Read Me/Disclaimer

Read Me/Disclaimer: This is a non-political/socio-political blog. It's a running tale of my Saudi Arabian adventure, great, good, bad, and ugly. It is uncensored, and I don't really care what you think of it, read it or don't. I don't care. I did not decide to do this as a means to an end, but rather to document the means with which I occupied my time while waiting for my end... All that being said, I'm an American Expat in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The opportunity to help build this system and the salary that accompanied it were to good to pass up.-Geoff

"The views presented here are just the views of some asshole named Geoff, they are not necessarily the views of my employer, my co-workers, my family or anybody else. First hand knowledge and second hand accounts were used to compile the information. These are not scientific facts and figures. These views are not necessarily supported, endorsed or even appreciated by the KSA the USA or any other country for that matter and the author makes absolutely no claim that they are."**

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What to do, what to do

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" 

For generations, this poem has welcomed visitors to the United States, have we forgotten it?  Have we fallen victim to the insanely articulate arguments of the scientist with his gumball demonstrations on late night television?  I only ask because this is something that I've always loved about the United States, our ability to excel not despite being a nation of immigrants, but because of it.  A great melting pot of skills and strengths from all over the world, the Africans, the Germans, the Jews, the Italians, the Irish, the Scottish, the Cubans, the Haitians, the Dominicans, The Japanese, the Chinese, the Mexicans, the...everything's.  "Weren't born into royalty?  Don't worry about that here."  I'm afraid this will end soon, I think the sentiment maybe already has. I'm afraid we should just allow the gang-bangers to tag over this poem, because I don't think mainstream America believes it anymore.  I'm afraid of this latest political process in the US, I doubt the president can hold, the economy is too bad.  Americans who thought they could live in comfort and wealth without education are suddenly finding themselves the but of a financiers joke.  Yes we can has become a joke and has been replaced with "oops we didn't".  

Damn you Bob, I guess you're right, I am a political person, and I am going to run again, I guess I had better start doing some image management and start watching what I say in blogs and on facebook.  Or I could just tell the truth and go from the cradle to the grave with a clear conscience, them again that would probably just result in a lack of accomplishments...Damn!

So what got me started tonight...hmm...well, I decided to revel in my capitalist ways and go support corporate coffee while I read a book.  Nice night out there, Saudi weekend  and all, it was pretty cool, lots of people, lots of laughing, lots of cars, bikes and racing going on.  I was having a pretty good time until a beggar came by.  now this is something I have tried to figure out since I got here.  Saudi's a Kingdom, a monarchy ya know?  They don't have taxes, don't have a really high unemployment rate, money flows pretty darn well, gas is about 60 cents a gallon USD.  A good welfare system is in place for citizens who are elderly, disabled, why are there beggars here that so many of the Saudi's I know just absolutely despise...Well the best I can figure, poverty exists in every culture, here it is generally characterized by Bengali and Filipino workers who are brought here to build, but its relative poverty...regardless of what Amnesty International says about them being wage slaves (welcome to the world), its undeniable that they're making enough in one year to feed their family for 2-5...(The conversion is good for US workers and Europeans, but its not that good.)  But these aren't the people I'm talking about, I'm talking about the guys and children who look Saudi or at least Arab, are usually dressed in an old dirty second hand thobe and are obviously malnourished.  Most appear to be mentally ill or very young and unable or unwilling to separate from their families.  When I saw the man tonight, my stomach turned and the words of the poem above came to my mind.  Most of the people at the coffee shop ignored him, one Saudi man gave him money, so did I, but I'm still struck by the thought of..."isn't there something long term we can do?".  I was often struck with this thought in the US, but its easier to ignore there where beggars and bums have often been associated with crime.  A father in the US would never give his son or daughter 5 dollars and say "run this to the man on the corner", here he could if he were so inclined, they aren't violent in the least, they're just pitiful.  Which brings me to the question...what on earth do we as a civilized species do about such a problem.  Yeah you heard me, as a species...this isn't a US problem, its not a Saudi problem, its a worldwide humanity problem.  One that can't be solved by the Islamic Youth Organization, anymore than it can be solved by the North-South baptist church alone.  Were going to have to think a bit grander as a species if we ever want to solve this problem, and if we fail to solve it, or even worse fail to give it its due attention, is any of us arrogant enough to think we'll meet God's expectation of us on earth? 

Tonight, somebody starves...not oppressed by some war lord with big guns, not sold into slavery by eastern European gangsters that you can't approach, not hidden in a tent in the mountains, not drunk and lazy and not in some far away corner that you need an Aircraft Carrier to approach safely...Tonight somebody starves in your neighborhood, in your hometown while you you sleep...


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