American Bedu Blog Becomes Part of the Global Electoral College Project – The Saudi Perspective

American Bedu Blog was invited by The Takeaway, (, a public radio show based in New York City, co-produced with WNYC and Public Radio International, in collaboration with the BBC World Service, the New York Times and WGBH Boston to be part of the Global Electoral College Project.  The Takeaway is working with Global Voices ( and inviting bloggers outside America (both native foreigners and ex-pats) to post and comment on the U.S. elections as part of our “Global Electoral College” project (

A representative of the Takeaway discovered the American Bedu blog and thought it would be a great addition to their site, to talk about perspectives from Saudi Arabia on what is happening in America and to hear stories of how issues are affecting American Bedu and blog readers directly.

As an American expat abroad I have been following the Presidential campaigns very closely. While I cannot yet say how either Obama or McCain’s proposed policies and views will affect me personally, I do know that the present conditions of the U.S. economy and turmoil in the financial markets has and continue to affect me even while residing in Saudi Arabia. Therefore this further emphasizes the importance to me (and hopefully to readers) of why it is critical to be aware of the campaigns, the candidates, who they are and where they stand.

Additionally more so than any other election year the Vice President candidates are equally as important as the Presidential candidates. Why, you may ask? I’m not shy to share my thoughts on this issue even though some may think my answer is insensitive or tasteless. In my own view, due to McCain’s age coupled with the state of his health I think there is a higher chance than “normal” his running mate could easily have to fill his shoes if McCain is elected President. Additionally due to Obama’s black skin and continued resistance among some to having a black man as President, I think this makes Obama an even higher candidate for an assassination attempt than previous candidates. Which again equate to an even higher chance that his running mate could have to fill his shoes if Obama is elected President.

I am looking at the complete packages being offered and listening and reading closely on where these candidates stand on critical domestic and foreign policy issues and how well-versed they seem to be on these subjects. However my mind is already made up and I intend to vote for Obama. I believe he and Biden offer the best package to serve the interests of America and perhaps to also restore a better impression of America and its values and what it stands for to the rest of the world.

Now that I have candidly shared some of my views, I’d like to hear from my readers and their thoughts. How closely have you been following the Presidential campaigns and particularly so if you are outside of the United States? How do you rate the coverage that you receive of the campaigns from the media? It is fair or is it slanted and biased? Do you believe America will have fair elections?

From the Saudi perspective, which candidate do you believe will be the best candidate for Saudi Arabia and its relationship with America and why? Will the USA-KSA relationship become closer with this election depending on candidate or farther? And why?

He’s Teaching a Number

Segregation is typically adhered to in schools and universities as well as in other aspects of everyday life in Saudi Arabia.  So what happens when the Professor who is teaching a specific subject is male and there are female students?  In the majority of cases, the female students are in a separate room whereas the male Professor and male students are co-located.  The Professor’s lecture will be made available to the female students through video transmission.  In some cases the female students will see the face of the Professor or sometimes they may only see his hand writing notes and hear his voice. 


A female student described one of her typical lectures to me at Qassim University.  The professor in this case was rather strict and would always announce no questions would be addressed during his lecture.  And of course, the female students would hear his voice transmitted through the speakers and see only his hand writing notes.  He also would admonish the class of female students if he heard any kind of noise indicating that the microphone in the female section was “on” during one of his lectures.  It was okay and expected to turn it on at the end of the lecture but never before or during.  In order to maintain complete anonymity of the female students so neither the Professor nor the other male students would know anything personal about the female students, each female student was assigned a number.  So if a student was assigned number 4 and had a question, she would identify herself as number 4 with the following question.  Or if the Professor wanted to test the knowledge of his students, he would randomly call on female students by their assigned numbers.  The male students on the other hand were always referred to by their names and were not assigned numbers.


I asked the third year student how she felt about the Professor’s method of teaching.  She responded that she really did not like it.  It didn’t bother her that the class was segregated but she found it a hindrance having to wait until the end of lectures to be able to ask questions.  She said while she understood that the Professor assigned them numbers to protect their identity she also found it disconcerting to be  viewed as a mere number whereas the male students were known by name.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,277 other followers

%d bloggers like this: