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Saudis can’t see the funny side 19, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia.
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Whilst thegulfblog.com is, in the immortal words of Snap!, “…as serious as cancer”, occasionally, as you loyal followers know, I like to lighten the usually onerous load of Middle Eastern reportage. Cue two silly stories.

A Saudi satirical sketch show (yes, they do – sort of – exist) Tash Ma Tash (No Big Deal) has fostered a minor storm of predictable outrage in the easily outrageable Kingdom.

The central character takes four husbands, explaining herself using the    conventional arguments Saudi men use to exercise their legal and religious    privilege of marrying four times.

Then she decides she wants to marry for a fifth time, making the four husbands    draw lots to see who will be divorced and plunging them into a morass of    jealousy.

When she remarries for the first time she complains that her existing husband    has stopped caring about his looks after five years, and is preoccupied with    work.

The next marriage is for a dare with friends, and the fourth marriage, to a    Syrian, she explains by saying that she is now bored with Saudi men.

Whilst this is hardly biting satire, it’s a mildly amusing little skit beyond the sense of humour of numerous Saudis. However, the Torygraph reports that it is apparently a favourite of Saudi’s King Abdullah who has been making significant (for Saudi) liberal noises recently.

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened were this controversy to have occurred under the presumed next Saudi King – Naif – who is a staunch conservative. Whilst Abdullah too was feared to be conservative when he was Crown Prince, he has transpired to be somewhat different, so to speak. The key question for Saudi is, if Naif takes over, whether the exigencies of power will mellow his conservative tendencies.

Hat tip: Out Al Arabiyya colleague


1. zaydoun - 19, August 2010

I watched this episode of Tash with my jaw on the floor! It really took a lot of guts to show it knowing how conservative and humorless most Muslims (let alone Saudis) are.

The shitstorm of outrage is predictable… sigh

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