The silence is broken

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Time: July 08, 2019  

A few days ago, I was privileged to have witnessed history taking place in Saudi Arabia. Yes, a dream came true.

As children, we grew up listening to specific music genres and never thought for a second that we would attend a concert for any international artists in Saudi Arabia.

Between being overwhelmed and super proud of the organization and effort that the authorities have put into making this happen, an idea crossed my mind.

How do these types of events contribute to the narrative and perspective about Saudi Arabia?

I believe I have the answer.

I have previously emphasized the importance of human diplomacy and the significance of exercising soft power to bring nations closer together.

The term “soft power” consists of many things; art is one of them.

Art is a global language that needs no translation, the purest form of communication, and probably the most peaceful one.

The investment in arts and culture has undoubtedly opened the eyes of the world about Saudi Arabia but from a fresh perspective, which means that we are and have always been part of this world at the same speed and pace. The only thing missing was exposure.

The time has come where we have opened our doors for the entire world to be part of an exciting revolution — a wave of change and an opportunity to meet the people of Saudi Arabia.

The idea about Saudi Arabia and its people has been limited to what the “media” has to offer, and most times, it hasn’t done “us” justice. Looking into an entire nation from one angle can sometimes confuse the viewer into believing generalized statements about the culture or basing a judgment according to one incident that doesn’t justify the true nature of a nation.

The point here is to shed light on the need for communication with the rest of the world, not only politically, but socially and culturally, too. I mention this is as an observation on the positive feedback I heard from the international guests who have visited Saudi Arabia and had the opportunity to participate in these events.

I know that some of you might wonder about the relationship between cultural activities and the perspective about Saudi Arabia. The answer is simple. Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer. As a matter of fact, its wealth of knowledge, experience and talent, in terms of the “arts and culture” scene, has always been alive and impressive, and has now been given a platform to flourish — not only to display but to share this knowledge with the rest of the world.

Being a young female in an advancing society gives me a sense of responsibility, to be an active voice on behalf of those who have managed to succeed regardless of all the obstacles and challenges they have faced.

Today, Saudi Arabia has transitioned from being a silent player to a present and impactful voice in almost every aspect out there, and the good news is that the best is yet to come.

• Nada Al-Tuwaijri is an adviser at the Saudi Ministry of Media.

This article was first published in Arab News

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