honey they produce are very beneficial to the body and can help cure many diseases,” he said.
When Fatani, who works at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, started working with bees he had only three hives but now has 30, which can produce 800 kg of honey. He travels the country searching for the best flowers for the bees to feed on and ways to protect them from heat waves and cold weather.
“I acquired scientific knowledge and practical experience from specialists in Taif,” he said. “Agricultural engineers also taught me about the principles of beekeeping and the best valleys, flowers and fruits for the production of honey.”
He carries a camera in his car at all times to record the moments when bees swarm his body, and said that the photos that have gone viral on social media were actually taken 12 years ago.


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”