Intellectual battle needed to support Palestinian cause, says Makkah governor

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The report was launched in Alkhobar. (SPA)
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The report was launched in Alkhobar. (SPA)
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The report was launched in Alkhobar. (SPA)
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The report was launched in Alkhobar. (SPA)
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The report was launched in Alkhobar. (SPA)
Updated 03 December 2019

Intellectual battle needed to support Palestinian cause, says Makkah governor

  • Arab Thought Foundation dedicates annual report to Palestine

DAMMAM: The Arab Thought Foundation on Monday launched its 11th Arab Report on Cultural Development, “Palestine in Mirrors of Thought, Culture and Creativity,” at the Kempinski Al-Othman Hotel Alkhobar.

The report was launched at a ceremony in the presence of Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, who is also the president of the foundation, Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, chairman of the board of directors, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, the board of trustees and directors, the authors of the report and cultural and academic figures.

The ceremony began with a screening of a video based on the report and interviews with writers who talked about culture, literature, art and creativity in Palestine.

Prince Khalid Al-Faisal said: “This report expresses the pulse of every Arab person and represents the cultural resistance of the Palestinian cause,” he said.

“If I want to talk about the position of Saudi Arabia, it is enough for me to repeat the words of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz on this subject when he said ‘Palestine is our first cause.’ I ask God Almighty that this feeling moves to every Arab, and that (Palestine remains) the Arabs’ first cause. We do not need a lot of speeches and words; we need a lot of thinking, action and achievement to win this battle.”

“The battle is not only the military and political one but also the intellectual, cultural and scientific battle, which we must arm ourselves with in order to return Palestine to its people,” he said.

Director-General of the Arab Thought Foundation Prof. Henry Al-Oweit dedicated the report to Palestine.

Al-Oweit said that the foundation had issued the report on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (“catastrophe”) of Palestine (1948-2018) to show its support for Palestine, its cause and the rights of its people.


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne madeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Madeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne madeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.