Welcome, Mr. President!

May 21, 2017
Hamoud Abu Talib
Hamoud Abu Talib

By Hamoud Abu Talib
Okaz

While warmly welcoming you in our country Mr. President, I would like to tell you what happened in one of our towns. After your visit to the Kingdom was announced, a citizen who has nothing to do with the complexities of politics was blessed with a baby girl. He decided to name her Ivanka, after your daughter.

What does this mean Mr. President if not a warm welcome to you from an ordinary citizen who was overjoyed that you have made Saudi Arabia your first trip abroad as president!

It also means that the relationship between our two countries has gone way beyond politicians, intellectuals, academicians and journalists to reach the common man.

I wish so much Mr. President that your time and busy schedule would allow you to visit the Saudi Ivanka to see the generous hospitality and the spontaneous popular welcome you would receive from the public.

Mr. President, you represent a country of freedom, law, peaceful coexistence and democracy for which your forefathers have codified a great Constitution, which made it an ideal country to live in.

Mr. President, you have arrived in Riyadh, which is the capital of the first naturally and truly united country in the Arab Peninsula and the Arab world. This unity has brought together the people of different tribes and created a strong and cohesive country.

King Abdul Aziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia, was far ahead of his time when he started looking for partners among reliable and civilized countries.

America was his first choice out of his belief that it was a civilized and humanitarian country.

His meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt was the initiation of an historic relationship that has yielded many positive results for both your country and ours.

We will never forget that a large number of Saudis who laid the foundation of development in our country were graduates of Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Georgetown, MIT and other renowned American universities.

This means that our progress and development are closely linked to the education we obtained in your great country.

Today, Mr. President, there are more than 100,000 Saudi men and women studying in the US. They have made good neighbors and friends. They will come back to the Kingdom with great memories about the time that they have spent there.

I will not hesitate or shy away from telling you, Mr. President, that we were greatly disappointed by American policy in the past few years. Your predecessor, President Obama, told us about democracy, freedom and peace when he visited the Arab world in 2009. He told us about all of this during a speech he delivered at Cairo University. But instead of recalling its humanitarian values, America bet on a loser and gave a free hand to a country that seems determined to take human civilization back to the Stone Age.

Mr. President, you have arrived in a country that has decided to race against time to achieve its vision of growth and development. It has decided to replace the depleting oil with the wealth of human potential. You are now in a country which is determined to fight terrorism with one hand and to build itself with the other.

Mr. President, the world has had enough of destruction due civil wars, terrorism and anarchy. We were the first country to be hit by terrorism but we confronted it with faith and determination.
Terrorism, which hurt us, has also harmed you. Our youth and yours should live in safety.

Riyadh, this city that you are now visiting, is a capital city that believes in peace and has respect for all people. It wants to make the world a better place for everyone. However, it requires power to be able to do this. So be with us Mr. President to achieve peace and harmony for the world.

You should also stand up courageously against those who are determined to take the human race back to the Dark Ages.

Welcome, Mr. President. We hope that your visit will re-infuse blood into the veins of a unique relationship between two friends.


May 21, 2017
HIGHLIGHTS