Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience
- Online platforms have become a melting pot of images taken by photographers who travel the country
JEDDAH: A new generation of Saudi photographers is relying on the power of social media to showcase the Kingdom’s vast beauty.
Online platforms have become a melting pot of images taken by photographers who travel the country — from the sandy beaches of the east and west, to the mountains of the north and south, and the green oases of the deserts — discovering the beauty of each region one picture at a time.
Fahad Al-Mutairi, 22, started @thesaudigate on Twitter to promote Saudi Arabia’s “hidden wonders” to a growing tourist market.
“I wanted to be part of the future somehow — that’s why I started Saudi Gate and this is what has motivated me to go on,” he told Arab News.
Many other photographers who travel the country share the same outlook.
Faisal Fahad Binzarah, 41, said: “I had to work on a few projects and went to places I had never been before. I remember thinking, where has this been all my life? I never thought I would find such gems in Saudi Arabia.”
Binzarah said that he looks for dramatic landscapes and tries to “capture the overall feeling of the place.”
He said: “The pictures I take are not unique, the uniqueness comes from the places. I am just the conveyer of the beauty and nothing else.
“As a photographer, I try to capture the right objects at the right time, but often I feel like the beauty is not represented,” he said.
Al-Mutairi said that about a third of @thesaudigate’s followers are international, and they are usually surprised by what they see.
“Often they are amazed but also very happy because after going through the pictures they know that there is a part of the world that they must explore.”
Hadi Farah, 28, a Lebanese photographer who now lives in the Kingdom, said that he had traveled widely in Saudi Arabia and “always felt a sense of welcome and ease.”
“I think tourism is directly influenced by photographers. Whenever I upload something, I receive questions with people asking if this is really in Saudi Arabia or have I accidentally put the wrong name.
“Unfortunately, people think that it is just a desert and nothing else. So by posting pictures of these places we are educating them about possibilities and attractions they thought never existed,” he said.
Binzarah agreed, saying: “Undiscovered places are of interest for professional photographers, because they are always looking for challenges, and I think this ignites their interests to go to these places and explore.”
he added that “while the desert might be nothing new to a Saudi resident, it will be of interest to people who live in greener countries.”
Saudi Arabia, as a land of ancient civilizations, is extremely appealing for archaeologists and tourists interested in history, Binzara said.
Farah described the beauty of nature in different places, saying: “We associate beauty with life, and in our minds where there is green there is life, but we forget that there is also life in rocks and sand, and they are rich in history. So, we need to keep in mind that the beauty of AlUla is different from other areas.”
Technology is also having a major influence. Photographers now use drones to reach places that once were too dangerous or remote, and the resulting images shed new light on the power of photography and the beauty of landscapes.
“Being on social media gives us the drive to do better,” Binzarah said. “If there is no community or people to engage with, it gets dull.”
He added: “It is a personal journey and one for everyone to discover Saudi Arabia one picture at a time.”
Al-Rabeeah, EU envoy discuss relief efforts
- Simonnet praised KSrelief’s professional mechanisms, its preparation and coordination of humanitarian and relief programs, and its support for the needy around the world
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian efforts have been hailed as “professional” in a meeting between the head of KSrelief and the EU’s ambassador to the Kingdom.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), met Patrick Simonnet, head of the EU delegation to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.
During the talks in Riyadh, the two discussed issues of mutual interest related to relief and humanitarian affairs.
Simonnet praised KSrelief’s professional mechanisms, its preparation and coordination of humanitarian and relief programs, and its support for the needy around the world.
KSrelief has implemented 1,536 projects worth almost $5 billion across 59 countries.
According to a recent report, the countries and territories that have benefited the most from the projects include Yemen ($3.47 billion), Palestine ($363 million), Syria ($304 million) and Somalia ($202 million).
Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy
- Veteran lawyer Musaad Al-Saleh feels ‘sense of pride’ over children’s path
MAKKAH: Law firms in Saudi Arabia are very much a dime a dozen, but one law firm in Tabuk is showing their power through family unity.
Following one career path, three young lawyers are following their father’s footsteps in the legal profession.
Musaad Al-Saleh, 50, told Arab News that his children chose the profession without any pressure because they saw a career that meets their abilities, adding that they will be “a family that will be difficult to approach.”
Having seen their father work while growing up, the three eldest children, 29-year-old Osama, 25-year-old Jawaher and 23-year-old Haya, are all now practicing lawyers.
“It’s common to find families that inherit the medical, business, trade, carpentry and other professions. Women did not enter the legal profession until recently, and the first license for a woman to practice law was offered about five years ago,” said Al-Saleh.
“My children have followed my line of work. Some of them have specialized in commercial law and the others in criminal law, allowing for diversity in dealing with legal issues in the law firm.”
He said that many families follow older generations into a profession, and that now, through women’s empowerment in the Kingdom, women in the family have been able to play the societal roles assigned to them, adding that he worked in the legal field for more than 25 years until retirement.
Al-Saleh said that his two daughters graduated from the University of Tabuk’s law department, while his son graduated from Al-Jouf University. Years ago, Al-Saleh had graduated from Al-Madinah University. He stressed that he did not force any of his children to enter the field of law. Rather, it was a choice for each of them. “I only introduced them to the new opportunities awaiting Saudi female lawyers in the sector.”
Family or not, Al-Saleh said that it is business as usual, and that every member of their legal team takes their duties seriously by upholding a professional manner inside the workplace, discussing and analyzing cases, and expressing professional opinions regarding each case they receive.
Complacency, laxity or delay is unacceptable, Al-Saleh added, noting that family bonds should not interfere in the work process to ensure a healthy system.
He said that a common sentiment in the legal community is that a law firm will die with its owner. “But I wanted to change the accepted model, and I tried my best to have my children lead this law firm after me, and maintain its momentum and ensure longevity.
“Being from one family will give them the chance to learn from each other and deal with the issues more professionally.”
As a veteran lawyer, Al-Saleh said he is mostly interested in personal interviews when young men and women apply for work or training at his law firm, adding that a personal touch is important to the formation of a lawyer’s approach.
He said that female lawyers must be attentive, able to present a clear case and communicate information without ambiguity. They will face judges and members of the trial committee and disciplinary bodies — some of whom will be tough. “She must be strong, firm, voice loud and clear and make her case without hesitation.”
Al-Saleh said that he retired after 22 years of service following several positions in the Public Prosecution, and after his young children began to show interest in the legal profession.
First-generation lawyers carry a lot of weight on their shoulders, he said, adding that he “feels a sense of pride” as his children follow his path and pave their own way into the world of law.
Amaala, Saudi cybersecurity federation sign MoU
- The agreement constitutes an important step toward developing the electronic services’ programs and promoting knowledge and expertise in the cybersecurity field
RIYADH: Amaala, the ultra-luxury destination on the Kingdom’s northwestern coast, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP).
The MoU will pave the way for the adoption of innovative techniques in the field of drones, programming and artificial intelligence (AI) at Amaala.
The agreement constitutes an important step toward developing the electronic services’ programs and promoting knowledge and expertise in the cybersecurity field.
The MoU was signed virtually in the presence of Amaala CEO John Pagano and his counterpart at SAFCSP, Muteb Alqany.
Pagano said: “Amaala is strongly committed to developing an exceptional luxurious destination for the most special travelers seeking unique and inspiring experiences. Therefore, using technology is essential to achieve Amaala’s aspirations and the Saudi Vision 2030, which is considered a bold reflection of the people’s ambitions, through providing new job opportunities in sectors such as technology and innovation.
“This agreement marks an important cooperation initiative between Amaala and SAFCSP that reflects our commitment to determining and adopting pioneering techniques, including AI and the Internet of Things, to ensure Amaala’s full readiness for the future.”
Saudi Arabia records 43,428 COVID-19 violations
- The ministry called on citizens and residents to keep abiding by the preventive protocols and the instructions issued by authorities in this regard
RIYADH: Saudi authorities continued their monitoring campaigns to ensure compliance with the precautionary measures imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.
They recorded 43,428 violations of the regulations within one week, according to recent statistics from the Ministry of Interior.
The statistics indicated that the region of Riyadh recorded the highest number with 17,789 violations, followed by Makkah (10,388), the Eastern Province (4,819), Qassim (2,513), Madinah (1,748), Tabuk (1402), Jouf (1,332), Baha (888), Hail (852), Asir (739), the Northern Borders (488), Jazan (315) and Najran (155).
The ministry called on citizens and residents to keep abiding by the preventive protocols and the instructions issued by authorities in this regard.