Special Dispatch - Saudi Arabia/Reform in the Arab and Muslim World
November 30, 2003
Saudi Columnist: 'We Have Bred Monsters ... We Are the Problem and Not
On November 30, 2003, Dr. Muhammad Talal Al-Rasheed, columnist for the
English language daily The Saudi Gazette, wrote an article titled "Senseless
Violence, Senseless Death." The article is in reaction to the murder of
Saudi Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rasheed of Hail by 'Islamists' in
Algeria. The following are excerpts from the article:(1)
"...A few days back Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rasheed of Hail was
murdered in Algeria while on a camping trip. He was 40 years old and his
son, Nawaf, 13 years old, was with him. At the time of this writing, we only
know that the father was killed, while the son's condition is to be
"It is easy to get on one's soap box and pontificate; to tell humanity that
we suffer from terrorism too. That is too easy though; and perhaps too
intellectually cowardly. Talal was a well-known poet in Saudi Arabia. He
comes from a family that ruled Arabia long enough to be recorded in history.
He was and will always be a beacon of Art, whatever that word means.
"Those who killed him are those who want the word silenced. The young man
left it open whether he was with this or that, but he was adamant to tell
all and sundry that to be is to talk and exchange. I grieve, I must admit,
and am beyond reason because of the trauma of it all, but I do maintain a
semblance of reason to see where all of this is leading.
"We have bred monsters. We alone are responsible for it. I have written as
much before my personal tragedy and will continue to do so for as long as it
takes. We are the problem and not America or the penguins of the North Pole
or those who live in caves in Afghanistan. We are it, and those who cannot
see this are the ones to blame.
"Castrated as we are, we look to America. Why? Because they went into Iraq
and made a difference. Better or worse is another point. Once America has
demonstrated its willingness to do something, the moral imperative is that
it should not stop at the first station along the road. The majority of us
are sick and tired of this carnage and President Bush, wrong on just about
everything else, is right on this one. Does he have the (courage) to finish
the job? I wonder.
"I don't think this will be published in the Arab News, as it should be. If
not, I understand their point of view and their perpetual selectiveness. But
one thing is sure, we are here to stay even if it takes giving our best to
the madness of religion and the wrong of fanaticism. Nothing, but nothing,
is worth the life of an innocent... may the Americans add Talal to their
list of loved ones lost to the same indiscriminate madness that took 3,000
on a certain day in September."
(1) The Saudi Gazette, November 30, 2003.
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