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Saudi Arabia: Prince Naif is Coming

It took Saudi netizens only a few minutes to pop up on Twitter with their worries after the death of their late Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Many of them kept asking the same question – about the identity of their next crown prince – until the news came from the Royal Palace on midnight on October 27, 2011, appointing Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the interior minister of the Kingdom since 1978 and the second deputy prime minister, as the next in line to the throne.

It is not as if Saudis didn't see this coming; however, a sort of wishful thinking kept imagining that King Abdullah might choose someone else. Now, with the official news appointing Naif as the crown prince, who will stay in charge of the Interior Ministry as well, Saudis are expecting stronger support for religious authorities and the police, as well as less freedom and more arrests. Prince Naif has been known for these actions over the past years of his management of the Interior Ministry.

Saudis tweeted this picture of Prince Naif with a quote that shows his opposition to women driving: "I said it in the Shura Council, Women will not drive cars as long as I am alive."

Saudis tweeted this picture of Prince Naif with a quote that shows his opposition to women driving: "I said it in the Shura Council, Women will not drive cars as long as I am alive."

Reactions online

Saudi tweep Ali J. Al-Dawood (@abu_jafar) [ar] commented sarcastically on the news, saying the new era might put all Saudis in jail:

والله عندي إحساس ان الشعب السعودي كله راح يتهشتق

@abu_jafar: I have a feeling that tells me the Saudi people will all be [hashtagged].

Waleed Al-Khodhairi (@i_Waleed) [ar] has also hinted about arrests under Prince Naif:

اللهم موّت الشعب في يوم واحد ويصحى بعدها الزعيم ما يلاقي حد يسجنه

@i_Waleed: Please God, let the whole nation die in one day, so when the [leader] wakes up, he won't find someone to jail.

Saudi journalist Ebtihal Mubarak (@EbtihalMubarak) posted a link to a Facebook group three days ago:

@EbtihalMubarak: Saudi FB page: “No for Prince Naif as Crown Prince” لا للأمير نايف ولياً للعهد on.fb.me/nlsiGH

And after the news came official, she posted those two tweets:

@EbtihalMubarak: Saudis fave word tonight “The horror, the horror” http://bit.ly/cSjlpq #NaifHalloween

@EbtihalMubarak: It's not like Saudis experienced democracy under Abdullah's reign but they're weeping over his soon to end days sums it all.

Another Saudi female tweep called Norah (@Hit_Zero) [ar] referred to freedom of speech in Prince Naif's coming era:

تويتر في الطريق للحجب .. حفلة وداعية لجميع حديث العقل.. واقبال متوالي لشراء الطيران

@Hit_Zero: Twitter is on its way to get blocked. Let's throw a farewell party for the rational conversations, and start buying flight tickets

Khaled Hothaly (@k_hothaly) [ar] brought up the issue of arrests:

إعدام أعمار البشر في المعتقلات كإعدام الأجساد بالرصاص .. لا فرق

@k_hothaly: Executing people's lives in detentions is like killing bodies with bullets. no difference.

A 15-year-old Saudi high school student Saud Bin Khaled (@SaudBinKhaled) [ar] addressed Prince Naif saying:

يجب على الامير نايف .. ان يلتزم بالدين لا بالعُرف ، و أن يعترف بالحوار

@SaudBinKhaled: Prince Naif should abide to religion, not tradition, and should acknowledge the existence of dialogue.

Another Saudi student (@reefaa_) [ar] tweeted in fear of the coming days:

الله يطول بعمر ابو متعب اعتقد ايامه راح تكون ايام دلع ب النسبه لنا عقب مايصير نايف ملك اللهم اعطنا خيره وأكفنا شره

@reefaa_: May god prolong the life of the king; I think his days will be the good days in comparison with the days of Naif when he becomes the king. May god give us the good of Naif and protect us from his evil.

One more student (@AwthahAbs) [ar] referred to the oppression of free speech under Naif's rule:

إلحمدلله اني وقفت توترة عن بعض المواضيع تجهزا لهاليوم المبارك:$

@AwthahAbs: Thank god I stopped tweeting about certain subjects, as I prepared myself for this [holy] day.

Kuwaiti tweep Saad Alajmi (@alajmi_saad) [ar] referred to how Naif's era will not be in favor of women demands:

كان يا ما كان، كان فيه نساء حلوين يحلموا يقودوا السيارات

@alajmi_saad: Once upon a time, there were some sweet women who dreamed of driving cars!

من منطلق استراتيجي مرحلي، ادعو المرأة السعودية للمطالبة بحق قيادة المرأة “للدراجة الهوائية”! أما السيارة ففي الجنة ان شاالله

@alajmi_saad: From a strategic point, I call on Saudi women to drive a bicycle and maybe in heaven you will get to drive cars!

Haneen Alhawas (@haneen_alhawas) [ar] referred to the same issue of women rights:

اقول جميع نساء المملكة انسي انك تسوقين سيكل بحوشكم

@haneen_alhawas: I tell all women of the [Saudi] kingdom, don't even dream of riding a motorcycle in your backyard!

Saudi Blogger Fouad Al-Farhan (@alfarhan) [ar] has always referred to the Saudi Kingdom under Prince Naif as the new North Korea and today he received the news by posting the national anthem of North Korea, in bitter sarcasm:

النشيد الوطني لـ كوريا الشمالية http://bit.ly/vR3n77

@alfarhan: The National Anthem of North Korea http://bit.ly/vR3n77

Ali Al-Amer (@_3amr) [ar] wrote one more tweet about the issue of arrests:

كل مواطن الآن زادت نسبة احتمالية دخوله السجن ثلاثة أضعاف

@_3amr: Each citizen is now three times more likely to enter jail.

Abdullah AbdulRahman (@3badi8) [ar] has also showed his fear of the police:

جيب الشرطة البني صار مرعب أكثر من قبل

@3badi8: The brown police Jeep is now more scary than ever.

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