“I ALWAYS reiterate these words: May Allah show mercy on the one who shows me my shortcomings. If you see or if my fellow citizens see, and they are currently listening to me, anything that is in the interest of your religion before anything else, and your country, the country of the two Holy Mosques, in which we are all its servants, you are most welcome. I reiterate that our doors are open, our telephone lines are open and our ears listen to every citizen.”
Based on this, King Salman bin Abdulaziz reassured the people about his policy on ruling since January 2015, through which he has been working to transform the Kingdom into new horizons in line with the current era, and in a manner that serves the Kingdom’s prestige and advancement.
Without a doubt, this policy has been used to build relations between the ruler and the ruled in the sense that it plays a huge role in breaking the ice between the two sides. It increases the level of people’s reassurance on the course that the country is taking. This course is being interpreted now through the historic steps.
All Gulf nationals regard the Kingdom as the compass of the region politically and economically — the two vital aspects of countries’ development and prosperity. This makes every Gulf national feel that he or she is a Kuwaiti, Saudi, Emirati, Bahraini, Omani and Qatari since they can approach their leaders and talk to them about general concerns without any reservation.
This is due to the inherent coherence between the social calibers of countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) whose internal system is based on striving towards honoring cooperation through unity from which secondary differences are overlooked in a bid to form a single identity that expresses the instinctive feelings of affinity and fondness between the nationals of the six countries.
Proceeding from this conviction, I find myself concerned with what King Salman said: “May Allah show mercy on the one who shows me my shortcomings,” because whatever serves the Kingdom’s advancement and prosperity has positive returns for all Gulf nationals — from the Strait of Hormuz to Shatt al-Arab (Arvand Rud).
Before anything else, it is imperative to assert that the open door policy is the return to consolidation of direct relationship between the ruler and the ruled; just as the situation was at the beginning when we were building our nations. It is the policy that helped and contributed to achieving huge development steps in all aspects.
However, in recent decades and because of the countries’ pressing needs and responsibilities; something like a unit (crew) was formed around the ruler. The role of this crew is to convey whatever they want to be conveyed to the leader and always adorning it with positives even if not true.
Nonetheless, this personal effort is not always correct. These people (crew) strive to protect their personal interests by screening the reality of an issue which happened because they neglected their role.
In this regard, we are not asking any leader to emulate Omar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) who used to walk at night to inquire about the grievances of the public.
Every era has its State, people and circumstances. That era is different from the one we are in, as the way of communication between people changed amid the advanced press and social communication media platforms.
Everyone in this region realizes that the culture of its people is based on direct communication with the ruler and the officials without barriers. When some regional countries adopted imported models such as democracy, the opportunists took only the freedom of opinion and speech from such models.
For instance in Kuwait, this selective tendency reached the point of having freedom of vulgarity and transgression of other people’s dignity and honor in a bid to topple reverence of the State and the leader.
It also led to the infiltration of some political factions into State establishments where they stirred institutions for their benefit. In fact, they attempted to enact laws which restrict the authority of leaders and some elites in managing public affairs. The action almost made the people of this nation lose their country as described by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
HH the Amir rescued the country through a series of significant decrees, the most important of which is the one-vote system. Or like what happened in Bahrain where a group working in the interest of Iran masqueraded under the democratic cloak as they attempted to topple the rule and push the country into the grip of the Persian expansionism scheme.
I repeat that the culture of these nations, if it gets implemented the way it was nurtured — through consultations and direct meetings between the ruler and the ruled, justice which these countries were based on would have been achieved.
The open door policy is what the late King Abdullah stood for. Because of that, everyone — whether from Saudi Arabia or the other Gulf countries — hopes for opening of more doors to convey their issues to you, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, without any add-ons which the retinues put as we do not want them to distance you from us.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, you were close to the voice of the people when you distanced those who were attempting to impose norms and traditions not inspired by our religion or faith.
You were close to the voice of the people when you took the responsibility of standing up against the masqueraded Iranian invasion by the Houthis and the coups in Yemen; and through that, came the “decisive storm” to crush the Persian scheme.
It was the same when you listened to the voices of half of the community in granting women the right to drive, something that resonated positively in the region and the entire world. Here, I mention the reaction of Saudi’s Consultation Council member Dr Latifa Al-Sha’lan who spoke on one of the satellite televisions about the decree; to an extent that she shed tears in a scene which affected everyone — the viewers and presenters.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times