Dave Bloss, our partner at the Rhode Island Library Report, is on a temporary assignment overseas and following the foreign media. As he comes across items about libraries, we’ll pass them along here at The Library Line blog.
A Saudi Arabian commentator zeroed in on a question asked by a teenager about libraries to explain the forces at work in the “Arab Spring.”
Abdulateef al-Mulhim, the commentator, said the same desire for knowledge and understanding to be found in a library has empowered the reform movement in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries.
It’s a point missed, he said, by some Arab “think tanks,” which have attributed the uprisings to Western countries. But he said a key point is to be found in the question asked by 14-year-old Basel Al Thunayan, who wondered why some Arab countries have far fewer libraries than Israel.
“This is a billion-dollar question that should have been asked by Arab thinkers, rather than a 14-year-old boy from Saudi Arabia,” Abdulateef al-Mulhim wrote. “The presence of many libraries reflect how the people behave and how educated they are and how advanced a particular country is. Libraries are the place to read about others and to think on your own.”
Here's a link to the full article:
The commentary appeared June 14 in the Arab News, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and was picked up by the Website of Al Arabiya News Channel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. According to his LinkedIn profile, Abdulateef al-Mulhim is a former Royal Saudi Navy commander, who attended the State University of New York Maritime College and also writes for Al Yaum, of Dammam, Saudi Arabia.