Celebrating Saudi Arabia’s two eras, from unification to Vision 2030
No matter what is written in history, it is unable to describe the reality of significant events and the size of the sacrifices and challenges needed to achieve them, especially those that changed the course of history. Neither words nor testimonies can describe those sacrifices and challenges, which may seem easy for readers at first glance but, when they delve into the details, the imagination fails to picture what happened. This is the case with the story of a struggle that extended for 30 years — from 1902 to 1932 — and ended with the unification of Saudi Arabia at the hands of the late founder King Abdulaziz.
In his book “Japanese in Makkah,” the Japanese traveler and researcher Takeshi Suzuki says: “I can say with confidence... that this man was a hero since he was young. He lived a life of continuous struggle and strife that did not stop. Even as I write this sentence, I want to look at my right hand that touched and shook his hand. I could not help myself from thinking about those moments. His hand was twice as big as mine. The traces and signs of struggle and strife were still clearly visible on his fingers. I can also remember his giant stature. I had to hold my head and my body up so I could see his face.”
King Abdulaziz, accompanied by 60 men armed with simple weapons and a lot of courage and determination, set out to restore his country, which was living in poverty and fear, scattered among many alliances and contradictions. At the time, people even thought that it was a group of countries, not a single entity. But the picture was clear to this one hero, who was not satisfied with restoring the city of his ancestors, but also reunited the state that had fallen twice before, announcing its establishment and unification at his hands.
It was a great march that traversed mountains and deserts and united peoples and tribes, leading to unification after diaspora, security after fear, and prosperity after poverty. We find ourselves unable to describe the determination and courage with which King Abdulaziz united this vast land and to imagine the difficulties he and his companions faced until the announcement of the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom is today witnessing a new phase in its history based on exploiting energies and capabilities to create a new reality.
Certainly, this great legacy and unique unity would not have continued amid our turbulent geographical and political surroundings had it not been for the realization — by the kings among the sons of King Abdulaziz and the Saudi people — of the extent of the responsibility they inherited from the founding fathers. We live today amid a new era of construction and growth led by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Kingdom is today witnessing a new phase in its history based on exploiting energies and capabilities to create a new reality based on diversity, the seizing of opportunities and partnership with the world. My country is rich in all the elements of global leadership and influence at all levels. And today it has a new vision that has begun to bear fruit and is moving steadily toward achieving its goals, which go beyond the regional setting to the international space, toward which the Kingdom is aware of its political and economic duties.
Happy National Day to my country under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed.
- Nayef Al-Fahadi is Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Japan.