The Saudi Misconception

Olivia Moore

When a country is closed to the public for so long the only news that leaves is bad. This seems to be the case in most of the nations that have closed their borders to the outside. This leaves us outsiders creating our own, often false, perceptions of how the people inside live their lives.

Known to the rest of the world as the oil mongering, female disparaging nation, Saudi didn’t feel the need to correct these misconceptions. They knew that the world could see them as akin to the devil but wouldn’t stop needing them.Until recently, when the nation realized that eventually either oil or demand will run out.

The true interest in this nation comes with the Saudi people, and a nation with diversity in culture, landscape and history. Perceptions about Saudi often are associated with the general xenophobia that is cast over the entirety of the middle east. The nation is basked in beauty. From some of the world’s most gorgeous  coral reefs, deserts, and canyons to beaches and mountains. The true depth of the nation is in its history. A cradle of civilization with links to various ancient histories to the birth place of islam.

The actions of the Saudi government are not ones I will be commenting one. This story is specifically focused on the dynamics of how the world can become blinded by politics and ignore the people behind a nation. What the world often forgets is that people are the same everywhere. People laugh at the same things, enjoy the company of others, go through hardships, and achieve success. However our internal psychology often reverts to our prehistoric natures to trust those in our in-group and have volatile  feeling to those in the out-group. It is second nature to dehumanize those who don’t look like us, speak our language, and practice our costumes. Furthermore, when we don’t have the information to even counteract our understanding our brains reinforce our attributions.

As I have explored this country in the past four months I have barely scratched the surface of this sandy nation. However I have been privy to the hospitality of the people, the curiosity  of which they show foreigners, and the overwhelming nature of pride. I see this country as bubbling into the likes of what we see in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and other nations that once were scorned or unheard of that have blossomed into metropolitan centers of the world that boast interconnectivity and globalization.

While there is clearly progress to be made here as there is everywhere, I often find that progress is only encouraged where it is recognized. For the future to be made into how we see fit it must be a topic of our conversation and shouldn’t be blocked out and cast aside.