I rarely need more reasons to dislike Saudi Arabia than I already have. After all it is the world’s most inhumane state. But RT has just reported that top Saudi cleric Grand Mufti Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh has just castigated vocal musical performance and cinema saying that “We know that singing concerts and cinemas are a depravity”.
Of course, in Saudi Arabia it is not a depravity to repress and murder Shia Muslims. It is not a depravity to ban Christian holy days and it is not a depravity to finance and encourage terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS. It is also perfectly normal to stone women to death and behead people for things which in almost every other state in the world are not crimes.
This Mufti is the same cleric who claims that the game of chess sow hatred between peoples. Is that why the Soviet Union, a state based on antithetical values of Saudi Arabia, those of secular brotherhood, produced the world’s finest chess champions?
Saudi Arabia is not only a dangerous state with regional imperial ambitions that bear eerie similarities to fascist Germany, it is also a barer, acultural place that is both soulless and Godless. I, like millions of Muslims, believe the Saudi occupation of Mecca and Medina to be an insult to Allah.
On a more personal note, as a musician, I find it even more despicable that the wretched Kingdom considers music unholy. At its best, music is a human product which represents the closets artificial approximation of holiness that is possible. One is wise to think of it as a Platonic representation of the higher ideal which is divinity. At its lowest, music is still a form of personal expression which can help people cope with the wider physical and metaphysical crises of the heart and mind.
I am not calling for regime change in Saudi Arabia as I don’t believe in regime change anywhere. But if I did, Saudi Arabia would be the first place in which I would welcome regime change. Had Saddam’s troops been allowed to march past Kuwait and into Saudi Arabia, I would have felt that some sense of justice would have been done. Saddam, for all his faults, was a connoisseur of culture and something of a film maker too.
On a lighter note, as the Grand Mufti has banned both singing and cinema, it makes me wonder why they are being so impractical. With all the money they’ll now save not having to bankroll the Clinton Foundation, they could invest into producing some great musicals and films.
For example, they could produce: The Phantom of the Server: A Hillary Tale, South Yemen Was Once Pacific, Terror-Cell, West Bank Side Story, My Chained Lady, Little Shop of OPEC, Hair (except on the body), King Salman Superstar…the list goes on.
Perhaps after seeing this list they’ll reconsider…but only if the oil price falls to $1.00 a barrel.