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
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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.”


KSRelief chief urges UN to condemn Iranian violence in Yemen

Updated 20 September 2019

KSRelief chief urges UN to condemn Iranian violence in Yemen

  • Iran-backed Houthi militias had been shelling government-controlled civilian areas in the past five years
  • So far 113 Yemeni civilians have been killed, 1,030 have been injured and 20,357 Saudis have been displaced from border regions

CHICAGO: The head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) called on the UN to pass a resolution condemning the Iranian government for its support of a wave of violence by the Houthis against civilian targets in Yemen.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said the violence is having a “significant negative impact” on the people of Yemen and on the humanitarian aid effort led by the Saudi government.

Referring to the recent drone strikes against the Aramco fields in Saudi Arabia that sent a shockwave through the oil industry and spiked oil and gasoline prices around the world, Al-Rabeeah said it was obvious the Houthis are not capable of mounting such high-tech strikes.

“The initial info indicates that the incident is an Iranian-made attack. We feel there is a need for an investigation by the UN,” Al-Rabeeah said. “Iran is behind many attacks against the region. The UN should take action. There should be a resolution against Iran. The involvement of the UN delivers a message.”

Although he said that the attack is still under investigation, he said that “drones are a technology that the Houthis do not have … the technology is beyond the abilities of the Houthis. There must be a country behind it.”

During a press briefing at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, Al-Rabeeah said as many as 20 humanitarian aid workers funded by a coalition of 80 nations led by Saudi Arabia have been injured or targeted.

He said providing humanitarian aid to the people of Yemen faces many challenges, including the targeting of women and the recruitment of children by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias.

“There is a need for the international community to unify and have the political will to fight any violations against humanitarian support,” Al-Rabeeah said.

Despite attacks by the Houthis against civilian and military targets and humanitarian aid workers, Al-Rabeeah said King Salman has made a commitment to ensure that the aid reaches civilians in areas controlled by the Houthis.

He said that the humanitarian effort has been hampered by the Houthi militia’s shelling of government-controlled civilian areas, releasing data showing 66,403 rocket attacks, 264 Scud missiles, and 233 drone assaults “that continues to increase,” such as the drone assault on the Aramco oil fields last week.

So far 113 Yemeni civilians have been killed, 1,030 have been injured and 20,357 Saudis have been displaced from border regions. Damage has been caused to 41 schools, six hospitals, and 20 mosques.

Despite the challenges, Al-Rabeeah said the humanitarian drive will continue until the conflict is brought to an end.

“We do not call for war against the region. Those attacks are not against Saudi Arabia. They are against all of us,” Al-Rabeeah said.