Today, as I'm sure you're all aware, is the Saudi national day. On September 23rd, 1932 King Abdul Aziz united the various tribes and peoples of a large chunk of the Arabian peninsula into what is today the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If you were not aware, don't feel ashamed, most Saudis don't really know about it either. The Saudi national day is a new thing. It started about 2 or 3 years ago as a day off and...that's about it. In the states, we're all familiar with what to do with a day off that celebrates an occasion: parades, parties, festive cupcakes...
The cake is hope flavored and the icing is change flavored!
These are all tried and true methods for celebrating...whatever...and this is especially true of celebrating our most awesome of holidays, our independence day (I think Roland Emmerich owes me a nickel for that shout out...).
In Saudi, as I said, it's kind of a new thing. They are still figuring out what to do with a day off and all that celebratory energy. There hasn't been anything that's been organized by the government or cities so...this happens. To save you the time of clicking on the link, some of the younger, more "enthusiastic" Saudis have decided to go around beating up people that aren't Saudi. Awesome. Now you know why we're holed up in the hotel. However, before you get all "well there you have it, those people are savages..." remember that our own early independence day celebrations were...well...about as "enthusiastic". For instance, in 1777, in Portsmouth, NH, a gang of young men ran around the town breaking the windows of Quaker businesses and homes simply because they refused to close their businesses on days celebrating American victories. In 1788, a group of anti-federalists used the holiday as an excuse to march (anti-peacefully as it turns out) on Providence, RI to prevent the celebration of the ratification of the Constitution. In that same year, fights broke out between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists in Allegheny, NY. Granted, this was an argument over a particular issue, but hey, nowadays we would invite disagreeing friends from whatever party to our own fiestas because "what the hell, it's the 4th of July!"
"Enjoy your soy dog, you dirty hippies..." "Thanks you fascist moron!"
I thought it would be interesting for you all to know what's going on with the Saudi national day, but I also thought it would be a good way to look at how far we've come in such a short time. Remember that Saudi is only 78 years old (yes, Dad, I had to use a calculator). Compared to our 234, we've got this thing down...though we did need a couple hundred years to figure it out. I'm certainly not condoning the attacks on expatriates. As an expatriate, I would love to not get attacked. But they were last year and pretty isolated as far as I understand. So as I'm literally locked in my hotel room surfing the interwebs, lamenting my lack of both beer and brats (not to mention beer brats), I'm okay with staying out of their way while they celebrate...and hope that next year, someone has a little bit better plan for how to direct the..."enthusiasm". Now to check and see if they updated Geekologie again...no? Same as 10 seconds ago? Sweet.
PS! Look at the Google Saudi Arabia home page today!