‘Diary of a Saudi girl’ fascinates American society

Majd Abdul Ghani. (Courtesy: npr)
Updated 05 June 2016

‘Diary of a Saudi girl’ fascinates American society

CAIRO: An American radio station hosted 19-year-old Saudi Majd Abdul Ghani, where she narrated several excerpts from episodes of her daily life in the Kingdom, attempting to present an image of the real Saudi girl, which is usually misrepresented in the Western media.
The "Fast Company" news website, on May 1 described the radio episodes provided by the Saudi girl as "stunning," noting that she has “provided a distinctive narrative voice to many of the details that occurred during the two years of her life in the Kingdom, and the narrative voice still has a distinctive impact on listeners.”
The website explained that Majd Abdul Ghani, a student at the Faculty of Medical Analyses at King Saud University, would not agree to go on the radio's program, broadcast by the National Public Radio (NPR) station, unless she knew that she would be able to give a real and realistic picture of the lifestyle experienced by Saudi teens in the UK.
The website quoted Majd saying that she hopes to erase the common stereotypes in the minds of the West about Saudi women: “I do not want the Western listener to put me in the same stereotype that used to be drawn for Saudi women in his mind."
For his part, the program’s producer confirmed that the Saudi teen’s diary was chosen from 1,000 contestants, for two reasons: the unique and sincere impact of her distinctive tone of voice, and the fact that the Saudi girl’s experience is unique.
Majd lives in Saudi Arabia, which is one of the countries most committed to the implementation of Islamic Shariah. She was married at an early age to the son of her mother’s friend, whom she had only met twice, accepting his marriage proposal because of the respect he’d shown to her dreams.
She managed to achieve great success in her favorite sport, karate, and earned a green belt. She also began to prepare for a master's degree in the field of medical genetics.
Majd focuses on showing realistic excerpts through the episodes about her good relationship with her four brothers and her father who was worried about her femininity in practicing karate. However, he bowed to her desire to continue practicing this sport.
She said that she worked on recording the live audio excerpts of her life since Oct. 31, 2013.


Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

  • “You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness,” Prince Khalid said
  • The ambassador encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it

LONDON: Riyadh does not seek conflict with Tehran but will not let “Iran’s meddling in the region” go unchecked, said the Saudi ambassador to Britain. 
“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek escalation. We have always been supporters of taking a firm stand against Iran. Our issue is not with the people of Iran, it is with the regime running the country,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan told the Daily Telegraph. 
“But we do not believe in appeasement. At no point in history has appeasement proved to be a successful strategy. You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness.”
France, Germany and the UK, three of the signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), triggered a “dispute resolution mechanism” recently in response to Iran ramping up its nuclear program in violation of the deal.
Prince Khalid criticized the JCPOA because it does not address “all the other things that Iran” is doing in the region.
“Iran’s meddling in the region is as challenging as the nuclear program. This is why we were concerned with the nuclear deal,” he said.
The ambassador also touched on recent allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in hacking the phone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“It is very easy for people to throw these unsubstantiated allegations against Saudi Arabia because they know that it is very difficult for Riyadh to defend itself when it does not have proper access to the details,” Prince Khalid said.
“We need to see the evidence before we make any response, because the evidence made public so far is circumstantial at best.”
Saudis do not always represent themselves well because they are “a reticent people and our culture does not push us to talking about ourselves,” he said. “We need to do a better job on showing the world who we really are.” 
The ambassador, who was appointed last year, encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it. 
“There are a lot of misconceptions about Saudi Arabia. We want people to come and see Saudi Arabia for themselves, and not rely on what they have read somewhere or heard somewhere to form their opinion of the country,” he said.
“There is plenty to see, and you will find a warm, generous and hospitable people there waiting to greet you.”