Living in Saudi Arabia

Fernando Screenshot_20170301-115524and Ana Armada are a married couple that lives in Saudi Arabia, in Riad which is the capital city of this country.  With this interview we are going to be able to know how is it to live in a country like this.

Fernando is a businessman that works in a petroleum company named Aramco, which is an American company settled in Saudi Arabia. This company created an enclosure where currently thousand of people, that works for this company,  lives.  This precinct is called Campaú, the life inside it is different from the one outside, they have hospitals, schools, pools and all types of activities to ensure the commodity of the workers and their families.

One advantage that the Aramco employees have is that the company gives them a certain amount of money that guarantee the education of each one of their children.

I asked Ana, Fernando´s wife, how was her day a day, generally she hangs out with her friends that also lives inside the Campaú, they do lots of activities, they can take classes of Arab, go to the pool. This is not the typical life of Arabia Saudi, but the company wants to ensure that the employees stay there for a long period of time so they give them all kinds of facilities. The life there is similar to the one we have in Madrid, but not in the social aspect, they do not have  the same joy as Spain. She said that the life outside the Campaú  is not very appetizing, they rarely go out, only when they need to do so.

Women have lots of limits in these types of countries, they are not allowed to drive, they can drive inside the Campaú but not in the outside of the precinct. It is also very dangerous to go alone, if they can, they are always in a friend´s company. They have forbidden to talk to Arab men, in hospitals there are separate waiting rooms for men and women. Women in general stay at home, when there are dinners in someone else house they don’t go, but this is not the case inside the Campaú. Also, women have to wear a type of dress that covers all their bodies, it can be black or dark brown, but they do not have to wear any type of veil because is something religious.

The first thing that we think of Arab women as Europeans is that it is a complicate society, they cannot hang out with another man who is not her husband, brother or father. They have also a lot of social pressure, anything that they do wrong or that are seen as an inappropriate act, is their fault because they incite it. Marriages are arranged, the family decides who they have to marry, if the women wants to divorce, they have to ask for permission to their husbands and generally men stay with the children.

Saudi Arabian women have been allowed to work for 4 years now. If a foreign women want to  work outside the Campaú is very difficult, there are some limitations, inside the campaú they have it easier because is organized by the Americans, they only have to present the curriculum. foreign people only can enter into this country if they have work permits.

Saudi Arabia is one of the countries with less equality in the world according to a BBC documentary. They showed a list of the gender equality of each country, Saudi Arabia was in the 134 position, so I asked them what did they think about it, if they think that these numbers were right. They told me: “of course, women are very different from men, they are treated if they were less.” Saudi Arabia is an Anarchic Monarchy, the government wants to have control over all things, including private conversations.

People are not allowed to speak through Facetime or Skype, and generally all the conversations are watched and controlled by the government,  in case someone says something that they are not supposed to say.

Ana has been asked to wear a veil in one case, she was in the mall with one of her sons, and a man came up and told his son to tell his mother to put the veil on, I asked her how she felt about it, she replied that she felt really bad principally because of the way the man told her.

Saudi Arabia is changing little by little, now women are allowed to study and work, in a near future this country will make a change in the sense of society.

                                                                                                                         Alejandra Torres Maldonado.

Interview made to the Ambassador of Palestine in Spain the Tuesday 28th of February 2017 :

IMG_2845I’m glade to say that Musa Amer Odeh has received me; he was born in Doura Hebron on 20 January 1947.
He has been the Ambassador in many countries like for instance Brazil or Philippines. He has been also a member and director of the popular organization of PLO for the freedom of Palestine.
He referred to Palestine as “The Holy Land”, a territory that has been constantly victim of the invasions, he added, with pain that Palestine had lost more or less 70% of the territory.
So what about the main problem? What are the main reasons of this conflict that has no end? To his mind there is no denying that it is all about a “geographical problem” .The truth of the matter is that Palestine is joined by Africa, Asia and Europe, he added that “Jerusalem is the heart of the whole World, it is part of Palestine”.
Regarding Palestine, he considered that, what was once the “Holy Land for everyone (Jews, Christians, Muslims…), is now only for the Jews.”
He confessed his hate concerning the Jewish people and how they have tried to kill Yasser Arafat, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s ex-President, many times. By the way he has a framing photo of Arafat behind him to always remember that he was the one who “helped the Palestinians the most and without him, it would have been a completely disaster”. He maintains the fact that the Israelis poisoned Arafat.
He is thankful to Arafat for the creation of the Palestine liberation organization.
In 1947 the United Nations reached an agreement where they recognized that Palestine was 78% of a state. Palestine would be divided and shared into 3 entities: the creation of a Jewish State, an Arab State and Jerusalem shared into two parts (west and east) and controlled by International Organizations thanks to the “corpus separatum.”
“Palestinians became refugees in their own land, some of them had also emigrated to Lebanon ,Syria and Jordan .”
On the other hand, there is the Gaza strip. He didn’t see Hamas in the Gaza strip as a big threat for this part of the territory. However he confessed me that he had a daughter who was a journalist and she didn’t want to wear a veil during an interview in the Gaza strip, though Hamas ask her to. So they decided to guard her. The ambassador was worried concerning the situation of his daughter.
He claimed that he was not a man who thought the veil should be mandatory. “All the women can do what they want whether they want to wear a veil or not is their own decision. I respect all religions.” He showed me that he had a necklace with a Christian cross and the Islam symbol of the moon and the star. He said that he would never separate them because this is “How the World needs to be, a big union, remember Israel and Palestine is not a religious conflict.”
We decided to carry on the interview with a more recent topic: the United States. He remembered Barack Obama with some nostalgia but he didn’t understand why the United States did not veto against the Jewish in the United Nations resolution, he said that most of the time “The Jewish had humiliated Barack Obama because of his black skin, they are racist, they are like Nazis, they feel they are more powerful than any kind of people in the World. Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t want to meet the President in the White House; they clearly humiliate the United State of America.”
Mentioning Trump, he made a little smile expressing that until Trump will be in the government, “nothing will be make to help the Palestine territory. “It’s true that Israel and the United States are really close friends and have a lot of economic interests for instance; he mentioned how powerful the Israeli lobby is.
Concerning the new adhesion of Palestine in the United Nations, he was confident he said “I’m fully sure that this will happen one day. However now the most important is to minimize the safari move, we need Hope because without Hope everyone can commit suicide.”
Regarding the war situation, he was truly against “the building of the Israeli territory, he asked the European Union not to allow Palestinians to lose their hope, always give hope for them, keep hope.”
Hope is the most recurrent word, but keeping hope also with action in order to promote peace in the region.

“So please, my dear friend doesn’t let us lose our hope.”

Marie Camacho

First, the respect…

The respect in this world is fundamental and more in these days where each country looks for their own interests.What exactly means the use of the veil by the westerns women in Muslims countries? in the recent years, the respect and the promotion of that of other religions, it is something that the entire society is losing. Currently, the use of the veil it is so us a limitation of the women rights, at that point, we think that the veil is an instrument or symbol that oppress the woman and her liberties but when we talk about the use of the veil in the visits to church or meeting with high representatives of the Muslim religion, the use of the veil take other paper us a symbol of respect that you show to that religion and beliefs. Looking in the When woman´s like, the Queen of Jordan or the first lady of US wore outfits that follow the rules and beliefs of the countries that they visited. We see it as a symbol of respect or only they are following the protocol?

Recently, during a visit to Lebanon, Marine Lepen, denied the use of the headscarf for the meeting with the Lebanon Sunni religious leader. At the entry, she replied to the Sunni leader secretary: “You convey to the great mufti my consideration but I will not veil myself”. Analyzing the actions taken by her, we consider that the way that she acted, it is a clear example of the low respect that she showed to the Islam religion.What

makes us think in the way, that if our high representatives didn’t promote the respect of other religions and norms, our society will become over the time, a discriminatory society with a high-level of social conflicts, for the simple fact of not knowing how to respect.

However, Michelle Obama during her official visit to Saudi Arabia in 2015 didn’t cover her hair with the veil that the Muslim religion required to the women. But, reading an article from the CNN, in the protocol the use of veil by foreign women´s is exempted and allows them to have their heads uncovered. Although for the civil citizens of Arabia Saudi, it is seen as an insult to their religion, Michelle Obama didn’t want to create those points of views, she only followed the protocol respectfully.

The respect and love by two different religions are something that the Pope and Queen Rania of Jordan have shown us during the visit of the Jordan Kings in August 2013. The Queen of Jordan, which is from a Muslim country, showed her admiration to the Pope, wearing in accordance with the protocol, a simple black dress and a white veil without any jewel or makeup. But the most relevant moment came when the own Pope made a reverence to the Queen, showing the respect that he had to her and to all the humanitarian projects that she has done. A simple action that has produced a huge impact in the relation between both religions has made a considerable progress, in the respect of other beliefs and cultures between the different societies.

Pope breaks with the protocol by bowing Queen Rania of Jordan. 

Making all this research, we have noticed that the simple fact of wearing or not a piece of clothes produces a high level of influence in the international society. Currently, the world is living a situation in where the respect is taking second place, losing the fundamental bases of humans. Concluding that, the main goal of all the international actors, is to create an atmosphere where the integration and the respect of all types of beliefs and traditions are the basis of the international relations and humans.

By: Angela Cantero, Marie Camacho and Alejandra Torres.

An Airstrike kills two Palestinians on the border of Gaza-Egypt.

On the morning of February 9th, an explosion killed two Palestinians and left five wounded on a smuggling tunnel between the Egypt-Gaza border. The origin of the airstrike is a question, Palestinian officials said that the explosion was caused by an Israeli airstrike, but the Israeli army denied any involvement in the incident.

Gaza’s health ministry spokesman, Ashraf al-Qidra (also known as Ashraf al-Qedra), has pointed out that the aim of the attack was the tunnel that unifies the city of Gaza and Rafah. The tunnel is normally used as a way to pass products between Gaza and Egypt. It has become an important means for transports and exchange of armament and basic resources to survive. The huge tensions in the border have caused that more than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza are still living since 2014 under a military blockade.

Ashraf al-Qidra said that the two men were “martyred and five other people were wounded as a result of being targeted by the Israeli warplane along the Palestinian-Egyptian borders”. According to Al-Qidra, the Two Palestinian victims have been identified as Hossam Al-Sufi, 24, from the town of Rafah, and Mohammed al-Aqra, 38, resident of Gaza City.

Some witnesses said that they saw an Israeli airplane threw a missile against the entry of the tunnel on the bounder, but the Israeli army denied having carried on these attacks. The facts happened a few hours after the draw of several rockets on Wednesday night from the Sinai city, Egypt, that is between the border of the East side of Israel and Gaza, Palestine.

The Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights has expressed their concern that Israel could be starting a high-scale military offensive. Also, the non-governmental organization has prayed to the international community to “act promptly against Israel’s military escalation, to fulfill their obligations to protect civilians, and ensure respect for the rules of international law,” claiming that “acting before a full-scale military bombardment is launched is crucial to ensuring the protection of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

The idea of building the tunnels comes from Hamas, who decided to build this grid of tunnels in order to support the Gaza strip. They built two kinds of tunnels: on the one hand, the one used by the Gaza strip and another one used to infiltrate Israel. The first category allows the terrorists of Gaza to hide their weapons, their commander center and their launching rockets ramps underground. The second one was made in order to kidnap and kill civilians from Israel.

In the past years, Egypt has destroyed more than 2,000 tunnels that provides basic resources to more than 2 million Gaza citizens. Also, Tamer al-Rifai, the Egyptian army spokesman, stated that in the past two months the Egyptian army has destroyed and uncovered six tunnels at the border between Gaza and the North Sinai, Egypt.

Angela Cantero, Alejandra Torres and Marie Camacho. 

Omran Daqneesh, the face of suffering in Aleppo.

Omran Daqneesh, a five year old child, has become the symbol of 100,000 children that are currently suffering constant bombings and the subsequent loss of their homes and hopes for the future.

Pain is the first feeling that we can see through the children’s eyes. They have witnessed how their playgrounds have been reduced to ashes. This is just one of the consequences of the terrible bombings that are taking place in this country. Not only militaries, but also civilians have been affected by these attacks. The insurgents are the ones that are killing thousands of people by bombarding hospitals, homes, schools or even markets.

With regard to El Confidencial, people are leaving underground, save of shrapnel and of the collapse of buildings that have been attacked. They have created an atmosphere where children can feel safer than leaving outside.

More than one million people have seen the pictures of Omran Daqneesh, pictures that talk without words. In Aleppo, you can constantly hear the weeping of the children that is interrupted by the bombs. They have seen how everything has been destroyed: from hospitals to schools. And no one has been able to help them. They are captured in a city that is in ruins and is becoming a cemetery of dreams and hopes. Aleppo has stopped being the city that saw them born.

According to the executive director of Unicef Justin Forsyth “the children in Aleppo are trapped in a truly nightmare.” There are not enough doctors or medicines to attend all of the injured people, people are letting others die in the streets when they

cannot do anything more for them.

 As the Time sais, there are lots of NGOs that were created with the purpose of helping all the families affected by the war, like Save the Children that helps providing kids and their families warm clothes, water, protection and medical care. Another example is Hand in Hand for Syria that was created after the beginning of the war in Syria helping with the emergency appeal. Thirdly, International committee of the Red Cross acts as a neutral and impartial humanitarian intermediary.

To understand the situation that Aleppo is facing we have to go back to 2012. Back then, the regime of Bashar Al Assad took place in Aleppo, Syria´s martyr city. Aleppo has been four years fighting against this regime when it became a battlefield where the insurgents attacked to try to get the governmental forces out and gain power over the North of Syria.

 In relation with the Courrier International, the president of Syria was looking for the legitimacy of the war arguing that all the enemies are terrorists and showing the military operations as liberation of war. However, we can’t talk about liberation when thousands of children have had to escape because of the offensive.

Moreover, how can we talk about liberation when the most important part of the city has become a big open sky cemetery?

So is there a solution to bring hope to the children of Aleppo?

The end of the conflict might seem quite far but we need to prevent the future. Not only humanitarian help is needed but strong agreements between countries to stop the conflict. After all, if kids are born in this hostile environment they will not grow as strong and educated adults and we will have to face a lost generation. However, as agreements between countries are very arduous, NGOs must support the most vulnerable group: kids.

 

Angela Cantero, Marie Camacho and Alejandra Torres.