American Bedu received notification of the following incident which occurred on Thursday, 04 October, involving expatriates at Panorama Mall. The incident is described in detail but the names of the victims are being withheld at their request;
I wanted to let you know of an incident that happened at Panorama mall, the new upscale mall that bans single males from entering the mall (management rules), and it has lots of rich kids hanging around there, outside the mall is literally hundreds of young men and teenagers hanging out and with nothing to do, frustrated they can’t go in, looking for trouble. Well we were there last night around 11 pm and the mall was packed with people, security guards were at every corner trying to get men out. An American got grabbed at the kids amusement park area and later outside was shouted insults at by young teeneagers. She was with her little girl there, and she is a Muslim American.
As my husband and I and family were leaving the mall around 11pm, we passed a group of young men standing close to the entrance. There was about 7 of them. They said something disrespectful about me and my mother, making fun of our “Americanness”. My Saudi husband stopped to talk to them telling them to be respectful and have manners. My family and I continued walking. I looked back and saw my husband walking toward us, then after a few seconds looked back again and saw him suddenly on the ground being kicked by this group of men. I immediately ran to them in spite of my advanced pregnancy. I was so enraged and shocked I just instinctively started to grab the men off him, kicked a few and cursed them out, and screamed for help People were all around and nobody helped.
Shockingly, more Saudi men started coming in, not to get them off him or help me, but to attack my husband. I was shouting for police and for help. There was ONE mall security guy there, he was USELESS, did not know what to do. He was tiny and a tenth of my size and power to get these men off my husband. I felt sorry for him, so pathetic it was.
Now a few Arab men (NOT Saudis) in suits, middle-aged, came and started pushing the men off and helping us.
I had grabbed one of the random Saudi men who had ran from the street to attack my husband from his shirt. I was screaming into his face cursing him out and shouting for someone to come get him and take to police. My husband saw me fighting back and forth with him and he was trying to escape to come to my help. Suddenly one of the men hit me in my stomach in spite of my pregnancy and the man fled the scene. My husband tried to catch him but now another man suddenly jumped on top of him from a car. My husband fell on the ground and hit his head. That man also fled. I ran to my husband and he said, ” let’s get out of here.”
There was still just one security guard, no sign of police. We were both scared and shocked. Looking back, we did not think straight and go to police immediately, we just wanted out of there. All the while this was happening, women were sitting and standing all around, just watching; nobody went to get police or more security even though there were security standing at the mall entrance stopping men from entering about 30m away.
When we got home both my husband and I were in much pain. My husband has a shoe mark on his forehead from the kicking and other bruises.
The situation is that my husband is refusing to report this either to mall security or police because of fear. First of all he fears because it was like 20 against one, they would all say it was my husband’s fault and make him look bad. He fears that reporting the incident could impact on his employment. Police investigations here are notoriously known not to lead anywhere. . My husband is afraid it will bring him harm and shame also to his family because he was in a fight.
I am shocked that onlookers didn’t react more, that random Saudi men would literally JUMP to the opportunity to beat someone, that a Saudi MAN would HIT a woman. Saudi women were watching this enfold and were so cold and indifferent, that the only people who helped were non-Saudis. I still can’t believe that more security didn’t come and that police were not called since they are known to have patrols near Panorama especially on weekends to control the men.
I think this is an issue the world should hear about, because I see it as an indication of something more widespread, something more serious that is infecting this society. More incidents like this could happen. Racism is growing, people are becoming more and more frustrated, angry and young men simply do not have outlets for their feelings, leading to uncontrolled explosions such as this.
There is definitely something boiling underneath the surface and it needs to be addressed. I have always been a sort of defender of Saudi-Arabia, trying to find the positives, trying to make the best of life here. But how is one to continue from here? How am I going to explain this to anyone anymore?
As I continue to think about this, I think the incident didn’t happen because they thought we were american per se, but because it was a bunch of teenage guys looking to insult someone. We came their way in the wrong place at the wrong time, and my husband was tough with them.
If an American Bedu reader has any additional information about this incident or knows if it was captured on video please advise. Any witnesses who can come forth will help the victims of this tragic incident.
American Bedu footnote: This post was updated due to the request of the expatriate woman who wanted it known that she is noticeably pregnant.