Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Saudi Arabia Uncovered" on PBS Frontline


Tuesday, March 29, PBS Frontline offered the 50-minute documentary “Saudi Arabia Uncovered”, directed by James Jones, basic link here.

The film shows the living conditions of the poor in the kingdom, and conditions have deteriorated rapidly as oil prices have dropped and as the kingdom can no longer afford free services for everyone.  Actual slums with street sewage were depicted.



Western visitors rarely see the cities (especially the capital Riyadh), which were shown in expanse, with emphasis on the monotony of a lot of the low rise concrete buildings. The malls look luxurious, but religious police harass unescorted women and arrest teenagers trying to enjoy music, which is seen as a forbidden indulgence by Wahhabism.

The documentary covered the plight of blogger and writer Raif Badawi  in Saudi prison, under brutal circumstances, for ten years for criticizing the regime.  His family secured asylum in Quebec.

The documentary also covers the taking of power by King Salman, who seems to be keeping the powers of the old monarchy intact despite “promises” of moderation.

The documentary also covered Abdullah al-Zaher, now 19, sentenced to death as a “terrorist” for participating in a protest rally at age 15.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Riyadh by “Nora Alsh2”, under CCSA 4.0, claiming that the Saudi capital is among the 50 safest cities in the world.

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