MADINAH — The municipality preempted a campaign launched by a group of young Saudi volunteers to clear the walls of the Baqie graveyard near the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah of graffiti and posters.
The volunteer group named “Li Ummatina Nahya” (For Our Nation We Live) had made all arrangements for its members to arrive at the spot to begin the cleaning process in coordination with the mayoralty. It mobilized the volunteers by circulating a hashtag on Twitter.
A number of specialized cleaning companies had agreed to join the campaign, which was supposed to take place Tuesday evening. More than 100 volunteers had registered to participate in the campaign, which had received the appreciation of important figures.
However, the Haram Municipality in Madinah caught the young volunteers by surprise less than 24 hours before the campaign was to begin by asking its cleaning workers to clear up the graveyard’s walls.Nahla Al-Suhaimi, head of the team, told Al-Madina Arabic daily that her organization had decided to launch the campaign after noticing graffiti and handbills disfiguring the walls of one of the most revered sites in Islam, which was visited by hundreds of thousands of people this Ramadan.
“We coordinated with the mayoralty and contacted a number of cleaning companies, which agreed to provide us with necessary cleaning materials and detergents. We have also arranged cranes and water trucks to clean the areas surrounding the graveyard,” he said.
“On the day of the campaign we were surprised to see the Haram Municipality implementing the plan we had conceived on its own,” she said.
Al-Suhaimi said her organization had carried out several such campaigns in the past for the benefit of the public.
A number of social media activists questioned the mayoralty’s decision to call off the voluntary program in the last moment after the youths had made all arrangements with the cooperation of specialized cleaning companies.
Abdul Majeed Al-Rushaidi said the Haram Municipality took the preemptive step to save its face because the campaign highlighted the importance cleaning the walls. “Anyway the message of volunteerism has reached many people,” he said in a comment on the social media.
Mohammed Saeed said the graffiti and handbills appeared on the graveyard’s walls as a result of the municipality’s negligence. “Now when the volunteer group launched a campaign to clean the walls, the municipality came forward to do the same to show to the public that it was doing great things. We would like to ask the municipality where was it until this campaign was announced,” he said.
Sultan Al-Otaibi mocked the municipality by creating a hashtag on a new campaign for building new parks in the city. “This campaign might encourage the municipality to construct more parks in Madinah,” he jested.