However, when having dinner with the friend of a friend, someone who has been here for 14 years and oversees a workforce of nearly a thousand, the topic of blogging came up. This person stopped suddenly and said "you blog?" I replied that I did, they then told me quiet matter of factly, and without emotion that I should stop immediately, delete whatever I could and deny that I'd ever had anything to do with it. I was shocked to say the least. I was told that since the invention of the blog, more good employees have been kicked out of Saudi than you know, and that often the blogger spends a couple of nights in jail, their apartment raided, their bank account frozen and their belongings confiscated and is finally released to a one way ticket home, never to return to the Kingdom. I found this a little hard to believe. But they insisted that you should make a choice, work and money or blog.
As an American, I find this disturbing. I'm a free man, a citizen of a free country, I publish what are clearly opinions or document the source of anything I call fact. Could I accidentally cross some lines? Could I accidentally cross lines that can't be uncrossed? Does blogging and writing about my experiences here in the Kingdom put me at risk for being booted? I don't know, and I don't know what I'll do about it, maybe tone down some of the political stuff, maybe be extra sweet instead of critical, I just don't know. I'm curious to see what others think. So if you stop by and read the blog from time to time, let me know your opinion on this topic.