So. Demonstrations announced in Saudi Arabia for Friday. When I was younger i never understood why demonstrations were arranged after Friday prayers. In fact, I still haven’t read it anywhere, but logic has it that this is the only time that authoritarian regimes can’t prevent large groups of people from gathering. And large crowds are more difficult to disperse.
So will we see large crowds in Riyadh today, Friday?
I watched Ben Ali resign on Facebook and Mubarak on Twitter, were I also saw the demonstrations kick off in Benghazi on the night of the 15th of February and followed the crazy reports simultaniously when the Lulu roundabout in Bahrain was emptied at night. I have tried to cover this for my followers on Twitter, to source evaluate and not endorse but pass on a mix of reflections, emotions, eye witness reports and contacts to paint a picture of the situation. That is as far as my exchange program in Foreign reporting, my internship at UN radio, freelance year in Egypt and years at the Foreign desk of the Swedish news agency take me without pay.
I do not do this professionally. I could, if someone paid me. They don’t. And my energy for starting to RT and report on another conflict, spending time on evaluating sources, building up new twitter networks and receiving the angst of hundreds of people right at my laptop is just not enough, no matter that I would really like to. I am sorry.
I do follow some Saudi lists. Check them out, should things pick up. I can’t see why they couldn’t.
I could say a lot. That “experts” first said that Ben Ali, then Mubarak, then Ghadaffi were “impossible”. One would believe that those by now would have learned that anything is possible. That Jordan, Oman and Morocco never were the most likely countries for regime-toppling, considering how the three forementioned presidents/leaders have been so hated that they have managed to unite nearly everyone against them.
The interesting thing about Saudi Arabia is that small, almost invisible baby steps of reform have started to bee seen – a gender-mixed university campus for example, and public cinema viewings. Credible reform is what will keep people in power long term.