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Breathe.. you are in Saudi Arabia

The ‘Breathe’ event in Riyadh last week has attracted my attention. This event sought to break the barrier of fear, raise the quality of behaviour, and discover the various capabilities of knowledge and innovation. It also sought to raise the quality of life through exercise, meditation and breathing.

By Lina Khaled Al Maeena* |

I found myself breathing automatically and deeply and had in my mind accelerating feelings and thoughts. The first month of 2020 has ended and we have entered the national transformation in light of an ambitious vision. One of its main goals is to rank three Saudi cities among the 100 best cities in the world as well as to achieve happiness for citizens and residents under the axis of a vital society.

If we compare the situation today with the one we had four years ago, it is almost impossible for any of us to imagine all the changes that were implemented in Kingdom today. Especially if we take a look at the changes with regards to women and youth. In addition Saudi Arabia was ranked as the most advanced and reformed country among 190 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report.

My memory took me back 15 years ago when I went to court to do a legal registry for my commercial agency. I had to bring two acquaintances, one of whom was the guard. I remembered the days of not being able to drive my car parked in front of my eyes. I remembered my happiness for my brothers when they used to go with my father to the stadium to watch my favourite team playing. There are so many other memories.

Then, King Salman’s era of firmness and determination came, supported by the follow-up of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman to emphasize moderation. To stimulate more tolerance and coexistence through systems and laws to keep up with the rest of the world, without losing our national principles and more important our identity.

Yes, we are the tenth generation Saudi’s. We lived in a time that makes us appreciate and feel happy to see a development guaranteed by ‘Vision 2030’. In which we want to achieve investment in the efficiency of women and youth and to see the collapse of the walls of the past, and the fear of the unknown. This vision enabled 50% of Saudi society, which are women, and 70% of Saudi society who are youth.

Does this mean that we have become an ideal society? Of course not, there is no utopia on earth. In the process of this transformation, it is natural that we make mistakes here and there. Mistakes are made to learn from, and we let them serve as exceptions to the smoothness and beauty of the transformation.

Today I see my nation has entered the G20 summit, and I see tourism entering our country. A new industry that enables the world to come and see the reality and nature of our great Saudi society, which surprised everyone by its generosity, acceptance and chivalry.

Yes, we need a development system that keeps pace with the changes. We need more development and construction in all social, economic, health and living aspects. We also need more effort from the Saudi family, Saudi schools, and various Saudi institutions in light of this openness and changes.

We need to reach a balance and don’t let globalization overwhelm the Arab Gulf Muslim identity. Because one who has no past, has no future. We thank God that we derive the beauty of the present and the radiance of the future from our brilliant past.
King Salman has stressed in his speech to the Shura Council at its seventh session that ‘our message to all is that there is no place between us for an extremist who sees moderation as dissolution and takes advantage of our noble creed to achieve his goals. There is no place between us for a dissolved who sees in our war on extremism as a means to spread the degeneration and to exploit the religion to achieve his goals.’ Let us keep this message in mind.

The ‘Breathing event’ aims to break the barrier of fear and motivate young people to enter new experiences, discover wider dimensions, understand the world in different ways, and enable participants to deal with the changes and developments of life effectively and positively.

Congratulations for us that we got the Arab and Islamic depths of power, the wealthy investment power and the axis of linking the three continents, which support the axes of “Vision 2030”, to achieve a vibrant society, a prosperous economy, and an ambitious country.

We ask God to perpetuate his grace and protect us from its demise.

Smile and breathe, you are in Saudi Arabia.

*Lina Khaled Al Maeena is one of the 30 female members of Saudi Arabia’s Majlis Al-Shura (Shura Council). The Shura Council has 150 members and is the formal advisory body of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

This article was first published in Arabic in Al Bilad newspaper. Special translation by The Levant News.

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