Human Rights,  Middle East

Saudis detained for video about poverty in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia has largely escaped the wave of protests and demonstrations comprising the Arab Spring. But that doesn’t mean everything is fine there, either economically or politically.

The Saudi Jeans blog reports on the detention of Feras Bughnah and Hosam al-Deraiwish after they produced and uploaded a video to YouTube about poverty in the capital city of Riyadh. You can watch it (with English subtitles) here:

As you can see, there are no calls for regicide or abolition of the monarchy. The clear intent is to appeal to the charitable impulses of the royal family and the Saudi public. Nothing remotely revolutionary.

But I would guess the Saudi regime is extremely sensitive to any suggestion that (given the country’s huge oil wealth) it fails to look after all of its citizens. (Foreign workers are, of course, another matter.)

Al Arabiya, funded by the Saudi royal family, has done a creditable job of reporting on uprisings, dissent and repression in many countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Unsurprisingly there is no mention of this case on their website— at least in English.

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