FROM the beginning, Saudis have known that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz is keen on promoting knowledge and culture. He is fully aware of the fact that nations do not prosper unless the people are aware of history and the need for serious work in the present in order to build a suitable future.
Therefore, the major civilization shift which started during his reign is aimed at restructuring cultural concepts to correspond with the nature of the society and its traditions. Saudis welcomed this shift because it is in line with their ambitions and dreams.
Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has exerted efforts and embarked on serious work to achieve this shift which corresponds with the status of the Kingdom and its economic and political roles in the Arab world. This effort has positive returns for the Gulf, as Gulf nationals have returned to the warmth of the big brother – the inevitable destination because it is the maker of a distinct future. One of the distinguished activities is the Winter at Tantora Festival in the Saudi province of Al-Ula.
This festival highlights the rediscovery of history in real time, although a question lingers in the minds of most Gulf nationals: Would it not have been better if the Gulf public – the dwellers of this region – was invited to the opening of the festival instead of the Lebanese? Undoubtedly, Lebanon is a tourist destination.
I do not believe the Lebanese will ever prefer promoting tourism in another country in the same manner that children of the Gulf will do. Despite this, O Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince welcomed the elite Lebanese group to their second home – Saudi Arabia and the entire Gulf region.
Nonetheless, we look forward to festivals in Saudi Arabia and the entire Gulf being adorned by nationals of this region to rediscover their history and geography, especially in this peninsula which is rich in history and provides the world with examples of tolerance and authenticity. Indeed, it is very useful to increase cultural and sports activities in Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Next month, the man of accomplishments and initiatives – Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum – will sponsor an endurance race.
How wonderful it is to see all Gulf nationals in these activities – from the Sultanate of Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and even Qatari brothers; given that culture brings people together rather than divide them? Certainly, this is a major civilization shift that history is bound to record in favor of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, because it is reinstating the Kingdom’s reality as a messenger of civilization and religion, as well as the economic and political engine of the Arab world, specifically the Gulf nations.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times