About Death: “Waiting Around For Something To Wait For”
STEVE ROYSTON: There comes a time in your life when the “Big Issues’ that dominate your thoughts – sex and money, for instance – are usurped by death. I’m heading there.
Why Are There So Few Good Books About Saudi Arabia?
STEVE ROYSTON: A recently published book on the Kingdom seems to be designed to pander to all of the usual Western prejudices. Why so?
Meddle in Afghanistan: The Lesson from History Is Clear
STEVE ROYSTON: My Summer reading has been dominated by books which consider how major powers, in particular Britain, have come to grief in Afghanistan
The Trench Revisited: Another View of Saudi, Oil and Progress
The Trench is the second in a quintet that explores the corruption of society by oil, and of those who extracted it, exploited it and enriched themselves in the process.
STEVE ROYSTON: The Trench is the second in a quintet that explores the corruption of society by oil, and of those who extracted it, exploited it and enriched themselves in the process.
A Natural Evolution: Don’t Meddle With Culture, Government.
STEVE ROYSTON: It’s a discussion without end – what should governments do or not do to promote authentic Arabic culture? And what does this actually mean?
‘Wadjda’ – A Beautiful, Nuanced Evocation of Saudi Life
STEVE ROYSTON: It’s the story of a young girl’s everyday life in Riyadh. How many Saudis, though, will give up the chance to see the latest CGI blockbuster to view it?
Ramadan Rant: The Pure Silliness of Mr A.N. Wilson
There is Islamophobia, and then there is silliness. When I first skimmed A.N. Wilson’s rant in last week’s Daily Mail about the UK’s Channel 4’s plans to broadcast the first prayer call during Ramadan, I thought oh oh, here’s the Mail doing its usual bit to rouse Middle England against the creeping erosion of our […]
‘The Devil’s Fire’: Syria’s Unique Blend of Pure Horror
STEVE ROYSTON: The situation in Syria is so desperate, so serious and so wide-ranging that it has the potential to affect every individual living in the region
Skype, Dissent and MERS: Concerns for Saudi Authorities
STEVE ROYSTON: Protecting telco operators revenues, internal dissent, labour rights and a dangerous virus. Difficult times for the Saudi authorities
In Praise of The Late Carol Fleming Aka ‘American Bedu’
STEVE ROYSTON: I was inspired to blog by Carol Fleming. She wrote with great feeling and affection about the country she loved, Saudi Arabia
The Morality of Killing: What’s So Special About Drones?
STEVE ROYSTON: Is killing via a missile fired remotely by a drone any different morally from killing by poison gas or a nuclear weapon?
Persuasion, Not Laws, Needed to Encourage Spoken Arabic
STEVE ROYSTON: It’s a debate with no end, apparently. How to encourage ‘guest workers’ to become more fluent in Arabic. Is legislation necessary?
Expat Life: Things I Would / Would Not Miss
There’s been a lot of coming and going in the Gulf region of late. In Saudi Arabia, which is making strenuous efforts to slim down its expatriate population, and Bahrain, where foreigners are reconsidering their status in light of the country’s continuing instability, the going has been more frequent than the coming.
STEVE ROYSTON: There’s been a lot of coming and going in the Gulf. In some countries going has been more frequent than coming.
Good Business: The Guru Season is Now
This is motivational speaker season. Before the weather gets insufferably hot – between June and October – a stream of high-profile personalities come here on paid gigs to bestow their wisdom upon us locals. If you’re Bahraini, the government pays most of the cost of the ticket. If not, you’ll have to stump up a price equivalent to that for a headline act in Vegas – anything in the range of $80-$150.
STEVE ROYSTON: This is motivational speaker season when a stream of “gurus” come on paid gigs to bestow their wisdom $80-$150 a time.
Boston Cool: Measured Response Required
So Boston, it seems, has had its 9/11. Not on the scale of the New York attacks, of course. But the shock will be almost as deep.
STEVE ROYSTON: So Boston, it seems, has had its 9/11. Not on the scale of the New York attacks, of course. But the shock will be almost as deep.
Reassessing Margaret Thatcher, 1925 – 2013
I breathed a sigh of relief when Margaret Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister in 1991. She was a divisive politician, and I found myself on the anti-Thatcher side of the divide.
STEVE ROYSTON: Margaret Thatcher was a divisive politician, and I found myself on the anti-Thatcher side of the divide.
The Fine Art of Political Insult, Bahrain-Style
STEVE ROYSTON: Yet another lively debate in the Bahraini parliament this week and the insults were running thick and fast. They follow in a long line distinguished (or not!) company
Bahrain vs Dubai: To Live and To Do Business
STEVE ROYSTON: Two years ago I wrote about the comparative advantages of Bahrain and Dubai and came down firmly on one side. What now though?