Friday, February 20, 2009

Saudi princes

"Prince Sultan started out calmly, but grew increasingly agitated. Addressing each of the three commentators in turn, he chastised them for being disrespectful and not knowing what they were talking about. "You are all ignorant!" he shouted. He accused former coach Jassim al-Harbi of saying "awful things" about the team manager, asking sarcastically: "You're evaluating managerial competencies now too, Jasim, you and your likes?" Unable to get a word in edgewise, the three squirmed in their chairs – a scene viewed thousands of times on YouTube. Then the prince turned to former player Faisal Abu Thnain. "We work day and night and you just sit here blabbering away on television ... I do not want to hear this talk again. I have tolerated you long enough. You must exercise self-restraint. And you must behave... If you have not been raised properly, we can certainly raise you ourselves." It was this last sentence that shocked the viewing audience, for to accuse someone of not being well brought up is a deep insult in Saudi culture, on par with shoe-throwing in Iraq. Mr. Abu Thnain did not let the prince's comment pass. "No, thank God, we have all been raised well and we know our limits and the repercussions of our actions," he retorted before the prince hung up." (But it shocked me that Murphy said in this article that Saudi princes are "held in high esteem". By whom, Ms. Murphy? Only by...other Saudi princes.)