Sweden tries to end maelstrom over Wallstrom

Updated 22 March 2015

Sweden tries to end maelstrom over Wallstrom

Sweden’s Parliament summoned Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom to formally appear in an investigation into the crisis she caused with her criticism of Saudi Arabia, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Saturday.
Swedish-Saudi trade ties have been greatly affected by Wallstrom’s statement and are now uncertain after the Saudi decision to halt visas for Swedish businessmen and not renew expired visas.
Wallstrom tried to back down on her statement and said Saudi Arabia is a pivotal country in the Middle East and its stand is very important to Sweden and EU countries.
In her statement before Parliament, Wallstrom said: “Saudi Arabia is a member of the G-20 countries and holds a key to many international issues, and is also one of the important donors in the world, not to mention its role in international efforts to combat terrorism.”
She said the cooperation agreements between the two countries in other areas would not be affected by the decision to not renew the military agreement between her country and Saudi Arabia.
Wallstrom stressed the respect of Sweden for Islam as a global religion, and its contribution to human civilization.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Swedish Royal Court said King Carl XVI Gustaf wants to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis and he will meet Wallstrom on Monday.
According to Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Erik Boman, the meeting comes at an appropriate time.
“It is important to have a dialogue and good relations between nations,” said the king.
Separately, on Friday, the Comoros declared its support to Saudi Arabia in its row with Sweden.
In a statement, the Comoros expressed its rejection and condemnation of anti-Saudi remarks by Wallstrom.
“The Swedish foreign minister’s remarks are deemed interference in internal affairs of the Kingdom,” said the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Comoros. “(Wallstrom’s) abusive remarks are against 1.5 billion Muslims of the world and not just against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said a statement carried by the SPA. It said the Comoros called on all nations of the world “to respect the values of coexistence, tolerance of cultures and respect for all religions.”


Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.